North Bank Habitat, Blacktail Ridge to Soggy Bottoms - April 13, 2013
Coordinator Lois Soulia, narration by Lois Soulia and picture by Sabra Norton
Eighteen hikers converged upon the Northbank Habitat’s eastern trail head in the Comstock parking area. It was a cold morning, about 39 degrees and extra fleeces were necessary, an unwelcome chill but not an unusual situation this time of year.
Starting up the gradual climb on the Blacktail trail hikers saw where part of the trail had washed out towards the creek. The group encountered open gates and wandering Angus cows and were puzzled about whether those in charge of the cattle wanted the gates open or closed. The electric fence lay mashed to the ground so the gates were rendered immaterial. Cows roaming over trails leave deep muddy hoof prints so the hikers developed several techniques of hopping over, around and between mud troughs.
By and large, the weather cooperated. There was very little rain and the terrific views of the Umpqua Valley from the top of the mountains were still visible. Jane pointed out the remnants of an old watch tower near the top of one of the climbs, close to where Blacktail turns into Soggy Bottoms.
The faster hikers among the group made it to the covered pavilion in time to avoid the hail storm coming down, slower hikers paid the price and got the rat-tat-tat hail upon their tardy heads. The pain of mud and hail was worth it because of the birthday bash lunch and goodies at the end of the hike.
Roseburg Oregon Hiking Club