Union Peak (Crater Lake National Park) 21-Sep-2021

We said good-bye to summer with a hike up Union Peak (7,709 ft / 2,350 m) in the southwest corner of Crater Lake National Park. The peak is the eroded remains (the neck) of a much larger volcano and is the second oldest peak in the park. The views from its summit are spectacular – provided they aren’t obscured by smoke. Which they were for most of this summer. So when our recent rains cleared the air and damped the wildfires, we knew it was time to visit Union again after a six year ๐Ÿ˜ฒ absence.

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National Creek Falls (Southwest Oregon) 30-Jul-2021

After our short hike to Spruce Lake, it was still too early for lunch (and, sadly, pie). So we went to visit National Creek Falls. These are not far from the lake and, unlike the lake, are spring-fed and thus richly endowed with water even in drought years. Also unlike the lake, the falls have their own official – and exceptionally well-trodden – access trail (#1053). The Middle Fork of National Creek actually arises from Oasis Spring, which I visited in 2015, just before the National Creek Complex Fire. Fortunately that fire spared both the spring and the falls, so we were able to descend to the coolness of the falls under an intact forest canopy. It was a short hike, the falls were amazing, and, when we were done, it was finally time for pie lunch! ๐Ÿ˜‹

Descending the #1053
National Creek above the falls
Continuing the descent
National Creek Falls
National Creek Falls
Droplets of mist from the falls
National Creek Falls (left)
National Creek Falls (right)

Note to self for August: Less pie, more hiking.


Spruce Lake (Crater Lake National Park) 30-Jul-2021

Today emerged hot, cloudy, sultry, and hazy with smoke. Thunderstorms drenched us in the afternoon but the morning sprouted only a few pathetic rain drops. These only added to the sultry. A morning outside was about all we were up for. So we did two very short hikes which, when combined with a lunch outside at Beckie’s, made for a morning well spent. That there was pie ๐Ÿฅง involved had nothing – Nothing I say! – to do with the quality of this day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Castle Point (Crater Lake National Park) 20-Sep-2020

Our first ever mule packing trip was suitably adventurous but plagued by smoke for four of its six days. We came back to civilization to find that fire had ravaged (and is still ravaging ๐Ÿ˜ฅ ) a goodly part of our Oregon. We drove home in thick, acrid, choking smoke. And were then confined to our house (which we are thankful is still standing) by this foul miasma for all the next week. Finally, finally, last Friday the winds shifted a bit and we could breathe outside. By today the smoke had thinned enough – but not gone away, there are still fires burning – to allow for a short visit outside. Nothing dramatic, just anything other than staring out our living room window at drifting swirls of yellowish particulates and fetid vapors. ๐Ÿ™„

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Red Cone (Mt. Thielsen Wilderness) 13-Aug-2019

Red Cone is a small volcanic protuberance on the east side of the Mount Thielsen Wilderness (not to be confused with the Red Cone in nearby Crater Lake National Park). The cone in the wilderness is readily visible from Tipsoo Peak and I’ve long harbored a desire to see if it could be climbed. Leaving The LovedOne at the library talking ๐Ÿ™„ taxes, I went to the wilderness alone ๐Ÿ˜ฅ to explore Red Cone.

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Rogue Gorge Trail (Union Creek, Oregon) 15-Nov-2018

We hiked our first Rogue River-related trail (to Boundary Springs) in 2012. Over the next six years, we hiked all of the other river-related trails between the springs and the ocean, culminating (we thought) with the Lower Rogue River Trail this year. Having thus declared victory, we were chagrined :/ย  to find we’d missed one. Map-gazing revealed the Rogue Gorge Trail (USFS #1034A), which links the Rogue Gorge Viewpoint to the north with the Natural Bridge Viewpoint to the south. This slight required remedy! >:D

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Union Creek Trail (Union Creek, Oregon) 06-Nov-2018

No better place to wait out the end of the seemingly endless 2018 Midterm election cycle than on a hike. With The LovedOne temporarily liberated from the Palace of Cellulose (i.e., the library), we set out to hike one of the smaller trails we’d by-passed on our many trips to the Upper Rogue. Of course, pie at Beckie’s Cafe on our return was a major motivating factor.

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Wiley Camp Loop (Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness) 11-Sep-2018

Wiley Camp Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness Oregon

In May of 2015, we did a loop hike through Buck Canyon, the only part of the Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness that sits on the east side of the divide. We came in from Muir Creek and left via Meadow Creek, passing Wiley Camp along the way. I got to wondering if you could loop around Fish Mountain from the Wiley Camp Trailhead and today I decided to find out (The LovedOne opted for a library board meeting instead).

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Timber Crater (Crater Lake National Park) 06-Jul-2018

Timber Crater Crater Lake National Park Oregon

Crater Lake National Park is, for most visitors, all about the lake and only the lake. Which is understandable, given that the park’s roads take them right to this utterly stunning natural feature. Even popular hikes in the park, like Garfield Peak or Mount Scott, are mostly about getting a better view of the lake. But what about some of the park’s other natural features, like its cinder cones or bogs or desert? Granted, We went to see Crater Lake! sounds a lot better during show-and-tell than We went to see a bog!  But, still, some of these underdog features deserve a little recognition. With that it mind, I (while The LovedOne caught up on her library duties) set out to summit Timber Crater, a well preserved shield volcano in the park’s largely untracked northeast quadrant.

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Anderson Camp (Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness) 01-Jun-2018

Anderson Camp Trail Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness Oregon

The Forest Service styles the Rogue-Umpqua Divide Trail (USFS #1470) as the primary route through the Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness.  This may be true in concept but, in practice, they seem to have given little, if any, attention to its maintenance.  We have been exploring it in sections for the last few years and have found tread ranging from good (from its southern trailhead to Abbott Butte Lookout) to non-existent (between Falcon Butte and Abbott Butte).  It would be the obvious thru-hike for this wilderness if one could trust the tread (and also find water sources).  But our explorations continue, this time between Anderson Mountain and Hershberger Mountain, with a visit to Anderson Camp, Anderson Prairie, and the site of the Anderson Mountain fire lookout.

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Cowhorn Mountain (Deschutes NF) 05-Oct-2017

Cowhorn Mountain Deschutes National Forest Oregon

First off, it seems useful to review where we are here.  This is not the Little Cowhorn Mountain topped with a lookout and located on the Willamette National Forest at the end of a one mile trail. This Cowhorn – what some also, for extra confusion, call Cowhorn Butte – is on the Deschutes National Forest (in the Oregon Cascades Recreational Area) a few miles southwest of Crescent Lake.  Back before this Cowhorn’s cow-horn shaped summit spine fell over in a 1911 storm (some storm!), it was called Little Cowhorn to distinguish it from Mount Thielsen, which was then called Big Cowhorn.  The hike to this Cowhorn Mountain’s 7,664-foot summit is along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) starting north from Windigo Pass, which is reached via Forest Road (FR) 60 (a good gravel road) off State Highway 138 about six miles north of Diamond Lake.

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