Grub Gulch Loop (Southern Oregon) 09-Nov-2020

The Sterling Mine Ditch Trail is one of the premier hikes in Southwestern Oregon. The trail follows the alignment of a ditch dug by hand in 1877 to divert water from the upper reaches of the Little Applegate River to the Sterling Creek Mine. As built, and allowing for its ins-and-outs through canyons, it’s pretty linear from the Little Applegate Trail on one end to the Grub Gulch Trailhead on the other. This makes forming loops a bit of a challenge. There are short ones at its east end between the Little Applegate, Tunnel Ridge, and Bear Gulch Trailheads. And we’ve done one from the Deming Gulch Trailhead by adding a road walk up to the Wolf Gap Trailhead. And I did one to Grub Gulch from Deming Gulch with a return on the Jackash Trail, Sterling Creek Road, and the dirt road to the trailhead. But was there a way to do a loop from Deming to Grub without much road walking?

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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, other than binge watch Blacklist? Well, we’ve started doing some geocaching.

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Jack-Ash Trail Loop (Ashland, Oregon) 08-Oct-2017

Jack-Ash Trail Jacksonville Ashland Oregon

In July of this year, thanks to the efforts of the Siskiyou Upland Trails Association (SUTA) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Phase 1 of the Jack-Ash (Jacksonville – Ashland) Trail was completed between Griffin Lane and Little Applegate Road, via Anderson Butte Road.  This new (yeah!) trail connects with the well known Sterling Mine Ditch Trail, a trail which, since 2013, we have been able to hike all parts of, including the segment between the Deming Gulch and Grub Gulch Trailheads.  In addition, I used sections of the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail to craft a loop over Anderson Butte to and from the Wolf Gap Trailhead.  Based on these previous wanderings, and with the Jack-Ash now available, further map-gazing suggested a loop involving it, Anderson Butte, and the mine ditch trail.  And so, on a Fall day with near perfect weather for hiking, we set out to explore this loop (and the new trail).

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Sterling Mine Ditch to Grub Gulch 16-Jun-2017

Sterling Mine Ditch Trail Oregon

The Sterling Mine Ditch Trail – despite its somewhat industrial name – is one of the most popular and most publicized trails in Southern Oregon. It’s open year-round, is accessible to hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians, and features wildflowers in the Spring and colorful foliage in the Fall. The original 26 mile long “ditch” was constructed by hand in 1877 to convey water from the Little Applegate River to a huge hydraulic mine in the upper reaches of the Sterling Creek drainage. The mine and the town it spawned (Sterlingville) are now gone but the ditch remains. Thanks to the efforts of the Siskiyou Upland Trails Association (SUTA) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), 18 miles of the ditch have been reclaimed as a valuable recreational resource.  Since 2013, we have been able to hike (more than once) all parts of the trail with one exception: the segment between the Deming Gulch and Grub Gulch Trailheads.  Yesterday, I (the LovedOne being too consumed by a backlog of fiber and gardening projects to join me) set out to remedy this omission.

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Anderson Butte (Southern Oregon) 21-Dec-2016

Anderson Butte Applegate Valley Southern Oregon

The Sterling Mine Ditch Trail was the first trail we hiked in Southern Oregon before deciding to move south (post).  Granted calling a trail “mine ditch” doesn’t make it sound all that attractive but it is, in fact, a very pleasant, low elevation, year-round trail, with wildflowers in the Spring and a rich history.  We’ve now hiked the entire length of the trail between its Deming Gulch, Wolf Gap, and Little Applegate trailheads (post). Having done all this, the eternal quest for a new hike or a twist on an old hike kicked in. A posting by the Ashland Hiking Group attracted our attention to Anderson Butte (5,197 feet), a lumpy peak which rises above the eastern end of the ditch trail and which used to be graced by a fire lookout.  After deep cartographic introspection, it looked like a loop could be formed using the ditch trail, some forest roads, and a bit of cross-country travel.  The LovedOne has grown just a little leery of my “experimental” hikes and thus obtained a Winter Solstice Deferment (not enough daylight!) to avoid accompanying me on this one.  So, feeling warmth only from my Dutch Brothers White Chocolate Mocha, I headed into the wilderness…

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