Dollar Mountain (Southern Oregon) 24-May-2019

Dollar Mountain rises just to the west of downtown Grants Pass, Oregon. The hike to its summit from the trailhead on B Street is short but a little steep in places (2 miles round-trip; 800 feet of gain). The summit isn’t really the point here since it’s graced with a delightfully obnoxious communications tower and there are no views from there. Those can be had from openings along the trail as it climbs through a beautiful oak and manzanita forest. If you time it right (we just missed the peak of the bloom) there will be an understory of wildflowers to distract you.

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Snailback Falls (Oregon) 22-Feb-2019

Snailback Falls, when conditions are wet, cascades down a steep rocky ravine in the Illinois Valley just west of Selma, Oregon.  It’s not much to look at in the depths of summer but during and after winter storms the falls cascade over 400 feet and can be seen from quite a distance.  We first heard about them from a 2011 Medford Tribune article by Gabe Howe (Siskiyou Mountain Club).

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Sorry Hike, But Nice Flowers (Selma, Oregon) 11-Mar-2018

Illinois River Deer Creek Selma Oregon

We awoke under an overcast sky to find an hour missing from our lives (actually just borrowed – it would be returned in the Fall). All of the electronics in the house already knew this and had pro-actively deducted that hour for us. Something eerie about this – a wisp of the Singularity? But at least we didn’t have to remember how to reset our few remaining digital clocks (…push the left button twice, while simultaneously holding the middle button down, then push…). Anyway, we responded to this sleep deprivation from the onset of Daylight Savings Time by picking a new (to us) hike right out of a guidebook. The hike’s write-up did warn us that it would be along a road that gets really rough, but we’d be going along the scenic Illinois River, so how bad could it be?

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Layton Ditch Trail North (Williams, Oregon) 08-Mar-2017

Layton Mine Ditch Williams Oregon

Oh, what an extravaganza of storms! Wave after wave after wave of moistness pouring over us, with only brief, usually sun-free, breaks to ease the sogginess.  With one such break teed up for this morning, we searched (yet again) for a new (to us) low-altitude hike that we could fit into our allotted few hours of relative dryness.  Our first thought was the well-known Sterling Mine Ditch Trail, which is a great trail, but one we’ve hiked many times before (post). We hit gold (pun intended) when Roether’s Williams Area Trail Guide (2006) pointed us toward a 6-mile (round-trip) hike along the remains of the Layton Mine Ditch, a similar, but much less well known, one than the Sterling.  The Williams Community Forest Project has been doing the hard work of restoring the ditch trail as a hiking option. A hike north (from Panther Gap) on the Layton culminates at one of the Williams area’s most famous architectural structures – the Chinese Wall.  A new hike into another piece of Southern Oregon’s history sounded ideal and so off we went!

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Cathedral Hills Park (Grants Pass, Oregon) 05-Feb-2017

Cathedral Hills Park Grants Pass Oregon

It was the driest of times; it was the moistest of times.  Well, mostly moistest lately.  So when the forecast shifted abruptly to “possibly clear” for the morrow’s morning and early afternoon, we felt compelled to seize the moment.  But what moment and where?  After consulting the oracles (and Glenn & Carol’s website), it was decided that we should make our first visit to the 400 acre Cathedral Hills Park just southwest of Grants Pass, Oregon.  Using the park’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) map, we sketched out a double lollipop with the Skycrest Loop to the north, the Outback Loop in the middle, and the Wild Rose Loop to the south.

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Bolt Mountain (Grants Pass, Oregon) 07-Dec-2016

Bolt Mountain Grants Pass Oregon

The winter of 2015-16 was blessed with an El Niño, which gifted us a normal (and then some) snow pack (yeah!).  And now it looks like we’re going to experience a La Niña, which should bring on a normal (and then some) snowpack for the winter of 2016-17 (yeah!).  But the storms have been coming in one after the other, with little time between them for the snow to settle or the roads to clear higher up (not yeah!).  So we’re stalling on undertaking this Winter’s first snowshoe hike and instead are picking-off a few of the lower-altitude, snow-free hikes we haven’t done yet.  One of these is Bolt Mountain, located on Josephine County and Bureau of Land Management land about 5 miles southwest of Grants Pass, Oregon.  The 3.2 mile trail to the summit is popular with mountain bikers but is multi-use and open to hikers and equestrians too.  It’s also reputed to be a good wildlflower hike in the Spring, and one with great views on a clear day.  Today we did it as an exercise hike; a short one we could squeeze in before the next round of storms envelopes us.

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