pre-pre-funk hike at opal creek wilderness: may 2012

spence here.  you have to go forward to go back. you may be able to tell when it is i, blogging, as i tend to not use capital letters.  i’m not sure when i started this pheen-non, (phenomenon) but it suits me.  i have never been very formal, although i do have manners, which is a different thing. anyway, i wanted to post some pictures from our original shakedown hike through the opal creek wilderness (located a bit east of salem, oregon). we hiked in this wondrous area in the beginning of may and while the weather was mostly sunny, it was cold at night.  down to 35 degrees. the land surrounding and encompassing opal creek and jaw bone flats was gifted in the 90s to the friends of opal creek, a non-profit group who wanted to look after the precious area, after miners had been invading it since the early 1900s. (the first miners had arrived in 1859 looking for gold, but didn’t find much). the group then transformed to become the opal creek ancient forest center.  (see awesome website for more info… http://www.opalcreek.org/) the town of jawbone flats, population 9, has been in operation for the last  few years as a retreat and educational center. you can rent cabins there, as well as eat in their organic, vegetarian dining hall, albeit for a price.  but the cost helps to keep the place going, and seems reasonable given their remote location. (a 3-mile hike in from a dirt road). the whole operation is off-the-grid, with solar panels and hydro-electricity.  the only “conveniences” i could see were their phone line and a web cam/internet access.

our hike took us through the jawbone flats area and around the now-closed mines.  side-stepping the old mining debris the company just left there when it decided to close down in 1992 (look up shiny rock mining company). it appears there may have been some concern that the mining was fouling up the soils and watershed of the area, and perhaps as a way to skirt financial clean-up responsibility they “gifted” the land.  this is just what i gathered from the various snooping i did online about the shiny rock mining company. it is a very curious story.  we ended up taking a lot of the trails around the jawbone flats area because as we hiked further and climbed higher, we ran into several feet of snow at elevation 3700 ft.we struggled up through the snow for awhile, but couldn’t even make it the 4 miles to elk lake. in frustration we turned around.  thus planting the seed that would become our surf mission for the month of june.  why fight nature? …as i continue to learn, over and over. besides, we found other adventures that were snow free.  we had great river side camping near the confluence of the n. santiam river and opal creek, and i survived of my first wildlife attack… the ruffed grouse of the mossy knoll. anyway, here are a few photos. enjoy!

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