Roxy Ann: Full Conditions 15-Dec-2021

The highest point in Scotland is Ben Nevis. At 1,345 m (4,413 ft), it’s not as tall as some mountains but, at 56° N, its gullies (and those on other Scottish mountains) “…presented a fearsome, icy sight in winter.” It was in these sinuous and confining gullies that the Scots, lead by the legendary Tom Patey, ushered in ice climbing’s modern era. At those more northerly latitudes, winter storms howling down out of the Arctic can beleaguer the poor ice climber with what came to be termed full conditions. 🥶 I’ve climbed in such conditions and do not recall the experience as being “fun” by any measure used by a sane person.

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Roxy Ann: Light + Fog 07-Dec-2021

Thus far, the powerful atmospheric rivers of wet and wind have all passed to our north. This has left the Bear Creek and Rogue River Valleys mired in fog and stagnant air for days and days. But nearby Roxy Ann Peak often pokes through these mists into sunshine. This morning we had time for a quick exercise walk around the peak’s loop road – which today circumscribed the border between the light above and the fog below. This walk on Pearl Harbor Day proved to be a spectral experience in an otherwise familiar landscape.

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Before the Deluge: Prescott Park 21-Oct-2021

After the hottest and perhaps one of the driest summers in Oregon’s history, we are apparently going to be swamped for days by a veritable river of moisture. A Class 5 atmospheric event! Buckets of magical sky water! This will certainly take the edge off the drought 🙂 even if it might trigger floods in the burn scars left by this summer’s wildfires.😟 The color scheme in the GOES 17 water vapor image above seems to capture the intensity of what’s coming our way.

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Big Sky Over Roxy Ann (Southwest Oregon) 29-Jul-2021

We’ve been having some peculiar weather lately (but then haven’t we all 🙄). First heat domes, drought, wind, and smoke. Now thunderstorms and rain – one whole day of rain! Today the atmosphere sought to combine heat, smoke, and incipient thunder clouds. The result turned a simple exercise hike up Roxy Ann Peak into a lot of sky ogling. I only had my phone along. It can’t do all the things my “real” cameras can but it does enough – and takes snaps good enough – to sometimes make me feel like a Luddite for still using those “real” cameras. Sigh. Now if I could just figure out how to make the phone’s camera filters make me look 30 years younger. And more handsome too. 🤔

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Snow Festoons Roxy Ann (Southwest Oregon) 15-Mar-2021

We guess that snow was more common in Southern Oregon at lower altitudes back in the day. In the last few years, however, it seems you need to be above 6,000 feet (1,828 m) to have a chance at serious, lasting snow. At just 3,573 ft (1,089 m), nearby Roxy Ann Peak rarely qualifies for a snowy mantle of any depth or longevity. Last night, however, a powerful, wet, cold front swept through, leaving 6 inches (15 cm) of fluffy white stuff on Roxy. It won’t last long. But, anticipating it’s arrival, and verifying same from our back porch early this morning, allowed us to speed up there to enjoy it while it lasts. Snow, when you don’t have to shovel it, dig your car out of it, or otherwise involuntarily mess with it, is truly enjoyable. And it really does give Roxy and the surrounding area a whole different look and feel. 🙂

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2020 Around Roxy Ann (December 2020)

Roxy Ann Peak (3,573 ft / 1,089 m) is the high point in the City of Medford’s Prescott Park. It’s not far from our house. We hike there frequently, mostly for the exercise, the ever-changing views, and the madrones. We used to post about these hikes more often. We stopped doing so because it seemed like Roxy was getting to be old (but not fake) news. But, thanks to what’s made 2020 so special, we’ve spent more time around Roxy Ann this year than ever before. A…lot…more…time. As a result, we’ve amassed phone photos of the park for every month of 2020. So here, old news or not, is a visual homage to the blessings of this readily accessible open space. This park has been good to (and for) us. We get it. We absolutely do not need another year like 2020 to remind us of that. Never, ever. 😐

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A White Christmas on Roxy Ann 25-Dec-2019

A mild disturbance (Marley’s ghost?) fluttered through the atmosphere last night, leaving behind a light dusting of snow. Not on the valley floor, which was mired in fog, but up on nearby Roxy Ann Peak. Its flanks and summit held out the promise of both snow and sun – if we climbed high enough. So, leaving The Princess (our cat) to further entangle herself in discarded gift wrapping (Pets are such fun! 😉 ), we went in search of a white Christmas. Starting from the upper parking lot in fog, we climbed the snowy Ponderosa Trail to reach sun on the summit, and then descended Tower Road for a fog-shrouded return. We got home to find the wrapping scattered and The Princess hard at work napping, which is her best (and only) trick. A good Christmas was thus had by all! 😀

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Big Snow on Roxy Ann (Oregon) 10-Feb-2019

It snowed here last night – three inches of fluffy powder on our backyard picnic table; more higher up. Whether this is THE big snow or just A big snow for 2019 remains to be seen. Yeah, pretty tame stuff compared to the Polar Vortex (or spring in the Dakotas). But it was enough to inspire us to pull on snow boots and make yet another pilgrimage to Roxy Ann for some easy snow walking. The drive to the “trailhead” at the lower gate (closed for the day) involved some slipping and sliding on our part. It also involved us dodging some other drivers who were obviously unfamiliar with just how frictionless icy snow can be – wheeeeeeo_O

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On the Trail Again, Gently, in Oregon 05-Feb-2019

Fall backwards off a rock.
Mash your spine between the ground and your pack.
Experience intense back pain.
Go to urgent care.
Be the only trauma patient in a room full gagging, wheezing, moaning flu suffers.
Visualize Jan Van Eyck’s The Last Judgment.
Have x-rays reveal only a soft tissue injury.
Be given only ibuprofen and rest as treatment.
Go home and lie down.
Develop (inevitably) a case of the flu.
Treat with more ibuprofen and rest.
Experience delightful combination of wracking cough and bad back.
After three weeks and two bottles of ibuprofen, arise from your bed.
Resolve not to fall backwards again [ever].
Buy shares in whoever makes ibuprofen.
Totter out for a short hike in a snow storm.
Feel much…much better.

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Winter Comes to Roxy Ann (Oregon) 07-Jan-2019

One of the peculiarities of winter here in the Bear Creek and Rogue River valleys is the inversion. Between storms, when the winds are quiet, cold air can become trapped (inverted) under a warm layer about 1,000 feet above the valley floor. Then it metamorphoses into a thick layer of dense, gloomy Mordor-esque fog near the ground. This gloom can, if you don’t arm yourself with a technological augury, fool you into moping around the house feeling sorry for yourself because it’s too gloomy to go hiking. Oh, boo hoo. 😥

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Bombus on Grasses 11-Jun-2018

Roxy Ann Prescott Park Medford Oregon
I got this…

We were on an exercise hike around Roxy Ann Peak in Prescott Park when we came upon this bumblebee (Bombus sp.) gripped between two stalks of grass. The wind was oscillating the stalks in different directions, pulling and pushing the bee like some kind of deranged exercise machine. So much for a relaxing break from pollinator duty. Maybe yoga the next time?