Cow Creek Old-Growth (Azalea, Oregon) 10-Aug-2020

Huge, old-growth trees – those feet in diameter and hundreds of years old – were undoubtedly more common back in the day. Now you have to go looking for patches of them. When found, they are truly awe inspiring. It’s humbling to be in the presence of living creatures that have graced the Earth for dozens and dozens of human generations. One such patch of these ancient, living giants exists along Cow Creek in the Umpqua National Forest east of Azalea, Oregon. I first found out about it from John & Diane Cissel’s 2003 Best Old-Growth Forest Hikes, Washington & Oregon Cascades (Hike #96) and made my first visit in March of 2018. The middle of a wet Oregon winter was probably not the ideal time to be visiting a deep, old forest dripping with ferns and moss. After wading through a swollen, cold Cow Creek several times, I vowed to visit again during the drier, warmer months. When today’s air temperature was forecast to soar above 100°F (37°C), it seemed the ideal time to be deep in a forest. So The LovedOne and I made the drive to Azalea and then east past Galesville Reservoir to the Cow Creek Trail #1424 Trailhead.

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Five Southern Oregon Hikes: Not the Usual Suspects (May 2018)


There are many wonderful hikes in Southern Oregon: From the short (Grizzly Peak) to the long (Lone Pilot Trail), from the high (Mount McLoughlin) to the low (Upper and Lower Table Rocks); from the gripping (Mount Thielsen) to the mellow (Jacksonville Woodlands).  These – and many others – are “usual suspect” hikes in that you’ll find them mentioned or detailed in almost every hiking guidebook, travel brochure, blog, or website that speaks to foot-powered travel in the southern part of the Beaver State.  We’ve hiked all of the usual suspects, often several times, but have also hiked some that are less usual, ones you don’t see discussed very often (if at all). Below are five such hikes for summer. But, fair warning, these are not “…slip on the flips, grab a half bottle of warm Pepsi, and wander into the woods…” kinda hikes; you’re going to need some stuff and, for a few of them, real navigation and off-trail travel skills too. That said, hiking these will likely provide you with a different – and probably well-earned – perspective on the natural side of Southern Oregon. It could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

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Cow Creek Old-Growth (Azalea, Oregon) 30-Mar-2018

Cow Creek Umpqua National Forest Oregon

Cow Creek is a major tributary to Oregon’s South Umpqua River and an important stream in Southern Oregon’s early history. Levi Scott and Jesse Applegate, who pioneered the southern wagon route into Oregon, named the creek in 1846 when they found a dead cow beside it (no grasping for literary allusions with these guys). The six mile-long Cow Creek Trail (USFS #1424) follows the upper reaches of the South Fork of Cow Creek through a herb-rich floodplain stocked with mature and old (500+ years in some cases) Douglas fir and other trees. It ends at Railroad Gap near the divide that defines the watersheds of the Rogue and Umpqua Rivers. With The LovedOne still nursing her knee (and catching-up on her library duties), it fell to me to explore this old-growth trail (see what Cow Creek looks like in the summer here).

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