A Sucker Hikes Every Heated Mile (Red Buttes Wilderness) 28-Jul-2020

The meadows and shelter shown below were threatened by the 157,270 acre Slater Fire, which started in September 2020 and wasn’t declared 100% contained until December 2020. Fortunately, rain arrived in October 2020 just in time to save the meadows and the shelter.

If “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results” (a quote usually attributed to Einstein but actually from a Rita Mae Brown novel), then we are nuttier than politicians during an election campaign. On a crisp, clear day in early 2015, I’d hiked up to Sucker Creek Gap, in the Oregon piece of the Red Buttes Wilderness, from Steve Fork to the east. I’d continued on from the gap to nearby Swan Mountain to enjoy expansive views from its summit.

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Hinkle Lake (Southern Oregon) 12-Jul-2019

After a month on a raft, we needed a short, but interesting, hike to get our legs back and a 5 mile out-and-back stroll to Hinkle Lake seemed ideal for that purpose.  The 425-acre Hinkle Lake Botanical Area is located in the headwaters of the Steve Fork of the Applegate River, just north of the Red Buttes Wilderness.  It’s in Oregon but just barely.  The meadow system surrounding the lake is one of the largest in the Red Buttes region and hosts several rare and endemic plant species.  We didn’t see any of those, mainly because our full attention was captured by the wildflower-laden meadows around the lake.

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Elk Lake (Red Buttes Wilderness) 14-Oct-2018

Elk Lake Red Buttes Wilderness California

Elk Lake (sometimes called Moraine Lake) is one of six little lakes clustered at the southeast end of California’s Red Buttes Wilderness. Such high-elevation lakes are rare in the Siskiyou Mountains because this range was largely unaffected by lake basin-forming Pleistocene glaciation. [1] Lily Pad is the easiest to access, with Towhead and Echo not far behind. However, Hello, Goodbye, and Elk take some effort to visit. I wanted to see what it would take to reach Elk and also see what impact the 2017 Abney Fire had had on Cook and Green Pass and the stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) running west from there. The LovedOne demurred on yet another hike likely to involve bushwhacking and boulder flogging, opting instead to design a quilt.

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The Seven Summits of NorCal (July 2018)

Seven Summits Northern California

In 2015, I came across a small book (The 7 Summits of the Siskiyou Trail) by Aria Zoner – an Ashland-based ultra hiker~backpacker~peakbagger – that described a 448-mile long hiking loop through seven wilderness areas in Northern California (NorCal), with scramble climbs (Class 3 or less) of the high points in each wilderness.  While 448 miles seemed a bit much, these seven hikes/scrambles looked like fun, so we added them to our never-diminishing list of hikes to do just in case the couch started to look too inviting (assuming, of course, the cat ever lets us sit on it…).

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Mountains (August 2017)

But I shall go down from this airy space,
this swift white peace, this stinging exultation.
And time will close about me,
and my soul stir to the rhythm of the daily round.
Yet, having known, life will not press so close,
and always I shall feel time ravel thin about me;
For once I stood
In the white windy presence of eternity.

Eunice Tietjens (1917)

Patrick Y. Wang (1977 – 2005)
Andrea “Andy” Basque (1963 – 2008)


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