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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Water in the Forest (Southwest Oregon) 07-Mar-2021

All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. Ecclesiastes 1:7

It’s now the season when water flows visibly and robustly in Jacksonville Forest Park’s creeks. For a brief time, this essence of life makes its way to the sea with a pleasant melody of bubbles and gurgles and splashes and swooshes. It’s the most alive thing in the forest at the moment. But, in a few short weeks, when the first leaves and grasses and wildflowers of Spring emerge, the waters will have begun to recede. By summer surface flows will largely be gone. But their passing will have set the stage for the biotic abundance that is the Forest in Spring and Summer. Life will go on.

Along the Pipsissewa Trail
Below Granite Falls
Cantrall Creek
Cantrall Creek
Jackson Creek
Jackson Creek
Jackson Creek
Norling Creek
Cantrall Creek
Norling Creek
Cantrall Creek
Jackson Creek
Jackson Creek

Ruminations in the Forest (Southwest Oregon) 16-Nov-2020

We got enough rain a few weeks ago to officially break the summer dry spell but it was a paltry effort (hundredths of an inch / a few mm). Over the weekend we finally got real rain (2 in / 50 mm). More than enough to finally quell the last of the wildfires and wash the summer’s grit off everything. Enough to knock down the last of the colorful leaves of Fall and kick start the delightfully fragrant process of plant-based decomposition. Sadly, along with the rain came the predicted winter surge in the Big V, with cases, hospitalizations, and bodies piling-up exponentially, both here and elsewhere. Oregon is going back into a partial lock-down in hopes of fending off the worst of it but it might be too little, too late. A combination of quarantine fatigue, fatalism, ideological intransigence, and lack of coherent federal leadership has brought us to this impasse, which will probably persist until Spring. It didn’t have to be like this but it is. 😥

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A Walk in the Woodlands (Oregon) 18-Mar-2020

Social distancing has become the mantra of this new era we’ve entered (hopefully temporarily). From the chaos and heartbreak brought on by the Big V, hiking seems to have emerged as an acceptable – nay extolled – way of getting out of the house while still maintaining one’s distance. We just wish hiking’s moment had arrived under happier circumstances. We’re fortunate to: (1) like hiking and (2) live in a small town surrounded by vast expanses of parks and forests and wilderness. These provide ample opportunities to be out there without ever getting too near (or even seeing) another person.

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Fall Comes to the Forest (October 2019)

 Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Emily Brontë
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Again With the Forest (Southern Oregon) 23-May-2019

The weather has been doing something gloomy and moist, on and off, since we left the Oregon Coast, in the rain, nine days ago. Any brief sunbreaks in that time were already spoken for by either library duties or the demands of a consulting side-hustle. When today was forecast to be sunny with artistic clouds, we briefly reclaimed our retirement – breaking free of the cellulose and the client to spend the morning hiking in Jacksonville Forest Park.

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Jacksonville Forest Trails (Oregon) 03-Nov-2018

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon

Not every day is a sunny day. Some days are cloudy. Cloudy days are not bad, just different. They give a hike a moody, yet cozy, feel. Again, not bad, just different. Little forest details you might miss on a sunny day come to the fore. Today was a cloudy day. I went to the forest while The LovedOne went to the library (moody and cozy can happen way back in the stacks too, I guess). Out in the forest, there was still some Fall color. I did a short loop (4.2 miles; 1,200 feet of elevation gain) on the Ridgeview, Siskiyou, Halls of Manzanita, Grotto, Canyon Vista, and Jackson Creek Nature Trails. The sun tantalized but never appeared. So it remained a cloudy day, but a good one nonetheless. 🙂

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Jacksonville Forest Park V 02-Sep-2018

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon

After our big adventure in Canada and Alaska, a visit by Wayne and Diane as they motorcycled their way to Glacier National Park, and catching-up on a back-log of library volunteerism, we were ready for a Labor Day stay-cation.  Wildfire smoke was still around, but shifting winds cleared it out for a long hike in Prescott Park on Friday and it hadn’t fully returned when we decided to do a hike in Jacksonville Forest Park today. This park is a tremendous outdoor resource for when we don’t want to (or can’t) travel far to hike.  Our map of the hiking and biking trails in the 1,100-acre park is getting pretty ragged but we were still able to pick-out a short loop (5 miles; 1,500 feet of elevation gain) involving some trails we hadn’t hiked before.

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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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Jacksonville Forest Park III (Oregon) 08-Mar-2018

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon

There were two gorgeous perfect-for-hiking sunny days at the first of this week. We, however, were up in Portland, Oregon on personal business.  While it was fun to briefly revel in the pleasures of our state’s “big city” (particularly when it wasn’t raining), we still felt the pang of hiking days lost. But when we got home, it looked as though Zephyros was going to grant us another Spring-like hiking day (or at least part of one). So we decided to savor this unexpected bounty with yet another hike in Jacksonville, Oregon’s 1,100-acre Forest Park.  Our second hike here just a few days ago was through snow, whereas this one was a dirt hike on a clear, sunny, full bluebird day! 

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