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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Oregon Wilderness at the Library 11-May-2019

Earlier this year, Kevin Mittge, the Adult Services Librarian at the Siuslaw Public Library in Florence, Oregon contacted us about doing a library program on our visits to all of Oregon’s wilderness areas. We were already planning some hikes on the Oregon Coast, so we said we’d love to do a talk. We agreed on a date in May and the coastal weather cooperated by not raining on our hikes or on our talk. We dedicated the talk to Judge John B. Waldo, the first Oregon Supreme Court chief justice born in the state and a vigorous proponent of forest conservation in the Cascade Range. But then, between the invitation and the talk, Congress designated another wilderness area in Oregon: Devil’s Staircase. We managed a drive-by of this truly wild wilderness in 2020. 🙂

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Madrones in the Abstract II (November 2018)

More of the abstract artistry of the Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii), Southern Oregon’s signature tree. Natural processes create a seemingly infinite variety of abstract images in and on their bark.  Hence one more set of images from the bark of these endlessly fascinating trees.

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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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Madrones in the Abstract I (November 2018)

Pacific Madrone Arbutus menziesii Southern Oregon

There are probably few trees (with the possible exception of the Douglas fir) that are more strongly identified with Southern Oregon than the Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii). This tree is native to the western coast of North America between British Columbia and California, but is mainly found around Puget Sound and in the Oregon and California Coast Ranges. They are also scattered on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada and Cascades.

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Collings Mountain Loop (Applegate Lake) 25-Oct-2018

Collings Mountain Trail Applegate Lake Oregon

The Collings Mountain Trail (USFS #943) is one of several trails near Applegate Lake that offer hikers a low-elevation option in the winter months.  We last hiked it in late 2016. Today seemed like a good day to do it again, what with some weather (rain ❤ ) finally predicted to be heading our way. Thanks to persistent drought conditions, Applegate Lake is currently almost 100 feet below full pool. We combined the #943 with the Da-Ku-Be-Te-De Trail (USFS #940), which traverses the western shore of the lake between Hart-tish Park and Watkins Campground, to make a nice 10.6 mile, 1,700-foot gain loop. We found two geocaches along the way but didn’t stop to linger at the world famous (we hope) Bigfoot Trap!

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Porcupine Mountain (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 21-Oct-2018

Porcupine Mountain Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Oregon

Last December, after the Ashland Hiking Group made it look interesting, I did my own hike to Porcupine Mountain and really enjoyed it.  The LovedOne couldn’t come on that one 😥 owing to library business but I thought she’d enjoy it too. So today I pried her from amidst the stacks of cellulose and got her on the trail with me 😀 to Porcupine.  It was another great day for a hike and this one played-out the same (and as well) as the first one. The weather was hiker-optimal, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) was in fine condition, and the views from the summit were superb (except in the direction of Mount Shasta, which was obscured by haze). The only difference this time was that the old road (shown on the map as a trail) going from Porcupine Gap over Porcupine Mountain’s south ridge has now been very aggressively decommissioned.  The old road prism is littered with turned earth, rocks, downed trees, and piles of dead brush. A use trail is forming but it’ll be an awkward walk for a while longer.

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The Mines of Big Red (Siskiyou Crest) 20-Oct-2018

Red Mountain Mines Big Red Mountain Siskiyou Crest Oregon

We first learned of Big Red Mountain, west of Mount Ashland along the Siskiyou Crest, from the Ashland Hiking Group. It seemed to be one of their favorites, so we gave it a try and had a great time. It also appeared (tangentially) in the 4th Edition of Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon (Hike #58). What Sullivan added was a side trip to an old mine located on Big Red’s north ridge about 200 feet below the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). So, while The LovedOne was buried in her library volunteerism, I took advantage of the excellent Fall weather we’re having (which we’ll probably pay for later) to go see this old mine. And climb Big Red too. So, after becoming adequately caffeinated, I drove Forest Road 20 to where it crosses the PCT at Siskiyou Gap, and parked.

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Trails of Oregon’s Rogue River (October 2018)

Rogue River Trails Oregon

Southern Oregon’s Wild and Scenic Rogue River flows, from its headwaters at Boundary Springs within Crater Lake National Park westward for some 215 miles to pour into the Pacific Ocean near Gold Beach, Oregon. Hiking trails – some loved a lot, others almost unknown – follow the main river and its tributaries for over 100 miles. This post highlights nine such trails across the Rogue’s entire watershed. Links to day hikes or backpacks on each are provided so you can go out and experience the Rogue – in whole or in part – for yourself.  Go outside, go Rogue!

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Mountain of the Rogue (Rogue River, Oregon) 06-Oct-2018

Mountain of the Rogue Rogue River Oregon

Jennifer – a friend and former co-worker (now retired too) – was in town to celebrate her dad’s 91st birthday 🙂 and wanted to get in a short hike before the festivities started. With The LovedOne fully involved (over-volunteered) with the library’s quarterly book sale, I was available for a hike too. Jen suggested the Mountain of the Rogue, a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) trail system not far from where her parents live. I hadn’t been there before and a new trail is always interesting. 

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Hobart Peak (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 21-Sep-2018

Hobart Peak Bluff Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Southern Oregon

Hobart Bluff (5,502 feet) is a short hike in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument to big views of the Bear Creek Valley, Pilot Rock, Mount Ashland, and (on a clear day) Mount Shasta. It’s wildly popular and features prominently in numerous guidebooks, tourist brochures, and trail websites. The obvious use trail to the Bluff has even earned its own signed junction with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

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