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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Classic Upper Table Rock (Southwest Oregon) 25-Mar-2022

It was a perfect day – clear, sunny, warm – for a hike. True, the outside world is still a mess. And true, we desperately need a lot more rain. And true, that personal business thing was back in play. But today was, nonetheless, a perfect day for a hike. But only the morning was available. So nearby Upper Table Rock got the nod. We’ve done different hikes at Upper Table, including going across the center of the horseshoe. Today, however, we did the classic out-and-back stroll to the western arm, past the VORTAC station and the old stock pond.

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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. 🙂

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Wildflowers on Upper Table (Southwest Oregon) 13-Apr-2021

Vernal pools and wildflowers flourish briefly each year on the flat summits of the Table Rocks, two extremely popular local hiking areas. We missed seeing the ponds and flowers last year because of Big V-driven closures. This year we visited Upper Table in February and Lower Table in March, just in time to see the vernal pools form. We promised to come back for the wildflowers, particularly the Dwarf Meadowfoams, subspecies of which are found only here. Yet we kept letting another visit slide. But the rains came late this year and left early and the drought rolled on and temperatures were “above normal” and the vernal pools withered. It suddenly dawned on us that we going to miss the meadowfoams yet again! The LovedOne was busy but I pushed off a Zoom meeting to make an early morning pilgrimage to the top of Upper Table.

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And Then A Year Went By… 11-Mar-2021

A year ago today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic because the Big V was totally out of control. Some of us probably knew what “pandemic” meant in the abstract, but none of us had a clue what declaring one was going to do to our lives. We’d gone hiking that day only to come home and find falling stocks, closed businesses, and cancellations galore. It’s been a long year since. One of our dearest friends lost her brother to the Big V but everyone else we know has made it this far in decent shape. The biggest hit we took personally was seeing almost all of our big travel plans for last year simply evaporate. We were disappointed but that was trivial compared to the millions employed by the travel industry who suddenly found themselves without work. 😥

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