Brown Mountain Snowshoe (Southwest Oregon) 18-Jan-2021

We had a nice, big (for Southwest Oregon) snowstorm at the start of 2021. This allowed us a first-of-the-year snowshoe below Mount Ashland through wonderfully fluffy powder snow. Since then, however, not much frozen joy has fallen from the sky. What has descended is a little more rain at warmer temperatures. We are, of course, hoping for colder temperatures and more snow before Spring – mainly because that snow is our water supply. In the interim, we figured it would be prudent to do some snowshoeing on what snow we have. In addition, getting above the thick fog (again) shrouding the valley seemed like a great idea. Plus, we could slap a little more amortization on this year’s annual Sno-Park permit. ๐Ÿ™‚

Note the seasonally-adjusted brave hiker smile

We started from the Summit Sno-Park off Highway 140 near Fish Lake. Then, instead of heading off into the ski trails south of Fourmile Lake, we crossed Highway 140 like two furtive squirrels. When I’d snowshoed up Brown Mountain in the winter of 2016, the snow had been deep enough to make getting off the highway a head-height challenge. Not so this year – it was just a step-up.

Once across, we strapped on our shoes and went south along the west side of Brown Mountain, somewhat following the path of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Basically we just wandered the northwest slopes of the mountain for a few hours, enjoying the clear blue ๐Ÿ˜Ž sky, nominal temperatures, crisp air, and expansive views of Mount McLoughlin. The very crunchy snow – it was like walking on corn flakes – was deep enough to cover the lava fields but sketchy to non-existent under the trees. Once in awhile we’d punch through where it was barely covering some brush. Otherwise, it was (another) very, very nice day in the mountains. ๐Ÿ˜€

On the slopes of Brown Mountain
The lumpy snow just covers the lava rocks
Mount McLoughlin – some of the best views of it are from this side of Brown Mountain
Onward
Better snow cover higher up
Crossing between snow-covered lava fields through the forest was awkward
Emerging from the forest
Wide-open terrain for easy snowshoeing
The LovedOne in view of Mount McLoughlin
To the west: (1) the Rogue Valley buried in fog, (2) Fish Lake with a skim of ice
A shadow selfie
Crossing open ground
The moon was still up
Good-bye the mountain
The last bit of forest before Highway 140
Our wanderings on Brown Mountain
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2 comments

  1. We always plan to do more snowshoeing than we do, usually because there isn’t enough time between storms for the roads to clear or the snow isn’t good. But Mount Ashland/Grouse Gap is always accessible and a good place to start. ๐Ÿ™‚

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