Cowhorn Mountain - September 9, 2007
Coordinator Richard O'Neill, narration and pictures by Richard O'Neill

Cowhorn Mtn is accessed on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and it is a relatively kind and gentle slope for the first 4 miles or so. We had views of Thielsen and Bailey and a couple of viewpoints of Cowhorn itself. As long as you didn't note how far away and how far above Cowhorn was, it was a nice view. We also overlooked the pair of Windigo Lakes. Mushrooms of all kinds were sprouting on the forest floor.

After 4 miles of a steady climb up to the base of Cowhorn, it was time to leave the PCT and do some climbing. The first portion of the climb was extremely steep up a pumice slope. Halfway up Cowhorn there is a bright red saddle which made for a nice rest stop before tackling the summit which loomed above. If you look at the distance shots of Cowhorn, you can clearly see the red saddle. 

The views were fantastic at this point, Crescent Lake, Diamond Peak, Summit Lake, and Sawtooth Peak were all prominent. Dollie and I continued on the slog up to ridge which petered out at jagged cliff. So we went left around it and scrambled up to the summit, some use of hands was required. Much to our surprise, no one was there.

I was concerned because Ray, Mike, and Richard B had all been ahead of me and should have greeted me at the summit. However, they appeared shortly below us, looking like little ants. Ray had taken them to a viewpoint of the Windy Lakes further on the PCT and we had leapfrogged them in the process. Mystery solved.

Eventually, Gaoying and Jackie straggled up making for 7 Friends of the Umpqua that bagged Cowhorn. We dallied and soaked in the views for about an hour. It was bright and sunny but a chill arctic wind was blowing and windbreakers were donned.

So we picked our way down the slope and returned by way of the PCT. When Linda, Gaoying, Ray and I arrived at the Windigo Lake overlook we discussed going down to the lake for a brief explorative foray. Linda asked where the trail was. I laughed and said "Trail, what trail?" With fear in her eyes, she left us screaming at a dead run, Gaoying in her wake. So it was Ray and I that bushwhacked down a steep slope to the lake. The main problem was once we got down the slope the dense forest prevented us from seeing any landmarks, including the lake. Ray and I discussed which way to go, he said left and I said right. After wandering around a few minutes we found the lake to the right. Ray said I was right but he would never admit it to anyone else so I am outing him here and now. 

The lake was very pretty and had wonderful places for campsites, it'd be a nice place to set up camp and waste a weekend. After leaving the lake it was back in the woods and we didn't really know exactly where we were but knew we would hit either the trail or the road. Turned out to be the trail and it capped off a great hike.

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