Thursday, October 29, 2020

Bohemia Mountain and Fairview Peak

As we were eating lunch on top of Bohemia Mountain, Edwin asked me if I knew how the mountain had got its name. "C'mon, ask me a hard one" I replied "It was named after the guy that discovered it. His name was Bo, last name Hemia!" I ate the rest of my lunch alone, banished to an obscure corner of the small mountain with large views, my best comedic material wasted on the unappreciative.

A small piece of Bohemia Mountain

It had been a long drive to the Calapooya Mountains for this pair of relatively short hikes, and the last ten miles or so were really slow going as the gravel road to Bohemia Saddle was so atrocious that even my normally fearless Jeep cringed. Naturally, it felt good to get out of our vehicles and stretch our legs. Eager to begin walking, we headed up the trail to our first destination, the aforementioned Bohemia Mountain.

Oof, this was steep!

Sometimes you have to be careful about what you wish for. We (Edwin, Penny, Cleve, and yours truly) all wanted to start walking right away but after a few minutes on the steep trail to Bohemia's summit that had us all gasping within minutes, going back home seemed to be a suddenly reasonable and viable alternative. But, that wouldn't be hiking now, would it? So, we stubbornly continued trudging on up the trail.

A fair view of Fairview Peak

As the trail gained elevation at its prodigious rate, the view gradually began to improve as the forest thinned out. Rocky cliffs loomed on the uphill side as the trail traversed some avalanche basins and the attendant rock piles associated with them. There were several user trails leading to various viewpoints and from those overlooks, we enjoyed the sight of neighboring Fairview Peak with its lookout affixed to the top like a misplaced oil derrick. 

Eugene was in the fog all day

Before too long, the trail leveled out and voila, we were on Bohemia's summit. Bohemia is just another small mountain in the relatively low Calapooya Mountains but oh, the things you can see from the top! To the north and west were the rugged canyons of the Willamette and McKenzie River systems and beyond were the cities of Springfield and Eugene reposing side-by-side in the wide and vast Willamette Valley. While the rest of the entire world, such as ourselves, were enjoying a superlative blue sky with comfortably mild temperatures, it was no doubt a gray and misty day in Eugene. The metropolitan sprawl was hidden by a large fog bank parked in and over the valley and we took snarky delight in imagining the Eugenians shivering in the gloom. The Cascades were parked on the eastern skyline and we had a good look at the chain of peaks running south between the Three Sisters and Mount McLaughlin. 

Oof, this was steep all over again

The next object of our affection was neighboring Fairview Peak. There is no official trail to the summit but a rough gravel road was there for our disposal once we hopped over the gate barring non-official vehicle traffic to the top. Mind you, the gravel road was made for vehicles and their powerful motors but to our puny little human engines, this was another steep hike. Although, we should have been used to the grade by now because the slog up Fairview Peak was just as leg-taxing as the path to the top of Bohemia Mountain was. Cougar tracks were spotted on the road and no doubt the big cats just effortlessly sauntered up the trail unlike us human weakling types.

The lookout tower on Fairview Peak

The summit was graced with the lookout tower, its intricate latticework of fairly new lumber contrasting nicely with the deep blue sky above. A construction crew was performing maintenance on the structure and although they seemed like nice fellows, they did not allow us to take the stairs to the top, citing "orders are orders" as the reason for barring the way. But the views from Fariview, just like Bohemia, were tremendous and we did not feel cheated in that regard.

Scott Mountain (right) and the smoke filled North Umpqua River valley

It was a pretty fair view from Fairview Peak and we could see Mount Hood on the northeastern skyline which meant all of the Oregon Cascades were visible from border to border, as Mount McLaughlin was still visible to the south. Allegedly Mount Shasta, in California, can be seen from Fairview but haze in that direction prevented us from doing so, or else we were mistaking Shasta for McLaughlin. We were somewhat surprised to see Scott Mountain (right next to the town of Glide) relatively nearby, looking as flat-topped as a 1950s crew-cut. It was kind of funny to think about the fact we had driven over two hours on a circuitous route just to see a small peak that was a normally a mere 20 minute drive from Roseburg. Scott Mountain had been in the middle of the Archie Creek Fire and the fire scars on the mountain were clearly visible. Next to the mountain was the North Umpqua River valley, filled with smoke from the still smoldering fire remnants.

They say the spirit of Bo Hemia still haunts the mountain

So, all day long I'd been joshing my compatriots about that Bo Hemia guy that discovered Bohemia Mountain. But in all seriousness, Edwin said he thought the mountain had actually been discovered by an explorer named Cal, but he couldn't remember the last name. "It was I remember his name now!" he said, snapping his fingers for emphasis "... it was discovered by Cal A. Pooya!" Cal A. Pooya, as in the Calapooya Mountains. Get it? I did and while I hate being outpunned, all I could do was gracefully acknowledge my defeat, formally conceding to Edwin "Nicely played, Sir, nicely played!"

Mounts Thielsen and Bailey on the distant skyline

For more photos of this hike,
please visit the Flickr album.

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