This week’s Ally-day was supposed to begin with lunch in quaint Cottage Grove, Oregon (a town 30 minutes south of Eugene), followed by a one-mile hike on Bohemia Mountain Trail, at the top of which we would see spectacular views of the Cascade Range. Then we were going to hike the Brice Creek Trail, a 5.7-mile hike through an old growth forest. Sounds lovely, right?
And here’s how today actually went:
We drove to Cottage Grove (our first visit), and found that the town is not so quaint. I was expecting adorable small town America, with historic buildings on Main Street, ice cream shops on the corner, and smiling children on the sidewalks. Not so much. Not so cute. Kind of a disappointment. But Eric says we should give it another chance in the summer, as no town can look very cute on a super gloomy, cold Oregon day.
After lunch, we headed for the first hike of the day. Unfortunately, we lost our internet connection on the iPad a few minutes outside of the “downtown” area, so we were relying completely on the written directions, which is never good when you have no idea what kind of mileage you’re in for. In Ally-day tradition, my plans led us down some crazy roads. After we entered Umpqua National Forest, the paved road turned to gravel. No big deal. Then the gravel road turned into a dirt road with large rocks. Like, rocks so big that we had to stop the car so that I could get out and move the rocks out of the road to let us continue on. And as we continued upward, the temperature dropped and soon the road was covered in snow. We followed some tire tracks in the mud/snow for a few minutes, but as we came to a turn in the road, we saw that the car in front of us had given up and turned around. We felt it was best to do the same. Our little two-wheel drive Mazda can only be expected to do so much. So we turned around and enjoyed the journey back downhill. It was only when we got home several hours later and consulted a map that we discovered we may have passed the trailhead before the rock/dirt road began. Whoops.
At this point, we didn’t have time to partake in our next planned hike before the sunset, but I really wanted to hike today. So we scratched our original plans and decided we would hike a portion of the Row River Trail, which is a 15.6-mile trail that follows the original tracks of the Oregon Pacific and Eastern Railway. We found the trail pretty easily, as it ran right along the main road, but it took a while to find a parking area. We finally found one next to Dorena Lake. Well, what I suppose was, at some point, Dorena Lake. They appear to have drained the lake, so it’s currently a big area of grass and dirt, with just a little bit of water. And that’s just as well, considering the warning signs we saw around the area.
We walked for about 5 minutes before we decided that this trail was not attractive. Once again, maybe it’s better in the summer (or when the lake is full of water). But for now, we’re not impressed.
Hoping to get a little bit of exercise in today, we headed back to Eugene and hiked up Skinner’s Butte. Unfortunately, today was a particularly gloomy Oregon day, so we didn’t have much of a view (on a clear day you can see snow capped mountains in the distance), but it was nice to stretch our legs a bit.
Anywho, by 5:30, we were sitting on the couch in our pajamas, watching The Mindy Project, with peanut butter cookies in the oven. Maybe not such a bad day after all.