Horseshoe Ranch II (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 23-Jan-2022

At about 9,100 acres (3,682 ha), Horseshoe Ranch is the largest piece of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument within California. The ranch (officially the Horseshoe Ranch Wildlife Area) was added to the Monument in 2017. We paid our first visit here late last year and enjoyed a hike up Slide Ridge and down along Scotch Creek through shrubs, oaks, and conifers. We returned today – in brilliant sunshine and unseasonable warmth – to follow another old ranch road and explore the area around Brushy Creek. We even got a California Lands Pass for this visit.

Continue reading “Horseshoe Ranch II (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 23-Jan-2022”

Horseshoe Ranch I (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 21-Nov-2021

Although most of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is inside Oregon, the Monument’s expansion in 2017 brought the Horseshoe Ranch Wildlife Area in Northern California inside its boundary. Horseshoe Ranch covers about 9,100 acres (3,682 ha) of rolling to steep hills festooned with shrubs, oaks, and conifers surrounding Scotch and Slide Creeks and several of their tributaries. Its northern boundary abuts the Soda Mountain Wilderness. As its name suggests, this wildlife area was a working cattle ranch from 1908 to about 1976.

Continue reading “Horseshoe Ranch I (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 21-Nov-2021”

Observation Peak Loop (Southwest Oregon) 16-Sep-2021

Significant rain is forecast for this coming weekend. Maybe (hopefully) it will be enough to squelch some of the wildfires still burning to our south and north. Or at least enough to flush the air clean of smoke. Fingers crossed this actually happens. 🙄

Continue reading “Observation Peak Loop (Southwest Oregon) 16-Sep-2021”

Stein Butte Loop (Southwest Oregon) 28-Dec-2020

Since 2014, with one notable exception, a hike up Stein Butte at the south end of Applegate Lake has been our last full hike of the year. This year – despite its litany of flaws – was no exception. We were (very) remotely tempted to do this hike during one of the storms predicted to arrive before New Years Day. You know, so our last hike of 2020 would be just as pleasant as the rest of 2020 has been. 😦

Continue reading “Stein Butte Loop (Southwest Oregon) 28-Dec-2020”

Squaw Peak Lookout (Southwest Oregon) 21-Nov-2020

A nice walk in perfect weather. To a cute, restored fire lookout (which you can rent). With wonderful views in all directions. On a peak with an unfortunate name. Efforts to change that have lurched along for several years now, with no end in sight. But the work continues.

Continue reading “Squaw Peak Lookout (Southwest Oregon) 21-Nov-2020”

Grub Gulch Loop (Southern Oregon) 09-Nov-2020

The Sterling Mine Ditch Trail is one of the premier hikes in Southwestern Oregon. The trail follows the alignment of a ditch dug by hand in 1877 to divert water from the upper reaches of the Little Applegate River to the Sterling Creek Mine. As built, and allowing for its ins-and-outs through canyons, it’s pretty linear from the Little Applegate Trail on one end to the Grub Gulch Trailhead on the other. This makes forming loops a bit of a challenge. There are short ones at its east end between the Little Applegate, Tunnel Ridge, and Bear Gulch Trailheads. And we’ve done one from the Deming Gulch Trailhead by adding a road walk up to the Wolf Gap Trailhead. And I did one to Grub Gulch from Deming Gulch with a return on the Jackash Trail, Sterling Creek Road, and the dirt road to the trailhead. But was there a way to do a loop from Deming to Grub without much road walking?

Continue reading “Grub Gulch Loop (Southern Oregon) 09-Nov-2020”

Sevenmile Ridge (Southern Oregon) 04-Nov-2020

The U.S. presidential election. A year (or more and then some) of huckstering and debating and pleading and donations and punditry culminating in the Big Day (or Night). Of course we had our preference for who would emerge still standing from this melee. And, although forewarned, we naively clung to the hope that there would be a quick resolution. But no, counting started and kept going and going and going as the tension mounted and mounted. The Big Day and Night passed and by morning it was clear that our nerves were likely to snap before we’d know anything for sure. Then, if X wins (or seems to have won), Y will scream: Cry havoc and unleash my lawyers! All this was getting to be too, too much. We obviously needed to give our nerves some respite with a hike.

Continue reading “Sevenmile Ridge (Southern Oregon) 04-Nov-2020”

Vertically Integrated Smoke (Mount Ashland) 02-Oct-2020

Vertically integrated smoke is all of the wildfire smoke in a vertical column extending high into the Earth’s atmosphere. This is the smoke you see at sunrise and sunset (as opposed to near-surface smoke, which you see all the time).

Vertically Integrated Smoke from fires in Northern California (NOAA HRRR Forecast Model) – Red is not a happy color here 😦
Continue reading “Vertically Integrated Smoke (Mount Ashland) 02-Oct-2020”

Siskiyou & Smoke (Southwestern Oregon) 14-Aug-2020

Siskiyou & Smoke sounds like some kind of interesting cocktail (one untainted by a parasol). But, sadly, it’s not. It’s the 10,000+ acre (5,000+ ha) Red Salmon Complex Fire in Northern California pouring smoke northward and eastward into the Shasta, Illinois, and Rogue River Valleys. It is (thankfully) not the biggest fire we’ve ever had in our area but it’s a smoker. Add to that a multi-day excessive heat warning, with air temperatures heading for 108°F (42°C), and you’ve got less than ideal hiking weather (I’m practicing my understatement skills here). But with the right destination one can get above a lot of the valley heat and smoke (choose wisely aging hiker…).

Continue reading “Siskiyou & Smoke (Southwestern Oregon) 14-Aug-2020”

Big Red (Siskiyou Crest) 04-Aug-2020

The air temperature here has eased off some – at least for a few days. There is also a little less wildfire smoke about. We decided to take advantage of this less heat / greater visibility moment. During previous hot, smokey summers, the out-and-back hike to the summit of Big Red Mountain (7,028 feet / 2,142 m) has proved restorative. This elongated lump of a mountain – think loaf of sourdough bread – lies along the Siskiyou Crest west of Mount Ashland. We typically reach its rounded top via the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) from Siskiyou Gap. This is one of The LovedOne’s favorite hikes – offering as it does open meadows, shady forest patches, wildflowers, rocky outcrops, cavorting chipmunks, and views with a breeze. It’s also short – a feature that would allow us to finish it before the heat of the day arrived.

Continue reading “Big Red (Siskiyou Crest) 04-Aug-2020”

Spring Snow on Mount Ashland 08-Apr-2020

In keeping with the necessary theme of hikes that are local and not too adventurous, we took advantage of today’s gorgeous weather to reprise a favorite snow hike to the summit of nearby Mount Ashland. The ski area there had gathered a good base despite this year’s drought, but its lodge and lifts had to close early because of the Big V. Fortunately, the area and the forest around it are still open and there is plenty of snow to muck about in.

Continue reading “Spring Snow on Mount Ashland 08-Apr-2020”