Upper Tioga Segment, North Umpqua Trail - December 22, 2012
Coordinator Jane Flewelling, narration and pictures by Diane Rannow

The completion of the Tioga Bridge enabled eight stalwart hikers (Lois, John, Dante, Diane, Nancy, Edwin, Lindsay and Jane) to experience for the first time, the last four miles of the upper Tioga Segment of the North Umpqua Trail. We started out at the Wright Creek Trailhead and finished at the Tioga Bridge for a total of eight miles.

Continual on-and-off rain invigorated our pace, but what spectacular creek crossings! Each presented its own unique dance combination of twisting, tumbling, and cascading torrents.

Soon after starting we were confronted by a football field sized burn on the uphill side of the hill – how poignant, sad, but inevitable. The whole trail was strewn with downed branches. We were all flicking the worst ones off the trail, those leading doing the most.

After passing over a stream crossing, I noticed a partially exposed, heavy twisted steel cable end. I asked John what purpose it served. He looked it over and said in all seriousness, “It’s to hold a steelltree.” Puzzled, I turned to look at him. When I saw his silly grin, I knew I had been had.
Halfway up the steepest climb, we hunkered down under dripping trees for lunch. Two downed tree trunks provided seats perfectly placed to enable a view of a fifteen foot hidden waterfall. Most didn’t tarry and soon we were off.

Three of us had pre-hiked the last three miles of the trail. We were astounded by newly blown down trees. At least four of them did serious damage to bridges and bridge number 37 is completely destroyed. I couldn’t help but feel deep appreciation for the heavy continuous work done by crews (some are volunteers) to keep the marvelous North Umpqua Trail open.

The last stretch by the river we dubbed “the swamp”. Why bother to look for possible dry spots – splashing right through the middle in ankle deep water became the most desirable method. I gained an awareness of the special shifting, changing dynamics of the forest and silly as it sounds, we all had a wonderful, unforgettable hike.



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