North Bank Habitat - March 5, 2011
Coordinator Lois Soulia, narration by Lois Soulia and pictures by Richard O'Neill and Nettie Apland

On a cloudy rainy Saturday, nine members and one prospective member met in the DC parking lot.  One member reconsidered the muddy conditions and the rain which was almost sure to persist and opted to follow the new bike and walking paths around Roseburg.   The remaining hikers, choosing fresh air and wild wet vistas, drove to the West Trailhead of the North Bank Habitat. (Not to imply that there are not wild wet vistas in downtown Roseburg.)

At the trailhead, hikers started up the Blacktail Ridge Road, gaining altitude at a rate which warmed up everyone almost instantly, enough that the rain didn’t seem cold anymore.   The views looking back were shrouded in mist from ridge to ridge but enough geography peeked through to make the uphill slogging worth the effort.  From this altitude it is possible to trace the serpentine route of the North Umpqua River as it twists its way through the valley and see where it is in the process of  forming an oxbow.

At the first junction of trails, some of the climbers chose the Middle Ridge road.  This took them on up to the junction  with the North Boundary  Road, after they negotiated the muddy saddle which horse traffic had turned into a mud slide.  Luckily, only the hapless leader ended up horizontal and that not even in the mud.  Before the saddle, two members decided to return to their cars the way they came up.

Although the wind was brisk on top of the ridges of the North Boundary Road, the views were fantastic and lo and behold, the rain ceased. The rain even increased the beauty of the huge old Madrone trees which reside along the Bear Tree Trail.  The tree limbs are enormous and were slick and shining from the rain.  Does the trail name refer to the size of the trees?  It very well could be that some BLMer thought so.  It is said that Madrone trees shed their bark rather than their leaves and these giants live up to that saying.

The group decided to eat dry so six hikers had lunch at Lois’s soup kitchen.

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Roseburg Oregon Hiking Club
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