500 miles! Heather and I reached that hiking milestone for 2013 this past weekend. We hadn’t started out with that accomplishment in mind but as the year progressed added hikes and added distances (What’s down that trail?) made it a reachable goal. It’s amazing to us to think that all that hiking isn’t even 1/5 of what it would take to complete the entire 2,650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Even so it was a nice feeling to hit that mark before the year was over.
On to the hike that put us over the top. We headed back down to the Eugene area for another creek hike. We had hiked both Larison and Fall Creek in the same area back in March, and this time we had our sights set on Goodman Creek in the Willamette National Forest. This trail offered a chance to climb up Eagles Rest to a viewpoint overlooking the Lost Creek Valley. We woke up to some pretty heavy morning fog and weren’t sure what we would find at the trail head, but shortly after leaving Eugene on Highway 58 we rose above the fog to a nice bright morning. The Goodman Creek Trail actually starts on the Hardesty Mountain Trail near milepost 21 on Hwy 58.
The trail set off in an old growth forest full of moss and mushrooms and soon split with the left fork heading up to Hardesty Mt. and the right fork to Goodman Creek.
The trail slowly climbed at a distance from Goodman Creek for 2 miles where a small creek joined the main branch of Goodman Creek. Just before the confluence there was a side trail at the back of a campsite leading down to the small creek and a pair of scenic small falls.
After visiting the falls we crossed Goodman Creek on a log footbridge and continued another 2.2 miles to another trail head on Goodman Creek Rd.
From the road the trail then continued to climb through the forest to the Ash Swale Shelter. We saw several rough skinned newts in this section. The shelter was in good shape and offered a nice spot to sit and have a bite to eat.
From the shelter it was another mile to the former lookout site atop Eagles Rest. The trail crossed paved Eagles Rest Road just .3mi from the shelter. The forest changed dramatically after crossing the road. Until then the forest had been damp and full of moss, ferns, and various mushrooms and fungus. On this side of the road the forest was much drier and the undergrowth more sparse. Sunlight began filtering through the trees and soon we reached a viewpoint overlooking the Lost Creek Valley.
We continued up the trail to the better viewpoint atop Eagles Rest. Here we could see Hardesty Mountain and Mount June to the east (A hike we had done at the beginning of June). To the west the valley still appeared to be fogged in. There were several burns taking place in what looked to be clear cut areas in the valley leaving a bit of a haze but it remained a decent view.
We hadn’t seen any people all day and the forest had been full of peace and quiet up until the target shooting began down in the valley. With that we decided it was time to head back down the trail and make our back to the car. The forest had brightened as the Sun passed overhead making the forest colors even more striking.
The trail was in good condition and well used although we didn’t run into very many people until the final two miles. Given it’s low elevation (starting @ 1000′ and topping out @ 3024′) and easy trail head access this hike is an option much of the year making it a good choice for late fall or early spring.
Our other goal for the year was to do at least one hike a month (January was lost due to our passing the flu around) so we’re hoping to get out at least once more this year. Until then Happy Trails.