A few things to know about this hike:
1. I am certain I heard a bear.
2. Eric is equally certain that ‘bear’ was my stomach growling.
3. We would’ve enjoyed a glorious view of Mt. Jefferson if we weren’t in the middle of a very rainy weekend.
4. We saw what appeared to be a helicopter stealing Christmas trees.
So, this was all a few weeks ago (I’m a little behind on my blogging game). The Cascades were supposed to get several inches of snow, and we’ve been itching for a snowy hike. After studying the weather forecast, we thought the Stahlman Point hike would be at a high enough elevation to have a bit of snow, but it turns out we were wrong. Whoops.
But lets start at the beginning. The trail is in Detroit, Oregon. Judging by the map, this isn’t terribly far from where we live in Eugene. In reality, it was about 2 1/2 hours away. Again, whoops. We drove through a bunch of small towns, which on this cloudy, drizzly Northwestern Saturday, all appeared very Twin Peaks-esque (can you guess what TV show we most recently binge-watched?). I kept expecting ol’ Agent Cooper to come around the corner with a donut and cup of coffee in his hands. I was also wishing these things would appear in my hands, as the unexpectedly long drive left me a little peckish.
Anywho, as soon as we started on the trail, I heard a very deep growl in the woods. I am certain this was a bear. And it may have resulted in me walking very briskly and speaking loud nonsense words in an attempt to scare the bear away. Eric still claims this was just my stomach growling. I guess we’ll never know (but this mystery could have been solved had I enjoyed the aforementioned coffee and donuts). Despite his doubts, Eric still spent the next 10 minutes walking with his hand on the holster of his Bear Grylls knife (remember, after Mary’s Peak I said I would never make fun of it again) ready to fight off the source of the mystery growl.
Stahlman Point was a pretty hike (as all Oregon hikes seem to be), but I’m sure it would be gorgeous in the spring, when all the rhododendrons we saw along the trail would be in bloom. This was one of those trails that really wasn’t very long (4.6 miles round trip), but seemed to last forever. At one point, we could see the top, but we had about 10 minutes of switchbacks before we could actually get there. The summit is a flat area where a fire lookout used to be, which made for a nice place to brace ourselves against the bitterly cold winds. We would’ve had a nice view of a snow-capped Mt. Jefferson, but it was blocked by some big ol’ clouds. Such is an autumn hike in Oregon. Even without Mt. Jefferson, we had a nice view of the beautiful Santiam River and the surrounding mountains.
On our way back to Eugene, we saw a helicopter flying through the air with a Christmas tree dangling from a rope. Clearly, they were stealing Christmas trees. And that’s why you should hike in small towns. You never know what excitement awaits.
If you want to try this hike yourself, head 3 miles east of Detroit, and turn right at milepost 53 on Blowout Road (which is not as terrifying as it sounds). Cross a bridge over the North Fork Santiam River, and continue 3.7 miles from the highway. Turn left just after the Cove Creek Campground into a small parking lot for the trail head.