Slide Ridge (Soda Mtn. Wilderness) 27-Nov-2015

Slide Ridge Soda Mountain Wilderness Oregon

Our close proximity to the Soda Mountain Wilderness has made it one of our favorites, despite some of the challenges associated with exploring its largely trail-free interior. Aside from short trails to Pilot Rock and Boccard Point, only the Lone Pine Trail (actually an old road) makes a major foray into the western side of the wilderness.  If, however, you’re wise enough to go when cold weather inhibits the ticks, rattlesnakes, and poison oak yearning to make your acquaintance and careful about avoiding thickets of buckbrush, the terrain is open enough to allow for some cross-country exploring.  It was with this in mind that got me out to hike some old roads on Slide Ridge, ones that I might use to make a loop with the Lone Pilot.

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Stein Butte~New London Loop 24-Oct-2015

Stein Butte New London Trail Southern Oregon

The trail to Stein Butte is one of the classic hikes in Southern Oregon’s Upper Applegate River Valley.  I did it for the first time last New Year’s Eve when there was a touch of snow on it (a touch being all it got last winter).  It’s a little hot for a summer hike but otherwise excellent year-round, particularly now in the Fall.  I did it as an out-and-back before finally realizing it could be done as a loop if you didn’t mind a little walking on a gravel road.  The LovedOne’s mention that she hadn’t done this hike yet was enough to get us in the car and away to the Stein Butte Trailhead near Seattle Bar.

We went up the Stein Butte Trail, which is a very pleasant trail in great condition – we hardly noticed we were gaining 2,400 feet! Along the way, we encountered Fall color,

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Cowhorn Mountain (Deschutes NF) 03-Oct-2015

Cowhorn Mountain Deschutes National Forest Oregon

A low pressure front was scheduled to move through our area yesterday, bringing a (too) brief taste of fall (but no real precipitation) to our area. This seemed like the perfect moment to do the short, but fun, hike/scramble to the summit of Cowhorn Mountain, just north of Diamond Lake. Back before Cowhorn’s cow-horn shaped summit spine fell off in 1911, this peak was called Little Cowhorn to distinguish it from Mount Thielsen, which was then called Big Cowhorn. This is Hike #14 in Sullivan’s Southern Oregon hiking guide (Third Edition, 2014) and scramble #17 in Bond’s 2005 75 Scrambles in Oregon.

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Judge Waldo Tree (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 22-Jul-2015

Judge Waldo Tree Sky Lakes Wilderness Oregon

About three weeks ago, I did a long loop in the southern Sky Lakes Wilderness involving Fourmile Lake and managed to miss the famous Judge Waldo Tree. I’d vowed to return in the Fall to rectify this miss but dropping temperatures and a freakish absence of mosquitos in this wilderness (which is/was infamous for its biting hoards in July and August) encouraged us to look for this tree sooner. Although the hike in from Fourmile Lake to the south has its charms, we decided instead to try using the Blue Canyon Trailhead coming from the west side (Hike #46 in Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon guide (3rd Edition)).

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Cross-Country in the Three Sisters Wilderness 16/18-Jul-2015

Three Sisters Wilderness Oregon

The loop around the Three Sisters in Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness is one of those classic/iconic backpacks that had been on my to do list for a long time. Long enough for me to give some thought to doing the loop in a slightly different way. So when Brad – my adventure backpacking partner –  approached me about doing a hike together, I offered him my different loop idea, he thought it sounded interesting, so we juggled our schedules to meet early one morning at the Pole Creek Trailhead on the east side of the wilderness, ready for our journey into adventure.

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