Smoked Pelican (Southwest Oregon) 09-Oct-2020

Smoked pelican is probably a delicacy somewhere.  Might be a bit fishy tasting. And chewy. Today, however, it was just Pelican Butte (8,036 ft / 2,449 m), a dormant {Heck, why not erupt in 2020 – everything else has!} shield volcano mired in a sea of wildfire smoke. Its northeastern flank was carved into a large, steep cirque by Ice Age glaciers. On one side of this cirque, a little over a mile north of the summit, sit Lakes Gladys and Francis, the two named lakes in the Cloud Lake Group. Plan A, formulated before the onset of this season’s ruinous wildfires, was to drive up to 7,600 feet on the rocky, rutted, high-centered dirt road that services the comm tower on the summit (this road was built in 1934 by the CCC). From there we’d hike the three miles round-trip (with 1,000 feet of gain on the way back) to visit Gladys and Francis. Well, I’ll bet you can guess what happened to Plan A…  

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Spence Mountain Loop (Eastern Oregon) 01-May-2019

Spence Mountain hosts an evolving trail system on a 7,400 acre parcel of land on the west side of Upper Klamath Lake. It’s located 60 miles east of Medford and 15 miles west of Klamath Falls, making it readily accessible for a dayhike when trails in the High Cascades are still filled with snow. Although the trails are designed to accommodate mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners, the emphasis is clearly on biking. The trail maps we found online (and at the trailhead) show both the built trails and (more faintly) some of the old logging roads that criss-cross the mountain. Some of these old roads are named and signed parts of the trail system.

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Gardner Peak (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 01-Jul-2017

Gardner Peak Skylakes Wilderness Oregon

Gardner Peak (6,884 feet) sits on the eastern edge of the Sky Lakes Wilderness, overlooking the northern reaches of Upper Klamath Lake.  It’s a named peak without a benchmark and the origin and date of this name are uncertain; it was probably named after an early settler in the Wood River Valley around Fort Klamath.  It certainly doesn’t get the same attention as does Devils Peak along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to the west.  Still, a cross-country hike to its summit was as good a reason as any for a first visit to the Sevenmile Marsh Trailhead and the associated Sevenmile Trail. With its easy trails, plethora of campsites, and over 200 lakes of varying sizes, the Sky Lakes Wilderness is one of (if not the most) beguiling and wonderful wilderness areas in the state.  But only the hiking-obsessed (hand raised here) visit before September, when the clouds of blood thirsty mosquitos that hatch from snowmelt until mid-August have dissipated.

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