Jessie Wright … Our Last Segment on the North Umpqua Trail
Jessie Wright is the fifth and last segment on our North Umpqua Trail ride. To read about our struggle to find the trailhead for this ride please click: North Umpqua Trail. To read about the first leg please click: Lemolo Segment. The second, and most incredible leg was Dread and Terror. The third portion of the ride was called Hot Springs. The fourth section of the ride was named Dear Leap.
Jessie Wright Segment
Length: 4.1 miles
The Jessie Wright Segment started at the Soda Springs Trailhead. The North Umpqua brochure says Jessie Wright was a woman who homesteaded the area in 1915 with her husband.
The area around the Soda Springs Trailhead had many interesting things to look at.
A reservoir was backed up behind Soda Springs Dam, placed there to allow for hydroelectric power production.
Just below the dam the southern edge of the river “bank” consisted of vertical shafts of rock, some pentagonal, some hexagonal, some square, all jutting straight up right along side the river. All columns snuggled up against others like a box of straws … except tighter and solid. These basalt columns looked much like the ones I’d seen at Devil’s Post Pile and Lower Rock Creek Canyon near Mammoth, California.
Also just below the dam, but to the north, ran a huge, green, steel pipe, maybe 10 feet in diameter. The pipe was made by connecting dozens of segments together, each segment sporting a mini-electrical pole supporting 4 electrical lines.
After leaving the dam area the river cut down through some very sharp cliffs … while the Jessie Wright segment climbed steadily … to get on top of those cliffs that quickly towered over the river. Further down the trail the land sloped more gradually back to the river and so did the trail. We followed a more gradual cliff-line and were soon riding just above the river.
As we dropped back down the vegetation became more compact and we were, once again, in a dense, jungle-like forest. At this time I wished I had worn some shin guards or some type of pants. Knee high poison oak lined both sides of a narrow singletrack.
If I kept me knees and toes tucked in together I could avoid making contact with the highly contagious bushes. But each time I had to re-balance, or make an abrupt turn, I made contact. It was inevitable … I was going to wake up the next morning with itchy blisters all over my knees and shins, and from past experience, I knew the constant itch was going to last about 3 weeks, for I had gotten poison oak rashes earlier that spring.
The bottom part of the Jessie Wright Segment paralleled the river so closely that we could hear people in rafts below, yelling to one another over the rushing sound of the water. Although we were likely only 50 yards from the water we had no direct line of sight.
Finding the Car
We emerged from the wooded trail into a blinding bright sunlight and right onto the shoulder of Highway 138. We knew we had reached the end of the Jessie Wright segment but knew not where to find the continuation of our trail. We scanned right and left … no sign for the continuation of the North Umpqua Trail. Steve began to ride west down the highway while I decided to ride east. A couple hundred yards east and I saw what I thought was the trail sign pointing to the south off the highway. As I slowly pedaled along the shoulder a realization slowly hit me.
- Below you will find a map for the best 5 segments of the North Umpqua Trail.
- Jessie Wright is the yellow part of the trail.
- Click the green or red balloons for driving directions to the trailheads.
Have you done this ride? What did you think of it? How about sharing your thoughts on our Visitor Stories page?
While looking for the trail sign in the distance I was looking across a bridge, a bridge that began to look more and more familiar … Marsters Bridge. Steve’s Honda Element should be right behind a grove of trees just past the bridge to the south, at the trailhead. I stopped and yelled to Steve, who was totally shocked. He had thought we had one more segment to go before reaching the car. He was glad we had located the trailhead and disappointed that the ride was going to end. He had counted on getting in a 40 mile ride and we ended up doing only 36. He kept saying, “This ride ended with one more segment to go!”
We quickly loaded our bikes and sped back to Roseburg in the Element. I was hoping I could get to the local bike shop in time to get my small chain ring replaced, for we hoped we would be able to ride in Oakridge the next day. Steve wanted to get back quickly as he was hoping to make shuttle arrangements for that next day’s ride.
The following information was collected by my Garmin 800 Edge … taking readings every second. Feel free to upload the track to your GPS unit by clicking the View Details at the bottom and then Export in the top menu bar.
Back to Camp
Steve drove me to our campground (Twin Rivers Resort) where I had to unload my bike since the shop had already closed. Just as we pulled up to our campsite Cindy emerged from our “vintage” 1968 Terry travel trailer. When she asked how our ride went we both said, “Great!” After unloading my bike from Steve’s Element, Cindy and I sat in lawn chairs while Steve returned to the local Motel 6, where he proceeded to set up the shuttle for our next trip … the Alpine Trail.
Cindy couldn’t wait to tell me about all the great waterfalls she had visited that day … and I couldn’t wait to share my experiences on the North Umpqua Trail, the most incredible ride I have ever taken.
During most rides I take many more photos than I can place on a ride page. The following is a slide show for the entire North Umpqua ride … 64 photos in all. I suggest you view them in a full screen.