Sterling Mine Ditch Trail - February 4, 2012
Coordinator Jennifer Coalwell, narration by Bill Riley, pictures by Bill Riley and Diane Rannow

It was a chilly 31 degrees when 14 members of the Friends of the Umpqua hiking club left the courthouse at 8:00 am on Saturday, February 4, 2012 headed for the 4.7 mile Sterling Ditch Tunnel trail west of Jacksonville.  We stopped to pick up three more hikers in Canyonville and arrived at the Tunnel Ridge trailhead just about 10:30 am.  The sun had already burned off the fog and we set off under blue skies and sunshine up the first one-mile leg of the trail to the tunnel.  Folks were shedding multiple layers and some of us were wishing we'd worn short sleeved shirts.

We regrouped at the top and took turns duck-walking or crawling our way through the tunnel.  A few folks bumped their heads, but no major mishaps.  We took a group photo and then continued on, passing gorgeous manzanita trees and large madrones.  We stopped to admire and photograph one particularly beautiful huge madrone and then hiked to a sunny hillside where we could enjoy our lunch.

After lunch, several hikers decided to add some extra mileage to the hike by following a side trail out about two miles and back instead of heading directly down  to the Bear Gulch trailhead.  The other hikers finished the loop and brought the cars to the Bear Gulch trailhead to meet us.

In the parking lot, we encountered some frustrated hikers (not from our group) whose car had been blocked in by someone double-parked behind them.  Reluctant to leave them their waiting for the driver to return, several of the men in our group did their good deed for the day by lifting up the front end of the car and  moving it about a foot so the blocked-in car could squeeze past.  Good deed for the day!

We headed back to Roseburg through the lovely Applegate Valley and Grants Pass and arrived at the courthouse just before 5:00 pm.  Though it was a long drive, the sunshine and warmth made for a great day of hiking in Southern Oregon.

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Roseburg Oregon Hiking Club
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