Back to Big Red (Siskiyou Mountains) 29-Nov-2021

The county library’s long delayed used book sale will be held this Friday and Saturday. 😁 But the setting up, running, and taking down of it (all done by volunteers) will consume Wednesday through Sunday. I’ll be helping for two of those days but The LovedOne, as the sale’s organizer, will be all in for all five days. Right now, the weather is foggy on the ground and sunny higher up, but that’s expected to change the day after the sale ends. 🤔 So I figured we’d better get in a hike together in good weather before the sale hits. Which brought us, yet again, to Big Red Mountain (7,028 ft / 2,142 m) west of Mount Ashland.

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A Moment On Big Red (Siskiyou Crest) 29-Jun-2021

In 1968 – the year I first went backpacking – the atmosphere’s CO2 content was 323 ppm (up from 285 ppm in 1850). Last month it reached 419 ppm. A 96 ppm increase in 53 years may not seem like much but, at the scale of an entire planet’s atmosphere, it’s a lot. More than enough to set in motion natural forces which are going to affect us regardless of one’s political or ideological or religious persuasion(s) or whether one believes in them or not.  In a contest between belief and atmospheric physics, bet on the physics and hang on.

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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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Big Red (Siskiyou Crest) 04-Aug-2020

The air temperature here has eased off some – at least for a few days. There is also a little less wildfire smoke about. We decided to take advantage of this less heat / greater visibility moment. During previous hot, smokey summers, the out-and-back hike to the summit of Big Red Mountain (7,028 feet / 2,142 m) has proved restorative. This elongated lump of a mountain – think loaf of sourdough bread – lies along the Siskiyou Crest west of Mount Ashland. We typically reach its rounded top via the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) from Siskiyou Gap. This is one of The LovedOne’s favorite hikes – offering as it does open meadows, shady forest patches, wildflowers, rocky outcrops, cavorting chipmunks, and views with a breeze. It’s also short – a feature that would allow us to finish it before the heat of the day arrived.

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Hiking Southern Oregon: 25 Hikes (February 2020)

To celebrate our 600th post on WordPress, we’re highlighting a select few of the many hikes we’ve enjoyed here in Southwest Oregon.

As we’ve perused lists of Oregon’s greatest hikes, we’ve come to notice that these lists are heavily skewed, with a few exceptions, toward hikes near Portland.  That metro area’s greater population helps if a list is based on some kind of vote.  And proximity to its major airport helps get votes from those who drop in for a brief Western adventure.  Even some of the classics, like the Wallowas in Eastern Oregon or the Three Sisters in Central Oregon, often don’t make these lists because they are too far away.  So a lot of “great” hikes get done near Portland – the state’s most populated town. And then the complaints roll in about how there’s no parking, the trails are too crowded, you need a permit or must pay a fee, it’s raining, etc.

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A Cold Day on Big Red 09-Oct-2019

We got our first snow a few days ago. Not too much. Just an inch or less above 6,000 feet. But enough for turn our thoughts toward old snowshoes and a new Sno-Park pass. Before things went that far (and this thin snow evaporated), we decided to see what an old favorite – Big Red Mountain – was like with a dusting of snow.

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The Mines of Big Red (Siskiyou Crest) 20-Oct-2018

Red Mountain Mines Big Red Mountain Siskiyou Crest Oregon

We first learned of Big Red Mountain, west of Mount Ashland along the Siskiyou Crest, from the Ashland Hiking Group. It seemed to be one of their favorites, so we gave it a try and had a great time. It also appeared (tangentially) in the 4th Edition of Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon (Hike #58). What Sullivan added was a side trip to an old mine located on Big Red’s north ridge about 200 feet below the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). So, while The LovedOne was buried in her library volunteerism, I took advantage of the excellent Fall weather we’re having (which we’ll probably pay for later) to go see this old mine. And climb Big Red too. So, after becoming adequately caffeinated, I drove Forest Road 20 to where it crosses the PCT at Siskiyou Gap, and parked.

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Big Red Mountain (Siskiyou Crest) 13-Jul-2018

Big Red Mountain Siskiyou Crest Oregon

Last August we enjoyed a hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to Big Red Mountain as a brief respite from the smoke and excessive heat then plaguing the valley floor.  Today found us once again on a hike to Big Red trying to beat excessive heat, which had arrived some weeks earlier this year. Despite Big Red Mountain’s 7,064-foot elevation and an early start, we could feel the heat right from the trailhead at Siskiyou Gap. Fortunately, it’s a scenic, but short, hike, so we were done with it before the heat got really oppressive. The winter of 2017 had been wet and snowy and had put enough moisture in the soil to support thick fields of white Beargrass along the trail for our hike that year. This year we found only dry stalks – either this winter had been too dry or we were too early for the blooms. But a cute family of ground squirrels and some colorful butterflies stepped-up in place of the absent Beargrass to fill our Nature quota for this hike. We were also fortunate to have blue, cloud-enhanced skies on the hike out, as opposed to the milky overcast we labored under on the way back. Overall, an excellent short hike – one well worth doing at different times of the year (when Forest Road 20 is open).

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Big Heat on Big Red (Siskiyou Crest) 01-Aug-2017

Big Red Mountain Siskiyou Crest Oregon

The Ashland Hiking Group has long done hikes in Southern Oregon and Northern California and we have dipped into their trip reports from time to time as inspiration (but not necessarily a blueprint) for our own hikes. When EXCESSIVE HEAT warnings (due to multiple days of unusual triple-digit air temperatures) collided with a desire to hike, we were (yet again) in need of a new (to us), short, close-by (so it can be reached and done before the heat builds) hike that was also at some altitude – for coolness and to get above the smoke infiltrating the valley from nearby wildfires.  Big Red Mountain, west of Mount Ashland along the Siskiyou Crest, seemed to be a favorite of the Ashland hikers and at 7,064 feet was likely to be high enough to be cool enough for just long enough for a morning hike. So we lurched out of bed early, caffeinated, drove Forest Road 20 to where it crosses the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) at Siskiyou Gap, and parked.

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