Saturday, December 28, 2013

Riverview Trail loop

So Lane sends me an invite to do the Riverview - North Umpqua Trail loop and what got my attention was not the trail or destination but instead his well placed and articulate phrase "...O hiking guru". Flattery will get you nowhere they say but that's not necessarily true: it can get you a hiking partner on short notice. Having a distinct weakness for flattery, it took me all of 0.2 seconds to accept the invitation, despite my having hiked the same loop earlier in the year.  

The North Umpqua River

Beginning at the historic Mott Bridge (no kids, I was not alive when it was built), a short road walk over Steamboat Creek brought us to the Riverview Trail trailhead where the the trail headed quickly up to the cliffs overlooking the North Umpqua Highway. We were walking on the old road bed of the historical and since decomissioned highway. The ups and downs were gentle and the roadway had recently been graded so it was easy walking for the two of us.

Pretzel, anyone?
Apart from a bridged crossing and picnic table at Williams Creek, there weren't a lot of big-ticket highlights, just a pleasant walk through absolutely frigid woods. Oh, one item of interest was a wet poop, left by a small carnivore in the shape of a perfectly made pretzel. We spent the next two miles discussing and speculating on the intricate butt geometry and machinations required to create that particular piece of trailside homage to the lowly pretzel. In case anyone was wondering, neither Lane nor I attempted to emulate the anonymous pretzel maker.

All signs point to Lane
At Bogus Creek, we left the Riverview with a "Bogus, dude" done in our best California surfer accent where "dude" sounds like "du-u-u-u-u-de!" Cutting across the Bogus Creek campground, we exited onto the North Umpqua Highway where it would be a mile long walk along the road before crossing over to the other side of the river on the Wright Creek bridge. From there, it would be 6 miles on a real trail.

Blue and cold are one and the same
Now on the North Umpqua Trail's Mott Section, the trail was 6 miles of moss, creeks, trees, mushrooms, and cold air. Oh, and always the North Umpqua River, running a pretty but lethal turquoise color. I think if I were to fall in, my body would be that same turquoise color within seconds.

Fisher Creek

We crossed over several creeks on rustic bridges as the creeks rushed madly on their way to the North Umpqua. Fisher Creek is notable in that Zane Grey had a fishing camp there back in the day. A railed bridge provides a nice view of the creek and an opportunity to set a camera on the rail and take a slow shot in the dim forest light.

Sunlight, and it's so beautiful
Speaking of light, we didn't get any. The other side of the river was bathed in sunlight but at the bottom of the river canyon it was cold shade where puddles were frozen solid. If we weren't walking, we'd have been frozen solid too. After enjoying an overlook at the picturesque cascades at Steamboat Inn, we actually felt sunlight on our skin for all of about 10 feet of trail. We didn't feel warm.

Skating rink next to the river
However, car heaters and hot chocolate restores warmth in cold fingers, toes, ears, and noses, and in the end this was a perfectly enjoyable 12'ish mile hike. It just goes to show flattery on occasion will indeed get us somewhere!

British soldiers
For more pictures of this hike, stop by and see the Flickr album.

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