Pilot Rock - August 13, 2016
Coordinator, pictures and narration by Richard O'Neill

Only four of us hiked to Pilot Rock. Probably that was due to the 2+ hour drive to hike 10+ miles in 100+ degree temperature. Can't say as I blame anyone.

However, we did catch a break as higher up, the temperature was cooler, about 90+ degree weather. Doesn't sound all that cool but hey, we'll ktake it.

Actually, the heat was fairly manageable as much of the distance was hiked in shade. There were open areas of meadows starting to go brown but just as we got overheated, the route returned us to the shade. From the open areas, we enjoyed occasional views of Mount Ashland and we got to look down our noses at California, something us Oregonians love to do.

We were on the Pacific Crest Trail and we ran into dozens of thru-hikers on their way to Canada. It was entertaining to hear their stories about their trail names and the epic journey they were undertaking.

At about mile 4 we got our first look at Pilot Rock, our destination. It was pretty imposing from far away but up close it dominated the view and we all had kinks in our necks from craning our necks to the sky. After lunch, we took the steep switchbacking trail to the base of the pillar comprised of hexagonal basalt pillars. There is a climbing route but a hiker came down, having aborted his climb due to rocks falling down the chute. Following his lead, we too aborted the mission in the interest of safety. 

From Pilot Rock, it was 5 miles back on the PCT in the hot sun but things could have been worse. We could have stayed home in Roseburg!


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