We made our first foray into the 225,114 acre Marble Mountain Wilderness (details) during the low (or no)-snow year of 2015 with an out-and-back hike to Marble Valley from Lovers Camp (post). But then our local – an actually printed on paper – paper had a small article about a loop hike from Lovers Camp, up the Red Rock Valley, north along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and then back via the Canyon Creek trail that looked interesting. And so it sat on our ever-lengthening to do list for more than a year. Now seemed like, with weather (rain, snow, cold!) predicted for the days ahead, the opportune moment to finally try this loop. Unfortunately, the LovedOne was sidelined by a utility inspection, so this one fell to me as another solo hike. So, alone (sniff, sigh), I drove to the Lovers Camp trailhead outside Fort Jones, California. This is one trailhead that’s accessible all on paved road, but the last 7 miles is one lane and twisty – and is slow going if you get lodged behind a horse trailer or someone challenged by curves. However, once you finally get to it, there’s ample paved parking and a pit toilet.
Oregon’s Rogue River flows, from its headwaters at Boundary Springs within Crater Lake National Park, generally westward for 215 miles to the Pacific Ocean near Gold Beach, Oregon. Of the river’s total length, 124 miles has been designated as Wild and Scenic under the provisions of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. Hiking trails follow the river for approximately 100 miles, divided into three major trails: (1) The Lower trail, which runs 11-miles westward from Agness, Oregon; (2) the very well-known Rogue River Trail (post), a National Recreation Trail which stretches for 40 miles between Grave Creek and Foster Bar (USFS #1160), and (3) the Upper Rogue River Trail (USFS #1034), also a National Recreation Trail. The #1034 mostly roughly parallels the river for about 47 miles from near its headwaters at Boundary Springs to the North Fork Dam Recreation Area outside Prospect, Oregon. It can be thru-hiked but is more often hiked in sections, each of which is readily accessible from Highways 62 or 230 (USFS Guide).
The Upper Rogue River Trail (USFS #1034) is a National Recreation Trail that closely follows the Rogue River for about 47 miles from its headwaters at Boundary Springs in the northwest corner of Crater Lake National Park to the North Fork Dam Recreation Area outside Prospect, Oregon. The trail can be day hiked in sections between readily accessible trailheads. Today we finished the last section – from River Bridge Campground to the North Fork Dam Recreation Area – of our effort to hike the entire length of the #1034, section by section. As with a previous section, we again went from south to north to accommodate a hike & bike approach. We turned east off Highway 62 on to Forest Road 6210 (mostly good gravel) going toward the River Bridge Campground for a short distance to its junction with FR 6210-050, where we hid the bike. Then we backtracked south on Highway 62 and turned west on a gravel road to the North Fork Dam Recreation Area (parking, picnic tables, and a pit toilet). This turn is about 100 yards south of the USFS Ranger Station, at mile post 43, and across from where the road from Prospect junctions with Highway 62. There is a sign for the recreation area but it’s barely visible from Highway 62.
The LovedOne’s sister and brother-in-law are wine affectionados and when they decided to come out West for a week of wine tasting in California’s oeno-obsessed Napa Valley, we agreed to join them there for a small family reunion. We drove to St. Helena, California along Highway 101 so we could visit Humboldt Redwoods State Park enroute. For me, an equally important part of this trip was to finally meet-up with an old friend and climbing partner – Ken Stanton – who I’d kept in touch with, but hadn’t actually seen in person, in over 40 years! Ken and I had done a number of climbs and backpacks together way, way back in the day (we’d just come off a climb in Tuolumne Meadows the day Nixon resigned) and then life happened and our paths diverged. Since then, in addition to his work in the wine grape industry, he has remained active as a hiker, backpacker, climber, and white water kayaker, and is well known locally for his books about hiking and history in the Napa Valley. But finding time to visit with him proved to be easier said than done given that his family owns vineyards in the Valley and this is harvest time – when it’s all hands on deck picking and hauling grapes. This year was particularly hectic since the harvest started about two weeks later than usual, which created traffic jams at the weighing and processing centers. So, after a few false starts, he made time for a short hike to a favorite spot (which will remain an undisclosed location) followed by dinner. After a short drive west of town, we parked next to a nearly dry creek,
Brown Mountain is a small, youthful looking, basaltic andesite shield volcano located in Oregon’s Klamath and Jackson counties, directly south of its more prominent neighbor, Mount McLoughlin. Brown Mountain is only between 12,000 and 60,000 years old with the last eruption taking place about 15,000 years ago. Much of it is bare, unweathered, dark-colored, block-lava, with a glacial valley carved into its northeast flank. Its summit benchmark is 7,311 feet but it’s actually a bit higher than that – the northeast edge of the 50-foot deep cinder cone on its summit is at approximately 7,340 feet. There is no maintained trail to the summit and a climb up to it in the summer months is mostly a scramble over blocky, sharp talus. During the winter and early spring, however, snowshoes or crosscountry skis are a really fun way to reach the summit (post). Having already been to the summit, and not wanting to scramble over vast lava flows to do it again, we looked around for another way to enjoy the mountain. While doing so, we came across a report (post) of an out-and-back hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) along the west side of the mountain. A quick look at the map showed that we could circumnavigate the mountain by going south and east on the PCT from the Summit Sno-Park (details), then north on the Brown Mountain Trail (USFS #1005), and then east back to the Sno-Park on the High Lakes Trail (USFS #6200). And so it was.
The Upper Rogue River Trail (USFS #1034) is a National Recreation Trail that closely follows the Rogue River for about 47 miles from its headwaters at Boundary Springs in the northwest corner of Crater Lake National Park to to the North Fork Dam Recreation Area outside Prospect, Oregon. The trail can be day hiked in sections between readily accessible trailheads. Today I finished another section – from Foster Creek to Hamaker Campground, going from south to north to accommodate a hike & bike approach. The LovedOne had a doctor’s appointment plus she was concerned that this section would be the same unmaintained mess as was the Foster Creek to Big Bend section (post), so I was on my own for this one.
Since we moved to the State of Jefferson, all of our hikes have been either solo efforts or just the two of us. In an effort to be more social, we finally (after lurking their site for a year) signed up with Southern Oregon Happy Trails (SOHT), our local meet-up group focused on hiking. My first effort at one of their hikes – a climb of Greyback Mountain (post) – went well, except for the fact that only the trip organizer and I were on it (the LovedOne having determined it was too hot to hike that day). So, we needed to try again and that opportunity came when the organizer of the Grayback Mountain hike – Joe – offered a moderate hike on the Cook and Green Trail (USFS #959, Oregon Hikers).