VLADIMIR SOVYAK The Mainstream
Almost every Saturday morning for the past two years, along with some Sunday mornings, Professor Charles Young of UCC leads a hiking party of three to ten people that is now open to others.
This outdoor group meets at the UCC parking lot next to Whipple Fine Arts and Jacoby Auditorium. Hikers then load up and carpool to the North Bank Habitat Area that was previously the Dunning Ranch on North Bank Road.
The group’s primary focus for hiking is physical conditioning, but the group allows for plenty of socializing and storytelling along the way.
Young said that about nine times out of ten the group hikes on the NBHA, but he also said that the group has hiked at Mildred Kanipe Park in Oakland. The hiking party remains informal for now, without an official title, but it is now UCC students, faculty and staff members.
Young described the NBHA trail system as “extensive and varied. There are higher ridges to climb, quite steep and challenging, along with lower elevation routes.”
Potential participants are not expected to hike for any particular distance; two or more members of the group might head back to the trail-head while others continue to the top of the ridge-line.
Hikers who want a less intensive hike still get to witness the beautiful oak savannas and woodlands that make up the majority of NBHA land. On Jan 20, the members that wanted to head back earlier hiked for about three miles while the remaining participants hiked approximately six miles.
“We always make sure everyone who wants companionship has it on the hikes and lead people unfamiliar with the trails back to the parking areas,” said Young, “In the springtime flowers are everywhere. We often see deer. Twice I have seen elk.”
The views from the top of the ridge-line give willing and able hikers expansive views and better chances to see elusive wildlife such as elk or golden eagles. On the group’s Jan 20 hike Mt. Scott could be seen dusted in snow from a unique perspective, while the view to the south gave an expansive view of the North Umpqua. Fog that blanketed the river valley and its surrounds at the beginning of the hike became pocketed by 11 a.m. and hikers were able to experience a sunny descent off of the ridge.
The UCC professor has been a serious hiker for decades, and he has extensively hiked in British Columbia, the Peruvian Andes and the Grand Canyon to name a few of the better known destinations he has trekked: “I do go on very lengthy summer backpacking trips and mountain climbs, and this is precisely where I prepare for such outings.”
For more information on the hiking group from coordinator Charles Young:
“We communicate beforehand via text messaging or email or phone as to meeting days and times. All levels of hiking ability are welcome. I am happy to be a contact person if anyone is interested in joining us.
My phone number here at UCC is 541-440-7753,” said Charles Young. Young’s email is Charles.Young@umpqua.edu. Interested individuals can also search Facebook for “Umpqua Community College Faculty Association” to view basic information about the group.”
— Charles Young