Let’s just start by stating the obvious: Oregon is gorgeous.
Seriously, it’s a blessing to live in such an amazing place with so many things to do. There are so many beautiful hikes around here that I don’t think we’ll ever conquer them all, but we’re knocking out what we can. In planning last weekend’s adventure, Eric found an article by William Sullivan (an Oregon hiking guru, from what we’re learning) about Horse Rock, a hike with incredible views of the Cascades. The trailhead is about 40 minutes outside of Eugene, so it made for a perfect Sunday afternoon hike.
We started the hike with a climb over some boulders, a squeeze through some chain link fences (used to keep this as a hiker-only zone, due to the rare and endangered wildflowers on the hillside), and a maze of fallen tree limbs. Here, we discovered the difference in mine and Eric’s hiking techniques: I step over fallen trees; Eric steps on them. I’d like to think I’m getting the better workout.
A little ways in, the wooded trail opens up to a big meadow, full of wildflowers I wish I could identify. And this is where the view gets good. Unfortunately, it was a little overcast by the time we made it to the meadow, so our views of the Cascade Mountains weren’t as incredible as they could have been, but we could definitely see some snow-covered peaks (the Three Sisters, Mount Jefferson, and Diamond Peak, from what we’ve read).
The trail gets pretty steep and crumbly as you get closer to the rock, but it is certainly acceptable to take a breather and enjoy the view. Once you get to the broken rock wall, you can take an even steeper trail up to a little cave that’s only 3 feet high, but pretty wide and deep. I don’t know that the cave was particularly impressive, but it would be a good place to wait out a rainstorm.
For some good directions and helpful hints, check out William Sullivan’s article about the Horse Rock trail. I may have gone a little crazy and requested every single one of his guidebooks at the Eugene Public Library. I think I’ll stay pretty busy with this collection of Oregon books for now. Let the fun begin!