Saturday, April 4, 2015

North Umpqua Trail - Tioga Section

The only time I had ever hiked the Tioga Section from the east end was on a frozen January morning where Dollie slipped and fell into a small creek, taking an impromptu swim in the icy water. While I was deeply indebted to her for providing me hilarious fodder for an upcoming newspaper story, she failed to see the humor in the whole situation. So you can imagine my disappointment when Dale nimbly stepped across the same creek without a single misstep while I pointed my camera in eager anticipation. O photography unrequited!

Trillium rules!
The weather had been fairly wet in March and it looked like April would be more of the same. But we had a fairly dry forecast for most of the day so Dale and I seized the opportunity to hike on the venerable North Umpqua Trail. At the start, it was readily obvious that this would be a proverbial spring hike as the usual spring flowers were coloring the ample fernitude lining the trail. Not sure if fernitude is a real word but it is an apt descriptor along with the equally apt mossage.

The snarky commenter
Anyway, the trilliums, calypso orchids, and snow queen were happily blooming away. Dale made some snarky comment about my being compelled to take a picture of every flower. In order to avoid more injurious remarks, I tried to limit my photography to every other flower.

Thunder Creek
When not enjoying the fauna of the North Umpqua River, we crossed (without incident, darn it) several creeks that were all busy tumbling down the slopes in their mad quest to join up with the much larger river. Waterfalls abounded and I tried to limit my photography to every other waterfall.

Life on the edge
A couple of miles in, the trail climbed to the top of some cliffs that provided a dizzying view to the turquoise river down below. On the opposite side of the river ran the North Umpqua Highway and tiny cars inched along like ticks crawling up a hiker's leg. One rocky point actually had a backpacker's campsite replete with fire ring and wooden bench. Someday I will camp here but this site is not the place for sleepwalkers what with sheer cliffs dropping off next to the tent.

Fox Creek
From the rocky point, the trail undulated in a series of ups and downs before arriving at Fox Creek. The winter storms had knocked down a number of trees and we got to practice our tree scrambling techinques. Fortunately, there were no incidents or pratfalls, darn it. As we ate lunch at Fox Creek next to a footbridge, clouds from an incoming storm system started blocking the sun.

Tree climbing
So back we go, enjoying the cool weather, sort of. While it's always good to hike in cool weather, we couldn't help but be jealous of the north side of the river which was bathed in sunlight.  The last time I hiked on the north side, the sun was shining on the south side. It must be some kind of Umpqua truism that the other side of the river will always be sunny. But no complaining allowed, except for Dale complaining about me taking too many pictures and me complaining about him not falling into a creek.

Dale does a little bit of off-trail exploring 

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