I previously hiked a portion of the McKenzie River Trail on June 1st. The trail is 26.5 miles long, but I only hiked a 6.7 mile segment near the middle of the trail and Tamolich Pool on that outing. On this hike I decided to start at the southernmost end of the trail and knock out some more of it. The temps were in the high 40s and low 50s and there was a steady drizzle all day, which is typical fall weather in Oregon.
The river was high and fast:
I think this video gives a better sense of how strong the river was:
Heading up the trail I was somewhat fatigued, which I chalked up to not having slept well the previous couple of nights. I also had a runny nose as soon as I started hiking, which is a common effect of being out on a cold, wet day. Other than that I felt good.
I had pulled out my Lowa Renegade GTX boots for this trip. I prefer my La Sportiva Wildcats, but the Wildcats are not even remotely water resistant, and I knew it was going to be too wet and cold for that. When I last used the Renegades the previous fall/winter/spring they were beating my feet to death on each outing and I was not happy with them. Since then I have done some investigation and concluded that the fault probably lies with the Superfeet insoles I was using. They are supposed to make the shoe more supportive, but in this case I don’t think they were working as expected. So I pulled those insoles out and put the stock ones back in. This hike was going to either prove or disprove my theory.
After hiking for a while, I found this island in the river. That’s the island on the left side of the picture:
You get a better sense of it in this video:
This section of the trail winds through 800 year old trees, and as long as the trail was on a slope it was a nice walk through a beautiful forest:
Unfortunately, anywhere that the trail was flat, it was full of water. Boy, was I glad I had those boots! :
Along the way I saw this little waterfall. It was right on the high side of the trail and when I first spotted it I had to convince myself it hadn’t been built. It just looked like a water feature someone had bought at Home Depot and set up out here. However, it is real and natural:
As the day wore on, I started to feel worse and worse. I began to think I might be getting sick.