Saturday, March 24, 2012

McKenzie River Trail

March was so crazy, weather-wise.  It rained, it snowed, it rained some more to the point where all of Oregon was suffering from mass Vitamin D deficiency.  There was probably a lot of season-affective disorder too, making us hikers very irritable, in particular.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's in the snow we go
A brief break in the precipitation called for a low-elevation hike; the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail was selected because my guide book said it was hikeable all year round.  Oops, that should have read "...hikeable all year (except for 2012) round".

Vive le McKenzie

We parked our car at the Belknap Hot Springs Resort and headed up the trail.  Within a few yards, we ran into snow at a mere 1500 ft of elevation.  However, the snow was just inches deep and the trail was always visible.  Also, mostly-always visible was the noisy McKenzie River, running deep and cold with the winter runoff. 

Avoiding a wet spot semi-successfully

Water was all over the trail in the forms of snow, standing puddles, and running creeks.  Fortunately, this trail receives a lot of love and the many footbridges kept feet dry for the most part.  The trail hadn't seen human feet on it since the snowfall but we did see a lot of critter tracks on the path, deer and raccoons being the primary culprits.
This was a hands-on trail
After crossing Scott and Boulder Creeks over two well-constructed footbridges, the trail took us on the shoulder of the McKenzie Highway for a brief stretch.  We didn't get the usual lost-in-the-wilderness hiking feeling as cars sped by on the busy highway. 

One of many well-constructed bridges on the trail
After we crossed Scott Creek, we took a forest road bridge across the river, swapping sides of the river.  Before crossing over,  we had been walking in the cold shade and darkness, wistully looking at the sunny north side.  Crossing over at mid-day, the sun had migrated over to the south side and we were still in the dark shade, wistfully looking at the enlightened south side.  It seemed like no matter how much we switched sides, we remained in the dark in what is a hiking metaphor for Mitt Romney's campaign for the presidency.

Snowshoeing, anyone?

A brief climb through ever increasingly deep snow brought us to another forest road.  The trail followed the road for about three-quarters of a mile before becoming a bona fide trail again.  We were mid-shin deep at this point and neither one of us felt like slogging through the snow covering the road portion so we turned around and headed back.

Playing the REI theme song, no doubt

So, this was not the most memorable of hikes and we only got about 6 miles in.  But the day was not a total loss as we swung by REI in Eugene which is the best store in the world.  We spent lots of money there buying shiny new backpacking things.  In retrospect, maybe we should have slogged on further in the snow.

1 comment :

  1. nice pics looks fun. Will have to get out to that trail at some point.