Jacksonville Forest Park III 08-Mar-2018

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon

There were two gorgeous perfect-for-hiking sunny days at the first of this week. We, however, were up in Portland, Oregon on personal business.  While it was fun to briefly revel in the pleasures of our state’s “big city” (particularly when it wasn’t raining), we still felt the pang of hiking days lost. But when we got home, it looked as though Zephyros was going to grant us another Spring-like hiking day (or at least part of one). So we decided to savor this unexpected bounty with yet another hike in Jacksonville, Oregon’s 1,100-acre Forest Park.  Our second hike here just a few days ago was through snow, whereas this one was a dirt hike on a clear, sunny, full bluebird day! 

As we’ve noted before, making sense of the 20+ miles of trails in this park is much improved by possession of a trail map (obtainable from a parking area kiosk or the city). Whereas it had been very cold (25ºF) at the start of our last visit here, today we were greeted at the P-3 parking area with a balmy 50ºF air temperature and sunshine.  From the P-3, we took the Ridgeview Trail,

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
Starting up the Ridgeview Trail

up into clear skies,

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
Along the Ridgeview Trail

and down to parking area P-4, where we found a large ephemeral pool of water at the start of the Halls of Manzanita Trail.

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
The temporary pond at P-4

Then we went up that trail,

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
On the Halls of Manzanita Trail

and into more sunshine.

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
On the Halls of Manzanita Trail

Along in here, I spotted a swarm of thousands of western thatching ants (Formica obscuripes), likely brought out by the warming conditions. They’ll eventually create a distinct dome-shaped mound composed of varying materials found in the nest’s surrounding environment. I’ve seen these nests in northern Oregon as big as 3 feet high and 10 feet around!

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
Swarming western thatching ants

The LovedOne, preoccupied by big thoughts, missed the ants and kept blazing up the trail. She was well ahead before she noticed I was missing.

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
The LovedOne (arrow) far up the Halls of Manzanita Trail

After reuniting, we followed the Halls of Manzanita Trail across the head of Cantrall Creek and up,

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
On the Halls of Manzanita Trail past Cantrall Creek

to a viewpoint where we could look southeast over the valley and out to the Cascades beyond. We could also see the clouds starting to build – the ones that would eventually bring rain to our area the next day.

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
Looking southeast down the Cantrall Creek drainage
Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
Clouds build over Baldy and Tombstone Mountains
Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
Clouds build over Wagner Butte

We stayed on the Halls of Manzanita Trail to its junction with the Canyon Vista Trail and then followed that one,

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
On the Canyon Vista Trail

down through groves of madrones,

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
On the Canyon Vista Trail

getting only temporarily distracted by the myriad abstract forms these trees generate.

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
A muted abstraction on madrone bark

We crossed Jackson Creek and stayed on the Canyon Vista Trail,

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
On the Canyon Vista Trail past Jackson Creek

as it found its way to parking area P-5 in the Shade Creek drainage and a junction with the Canyon Falls Trail. We took that trail,

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
On the Canyon Falls Trail

down along Shade Creek toward P-3 and its crossing on Jackson Creek, but then detoured a little further downstream to see the small waterfall/cascade on Jackson Creek. We might have seen a more vigorous cascade if we were having a more normal water year.

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
The little waterfall on Jackson Creek

Then it was back up to P-3 and the end of another nice loop hike (4.7 miles; 1,300 feet of elevation gain) in Forest Park. We’re lucky to have this wonderful recreation resource so close to home so we can sneak in a good hike between weather systems!

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon
Today’s track around Forest Park

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2 thoughts on “Jacksonville Forest Park III 08-Mar-2018

  1. Looks like you are hooked on the Jacksonville Forest Park! Great to have options so close. Never seen the temporary pond you too a picture of even those we have hiked that trail?

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    1. So far we’ve hiked 3 mostly unique loops in the park, totalling about 20 miles. There is more to see (like The Grotto) and we’d like to visit again during wildflower season. The pond looks like a retention basin of some kind as it has an engineered outfall – maybe to control flows to the creek?

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