Calf Segment, North Umpqua Trail - October 3, 2009
Coordinator Richard O'Neill, narration and pictures by Richard O'Neill

The original plan was to hike Cowhorn Mountain on October 3rd but the forecast called for snow and high winds. So, for safety's sake we hiked at a lower elevation trail: the Calf Section of the North Umpqua Trail. 5 other hardy hikers showed up to brave the elements with me, not counting the flock of turkeys in the parking lot.

Now, I'm not a real big fan of the NUT as it's miles of river views, pleasant but not in a big way. Additionally the North Umpqua highway and the car traffic is just across the river. Having said that, the Calf section is one of the more scenic portions of the NUT. 

Traversing the Apple Burn of 2002, the trail mostly stays high above the river and there are enough cliffs to almost make me forget I'm not climbing Cowhorn. The vine maples were beginning to show their autumn colors.

For some reason, I'm feeling peppy and I walk fast enough to wind up hiking alone most of the way and I complete the 3.7 mile section in just over an hour and a half. And that includes time for stopping to take pictures. We ran into a couple of backpackers intending to hike the entire 78 miles of the NUT, good luck with that at this time of year.

Afterwards, Mike took us to a fish watching station up Steamboat Creek where we observe a large school of steelhead waiting for the winter flow so they can continue their run upstream to spawn. It reminded me of my class reunion.


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