Mount Thielsen - August 18, 2012
Coordinator Bill Riley, narration and pictures by Bill Riley

Hikes for the Friends of the Umpqua are  planned three months at a time. Consequently it is sometimes difficult to project the weather and hiking conditions accurately. Thus was the case with our 18 AUG 2012 hike to Mt. Thielson. Wendy had planned a month in advance to fly from New York to Oregon to join us on the hike. Then during the week before the hike, we had 100 degree days and then on 14 August the Butte Wild Fire started. It was questionable whether the hike could take place. On Friday the 17th I called the Tokatee Ranger station and was informed that portions of the Pacific Crest trail were closed due to the wild fire, but the area near Thielson was still open at that time. And the newspaper forecast thundershowers, so the trip was on. At 0730 on the morning of 18 August, 30 minutes prior to normal departure times, due to distance to travel and possible road construction delays, under the guidance of Lois hikers left the Roseburg parking lot. The group of 12 hikers arrived at the Mt. Thielson parking lot (Mile 81.6) at 0917 and after a very brief brefing the hike was started at 0924.

Our group made the same hike on 24 AUG 2011. On that hike we had lunch at the "shoulder", just below the peak at noon time. This year except for Edwin, Gabrial, Charles and  Bruce who took off like jack rabbits, the rest of us proceeded much slower than we did the year before. The weather was perfect. Scattered clouds with a few sprinkles at the start and a pleasant breeze to scare away the mosquitoes. Yet it was 1123 before we reached the Pacific Crest Trail crossing. Maybe we are just getting older! Jim was waiting for us there. He told us he had just visited with a hiker following the Pacific Crest trail, having started in Mexico, and had to "out run"
the Butte wild fire for a while. Jim said after a short visit the hiker took off and crossed the clearning below Jim in a matter of minutes.

Prior to reaching the Pacific Crest trail, we did pass through the area of a lot of downed trees and saw a lot of huckleberries which were almost too small to bother to pick. Again the temperature was perfect for hiking.  After resting a bit at the Pacific Crest Trail crossing we started off for the next section which was steeper and over loose rock. Although I really wanted to reach the top this year, if Wendy had wanted to stop there I would gladly have turned back. Wendy does quite a bit of hiking in New York but she doesn't get that many up and down climbs walking the aisles of her aircraft.  She said that normally at that altitude, she is in a pressurized aircraft. So, following John's suggestion we proceeded one "baby" step after another. By now Garbrial and Charles, who had reached the summit of Thielson the year before, were now on the top and they guided Edwin up. Edwin then climbed part way back down to guide John up to the top. Wendy made it about half way to the "shoulder" and decided to stop so Jim, Rheo and I continued on up at a slow pace. The further I got the more determined I was to make it to the peak, I didn't figure I would get another chance to make this climb. Crossing the lose shale was especially rough as we kept losing the trail. Once I got passed the shoulder it became even steeper but easier to climb. Once I had to back track a bit because I reached a point beyond which I couldn't climb any higher. Edwin and I had reached a point about 65 feet below the top last year. This year, when I reached that point he climbed back down and guided me up. The top was virtually solid rock which was rough enough to give excellent gripping for both hands and feet. It was a matter of knowing where to reach for the next gripping. It was well worth the hike and actually not that scary as one doesn't get the sensation of hanging over a ledge with the danger of falling. We met other hikers already at the top and found a log book into which we could record our names and the date. Out of the 12 hikers, seven of us reached the top with Roger stopping just a bit below the summit. Six of us signed the booklet.

Getting off the top wasn't that bad, neither was the descent until we hit the loose shale. John, Edwin and I left the very top at 1414 hrs and reached the Pacific Crest crossing at 1608. Wendy was waiting for us quite a bit above the Pacific Crest crossing. Edwin knew a short cut back to the parking lot which brought us to the cars at 1724. So we covered about 10 miles in eight hours. After a chance to rest a bit, and pig out on Jim's Gravenstein apples, we piled into our respective cars and started homeward.  It was mutually agreed to make a pit stop at Idleyld for a rewarding ice cream!


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