Jessie Wright to Bradley Trail Segment, North Umpqua Trail - December 11, 2010
Coordinator Ray Jensen and Lois Soulia

On December 11, 2010, all the weather reports said there was 100% chance of rain, of course -- it is winter in Douglas County, what else would anyone expect. Leaving a car at the Jessie Wright trailhead, the group of ten hikers drove on east to Medicine Creek Road to start the hike on the Bradley Trail, where they saw that there had been considerable snow in the area just days ago so the rain looked a little better by comparison.

The ten hikers started down, down, down the trail until they encountered the Soda Springs area below the trail, then they went up, up, up onto the lovely plateau of Pine Bench dotted with the blackened trunks of the ponderosa pines leftover from the two fires that have ravaged the area. The fog rising from the Boulder Creek canyon hid the creek from view but couldn’t silence the creek hundreds of feet below. Even with the fog and constant rain, the views were worth the climb.

Coming down from the plateau, it was a muddy trail with some blowdown across it to make things interesting. At the intersection of the trail with the North Umpqua trail they came to where the Soda Springs trail was blocked with a mesh barricade and a sign that had been tampered with saying “Anger Sexplosive Stay Away”. This trail is blocked because of ongoing construction on the Soda Springs Dam. Hikers crossed Boulder Creek on a wooden bridge that John could make shake as the others walked over it, unnerving to be sure. Boulder Creek rushing to its union with the North Umpqua was in full spate.

On down the trail hikers had a late lunch, some perched on enormous rocks by the river, others on mossy wet logs and some troglodytes ( Ray, Rheo and Richard) found a cave in which to shelter. After lunch the group faced the final challenge of the day, crossing Eagle Creek which also had a lot of water pouring down full tilt. Some crossed with great leaps and bounds, some risked life and limb on slimy logs and rocks and others just gave in and trudged through the swirling water. Many thought that the Eagle Creek crossing would be a great place to put a Richard S. memorial bridge.

At the end of the day, after seven and a half miles, soggy, slushy boots and all, the group opined that it had been a great hike.


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