Box O Ranch Loop (Soda Mountain Wilderness) 15-Apr-2021

Oregon’s Soda Mountain Wilderness is divided into two sections by a high-voltage power line. The western section got the few trails in this wilderness; the eastern section got none. Which, of course, spawned our interest in exploring it. We did a short hike from Randcore Pass to Rosebud Mountain (Rosebud! Rosebud!) in 2017 and then a loop from the pass to the old Box O Ranch in 2018. These explorations were done by connecting old and fading roads with a little cross-country travel. During our loop in 2018, uncertainty about the location of the wilderness’ eastern boundary got us to climb a rocky ridge we didn’t need to climb. True, we got a view of Mount McLoughlin, but it wasn’t worth the effort. Map gazing (and a download of the wilderness boundaries) suggested a lower, easier path for part of the loop. We went out today to explore this revised loop.

Continue reading “Box O Ranch Loop (Soda Mountain Wilderness) 15-Apr-2021”

Surveyor Mountain (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 22-May-2018

Surveyor Mountain Fremont-Winema National Forest Oregon

Surveyor Mountain (not to be confused with Surveyor’s Ridge near Hood River) is a long, high-elevation ridge capped by Surveyor Peak (~6,200 feet) in the north and Summit Rock Point (6,542 feet) in the south.  The Casacde-Siskiyou National Monument’s expansion now protects the ridge, whose snowpack feeds headwaters streams of Jenny Creek. This creek, a candidate for Wild and Scenic River status, flows south past the Box O Ranch, over Jenny Creek Falls, and into the Klamath River.

The area is popular with birders who can look (or listen) for Dark-eyed Junco, Mountain Chickadee, Pygmy Nuthatch, Swainson’s Thrush, Clark’s Nutcracker, Spotted Towhee, Steller’s Jay, Scrub Jay, White-headed Woodpecker, and Northern Goshawk.  The mountain is also important habitat for higher-elevation birds, such as Red Crossbill, Cassin’s Finch, and Gray (or Canada) Jay, that may be threatened by regional climate change. The Monument is near the southern limit of the Gray Jay’s range. This knowledge made exploring the ridge seem like a worthwhile way to spend a morning before the thunderstorms struck, so we did.

Continue reading “Surveyor Mountain (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 22-May-2018”

Box O Ranch Loop (Soda Mtn. Wilderness) 26-Apr-2018

Box O Ranch Soda Mountain Wilderness Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Oregon

Oregon’s Soda Mountain Wilderness is divided by a powerline corridor into two pieces. The larger, western piece hosts some of the best known hikes in both this wilderness and in Southwestern Oregon: the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), the Lone Pilot Trail, the Pilot Rock Trail, and the Boccard Point Trail. The eastern piece, where oak and pine forests transition into the state’s eastern desert, has no formal trails and is less well known.  Jenny Creek, which has been suggested for Wild & Scenic River status, and the former Box O Ranch are perhaps the best known of the eastern area’s offerings.  Last December, we did a short exploratory hike to the summit of Rosebud Mountain on the edge of the Oregon Gulch Research Natural Area, which is within the wilderness. Today we explored the heart of the wilderness with a longer loop hike to the former Box O Ranch and Jenny Creek.

UPDATE: We hiked a more direct version of this loop in 2021. Continue reading “Box O Ranch Loop (Soda Mtn. Wilderness) 26-Apr-2018”

Jenny Creek Falls (Northern California) 24-Apr-2018

Jenny Creek Falls Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument California

Jenny Creek – which has been proposed for designation as a Wild and Scenic River – flows south out of Howard Prairie Reservoir in Southwestern Oregon for approximately 22 miles until it empties into Iron Gate Reservoir on the Klamath River in Northern California. Along the way, the creek passes through the eastern edges of both the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and the Soda Mountain Wilderness. Jenny Creek and its tributaries (Keene, Corral, Johnson, and Beaver Creeks) are separated from the Klamath River by two waterfalls (a 15-foot lower and a 40-foot upper) that were created as the creek carved through a lava flow that occurred approximately 5 million years ago. By separating the upper reaches of the watershed from the river, these falls have given rise to the Jenny Creek redband trout, a unique lineage of trout found only in the upper creek. Hence many good reasons to appreciate these falls in person. Only one tiny problem – how to reach them? Continue reading “Jenny Creek Falls (Northern California) 24-Apr-2018”

Hiking with Citizen Kane (Soda Mtn. Wilderness) 17-Dec-2017

Rosebud Mountain Soda Mountain Wilderness Oregon

The Soda Mountain Wilderness, which was established in 2009, is divided by a powerline corridor into two pieces. The larger, western piece hosts some of the best known hikes in both this wilderness and in Southern Oregon: the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), the Lone Pilot Trail, the Pilot Rock Trail, and the Boccard Point Trail. The eastern piece, where oak and pine forests transition into the state’s eastern desert, has no formal trails and is less well known.  Jenny Creek, which has been suggested for Wild & Scenic River status, and the former Box O Ranch are perhaps the best known of the eastern area’s offerings.  Having hiked extensively in the western piece, we decided to take advantage of our no-snow-yet-December to do a short reconn hike in the eastern piece, to the summit of Rosebud Mountain on the edge of the Oregon Gulch Research Natural Area, which is within the wilderness. Continue reading “Hiking with Citizen Kane (Soda Mtn. Wilderness) 17-Dec-2017”