December 6, 2015.
Today’s hike was a backup plan. Plan A was to head into the mountains to do some snowshoe training before our big trip to Crater Lake. But there was no snow in the mountains yet, and there was no point in doing a big drive just to take a hike. So, we stayed closer to home and took a lovely hike at the Mt. Pisgah Arboretum in Eugene.
This was my first hike here so I was unfamiliar with the trail system. All I knew was that I wanted to get to the summit and to accumulate a moderate mileage and elevation gain. We ended up linking some trails to make about a 4.5 mile loop.
Our hike began in a beautiful oak forest with scattered grassy meadows. This place must be stunning in the spring. Without too much effort we made it to the summit, where we had a panoramic view from the top. It was cloudy and sunny at the same time, something that happens quite often in the Willamette Valley. We took a quick break here and then headed back down the other side.
The place was a maze of trails. We tried our best to stay located and stay on track. We headed over towards the interpretive trails and found ourselves immersed in a diversity of trees. The huge “octopus tree” was probably the most impressive.
I do wish that every tree came with a placard because I just can’t for the life of me learn tree identification!
After weaving back and forth along the lowland trails we headed for the parking lot, with one last stop. A huge tree stump, laid on its side and placed under an awning, made for a fun learning opportunity. It was fun to hike with such a curious and attentive group. I think it’s more interesting to think of hiking as more than just “exercise,” but as an immersive experience. We admired the old tree stump, touched the rings and thought about what that tree had been through over time.
Well, we didn’t even get to touch the snow today, but we will next week!