Looping Through the Denman (Southwest Oregon) 06-Apr-2022

The last time we visited the Ken Denman Wildlife Area near White City, Oregon, was the day after Christmas 2021. A Great Winter Storm was upon us then and it was snowing – heavily. We had a magical walk in the snow for a couple of hours, got nicely chilled, then headed home for warming libations. Many saw this big snow dump in December as the start of a much needed snowy and wet winter. But, alas, it was not to be, as the following months were among the driest on record. So the drought persists and the coming summer is looking to be increasingly crispy. 😰

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Farewell, Kitty Mack (Rogue River) 10-Mar-2022

Aside from a few exercise walks up Roxy Ann, it’s been 10 days since our last hike. Part of this gap was due to some anxiety-provoking personal business. Part was due to bad weather – which didn’t turn out to be bad enough (in a good way) to pummel us with much needed rain and snow. πŸ˜₯ And part was due to anger and frustration and ultimately despair about what’s happening in Ukraine. πŸ˜ͺ Seems we’re all getting a harsh lesson in the realpolitik that happens when a delusional dictator is willing to go nuclear if thwarted. So although hiking has always provided us with some respite from the cares of the world, it just seemed somewhat irrelevant.

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Snow on the Mountain (Rogue River) 30-Dec-2021

For six of the last seven years, we’ve made a climb of Stein Butte our last hike of the year (in 2015 we hiked Squaw Butte instead – which became a snow slog of unexpectedly epic proportions πŸ™„). So we planned to revisit Stein again this year. But mighty winter storms got here first, icing the roads and dumping much, much snow almost everywhere. Our hospitals are (again) packed with plague victims πŸ˜₯ – so it’s not a good time to have an accident on slick roads. And all the snow made us think that an attempt on Stein would be a repeat of our tribulations on Squaw in 2015. Plus (Wait, there’s more!) another big storm was on its way. So we turned our thoughts to a lower and closer hike.

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A Stroll in the Snow (Denman Wildlife Area) 26-Dec-2021

We did our last hike about a week ago in anticipation of big winter storms. For once we got the timing right as shortly thereafter mighty snows blanketed our surrounding mountains, with some snow even reaching the valley floor! This weather extravaganza, mixed with the usual holiday diversions, kept us limited to snowy walks around the neighborhood.

So we had a very comfy, at home, non-traveling Christmas. 😁 Sofie (our cat) and the tree coexisted, with no damage to either. The traditional dinner was deliciously excessive (for us at least). We’re facing caloric offsets in the form of rice cakes in the week ahead. πŸ˜’ But we had a White Christmas, for the first time in 33 years! So, done and done! But no, wait, it’s still snowing and snowing and seemingly will be doing so for the next few days. Looks like we ordered the deluxe White Christmas package by mistake! And it’s too late to return it! 😲

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After the Deluge: Blue Grotto 27-Oct-2021

And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.

Well, the biblical-scale deluge seems to have targeted mainly California. We got what amounted to a passing glance. But still a very welcome glance given our drought and all. Enough wetness to maybe bring some of our smaller intermittent streams to life? Like the unnamed one that feeds the Blue Grotto on the shores of Lost Creek Lake? We try to visit the Grotto in the Spring when winter rains create the waterfall that is at its greenish-blue heart. Although we were there just this February, we thought: “Why not go see what the recent rains have done for it?” Even if it was still dry, the out-and-back hike to it on the North Shore Trail from the Lost Creek Trailhead is a very pleasant one and, at this time of year, one through Fall colors. 😊

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