Osgood Ditch Trail (California) 31-Mar-2019

The history of Southern Oregon is defined, in large part, by the search for gold. Here, the principal form of mining was hydraulic, where copious amounts of water were used to wash a water-sediment slurry through sluice boxes to capture the gold. All this water was usually conveyed to the mines via ditches, with a berm on one side along which ran a trail for the ditch tender.

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Snailback Falls (Oregon) 31-Mar-2018

Our first attempt at reaching the base of Snailback Falls, in the Illinois Valley just west of Selma, Oregon, was rebuffed by deep snow on a sketchy trail. Now, a month later, all that snow is gone and the falls are still running well. Obviously time for a rematch. After failing 😦 to rekindle any enthusiasm in The LovedOne for another hike here, I found myself alone 😥 at the informal trailhead for the falls on the Illinois River Road about 3.5 miles west of the blinking light in Selma.

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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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A Winter’s Trail on Kerby Peak (Selma, Oregon) 12-Mar-2018

Kerby Peak Selma Oregon

Kerby Peak (5,545 feet) overlooks Southern Oregon’s Illinois Valley, just to the east of major peaks in the Kalamiopsis Wilderness. A hike to its summit in summer is a local favorite (a tough hike to big views!) but there’s no tradition of it being hiked during “official” winter (between December 21 and March 20). We’d gotten up there in February of 2015, during a winter that featured essentially no snow. So, of course, getting to its top in winter – and when the peak was covered in snow – became one of my minor obsessions. We tried it in 2016 and turned back on the shoulder of Point 5112 after The LovedOne plunged into a post-hole. Then I (The LovedOne was having nothing more to do with this delusional behavior) tried again in March 2017, only to turn back when my snowshoes sank out of sight at around 4,800 feet.

Snow came late this winter, so I could have repeated our 2015 snow-free ascent this January. But, nooo, for 2018 I had to wait until it had snowed.  Well, my obsession was thwarted again (at the shoulder of Point 5112 no less [4.1 miles round-trip; 2,100 feet of elevation gain]) but the views were great! I have been warned, however, that my beer ration will cease if there is any attempt to continue with this nonsense in 2019 or beyond. Must find a new obsession…

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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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