Boulder Creek - November 12, 2011
Coordinator Rick and Jacky Sohn, narration and pictures by Rick Sohn

Fifteen avid hikers quickly filled three vehicles, said goodbye to Roseburg for the day, and drove 56 miles east to the Boulder Creek area.

We were pleased to have two new hiking friends join us as we hiked the Bradley Trail to Medicine Creek, across Pine Bench, and through the switchbacks down to Boulder Creek. The Boulder Creek in and out option resulted in a 9.4 mile round trip, with some members choosing the Pine Bench in and out option for closer to a 5.8 mile round trip.

We were immersed in a nature trail followed by thousands before us that, on this day, rewarded us with the lingering colors of fall leaves, majestic rock cliffs, views to the horizon that included a snowy Mount Bailey, full afternoon sun, fallen sugar pine cones, and the fellowship shared by hikers.

This area experienced two more recent significant burns: the Spring Fire in 1996 which burned 16.500 acres and the Rattle Fire, burning 19,775 acres in 2008. However, the forest understory definitely exposed itself to us with the beauty of Oregon grape, dogwood, willow, and blueberry, all framed by red vine maple. The standing burned tree trunks took center stage, but they were competitively contrasted with brilliant ponderosa pine, sprinkled with sugar pine. Looking to the forest floor presented a window to a future of hope as we saw plentiful new conifer seedlings, many only a few inches tall, and Douglas fir seedlings at the lower elevation.

Hikers arrived at Pine Bench Overlook to see the full sun on our face and time to look up and out. Up to the tops of the majestic pine tree canopy and out over the Boulder Creek valley. A great area for some to explore more and a fine hike in itself. Most hikers wanted to go over the slope, up and down, and down to Boulder Creek for lunch, with some taking a few more steps to the deep beautiful cold water pool to count the cutthroat trout.

At the end of the trail, some hikers headed to the short Medicine Shelter trail, developed to protect the quickly fading Native American rock art and to recognize the area as a sacred historical site.

Ed was noteworthy for his tall rubber boots, and he takes the Boulder Creek exploration award. Donna takes the true Mother Nature award for showing us the bright green inch worm. Jim takes the true fellowship hiker award for sharing his fabulous fall apples. Rick gets the Forest Ranger award for providing hikers with excellent maps and trail information. And, Lois and Jane and Kevin get the Lewis and Clark award for hanging out at Pine Bench and backtracking to see Soda Springs for a great option.

This was a great escape from an overcast Roseburg morning, with the 9.4 mile Boulder Creek option completed well under 5 hours. Great job hikers, see you next time on another trail.


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