Whisky Creek Cabin (Rogue River) 12-Mar-2021

We backpacked the Rogue River Trail in 2015 and have returned almost every year since to make the shorter journey from Grave Creek to Whisky Creek Cabin and back. This is mainly because this is a wonderful low-altitude, early-season hike. We also like to visit the final resting place of Kitty Mack, the beloved cat of the cabin’s last owner. We last did this hike almost exactly a year ago, just as the impacts of the Big V were starting to become clearer. Last year two private raft trips were starting out from Grave Creek (permits are not required until mid-May) but there weren’t many hikers. This year there were no rafts but lots more hikers – hiking have become immensely popular as a counter to the Big V’s depredations. We added something extra to this visit by going up for a quick look at the Reno Mine, which metastasizes a slope above the cabin.

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The Bridges of Taylor Creek (Oregon) 04-May-2020

Taylor Creek has its confluence with the Rogue River just west of Merlin, Oregon. Forest Road 2500 runs along the northwest side of the creek and the Taylor Creek Trail (#1142) runs along the opposite side. Up until 2016, hiking this trail involved several wet crossings of Taylor Creek – crossings that were fun, a chore, or difficult depending on the season and the creek’s water level. Then, thanks to a huge collaborative effort, five new bridges were built at these crossings and this hike became a dry one. Our first (and only) hike of it occurred in late 2016 when we ventured out to see these new bridges for ourselves. They were a wonderful sight and so new then that they still gave off a wonderful piney scent. 🙂

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Little Silver Creek Lake (Galice, Oregon) 10-Nov-2019

We enjoy hiking to the extent that almost any hike makes us happy. 🙂 This includes hikes that induce happiness only in retrospect (Are you sure that’s the last tick?). And those that shall never, ever be done again. So the happiness bar is pretty low when it comes to a hike. But sometimes a hike disappoints and a happiness deficit ensues. Sadly, a planned hike to Little Silver Creek Lake in the mountains west of Grants Pass resulted in such a deficit.

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Taylor Creek Trail (Southern Oregon) 07-Nov-2016

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

A few weeks ago, our local paper, the Medford Tribune, ran a story (here) about how the Forest Service, in collaboration with numerous volunteers (and with some artful grantsmanship), had been able to replace five bridges on the Taylor Creek Trail (USFS #1142).  This was a near miraculous story given that trail building (and even trail maintenance) too often seems but a distant memory.  So, of course, we had to see this miracle for ourselves.  Taylor Creek is a popular hiking and mountain biking trail in summer (because it’s shaded and goes along the creek), in Fall (because of the colors), and in winter and spring (because it’s too low for snow).  We managed to miss almost all of the Fall colors and so, again, focused on the mushrooms, which were numerous.

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Rogue River Trail (Southern Oregon) 27/30-Apr-2015

Rogue River Trail Oregon Grave Creek Foster Bar

There are numerous good hikes in Southern Oregon but the premier backpack – and probably the best known – is along the Rogue River National Recreation Trail from Grave Creek to Foster Bar. It’s been on our “to do” list for a long time and when we saw four days of mostly good weather in the forecast, we went for it. Descriptions of how to access the trail and what’s along it are numerous – we found the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) detailed trail log to be reasonably accurate and helpful. We arranged with Morrisons Rogue Wilderness Adventures (Merlin, OR) to drop us at the Grave Creek Trailhead, store our truck on their lot, and then shuttle it around to Foster Bar when we came off the trail – they did a great job and it was well worth it to not have to worry about having our car clouted.

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