CONC President Jerry Sebestyen led six gung-ho hikers up Tam McArthur Rim on Sunday, November 1st. It was a beautiful day, mild, with temperatures in the low to mid 60’s and little wind. The sky was sunny without a cloud in sight, though some haze and smoke lingered on the horizon.
Hiker Marty Rose noted that the few Nordic Club hikers who had not been to Tam McArthur Rim before expressed heightened anticipation and wonderment: Will we see Broken Top? How close to the edge is the trail? What is Broken Hand? Are we going that far?
The uphill slog for the first mile or so tempered conversations, with seasoned Tam hikers coaxing, “You’ll see Broken Top like you’ve never seen before.”
This was a diligent group. Peek-a-boo views along the route encouraged everyone to rehearse the names of all the visible peaks, which had to be repeated after each switchback. (“I swear those mountains move,” Marty observed.) Some said they saw Mt. Adams to the right of Mt. Hood. Others exclaimed how little snow there was on North Sister. Looking in the opposite direction elicited a lively discussion about which of several candidates was Paulina Peak. All that stopped when the hikers arrived at the 500 foot drop and gazed at the panorama of the Three Sisters, Broken Top, and beautiful glacial lakes. Marty recounted that many of the hikers said it was almost as if they could touch the mountains.
A few folks hiked an additional 1.3 miles towards Broken Hand. To hiker Doris Feenstra, “The landscape felt lunar as we moon-hopped our way down ashen slopes. It felt like walking on marshmallows.”
Hikers shared fragments of geology knowledge: pumice balls of reddish color, obsidian shards, craters, cinder cones, glacial lakes, and the iconic Cascades volcanic landscape. Doris summed it up, “It was a breathtaking scene to lose ourselves in.”
Marty noted appreciatively that hikers on the trail respected Covid restrictions. She reported, “Maybe 60% put on a mask, while others got 6 to 8 feet off the trail to handle congestion. There seemed to be a helpful let’s-get-through-this-together sound in their voices as friendly chatter was exchanged. The outdoors and people’s good vibes helped to make this long hike memorable.”
Here is a note about the name. Tam McArthur Rim was named by the US Board of Geographic Names in honor of Lewis A. (informally known as “Tam”) McArthur (1883, The Dalles – 1951, Portland), the author of the first three editions of the invaluable book, Oregon Geographic Names. For his day job, McArthur was an executive with Pacific Power & Light, and he served on the Oregon Geographic Names Board for 35 years, beginning with his appointment in 1914 by Governor Oswald West (for whom Oswald West State Park south of Cannon Beach is named).