Cougar Butte - June 12, 2010
Coordinator Richard O'Neill, narration and pictures by Richard O'Neill

What a difference a week makes! Last Saturday I led a Friends of the Umpqua hike to Cougar Butte. This time there were no bears, no falling trees, no getting lost in the snow, no rain, no stampeding elks, no grouse induced heart attacks.

What we had were cobalt blue skies with nary a cloud, bright green meadows, and a comfy 70'ish temperature. It was amazing how much the vegetation could green out in one week.

Some things were the same still: glacier lilies, Oregon and woodland anemones, windflowers, hespurichons, and the sketchiest path ever. I took less pictures as I gave up my usual laissez-faire approach to leading and instead mother-henned it as I did not want to go down in club annals as the first leader to depart with less hikers than he started with.

Much of the hike was spent wondering (out loud with expletives, in some cases) where the trail was. By the day's end I think most of us had become pretty adept at picking out trail markers in the trees.

At the Cougar Butte summit, we enjoyed a lengthy lunch where we played "Name That Peak. We could see Diamond Peak, Mts Thielsen and Bailey, all covered with snow. 

When I hiked the weekend prior I noticed wild ginger, the leaves flattened against the muddy soils and I had a hope of finding one of their very strange blossoms on this day. So I spent a lot of time peering under the wonderfully ginger-scented leaves to no avail, finding only one flower bud the whole time. Towards the end of the hike I was whining about this to Gary and said there should be some out in the sunny parts. And just like that, I saw a bunch of them at my feet, in the sun just like I said. It turned out to be a successful hike after all!

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Roseburg Oregon Hiking Club
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