Back to Big Red (Siskiyou Mountains) 29-Nov-2021

The county library’s long delayed used book sale will be held this Friday and Saturday. 😁 But the setting up, running, and taking down of it (all done by volunteers) will consume Wednesday through Sunday. I’ll be helping for two of those days but The LovedOne, as the sale’s organizer, will be all in for all five days. Right now, the weather is foggy on the ground and sunny higher up, but that’s expected to change the day after the sale ends. 🤔 So I figured we’d better get in a hike together in good weather before the sale hits. Which brought us, yet again, to Big Red Mountain (7,028 ft / 2,142 m) west of Mount Ashland.

Continue reading “Back to Big Red (Siskiyou Mountains) 29-Nov-2021”

Thanksgiving in the Forest 25-Nov-2021

With Christmas just ahead, we’ve always treated Thanksgiving as a secular occasion. Given all the issues in the world these days, it’s helpful to have a day to reflect on some good things you’re thankful for – whatever they might be. I’m always thankful, as a cancer survivor, for simply being alive and relatively intact. As a couple, we’re thankful for the 30+ years we’ve shared together. And we’re both thankful for our few, stalwart, life-long friends – real ones who’ve made the adventures we’ve had together just that much more interesting.

Continue reading “Thanksgiving in the Forest 25-Nov-2021”

Porcupine Mountain (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 17-Nov-2021

After we returned from our adventures in Death Valley, The LovedOne threw herself into preparing for the library’s big used book clearance sale – the first one in almost two years (Yeah! 😃). Lots of books have piled up in those two years, so getting ready has (temporarily) taken her out of action for hiking (Sigh 😥). But it’s for a good cause – people get affordable books to read and the library gets some additional funds. That said, today was forecast as a day between storms, so I decided to make use of it for a hike. Porcupine Mountain, which sits just north of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), offers an easy hike with big views. It seemed like a good choice for a morning’s hike.

Continue reading “Porcupine Mountain (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 17-Nov-2021”

Willow Prairie: North Loop (Southwest Oregon) 03-Nov-2021

Last year’s (and, sadly, part of this year’s) virus-driven theme was staying local. But as last year surged to a close, we became increasingly challenged to find local hikes that were new to us. Meeting this challenge was why I found myself (The LovedOne being busy with the library) late last year exploring some of the 19 miles (30 km) of equestrian trails emanating from the Willow Prairie Horse Campground located about 25 miles (40 km) east of Medford.

Continue reading “Willow Prairie: North Loop (Southwest Oregon) 03-Nov-2021”

A Brush With Vulture (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 31-Oct-2021

Three peaks straddle the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) due east of Oregon’s Howard Prairie Lake: Brush Mountain (with north and south summits), Old Baldy, and rocky Point 6054 (known locally as “Vulture Rock“). Point 6054 was never the site of a Forest Service fire lookout, while Old Baldy hosted one between 1924 and 1961, and two sat atop Brush Mountain between 1915 and 1930. The lookout on Brush Mountain’s northern summit was probably one of the most unusual ever allowed by the U.S. Forest Service:

Continue reading “A Brush With Vulture (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 31-Oct-2021”

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. 😊

Continue reading “After the Deluge: Blue Grotto 27-Oct-2021”

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.

Continue reading “Before the Deluge: Prescott Park 21-Oct-2021”

Mystic Lake (Mountain Lakes Wilderness) 19-Oct-2021

Last September, Lee Juillerat wrote a piece for our local paper, the Mail Tribune, reminiscing about a trip he’d made to Mystic Lake, which sits at 7,200 feet (2,195 m) in the nearby Mountain Lakes Wilderness. I had passed near this little lake when I did the Mountain Lakes Loop in 2015 but didn’t have time to divert then for a visit. So I put Mystic on the seemingly bottomless hikes to do list, intending it for a late summer hike. Then heat, smoke, other hikes, other adventures, and personal business intervened and voilà it was mid-October. And La Niña was back – bringing with it rain and the first snows of winter. Was it now too late to reach Mystic without snowshoes?

Continue reading “Mystic Lake (Mountain Lakes Wilderness) 19-Oct-2021”

Trails of Leaves (Jacksonville, Oregon) 08-Oct-2021

We have a few higher altitude hikes planned for before (hopefully) the snow flies. But we have other plans for next week that we don’t want to mess-up by doing a face-plant on some remote trail. So back to Jacksonville Forest Park for the first time since our smoke-challenged August. This is another quiet time in the forest – no wildflowers, few mushrooms, just a trickle in Jackson Creek (and even that is amazing considering the drought). Fall colors are starting. Some trees have already shared their leaves with the trail, while most of those on the big-leaf maples are still hanging on. But the inexorable march of the seasons will soon, so soon, strew the trail with their leaves too.

Continue reading “Trails of Leaves (Jacksonville, Oregon) 08-Oct-2021”

To the Devil (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 06-Oct-2021

Devils Peak (7,582 ft / 2,311 m) sits on the divide between the Seven Lakes and Sky Lakes Basins in the Sky Lakes Wilderness. It’s not the highest point in the wilderness but from its summit you have an expansive 360° view, plus a unique view north toward the Crater Lake Rim. Four years had passed since our last visit and it was certainly time for another. An attempt this August was foiled by choking clouds of wildfire smoke. 😥 But it’s rained a few times since, the fires are out, and the air is now clear. Another wet cold front went through last night, further clearing the air and dropping temperatures (and a tiny bit of snow); it was time for another go at Devils. 🙂

Continue reading “To the Devil (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 06-Oct-2021”

Skies Over Upper Table (Oregon) 05-Oct-2021

And so a summer that was too hot, too dry, and too smokey finally comes to a close. It won’t be missed. A change in the weather pattern started today – with dropping temperatures and cloudy skies ahead. And maybe magic sky water too! And there is even crazy talk of a La Niña winter! Oh, rapturous joy! 😂 What better place to celebrate the changing sky than by gazing longingly at it from the flat expanse of nearby Upper Table Rock. 🙂

Continue reading “Skies Over Upper Table (Oregon) 05-Oct-2021”