1/21/2015 – Harris Ranch Trail – 1347

Date of Hike: 1/21/2015
Location of Hike: Harris Ranch Trail (Siuslaw Forest - Drift Creek Wilderness)
Trail Number: 1347
Weather during Hike: Alternated between foggy, Sunny and misty
Hiking Buddies: Carly and Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 12:15 PM  End Time: 3:20 PM
Hike Distance: 5.6 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:

This is a hike that has been on my list for a while. I saw it in my backpacker magazine a few years ago – the part that intrigued me was the comments about lots of wildlife and big trees.It was an interesting day to say the least. Since it is down near Eugene, I asked Carly if she would like to join me, so we met in Corvallis and headed out. My planning said it was 3.5 hours to the trailhead from home (a lot of driving!). We met in Corvallis at 8:30 and proceeded to the beach to find the trailhead. I had printed out a couple different sheets on the trail and brought them along. We had to make a stop along the way, and took a picture of the ocean – although it was sunny, the waves were pretty big (bigger than they look in this photo):

We continued on to the trailhead, got out of the truck and started getting ready. When I looked at the trail name, I realized we were at the wrong trailhead! Apparently, I had downloaded a similar trail (it still ends up near the creek), but it was different than what I had originally planned. So, back in the truck we went, and off to the other trailhead. The first trailhead was the Horse Creek North trailhead – we had originally intended to hike the Harris Ranch trail – Horse Creek North comes in from the north, Harris Ranch comes in from the south, but both end up next to Drift Creek. I guess we could have hiked the first trailhead and ended up in almost the same spot!
Once we arrived at the other trailhead, we quickly got ready and headed down the trail. The trail starts off on an old road, going thru an older cut area, and after a half mile or so, enters the Drift Creek Wilderness:

At this point, the trail changes into a different trail – old growth coastal forest. You are accompanied by large spruce, hemlock, fir and a variety of deciduous trees. The forest floor is covered in ferns, salal, oregon grape and mosses of all kinds. A lot of the trail looks similar to this:

or this:

I didn’t get many other photos of the trail, but soon were were down near Drift Creek, which was running high and fast due to all the rain we recently received (almost 3″ over the weekend at home, probably almost double that here in the coastal forest):

And a really nice campsite – one of several down by the creek:

We explored down near the creek for a bit and then had some lunch. Another hiker and her dogs came down and we almost had an “incident” with Bodie, since he wasn’t on a leash – we had passed the only hikers that were on the trail when we started, and I thought it was safe to have him off leash. Fortunately, it all worked out OK – we got him on the leash and all was well.

Bodie being a doofus down by the river:

We had a very brief misty shower after lunch. It was odd because it was sunny and you could see blue sky, but there was a small cloud above us that was misting. It just kind of added the variety of weather we experienced. After lunch, we started back up the trail. On the way back up, we came to this beautiful sight:

Sun poking thru the fog in the big trees. Very pretty. The rest of the hike out was pretty uneventful. We got back to the truck about 3:30, and headed back down the mountain. On the drive down from the trailhead, Carly took this very interesting photo with the sun gleaming through the clouds:

We decided to take a different route home – highway 34 back to Corvallis. I had had never driven that road before, and it seemed like it might be faster. It is a very pretty drive, although parts of that road are pretty curvy.

On the way back to Corvallis, it started raining, and we saw several rainbows – very bright rainbows!

We made it back to Corvallis just before 5 and went to Woodstock’s Pizza (a hometown favorite) for dinner. I dropped Carly off at her car, and we both headed home. It was a very long day, with LOTS of driving (I think I drove about 350 miles), but it was a great way to spend Martin Luther King Day.

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