Goosenest (Klamath National Forest) 07-Oct-2018

Goosenest Mount Shasta Northern California

Tricky drive; short hike; spectacular views. Goosenest (8,280 feet) is an extinct (hopefully) shield volcano with a cinder cone on top, resembling a goose’s nest (actually it looks more like an albatross nest, but those aren’t that common in Northern California). It sits just north of Mount Shasta and affords amazing views of the north side of that peak and a 360º view across much of Northern California. The hike to these views is short (3.3 miles total – if you circle the crater) on a well-graded, well-maintained trail plus an obvious use trail. It even has an official trailhead with a sign and an information board. The trick is finding that trailhead, as we would discover as we followed conflicting (and sometimes incorrect) driving directions to (eventually) reach it.

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Lake Genevieve (Desolation Wilderness) 01-Oct-2018

Lake Genevieve Desolation Wilderness Lake Tahoe California

For our last Fall color hike on this trip, we picked the Meeks Creek drainage near Lake Tahoe, California based on a suggestion in only one guidebook.  Well, it didn’t have too much in the way of color but it was a nice hike on a good day to a pretty lake. Plus we logged an unexpected geocache on the way back!  We stayed in South Lake Tahoe and were forcefully reminded (again) of what a traffic snarl it can be (particularly if they’re paving the road during rush hour).

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Williams Lake (Wheeler Peak Wilderness, NM) 25-Jun-2018

Williams Lake Wheeler Peak Wilderness New Mexico

After she’d had a day of art appreciation with other family members, I was able to persuade The LovedOne to join me for a short hike to Williams Lake, south of Taos Ski Valley, at the base of the highest peak in New Mexico (Wheeler Peak). Every area we’ve ever visited seems to have at least one short, easily accessible, and not too steep (and hence wildly popular) hike to big scenery. Judging from the size of its trailhead parking lot, the number of cars there on a weekday, and the width of its tread, the trail to Williams Lake, in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness, is that hike in Northern New Mexico. We had last hiked it in 1993 during a fierce thunder and lightning and hail storm that caught us on the way back from an ascent of Wheeler Peak. We were looking forward to not having an experience like that again (we didn’t).

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Jacksonville Forest Park IV (Oregon) 02-Apr-2018

Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon

Well, maybe we went a little out-of-bounds this time but, having done a lot of hiking in Forest Park recently, we were looking for some new trails to explore. Plus there were some geocaches hidden out in the wilds that seemed like they’d be fun to hunt for. Plus The LovedOne’s knee was still saying “no long hikes or I’ll hurt you..” So when we were offered a bluebird –  perfect-for-hiking – sunny day, we were off for yet another hike in (and out of) 1,100-acre Forest Park.

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One Day on Upper Table Rock 03-Mar-2018

Upper Table Rock Medford Oregon

The weather forecast for today was not extending the hand of hiker friendship. In fact, it was petulant and gloomy. If I’d bought into its warnings and watches, what proved to be an exceptionally nice day on Upper Table Rock would have been forsaken. With The LovedOne entangled in the skeins of the annual Rose City Yarn Crawl, some geocaching seemed like an appropriate way to fill the void. Poking around looking for little slips of paper in small containers has its moments, which are all that much better when the weather surprises you with niceness. Hunting for the caches took me into seldom visited (and ecologically fascinating) areas of the plateau and I didn’t see anyone else until I got back to the main trail.  There is a lot of water up there, not just in the vernal pools, but everywhere; which speaks well for an exuberance of wildflowers in April and May.

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You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grippe… 28-Jan-2018

Applegate Lake Southern Oregon

Well, after our banging on about how there wasn’t enough snow for snowshoeing (or any other kind of snow fun), we finally got a week of gloomy, wet, turbulent, hiking-unfriendly weather ending in a big snow dump. Yeah! Mount Ashland, our local ski area, was finally able to open! Yeah! So we hustled out to the garage to give our snowshoes the good news, only to find Mr. Grippe waiting for us. Oh, the horrors! Oh, the phlegm! Think of two sock puppets (us) in a room with a dozen Jack Russell terriers (flu virus) for a week and then put yourself in the puppet’s socks. We’re still leaking stuffing…

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Buck Rock (Trail, Oregon) 03-Jan-2018

Buck Rock Fire Lookout Trail Oregon

Well, we’ve started into the New Year with the weather repeatedly threatening snow and rain but not producing much of either. So, the check is in the mail and it’ll snow next week…promise! In the meantime, I’m occupying myself with visits to odd, but interesting, places that are probably not worthy of a full dayhike. Last year it was the old fire lookout site atop Tallowbox Mountain. This year, I went for a similar old lookout site on Buck Rock near Trail, Oregon.  Meanwhile, The LovedOne is spending more time volunteering at the library.

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Tallowbox Mountain (Ruch, Oregon) 29-Dec-2017

Tallowbox Mountain Lookout Ruch Oregon

Although the atmosphere has thus far regaled us with clouds and inversion fogs and winds and heavy mists masquerading as rain, it has yet to throw any meaningful amounts of snow on the local mountains. Our snowshoes and poles and pole snow baskets sit in the garage alone and unused. Incantations are undoubtedly being said on Mount Ashland – as I write! – to encourage mana from heaven in the form of frozen water.  While we wait for this miracle, we’re doing the positive spin thing by visiting some local sights that might otherwise have been by-passed in favor of a good snowshoe.

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Hiking in the Time of Caching (November 2017)

Geocaching Upper Lower Table Rocks Oregon

Stormy, fractious, blustery, peevish, squally, turbulent, gusty, truculent, garrulous! The current political climate? Perhaps but this humble hiking blog isn’t going anywhere near that. No, it’s the change of seasons here in Southern Oregon as we move from what was a hot, dry summer into what will be (hopefully) a wet, but not too wet, snowy, but not too snowy, winter. This time of year leaves us stuck between too much rain for a long hike and too little snow to justify unleashing the snowshoes. What to do, other than binge watch Blacklist? Well, we’ve started doing some geocaching.

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Ferris Gulch Loop (Williams, Oregon) 15-Oct-2017

Ferris Gulch Loop Williams Oregon

Earlier this year, we did an out-and-back hike along the Layton Mine Ditch Trail above Williams, Oregon.  That trail is a piece of Southern Oregon’s mining history, as is the Chinese Wall it crosses.  After plotting our track for that hike, I got to looking at maps for other possible hikes in the area.  One that caught my attention was along the ridge east of Ferris Gulch, with a return via Ferris Gulch Road – about an 8 to 9 mile loop.  The LovedOne was up for a not-too-long, not-too-far away hike, so we decided to capitalize on the continuing perfect Fall weather to have a go at this Ferris Gulch Loop (which seemed particularly fitting since one of The LovedOne’s most favorite movies is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off).

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Vulture Rock Loop (Southern Oregon) 28-Sep-2017

Old Baldy Vulture Rock Oregon

The promise of unsettled weather in the near future pushed us toward one more “summer” hike before we’re hit by wet and cold (and before there’s enough snow for snowshoeing!).  Thanks to the  Hike Mt Shasta website, we’d had a great hike in California’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest a couple of days ago.  Although other hikes in the Marble and Russian Wilderness areas beckoned from our never diminishing list of hikes to do (our way of bringing the myth of Sisyphus to hiking), the thought of one a little closer to home (that is, one that didn’t involve a four-hour roundtrip drive) was more appealing.  Two that we’d done in 2016 about this time – Old Baldy and Vulture Rock (Point 6054) – seemed like good, close choices that could be fashioned into a loop hike.  With the LovedOne begging off to set-up (after the bomb threat had been cleared) the now monthly library book sale, I was on my own for this one.  I argued that bears and chipmunks rarely try to blow you up, but to no avail.

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