Snow on the Mountain (Rogue River) 30-Dec-2021

For six of the last seven years, we’ve made a climb of Stein Butte our last hike of the year (in 2015 we hiked Squaw Butte instead – which became a snow slog of unexpectedly epic proportions 🙄). So we planned to revisit Stein again this year. But mighty winter storms got here first, icing the roads and dumping much, much snow almost everywhere. Our hospitals are (again) packed with plague victims 😥 – so it’s not a good time to have an accident on slick roads. And all the snow made us think that an attempt on Stein would be a repeat of our tribulations on Squaw in 2015. Plus (Wait, there’s more!) another big storm was on its way. So we turned our thoughts to a lower and closer hike.

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Up the Mountain (Rogue River, Oregon) 03-May-2021

Finally, fully vaccinated (The LovedOne will be so in two more weeks). There was talk that the second jab would produce a response, so I left open a day or two for couch surfing. But, other than a slightly sore arm, a little tiredness, and a few aches, nothing much happened (I logged some couch time anyway 🙂 ). Which is pretty much how vaccinations have been for me for decades. Other than one for yellow fever years ago, not much ever happened. Which is not to say something could have happened but the odds are always heavily in favor of nothing. What certainly didn’t happen was contracting any of the loathsome diseases for which vaccinations were and are available. Today, however, vaccinations – which are basically individual contributions to the common good – have joined the ranks of the controversial, the political, the divisive. Which is just sad. Our being vaccinated isn’t going to change this but if it keeps us from getting sick (or from very sick) and – of equal importance – from making other people sick, then that’s good enough for the moment.

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Tin Pan Peak (Rogue River, Oregon) 23-Dec-2020

Tin Pan Peak is the unofficial name of Point 2360, the highest point in the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Mountain of the Rogue Trail System. All of these trails were designed for mountain biking – some are reserved for just that but some are open for hiking too. For hikers these are gently-graded trails that make the 7 mile (11 km), 1,300 foot (396 m) climb to the summit and back easy on the knees. The trails are swarmed with riders on weekends, so weekdays are best for a hike. We’d just had a bout of wet weather and were expecting more wet (plus snow). Today, however, was a doughnut hole of clarity just two days after the official start of our winter – one that cried out for (or at least suggested) a hike.

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Mountain of the Rogue (Oregon) 11-Mar-2020

Today was a grand conflation of an absolutely perfect day for a hike with no duties for The LovedOne at the library. Yes, Dorothy, there are (small) miracles. Jennifer introduced me to the Mountain of the Rogue trail system in 2018 and I’ve done several hikes there since – just not with The LovedOne. So today we set out to remedy that omission.

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Out of the Fog (Rogue River) 03-Dec-2019

During my first sojourn in Oregon years ago, the wet weather used to start in late September and drizzle-on steadily into May. Now the weather seems to arrive (or not) in forcefully wet (or snowy) rushes, interspersed with periods of dry calm. Here in the Rogue Valley these calm moments are often accompanied with a ground fog of penetrating gloominess. But, select the right hike, and it’s possible to climb above this gloom into the sunshine. Crossing the boundary between fog and sun is pretty amazing and the resulting looking-out-over-a-sea-of-clouds view is classic. It’s one I fondly remember seeing from Camp Muir during climbs of Mount Rainier. All I needed to do was pick the right hike.

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