Flowing Through the Forest (Southwest Oregon) 22-Mar-2022

As of today, and despite a snow dump earlier and a few passing storms more recently, our water year precipitation is still 26% below normal (a term I now use with caution). We’d need almost 10 inches (254 mm) of rain by April 1st to make up the difference and end the drought. Even The LovedOne – a classic glass half full optimist – is becoming reconciled to that (short of an extremely wayward hurricane) not happening. After all, you need something to fill that glass with. We’re bracing for a long, hot, dry summer… 😰

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A Good, Cold Walk… (Southwest Oregon) 23-Feb-2022

A forecast “big” storm actually rolled through our area over the past few days. It brought a lot more cold than water (we’re still 27% below historical normal precipitation 😥) but was welcome nonetheless. Then it was gone and the sun popped back out. While the valley floor got only a light (very light) dusting of snow, 8 inches (20 cm) had fallen up on Mount Ashland. So we surmised that there might be some snow on the trails in Forest Park. Inquiring minds wanted to know…

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Woodlands & Sunshine (Oregon) 01-Feb-2022

Our faithful readers know that we make frequent visits to nearby Jacksonville Forest Park. Very frequent. But not so much so to its literally across-the-street cousin – the Jacksonville Woodlands. The trails in the Woodlands are shorter, less hilly, and usually busier than those in the Forest. They are also more of an urban experience as they wend through and around private land and past people’s houses. We’ve gone there only on occasion, mostly to look (thus far in vain) for a rare lily – the Gentner Fritillary. But as now is the absolute nadir of anything wildflower, our goal on this cold, clear, sunny day was simply to log 5 miles (8 km) worth of exercise. Which we did and it was good. 😊

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Yet Again…The Forest (Oregon) 06-Jan-2022

We were down here three years before we did our first hike in Jacksonville Forest Park. Maybe because there were so many other “bigger” hikes to do first. Maybe because we were being hiking snobs – as in: it’s just a “local” park with “short” hikes. 🙄 Well, that first hike soon blossomed into a love affair 🥰 with this little park which sees us going back there many times a year in all seasons. The trails always go to the same places but the scenery constantly changes. Water flows (or not), leaves flourish or fall, wildflowers appear, mushrooms erupt or rot, views are there (or not), critters come and go. It has become a place of both wonder and refuge. To say it has been an godsend during the recent plague years would be a vast understatement.

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Trails of Leaves (Jacksonville, Oregon) 08-Oct-2021

We have a few higher altitude hikes planned for before (hopefully) the snow flies. But we have other plans for next week that we don’t want to mess-up by doing a face-plant on some remote trail. So back to Jacksonville Forest Park for the first time since our smoke-challenged August. This is another quiet time in the forest – no wildflowers, few mushrooms, just a trickle in Jackson Creek (and even that is amazing considering the drought). Fall colors are starting. Some trees have already shared their leaves with the trail, while most of those on the big-leaf maples are still hanging on. But the inexorable march of the seasons will soon, so soon, strew the trail with their leaves too.

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