Categories
Cottage Grove Hiking Old Cascades Oregon

Bohemia Mountain – 8/15/2020

A busy weekend provided us with a good excuse to cross the short hike to Bohemia Mountain off our to-do list of featured hikes.  We had been putting this one off due to the 2:30 hour drive time just to reach the trailhead for what was listed in Sullivan’s “100 Hikes/Travel Guide in the Central Oregon Cascades” as a 1.6 mile hike. For a hike that short we would typically look for a longer option or additional hikes in the area to do the same day. This weekend a short hike was perfect though, in particular one south of Salem. We were going to be celebrating our nephew Tyler’s second birthday that afternoon in Lebanon so a quick hike in the morning was perfect. It was also supposed to hit triple digits in many areas so a long hike would have been hot even in the mountains.

We were still looking at 1.6 miles being a little too short so we decided to park approximately three quarters of a mile from the trailhead at a small pullout below the Musick Guard Station just before a fork in Road 2460.
IMG_3920

IMG_3988

We chose to park here so that we could hike down the road to the left to the ghost town of Bohemia City, once the center of the Bohemia Mining District, which formed after the discovery of gold in the area in 1858. A nearly level .6 mile walk down the rough (and private) road led to the old post office.
IMG_3942Bohemia Mountain from the road.

IMG_3957

IMG_3960

IMG_3965

While the old post office is on federal land the road is private (no unauthorized vehicles) and so is much of the surrounding land where some mining still occurs so exploration here should be kept to a minimum.
IMG_3975Old mining structure from the road near the post office.

IMG_3979No miners were seen but I did spot a pika nearby.

IMG_3980

We returned the way we’d come after visiting the post office keeping our eyes out for wildflowers. Despite it being mid-August we spotted quite a few different varieties even though most were well past peak.
IMG_3931Fireweed

IMG_3937Beardtongue

IMG_3925Paintbrush, pearly everlasting, and some type of fleabane

IMG_3969Large boykinia

IMG_3944
Nuttall’s linanthus

IMG_3950Spreading dogbane

IMG_3953Blue head gilia

IMG_3970Bistort

IMG_3983False hellebore

IMG_3986Owl’s clover

After getting back to the road junction we started up Road 2460 (Sharps Creek Road) and took a quick look at the Musick Guard Station. Although not posted anywhere at the site the Umpqua National Forest Website still lists the Guard Station as closed due to COVID-19.
IMG_3997

We then continued up Sharps Creek Road .7 miles to Bohemia Saddle and the official Bohemia Mountain Trailhead.
IMG_4005Mountain parnassian butterfly on pearly everlasting.

IMG_4009A lone lupine still in bloom.

IMG_4010Skipper

IMG_4012Scarlet gilia

IMG_4014Bohemia Saddle

IMG_4015

IMG_4016Signage at Bohemia Saddle

The trail itself starts approximately 100 yards up the road to the left on the right hand side.
IMG_4019

IMG_4021Sign marking the start of the trail.

The trail climbs steeply up Jackass Ridge just over three quarters of a mile to the broad, flat rocky top of Bohemia Mountain. It was already in the mid 70’s as we made the climb which fortunately was at least mostly shaded as it stuck to the west side of the ridge.
IMG_4024Starting up Jackass Ridge

IMG_4028Rainiera

IMG_4030Paintbrush and fleabane

IMG_4036The rocky ridge provided shade during the climb.

IMG_4039A lingering anemone.

There were a couple of openings to the east where views could be had of the Cascade Mountains. Between haze and the position of the Sun we didn’t get the clearest views.
IMG_4045The Fairview Peak lookout tower to the left with the Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Mt. Bachelor in the distance.

IMG_4043Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Mt. Bachelor in the distance.

IMG_4050Nearing the summit.

IMG_4052Mt. Bailey and Mt. Scott in the distance.

IMG_4055Mt. Bailey and Mt. Scott

IMG_4056

20200815_091026_HDRBohemia Mountain summit

There was a lot of space to explore up on the summit and despite the conditions we were able to identify Cascade peaks from Mt. Jefferson in the north to Mt. McLoughlin (barely and only with the naked eye) to the south.
IMG_4093Mt. Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack

IMG_4082Mt. Washington and the North & Middle Sisters

IMG_4074Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Mt. Bachelor

IMG_4070Mount Yoran and Diamond Peak

IMG_4066Tipsoo Peak, Howlock Mountain, Mt. Thielsen, Mt. Bailey, Mt. Scott, Hillman Peak and The Watchman.

We could also see Bohemia City’s post office below between the mountain and Fairview Peak.
20200815_091605_HDR

IMG_4099

IMG_4079Fairview Peak lookout

We returned the way we’d come, stopping to eat a few ripe huckleberries along the way.
IMG_4122A lot more yet to ripen.

20200815_094548We also found a few ripe thimbleberries.

We kept our eyes out for more pikas and while we didn’t see any others we did spot an alligator lizard and a lot of butterflies.
IMG_4129Alligator lizard

IMG_4111

IMG_4136

IMG_4142

IMG_4144

We were right on schedule for the birthday party when we started our drive to Lebanon but then things went off the rails. During the drive to the trailhead FR 2212 crossed two saddles, Helena Saddle (7.5 miles from FR 22) and Champion Saddle (8.3 miles from FR 22). At Helena Saddle we had forked right and Champion Saddle left but as we drove back we mistook Champion Saddle for the earlier saddle and forked left onto Champion Creek Road (BLM Road 2473). It took us a bit to realize we were on the wrong road. It became apparent when the road conditions became far worse than anything we remembered on the drive up and we also passed a sign that this road was not maintained. That sign at least gave us a fair amount of certainty that we knew which road we were on because we had passed the other end of the road on FR 22. It was signed for the Bohemia Mines but also warned that the road was not maintained and to use FR 2212. Call it stubbornness or stupidity but we were far enough along on the road that we just kept going and it kept getting worse. We did pass a couple of other vehicles parked at pullouts so at least in theory it was passable. Our Subaru Outback managed to make it through in one piece (which is more than I can say for our nerves) but it was not fun. It certainly isn’t a road that I’d take unless I was specifically looking to do some 4wd driving. Our little wrong way expedition added about 40 minutes to our drive so we were fashionably late to the party. Luckily Tyler didn’t seem to mind and we had nice visit before continuing home. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Bohemia Mountain

Categories
Hiking Klamath/Siskiyou Mountains Oregon Oregon Coast Southern Coast Trip report

Illinois River Trail and Indian Sands

Our wildest hike came Friday. We had planned on a 17.2 mile hike along the Illinois River Trail going 8.6 miles to Silver Creek and back. The description in our guidebook said to look out for poison oak and to check for ticks at the end so we were prepared for a bit of an adventure. Our hike began at a trailhead near the end of Oak Flat Road. To get there we took Jerrys Flat Road from Gold Beach 27 miles then turned right on Oak Flat Road road for another 3.1 miles.
IMG_7225

The trail set off through an open forest with lots of yellow and purple wildflowers and some poison oak.
IMG_7242

IMG_7234

IMG_7240

IMG_7241

As we neared our first marker, Nancy Creek, we spotted a pair of deer that had already seen us and were heading back into the forest. Just beyond Nancy Creek we came upon a nice patch of columbine flowers. The only ones we would see during our vacation.
IMG_7247

Other flowers here included catchfly and henderson’s stars.
IMG_7251

IMG_7264

The next creek up was Rattlesnake Creek. A short distance before reaching this small stream we spotted a black bear in the woods below the trail. It saw us at about the same time and promptly turned around. For some reason I failed to even reach for the camera as we watched it go back downhill through the trees.

Beyond Rattlesnake Creek the trail entered an area where the trees had been lost to the 2002 Biscuit Fire.
IMG_7279

There continued to be a lot of flowers as well as the occasional patch of poison oak.
Pink honeysuckle
IMG_7284

chaparral false bindweed
chaparral false bindweed

Bridges’ brodiaea
Bridges' brodiaea

With the trees mostly burned this section of trail was crowded by brush.
IMG_7286

The amount of poison oak increased in the area of Ethels Creek and we started picking up ticks. Heather was the first to notice. She made an alarmed sound behind me and I turned around to see several ticks climbing up her legs. Looking down at my own I immediately spotted three. We brushed them all off and started to hike again. We had not gone far at all before Heather exclaimed again. We both had multiple ticks on our legs again. This had gone on for about a mile when we reached the Buzzards Roost, a rocky outcrop, at the 2.5 mile mark of our hike.
IMG_7311

A short scramble path went out onto the Buzzards Roost but we could see poison oak along that path and were too preoccupied with looking for and knocking off any additional ticks. We were discussing what to do as the number of ticks that we’d already brushed off was more than we could have imagined and it was giving us the willies. Things didn’t get any better when one of my trekking poles slid off the log I had propped it on. I had made the mistake of leaning it on the log without checking the area around the log. We watched it fall and bounce on some little poison oak plants. We used some wipes to pick it up (along with yet another tick) and then wiped it down as best as we could. I had also left my gloves in the car which would have come in handy since it was the grip that had made contact with the poison oak.

After a thorough cleaning we decided to at least try and go another 2 miles to Indian Flat and Indigo Creek and see if the tick and poison oak situation got any better.

It did improve some beyond the Buzzards Roost where the trail had rounded the hillside and was now on the southern facing slope which was drier with less brush crowding the trail. The flower display along this section was impressive.
Henderson’s Stars
IMG_7314

IMG_7318

Silver puff
IMG_7320

Paintbrush
IMG_7325

Blue gilia in the foreground
IMG_7329

Balsamroot
IMG_7332

Mariposa lily
IMG_7333

Fleabane
IMG_7344

Madia
IMG_7357

Penstemon
IMG_7428

Narrowleaf blue eyed mary
IMG_7429

California lady-slippers
IMG_7373

Western wallflower
IMG_7377

Ookow
IMG_7437

About 1.7 miles from the Buzzards Roost an old roadbed split off to the left. This led .2 miles to the meadow at Indian Flat.
IMG_7380

IMG_7389

IMG_7388

IMG_7391

IMG_7392

We continued on the Illinois River Trail and descended to the bridge across the lovely Indigo Creek.
IMG_7399

IMG_7405

IMG_7408

IMG_7411

On the far side of the creek we stopped to do a more intensive tick check. There were just a couple of stragglers to knock off and we decided to try and continue at least another .7 miles to Fantz Ranch. The trail began to climb uphill to reach a saddle above the ranch. As we climbed the switchbacks the amount of poison oak began to increase again. When it appeared that there was going to be no way past one patch without going through it we finally gave in and decided to call it. We’d made it a little over 5 miles and had seen a lot of neat stuff despite everything.

As we made our way back we stopped regularly to brush off the inevitable ticks. There were other more enjoyable critters out along the trail as well including a large number of alligator lizards. We hoped that they were filling up on the little blood suckers. 🙂
IMG_7435

IMG_7448

IMG_7451

IMG_7458

IMG_7397

IMG_7474

Back at the trailhead we wiped everything down in an attempt to remove an urushiol we might have picked up from contact with poison oak and did a final tick check before heading back to Gold Beach. We stopped by our room to shower and soak in the hot tub to try and relax.

We decided that since we had cut our hike short we should go back out in the evening to check out Indian Sands in the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. We had not gone that far on Thursday when we were hiking in the southern portion of the park so we drove back down and parked at the Indian Sands pullout.
IMG_7478

We set off on the wide Oregon Coast Trail.
IMG_7479

A confusion of paths led off toward the ocean and the dunes of Indian Sands from the trail. We weren’t sure which was the “correct” one but we just kept heading toward the Pacific until we could see sand and then headed for that.
IMG_7482

We followed a path out to a wildflower covered viewpoint of a rock arch.
IMG_7492

Sea figs
IMG_7484

IMG_7485

Seaside daisy
IMG_7495

Sea thrift and paintbrush
IMG_7497

Mariposa lilies
IMG_7500

IMG_7498

IMG_7506

The sandstone cliffs here create the dunes making it an interesting area unlike anything else we’d seen in the park.
IMG_7513

IMG_7514

We made our way north following footprints in the sand.
IMG_7516

IMG_7521

IMG_7519

IMG_7527

IMG_7528

We came to a saddle with a great view where a trail to the right led up through a brush covered slope back into the forest and onto the Oregon Coast Trail.
IMG_7532

IMG_7536

IMG_7541

Turning right on the Oregon Coast Trail would have taken us back to the car but we decided to turn left and check out the Thomas Bridge Viewpoint. We’d driven over the bridge multiple times already and read that it was the highest bridge in Oregon at 345′. We left the Oregon Coast Trail at a split in the trail where it headed uphill toward the parking area for the viewpoint. We headed downhill to the left to find the viewpoint. The first viewpoint we came to was partly blocked by trees.
IMG_7543

The trail continued out along a ridge so we followed it looking for a better view. We noticed another trail along the right that hopped over the ridge and headed steeply down into the trees. We ignored that and continued heading for the ocean. No view of the bridge had appeared as we rounded the end of the ridge but the trail kept going now heading downhill back inland. It did wind up leading to a better, but not great, viewpoint.
IMG_7547

From this viewpoint we followed a path uphill that wound up being the same trail we had seen going over the ridge and down into the trees. When we crested the ridge we met another couple looking for the viewpoint. We pointed them in the right direction before heading back to Indian Sands.

In the end it worked out really well to have turned back on the Illinois River Trail in time for us to get the hike in at Indian Sands. It was definitely worth the visit. We appear to have escaped the poison oak without any ill effects (at least not yet) and haven’t had to brush off any ticks since leaving the Illinois River Trail. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157666245754163