Obsidians Announce 22-Hike Schedule for Visitors to Eugene

Coming to Eugene during summer 2008 for the Olympic Track & Field Trials or the Oregon Bach Festival? You’ll be coming here during a great time of year, and the Obsidians outdoors club has put together a series of hikes to help you take advantage of the area’s natural beauty. The below is a release from the Obsidians. Visit www.obsidians.org for registration and more information.

EUGENE, OR — The Obsidians outdoors club has announced a schedule of 22 hikes for visitors to this summer’s U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials and concurrent Oregon Bach Festival. Outings include 12 coastal, forest and mountain hikes and 10 urban hikes, presenting visitors an introduction to both the natural wonders of western Oregon and the unique attractions of Track Town, USA.

The trials will run from June 27 through July 6, with a two-day break in action on July 1 and 2. The Oregon Bach Festival runs from June 27 through July 13. For those individuals and families using these events as the basis for more extended vacations to the area, Obsidian hikes will be offered during the weeks before and after the trials, as well as during the two-day break in the middle. Most hikes will be easy to moderate, in the five to six-mile range.

On the mornings of the meet itself, the Obsidians will lead urban hikes along the city’s riverside paths and forested ridgeline trails, as well as pilgrimages to the Steve Prefontaine Memorial (“Pre’s Rock”) and a togas optional tour of “Animal House” film locations.

The full schedule (presented below) is available along with additional information and registration procedures online at www.obsidians.org/otrials. The website can also be accessed through the Obsidians primary home page at www.obsidians.org. All sign-ups will be done online using a unique registration system designed by the Obsidians just for this project.

Obsidians, Inc., is an 80-year-old not-for-profit, all volunteer, organization with more than 500 members. All hikes will be led by experienced men and women familiar with the areas. There will be a $5 nonmember fee per person (minors under 18 free, with parents) with a suggested sharing of driving costs.

Obsidian Olympic Trials/Bach Festival Hike Schedule

Monday, June 23
Washburne/China Creek Loops — An easy coastal hike along the surf and tide pools, up the Hobbit Trail and along a babbling brook through the forest. (5 miles/400 ft.)

Tuesday, June 24
Kentucky Falls — Discover three of the Coast Range’s most spectacular waterfalls in an easy hike that descends into a magnificent remote rainforest (return is, of course, uphill). (4.4 miles/800 ft.)

Wednesday, June 25
Clear Lake — An easy hike around a pristine mountain lake. Cross ancient lava flow and see where the McKenzie River is born. Scan the sky for eagles and osprey. (5.5 miles/200 ft.)

Thursday, June 26 (Two Hikes)
Brice Creek — Follow a lovely creek under a canopy of old growth forest past small pools and waterfalls. Leader has two easy to moderate hike options — a 5.5-mile (600 ft.) one-way hike involving a car shuttle or a 11-mile (1,200 ft.)“out-and-back” trip along the same trail.
Spencer Butte — Towering over Eugene, Spencer Butte tops the city’s south hills. This moderately difficult hike starts at the headwaters of Amazon Creek and follows the Ridgeline Trail. (6 miles/1,600 ft.)

Friday, June 27 (Two Morning Urban Hikes)
Delta Ponds — Naturalist Rick Ahrens guides hikers through an easy meandering tour of the ponds’ abundant vegetation, waterfowl and other animal life.
Pre’s Rock — At the time of his death, Steve Prefontaine held all the American records from 2,000 to 10,000 meters. The easy hike to Pre’s Memorial (and nearby Hendricks Park) has become a pilgrimage for many track fans. (3.5 miles/300 ft.)

Saturday, June 28 (Two Morning Urban Hikes)
Mt. Pisgah — A very popular hike done several times a week by many locals, this route climbs from a wonderful arboretum along the Willamette River to pinnacle featuring Ken Kesey’s fascinating memorial to his son Jed. (3 miles/1,000 ft.)
Library to Skinner Butte — A wandering tour of downtown Eugene, including the colorful Saturday Market, historic landmarks and a great overview of Eugene from the top of the city’s northern butte. (3-4 miles/250 ft.)

Sunday, June 29 (Morning Urban Hike)
River Walk/Pre’s Trail — Steve Prefontaine liked the soft running paths he saw in Scandinavia. Following his death a similar path was created in Eugene’s Alton Baker Park. This easy walk combines Pre’s Trail with a portion of the wonderful riverside trail. (4 miles/no altitude gain)

Monday, June 30 (Morning Urban Hike)
Amazon Headwaters to Raptor Center — An easy hike up the Amazon Headwaters Trail to the Eugene Raptor Center, where naturalist Rick Ahrens will talk turkey with eagles, hawks, owls, vultures and other birds of the Pacific Northwest. (3 miles/500 ft.)

Tuesday, July 1 (Two Hikes)
Washburne Loop/Hobbit Trail/Lighthouse — Similar to the June 23rd hike, but a little more difficult with additional climb to Heceta Head Lighthouse. Tour lighthouse and look out for whales. (5.5 miles/800 ft.)
Little Belknap — A moderately difficult hike along the Pacific Crest Trail following a lava flow to its source in a cave atop Little Belknap. Great Cascade vistas. Hike subject to cancellation or change if trail not open yet for summer. (5.2 miles/1,100 ft.)

Wednesday, July 2
Iron Mountain — Wildflowers, Cascade panoramas and more wildflowers. Moderately difficult trail steadily climbs through old growth forest with huge variety of trees and plant species. (6.6 miles/1.900 ft.)

Thursday, July 3 (Morning Urban Hike)
Pre’s Rock — Repeat of June 23rd hike

Friday, July 4
Butte to Butte Race/No Hikes Scheduled

Saturday, July 5 (Morning Urban Hike)
Island Park to Autzen Bridge — Take the Em-X (Eugene’s version of “rapid transit”) to Springfield and then walk back via Island Park, Alton Baker Park, Willamette River Trail and along part of Pre’s Trail. (about 5 miles/no altitude gain)

Sunday, July 6 (Morning Urban Hike)
“Animal House” — See where some of the filming was done, where some of the madcap antics were supposed to have taken place. An easy 3-5 mile stroll. Togas optional!

Monday, July 7
Washburne/China Creek Loops — Repeat of June 23rd hike

Tuesday, July 8
Rigdon Meadows/Indigo & Chuckle Springs — Learn a bit of pioneer history on the old Oregon Central Military Wagon Road while exploring beautiful forest trails along the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. Moderately difficult hike with some tricky creek crossings (6.3 miles/400 ft.). Leader may opt for an easier 4.2-mile/200 ft. hike.

Wednesday, July 9
Gwynn Creek, Cape Perpetua — Magnificent vistas overlooking the Pacific Ocean (see a whale?) await hikers on this moderately difficult trail. Includes a stop at the visitor center and short side trips to the “blow hole” and overlook (where, on a clear day you can see forever).
(7 miles/1,100 ft.)

Thursday, July 10
Salt Creek Falls — Second highest waterfall in Oregon, atop Willamette Pass. Easy trail loops from top of Salt Creek Falls along canyon rim to lacy Diamond Falls. (3.4 miles/400 ft.)

Friday, July 11
Lowder Mountain — Have your lunch overlooking twin lakes a thousand feet below and, on a clear day, see every Cascade peak from Mt. Hood in north to Diamond in south, with the Three Sisters right in front! Moderate difficulty. (6 miles/900 ft.)

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