Mount June and Hardesty Mountain -November 3, 2007
Coordinator Richard O'Neill, narration and pictures by Richard O'Neill

Well, it is early evening Sunday and I have just gotten out of the whirlpool. Earlier today I visited my acupuncturist, my masseuse, and my chiropractor. I still ache all over, despite all the treatments and remedies. "Why", you ask? It's because yesterday I hiked a rugged 10.5 miles roundtrip to Hardesty Mtn. We know Jane led this hike but we'll have to make this an honorary Richard hike.

The trail was mildly steep through thick forest from the trailhead to the Mt June junction. "Not too bad" I thought, I'd heard this was a steep one. I heard right, unfortunately. From the junction the trail climbed steeply up to Mt June's summit and did not even pretend to switchback. We staggered onto the summit and the former lookout site. 

The view was magnificent and we played the Name That Peak game. We could see as far south as Mts Thielsen and Bailey. The Three Sisters were the closest large peaks. Also noteworthy was Diamond Peak , Mt Jefferson, and Mt Hood was clearly and unbelievably visible. We also picked out a number of lesser peaks such as Tipsoo Peak , Broken Hand, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington , Bachelor Butte, Cowhorn Mtn, and Maiden Peak .

We picked our way down and returned to the trail junction and headed east on the Sawtooth Ridge Trail. This trail was typical of many ridge trails as it went up, then it went down, then it went up, then it went...you get the idea. There were no views from the ridge as it was heavily forested until we broke out into a large brown meadow near Sawtooth Rock. From a distance the Rock wasn't too impressive but it got much larger as we got closer and in the end it was pretty impressive after all.

We ate lunch there and explored the back side of the rock where there was a pair of small caves with rodent poop inside them. The weather was downright summery and I switched to shorts and offered my white legs to the sun gods. 

The Hardy Hiking Bunch continued on and after steeply descending for a while, we took a right turn on the Hardesty Way Trail. From there it was a short but steep climb to the summit of Hardesty Mtn and it seemed almost too easy. It was. After a map consult, we discovered just because a trail has the word "Hardesty" in it, it doesn't mean it necessarily has its namesake mountain as a destination. But it would put us over 10 miles for the day.

So back down we go to the Sawtooth Ridge Trail. Rheo and Jane bid us adieu and so our Hardy Hiking Bunch has dwindled down to myself, Dollie, and Gaoying. From the trail junction the trail dived steeply for about a mile or so and we all rightfully dreaded the return trip. Finally we reached a saddle and straight ahead of us was a wall...it was the wooded slope of Hardesty itself. The trail climbed steeply alongside of Hardesty and then a second trail peeled off and took us to the summit.

What a disappointment. All work and no wow. There was no view to be had at all, the summit is all forest. I'm not sure why Hardesty is such a popular hiking destination. So we turned around and now all that downhill from Sawtooth Rock turned out to be all uphill. Ugh. For some reason, I was tired and Gaoying and Dollie left me behind as they skipped gaily uphill. 

Back when we were eating lunch, Geoff had said he would be removing this hike from his list...I'm with him on that. Well, back to the Ben-Gay.


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