Soda Mountain and Hobart Bluff 10-2-17

Photos by Bob

Two summits in one day's hike went from a theoretical idea to reality for the Monday hiking group. We drove up the newly repaired and repaved Highway 66 and got out on Soda Mountain Road by the PCT. We were greeted by brisk air and temps in the 30s. It seems most of our hikers had dressed for cold weather, but some will be adding a pair of gloves to their backpacks.

We set out up the trail with Soda Mountain lookout as our main objective. Earlier in the year the side trail towards Soda Mountain was too clogged with dead fall, but today it wasn't much of an issue. The trail emptied out on the FS road going up to the top of Soda Mountain. That was a steep .8 mile hike up the rocky, muddy road but we all made to the top and waved at 3 Pacific Power truck drivers coming down the grade.

The view from the top was surprising, breath taking, and for some disorienting. After a quiet up hill hike through forests and meadows, we found the top of Soda Mountain to be a bevy of activity. Besides the old lookout founded in 1933 and at an elevation of 6,091 feet, there were all kinds of communications towers up there. The view was breath taking but at first your leader wasn't sure what he was looking at, or even what state! The man in the lookout tower explained we were looking into California and before us was the Iron Gate Reservoir formed by the damming of the Klamath River some time back. To find familiar landmarks in Oregon we had to look in the opposite direction. After enjoying the view, Bob took our group shot in front of the stairs leading up to the lookout. Then it was time to head down the mountain and on to our next summit.

We decided to take the FS road all the way down to Soda Mountain Road and back to our starting point. After a short break for snacks and to use the Porta Potty we crossed the road and got back on the PCT towards Hobart Bluff. About 45 minutes later we were resting atop the bluff enjoying lunch and chocolate. The temperature may have warmed up to the mid-40s but the wind chill was icy cold. Speaking of ice, as we started down from Hobart we experienced ice falling not from the sky but from the tree tops as the wind blew them.

Then it was back to the cars and up to the Green Springs Inn for refreshments. There some enjoyed their pie while others their beer. Everyone seemed pretty happy that they actually hiked to two peaks in one day.

Rich Stickle

Ashland Hiking Home

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