I have written often about the North Bank Habitat Management Area before, but considering the limited time I have left in Oregon, I would like to write at least one more post about this under-appreciated jewel of a park. I have had a love affair with this place since I first came here, although it took a couple of hikes before I really came to realize how amazing a spot it is.
A brief history: Several decades ago, the Columbia White Tailed Deer was nearly extinct. As far as anyone knew (in the 1970’s), there was only a tiny isolated population found on an island in the Columbia river. But then it was discovered that there was also still a small population living in Douglas County near Roseburg. This habitat (the NBHMA) was at that time privately owned, and in 1994 the Bureau of Land Management acquired the area in a land exchange. The deer have since rebounded and were taken off the Douglas County endangered list in 2013. The park itself is over six thousand acres in size, or approximately ten square miles.
Personally I have hiked all over this place, but what I enjoy most are the really long ridge hikes that can easily exceed ten miles in length. The views on these particular hikes are superlative, with Mt. Scott looming to the northeast and the North Umpqua river winding its way to the south. It is also quite incredible how few people come here to hike. I don’t think I have ever seen more than five people in a single hike. Most times it seems as though it is completely empty.
My favorite of all the hikes I have completed so far is the East Ridge Loop (my name for it.) It is a combination of the Thistle Ridge-Middle Ridge to the Northgate junction, then east along the North Boundary Road/Ridge trail to the East Boundary Ridge trail in a massive, 13.5 mile loop (according to my GPS.) You gain about 1500 feet of elevation along the way and completely circumambulate a large valley. Along the way there are massive madrones, a nice rocky crag that is supposed to be a den for rattlesnakes, a weather station, endless hills and a Purple Martin sanctuary.
Recently I put together a video of the hike for a school project, and I am pleased to present it to you now. Rather than wax rhapsodic about the hike, I will just stop and let you watch the video. Enjoy!
Well, it is getting time to clean off the cobwebs and dust off the ol’ Alpinedon blog. It really has been far too long. For the last 2.5 years I have been attending school at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. In a little over a week I will graduate with my Associate’s Degree. I have worked so hard to get to this point, and I am really looking forward to taking a year off from school and getting back to enjoying the outdoors like I used to. Only this time I will be bringing the perspective of a moderately-trained journalist and videographer instead of an untrained writer. Hopefully this will add to the quality of the website.
So, while I don’t have a lot of time over the next week and a half, after that we should start seeing some more blogs about outdoor recreation, particularly climbing. On top of that, my family and I will be soon relocating to beautiful, sunny St. George, Utah, an outdoor rec Mecca if there ever was one. So that too will provide me with some new epic adventures.
I apologize for being so slack on my blogging duties, but for those of you who are still checking in, there should be some cool new posts coming up soon. Thanks and see you soon. Don.