Baldy Peak (Southwest Oregon) 18-Mar-2022

Because of yet more personal business and more bouts of marginal weather, we had been denied a hike since we visited Whisky Creek over a week ago. šŸ˜„ At least we got a decent day’s worth of much needed rain out of the last storm system (and another wet storm is upon us as I write). šŸ˜Š But today offered us a clear(ish), cool, and sunny šŸ˜Ž interlude between these storms. And, with our personal business project temporarily in the hands of others, we – fortuitously – had time for a hike.

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Good Ol’ Charlie Buck & Baldy 17-Apr-2020

Many years ago, the Buck family owned several properties along the Applegate River in the vicinity of McKee Bridge. Around 1880, Charles Buck was a rancher at the mouth of Star Gulch and by 1900 was a settler about two miles away on lower Beaver Creek. He also had something to do with placing an early cow camp at Wrangle Gap, on today’s trail to Wagner Butte. We can’t say if Charlie was a good ol’ boy, but he was seemingly sufficiently respected to have a gulch and a trail named after him. Unless, of course, he just named them himself?

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Hiking the Mule Mountain Loop from Above 19-Nov-2017

Mule Mountain Mule Creek Trails Oregon

The Mule Mountain Trail (USFS #919) used to be one of the most popular trails in the Upper Applegate Valley. Then the Forest Service lost its easement through private property to the low-altitude start of the trail on public land. The Forest Service’s suggested alternative, the Charlie Buck/Baldy Peak Trail (USFS #918), starts higher up, where it might be closed by snow in the winter, and involves a heart-wrenching 1,200 feet of gain in its first mile from its northern trailhead! Having done this beforeĀ (post), I thought it might be easier to reach the Mule Mountain and Mule Creek (USFS #920) Trails from the #918’s southern trailhead at the end of Forest Road (FR) 2010-300.Ā  There was just time to give this a try ahead of an incomingĀ  stretch of hiking-unfriendly weather. The LovedOne has always maintained that hiking should be fun rather thanĀ character building, so she buried further under the covers and offered up a muffled “good luck with that” as I headed off into the freezing fog outside our garage.

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Snow on Mule Mountain (Applegate Valley, Oregon) 16-Dec-2015

Mule Mountain Applegate Valley Southern Oregon

This is one of the classic hikes in the Applegate Valley west of Medford; one that we first did last December when snow was in short supply. But last Sunday, a major storm dropped the snow level to 500 feet and the Mule Mountain area got plastered with 8 to 12 inches of fluffy new snow. What a welcome relief after two years of drought and skimpy snow! We took advantage of the brief break between storms for a quick snow hike up to the ridge crest at 4,300 feet.

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Mule Mountain Loop (Ruch, Oregon) 23-Dec-2014

Mule Mountain Upper Applegate Valley Oregon

Update: Because of a change in ownership, the lower trailhead for the #919 is no longer accessible to the public from Upper Applegate Road.

While looking for a low altitude hike to explore on one of those few sunny days squeezed in between bouts of rain & clouds, we stumbled on the Mule Mountain trail system – the Mule Mountain Trail (USFS #919), the Charlie Buck/Baldy Peak Trail (USFS #918), and the Mule Creek Trail (USFS #920). The wonderful description of these trails in Luke Ruediger’s The Siskiyou Crest is what sold it. Note that the Applegate Ranger Station is now the Star Ranger Station. Apparently this loop is the best example of intact low-elevation forest and wood land in this area and presents a wildflower extravaganza in the Spring. The trailhead is only a sign with limited roadside parking but all the trails, if poorly signed, were obvious, in good condition, and easy to follow. We ascended the #919, traversed south on the #918, and returned via the #920.

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