Friday, August 10, 2007

Hike Of The Week

If you only make one day-hike on the McKenzie River trail, go to Tamolitch Pool, probably the most bizarre segment of the entire trail.

Directions: Drive Hwy. 126 east from Springfield for approximately 55 miles. About 2 miles east of Olallie Campground, about 14 miles east of McKenzie Bridge, take a left at the upper end of Trailbridge Reservoir (one of the many fixtures of EWEB's effort to turn the wild McKenzie into a giant plumbing system). The turnoff used to be signed, but is now marked only by a bare signpost. In less than a hundred yards, you'll cross a bridge, and then bear right on FS Road 655, past a fenced compound. The McKenzie River trail crosses the 655 road in a little less than a half a mile. You will want to head upstream (the trailhead on your right). It's a little more than a four-mile hike to Tamolitch Pool and back.

The first mile of trail follows the fast and frothy McKenzie River through a fabulous old-growth forest. Then the trail climbs slightly through a rocky lava flow dotted with gnarled Douglas fir and incense cedar, with good views over the lip of a narrow ravine down to the river.

Two miles from the trailhead, you'll reach Tamolitch Pool, a breathtaking turquoise blue basin. When you reach the head of the pool, you'll be surprised to find … nothing, except a dry riverbed. A lava flow 1,500 years ago buried three miles of the river, leaving water to percolate through the porous volcanic material and flow underground until it erupts into Tamolitch Pool. Cool, huh?

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