Although the atmosphere has thus far regaled us with clouds and inversion fogs and winds and heavy mists masquerading as rain, it has yet to throw any meaningful amounts of snow on the local mountains. Our snowshoes and poles and pole snow baskets sit in the garage alone and unused. Incantations are undoubtedly being said on Mount Ashland – as I write! – to encourage mana from heaven in the form of frozen water. While we wait for this miracle, we’re doing the positive spin thing by visiting some local sights that might otherwise have been by-passed in favor of a good snowshoe.
Tallowbox Mountain is a rocky 5,023-foot high summit that rises between the Thompson Creek and Little Applegate River valleys west of Jacksonville, Oregon. You can drive to within 0.5 miles of the summit, so it hardly counts as a hike but does count as a piece of local history with a view. It was supposedly named in ages past by hunters who misplaced some deer tallow near its summit (such tallow being the WD-40 of its day). The fire lookout that used to sit on it was irretrievably damaged by douche bag vandals in 2006 and removed in 2008. What remains is an automated comm and camera station, a geocache, and some truly big, 360º views.
With the valley blanketed by an inversion, and some more “weather” due this evening, this morning seemed the ideal time to ascend Tallowbox and enjoy the view.
It would have been good if we’d been able to keep a few more of the old lookouts. Some are still going strong in the rental program. Others were, to be honest, not that robust to start with and after years of mountain weather probably needed to be removed – lest they fall on someone. Tallowbox was still in use right up until some vandals shot it up and set fire to it.
The hydrology is complicated but melting snow contributes to our groundwater flows – some of which are drinking water or irrigation sources. But we also have more than a few reservoirs that are needed for water in the summer months.
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Tallowbox is gone!? Years ago my wife and I would camp there. Its been a long time… If gone, what a shame. These should be historical sites and preserved imop. Instead, our state pays for illegal aliens to have free abortions and healthcare. Thanks to good ole’ Kate Brown.
I had thought that most of your water came from underground spring action. I didn’t realize you were so dependant on snow pack down there.
No, winter is great, mainly because we don’t have it for months & months and the snow is confined to the higher elevations. So you can snowshoe in the morning and be having a beer on the patio at Caldera Brewing (Ashland) in the afternoon. Try that in Minnesota in January? The fear is that we won’t get enough snow since it’s a key factor in how much water we’ll have come summer.
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You don’t seem to be afraid of winter! Clearly you need to head to Minnesota (!!) or up north to the Canadian Rockies to snowshoe! I’ll put a post up this week if a snowshoe we did recently. The conditions were beautiful!