Parsnip Lakes (Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument) 23-May-2021

The weather for our hike on the Rogue River Trail had been warm but otherwise wonderful. However, the day after we returned, the weather did a complete reversal, closing in for several days with much lower temperatures, high wind, clouds, sporadic rain, a dash of hail, and general gloom. Snow fell at the higher elevations and stuck. In the middle of May? So time was spent finishing (ha!) a DIY landscaping project, working, volunteering, and doing exercise hikes. When a nice day was forecast, we made plans to return to the trail.

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Green Springs to Hobart (Southern Oregon) 01-Nov-2020

Today we fell back. In time that is. We may soon be falling back to the Dark Ages but that’s still to be decided. The ostensible purpose of this “falling back” and “springing forward” (Could we even do this without these catchy phrases?) is to give us more daylight in the summer months thus saving energy and reducing crime (True, you hardly ever see Time Bandits wandering around during summer.). Of course doing so completely messes with our primordial circadian rhythms (note: not a jazz quartet) leading to confusion, grumpiness, intemperate emails, and utterly artful (but still shameful) exposures during Zoom meetings. So sad. 😥 I’ll bet the Neanderthals would still be around if they hadn’t decided that daylight saving (not savings) time would give them an extra hour to hunt cave bears (or visa versa as it apparently turned out). Frankly, I think it’s a waste of time doing all this falling and springing. Let’s just pick a time and stick with it! And damn the Time Bandits!

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East Fork Camp Creek (Soda Mtn. Wilderness) 03-Jun-2020

In the United States, wilderness areas were not established just so we could go hiking in them. They were created to serve higher purposes – such as securing the benefits of wilderness for present and future generations, preserving areas untrammeled by humans, protecting a community of life, etc. So one shouldn’t expect to find trails in these areas. It’s nice if there are some but that’s just sprinkles on life’s doughnut. So when the Soda Mountain Wilderness was designated in 2009, there were no formal trails in it other than the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which skirts its northern edge. There were, however, several old dirt logging and ranching roads. The Siskiyou Mountain Club turned some of these into hiking trails – most notably the Lone Pilot Trail and the Boccard Point Trail. This was great work on the Club’s part but it left more than a few of the old tracks unexplored. Inconceivable! Previous efforts on our part lead to explorations of Scotch Creek and Lone Pine Ridge. Today it was Camp Creek’s turn.

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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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Hobart Peak (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 21-Sep-2018

Hobart Peak Bluff Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Southern Oregon

Hobart Bluff (5,502 feet) is a short hike in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument to big views of the Bear Creek Valley, Pilot Rock, Mount Ashland, and (on a clear day) Mount Shasta. It’s wildly popular and features prominently in numerous guidebooks, tourist brochures, and trail websites. The obvious use trail to the Bluff has even earned its own signed junction with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

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Let There Be Smoke! (Hobart Bluff, Oregon) 11-Aug-2018

Hobart Bluff PCT Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Oregon

The wildfires started just about a month a ago and since then our air quality has been at best moderate, has gotten to very unhealthy on several occasions, and today is a cheerily morbid unhealthy. Sigh (cough, choke, hack, hack…). Although we’ll be doing something about this real soon, I stubbornly (The LovedOne would say stupidly) wanted to get in one more hike before we did. So why not go along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to Hobart Bluff (3.4 miles round-trip; 300 feet of elevation gain) to see the missing views? Don Quixote would have approved.

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Hobart Bluff (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 14-Jan-2018

Hobart Bluff Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Oregon

Last winter – the one with snow – we did a fun and not-too-hard snowshoe hike to Hobart Bluff in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument from Green Springs Summit on Highway 66.  In summer or a snow-free winter, reaching Hobart Bluff is an easy, pleasant three or six mile (round-trip) day hike through white fir and oak/chaparral forests and high-country meadows to the Bluff’s craggy basalt cliffs with their expansive views of such peaks as Mount Shasta, Mount McLoughlin, and Pilot Rock. Rather than pine (or whinge) endlessly for snow, we opted to hike from Green Springs Summit to the Hobart Bluff Trailhead via the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), then return via the Soda Mountain  Road with a mountain bike-assist.

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Parsnip Lakes (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 09-May-2017

The Parsnip Lakes, located within the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, are a series of water bodies formed by natural springs and wetlands, and partially maintained by beavers. The Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa), a species in steep decline throughout its historic range, was seen here again in 2003, after having been unobserved for some 40 years.  It was recently listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. The above photo is by Vince Patton for Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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Hobart Bluff (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 01-Mar-2017

Hobart Bluff Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Oregon

As the latest manifestation of this winter’s active weather pattern wound down on Tuesday, the forecast said we would be granted two sunny, clear days during which we could renew our weather-burdened spirits.  A not-too-hard snowshoe hike with a view seemed about right, so we selected Hobart Bluff in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument as our goal.  Hobart Bluff, reportedly named after a local rancher, is part of the first national monument to be protected solely on the strength of its biodiversity. It’s where the Cascade, Klamath, and Siskiyou mountain ranges converge, creating a region of unusual biological diversity and varied landscapes.  In summer, reaching Hobart Bluff is an easy, pleasant three or six mile (round-trip) day hike through white fir and oak/chaparral forests and high-country meadows to the Bluff’s craggy basalt cliffs with their expansive views of such peaks as Mount Shasta, Mount McLoughlin, and Pilot Rock.  Getting to the Bluff in winter is another matter and our Plan A did not survive first contact with the snow.

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Soda Mountain (Soda Mtn. Wilderness) 28-May-2014

Soda Mountain Wilderness Oregon

We’re spending part of this week in Medford for personal business and for some hiking. So we thought we’d “warm-up” for longer hikes with two short classic local hikes – Pilot Rock and Soda Mountain. We arrived at the “new” Pilot Rock Trailhead (the one created after this became a wilderness area in 2009) to find it was socked-in, 33ºF, and snowing. The LovedOne noted that marital bliss was not going to be served if she had to hike through a snow storm in shorts. Point taken.

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