Tunnel Ridge Loop (Southwest Oregon) 15-Apr-2022

Well, last week gave us some of the weather we’d liked to have gotten spread out across January, February, and March – rain, snow, hail, sleet, high winds, etc. But, no, the skies waited and then slammed us with this stuff all at once. Recently brown hills are now green lower down and white higher up. The wildflowers are confused. But magic sky water is most welcome here however and whenever it arrives. More of this celestial moistness is expected in this evening and may then continue for another week. 😁

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Baldy Peak (Southwest Oregon) 18-Mar-2022

Because of yet more personal business and more bouts of marginal weather, we had been denied a hike since we visited Whisky Creek over a week ago. πŸ˜₯ At least we got a decent day’s worth of much needed rain out of the last storm system (and another wet storm is upon us as I write). 😊 But today offered us a clear(ish), cool, and sunny 😎 interlude between these storms. And, with our personal business project temporarily in the hands of others, we – fortuitously – had time for a hike.

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East Applegate Ridge Trail (Southwest Oregon) 19-Feb-2022

After 5 days out-of-town sitting in cars and planes, some trail time was needed. With The LovedOne catching-up on her volunteer duties at the library, it was my call as to where boots would meet dirt. Rain and snow are (again) expected here next week – and these are no less critical now than in months past. But today was forecast to be cold (at least at first), clear, and sunny, so I decided to partake of the huge views of the Applegate Valley and the surrounding peaks available from the East Applegate Ridge Trail (East ART). As penance for all that sitting around, I embarked on an out-and-back hike from the lower trailhead.

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East Applegate Ridge Trail (Southwest Oregon) 28-Feb-2021

I first hiked the East ART, solo out-and-back from the (upper) Sterling Creek Trailhead, soon after the trail opened in 2017. In 2019, after the lower trailhead on Highway 238 was finished, I coxed The LovedOne into a one-way downhill shuttle-supported hike between the two trailheads. The excellent weather we had on both these hikes favored the huge views of the Applegate Valley and the surrounding peaks you get from the upper half of this trail. When today was forecast to be cold (at least at first), clear, and sunny, we decided to reprise my first hike here, only this time out-and-back from the lower trailhead.

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Gin Lin Trail (Applegate Valley) 22-Feb-2021

There is nothing good about the Big V. Nothing. But dealing with it has kept us more local and that has made us consider trails, however short, that we’ve overlooked in years past. One of these is the very short (0.8 mile (1.2 km)) Gin Lin Mining Trail, located a little north of oft-visited Applegate Lake. Despite its brevity, it’s actually a National Recreation Trail that was developed to recognize Gin Lin, a Chinese immigrant who through hard work, innovative thinking, and a good business sense – and despite rampant racism – became a notable and respected personage during Southern Oregon’s early days. He is credited with introducing hydraulic mining to the area. The most successful gold mines in Southern Oregon all used this method. This trail winds through the remnants of the last of his mines, the Palmer Creek hydraulic mine, which operated from the mid 1870s to about 1885.

Gin Lin c1880 (Southern Oregon Historical Society)
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Sevenmile Ridge (Southern Oregon) 04-Nov-2020

The U.S. presidential election. A year (or more and then some) of huckstering and debating and pleading and donations and punditry culminating in the Big Day (or Night). Of course we had our preference for who would emerge still standing from this melee. And, although forewarned, we naively clung to the hope that there would be a quick resolution. But no, counting started and kept going and going and going as the tension mounted and mounted. The Big Day and Night passed and by morning it was clear that our nerves were likely to snap before we’d know anything for sure. Then, if X wins (or seems to have won), Y will scream: Cry havoc and unleash my lawyers! All this was getting to be too, too much. We obviously needed to give our nerves some respite with a hike.

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Applegate Lake (Southwest Oregon) 20-May-2020

The Big V has (mercifully) only lightly touched our county thus far, so we were allowed to start re-opening last week. But a late season storm and some remote work conspired to keep us “in place” since our stroll to Vulture Rock five days ago. There’s an old saying that summer in Oregon doesn’t really start until the Fourth of July – and last week may be proof of that. πŸ™„ But when today was forecast to be an artistic mix of sun and clouds, we decided to go see if Applegate Lake looked like a lake yet.

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Good Ol’ Charlie Buck & Baldy 17-Apr-2020

Many years ago, the Buck family owned several properties along the Applegate River in the vicinity of McKee Bridge. Around 1880, Charles Buck was a rancher at the mouth of Star Gulch and by 1900 was a settler about two miles away on lower Beaver Creek. He also had something to do with placing an early cow camp at Wrangle Gap, on today’s trail to Wagner Butte. We can’t say if Charlie was a good ol’ boy, but he was seemingly sufficiently respected to have a gulch and a trail named after him. Unless, of course, he just named them himself?

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Felton Memorial Trail (Southern Oregon) 29-Oct-2019

The Felton Memorial Trail junctions with the Enchanted Forest Trail about 0.7 miles from its trailhead on Slagle Creek Road in Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley. From that junction, the Felton undulates in and out of canyons for some 1.5 miles to a commemorative plaque on Slagle Creek. The plaque memorializes three Bureau of Land Management workers (Felton, Hansen, and Siegel) who died in a helicopter crash at this site in 1993. We first hiked the short, but popular, Enchanted Forest Trail in late 2016 but by-passed the Felton Trail at that time.

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A Peninsular Loop at Applegate Lake (Oregon) 19-Feb-2019

Once you’ve managed to injury yourself on the trail, you have two options: wait it out on the couch with a supply of crisps and beer or keep moving (judiciously). While the first option certainly πŸ™‚ has its points, I knew that the second was what needed to be done – but not overdone. Try roaring back into long hikes with a bad back, exacerbate 😦 the injury, and the couch will become a permanent home. So, I’ve been staving off ambulatory senescence with some short, but fun, local hikes. The current weather pattern of one or two nice days interspersed with days of storm and gloom has helped to enforce some rest and recovery time between days with increasing levels of hiking activity.

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Stein Butte (Southern Oregon) 28-Dec-2018

The Stein Butte Trail (USFS #929) is one of the classic hikes in Southern Oregon’s Upper Applegate Valley. It was the last hike we did in 2014, near to the last hike we did in 2015, and the last one we did in both 2016 and 2017. So, in the spirit of unimaginative repetitive behavior, it seemed only fitting that it be our last hike for 2018 as well. πŸ™„

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