Monthly Archives: November 2017

Hiking the Mule Mountain Loop from Above 19-Nov-2017

Mule Mountain Mule Creek Trails Oregon

The Mule Mountain Trail (USFS #919) used to be one of the most popular trails in the Upper Applegate Valley. Then the Forest Service lost its easement through private property to the low-altitude start of the trail on public land. The Forest Service’s suggested alternative, the Charlie Buck/Baldy Peak Trail (USFS #918), starts higher up, where it might be closed by snow in the winter, and involves a heart-wrenching 1,200 feet of gain in its first mile from its northern trailhead! Having done this before (post), I thought it might be easier to reach the Mule Mountain and Mule Creek (USFS #920) Trails from the #918’s southern trailhead at the end of Forest Road (FR) 2010-300.  There was just time to give this a try ahead of an incoming  stretch of hiking-unfriendly weather. The LovedOne has always maintained that hiking should be fun rather than character building, so she buried further under the covers and offered up a muffled “good luck with that” as I headed off into the freezing fog outside our garage.
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Hiking the new ART East (Jacksonville, Oregon) 14-Nov-2017

East Applegate Ridge Trail Oregon

Whatever else you might say about 2017, it was a great year for new trails in Southern Oregon!  Several hiking, biking, and equestrain trails came online in Prescott Park, Phase I of the Jack-Ash Trail was opened by the Siskiyou Upland Trails Association, and then the Applegate Trails Association weighed in with the East Applegate Ridge Trail, another addition to the still developing 50-mile long Applegate Ridge Trail (ART) system.  It’s hard to keep up with all this trail activity and we were out fiddling with Point 5648 when Glenn & Carol and Richard ventured out along the new east ART trail.  I hesitate to say that they “gushed” about their hike (even though it did rain some) but they were clearly captured by its smooth tread, vast views, open meadows, and transits of oak, madrone, and pine forests. We were consumed with envy.  When today looked to be (and was) an amazingly bluebird perfect break in the atmospheric river of wet that has been coming our way lately, I went for it. The LovedOne stayed behind to make a dent in her growing number of fiber art projects, thus missing a great hike.  So sad…

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Henry Mountain (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 11-Nov-2017

Henry Mountain Buck Prairie Winter Recreation Area Oregon

An Armistice Day sunbreak in the wet wave trains of early winter gave us a chance to do a pre-snowshoe season reconn of trails at the south end of the Buck Prairie Winter Recreation Area (WRA), which is – for the moment at least – now part of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. This WRA an immensely popular winter play area, particularly at its north end where the majority of its nordic ski and snowshoe trails are concentrated. The fewer trails at its southern end looked (based on the BLM’s small map from 2003) like they were longer, more remote, and offered views.  But we wanted to see what was there – and record our own gpx track – before everything was covered in snow.  Better to hike dirt now than flounder in snow later! It being Veterans Day, the library was closed, and the LovedOne was thus free to wander the woods with me.

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Hiking in the Time of Caching (November 2017)

Geocaching Upper Lower Table Rocks Oregon

Stormy, fractious, blustery, peevish, squally, turbulent, gusty, truculent, garrulous! The current political climate? Perhaps but this humble hiking blog isn’t going anywhere near that. No, it’s the change of seasons here in Southern Oregon as we move from what was a hot, dry summer into what will be (hopefully) a wet, but not too wet, snowy, but not too snowy, winter. This time of year leaves us stuck between too much rain for a long hike and too little snow to justify unleashing the snowshoes. What to do, oher than binge watch Blacklist? Well, we’ve started doing some geocaching.

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