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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A Pond on Upper Table Rock (Oregon) 11-Jan-2019

The Upper and Lower Table Rocks (near Medford, Oregon) are ecologically famous for the seasonal vernal pool habitat that exists on their tops; habitat that is home to some endemic (and rare) plant and animal species. But other types of water bodies, particularly natural ones, are scarce on these mesas. While using aerial photos to scout our recent tour of the Camp White pillboxes, I spotted what looked like a small pond on Upper Table’s northeast slope. Judging from its position on the slope and the lack of disturbance around it, this pond looked to be the only natural one on either Rock. So, of course, we had to go see it for ourselves.

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One Day on Upper Table Rock 03-Mar-2018

Upper Table Rock Medford Oregon

The weather forecast for today was not extending the hand of hiker friendship. In fact, it was petulant and gloomy. If I’d bought into its warnings and watches, what proved to be an exceptionally nice day on Upper Table Rock would have been forsaken. With The LovedOne entangled in the skeins of the annual Rose City Yarn Crawl, some geocaching seemed like an appropriate way to fill the void. Poking around looking for little slips of paper in small containers has its moments, which are all that much better when the weather surprises you with niceness. Hunting for the caches took me into seldom visited (and ecologically fascinating) areas of the plateau and I didn’t see anyone else until I got back to the main trail.  There is a lot of water up there, not just in the vernal pools, but everywhere; which speaks well for an exuberance of wildflowers in April and May.

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Lower Table Rock (Medford, Oregon) 21-Mar-2015

Lower Table Rock Medford Oregon

The Upper and Lower Table Rocks are located just north of Medford, Oregon and are well known for their vernal pools and Spring wildflower displays. They are also reserves for certain species of endangered wildflowers, especially the dwarf wooly meadowfoam (Limnanthes floccosa ssp. pumila), which grows nowhere else but on the top of the Table Rocks. Their respective trailheads are a short ways from Interstate-5, with ample parking (except possibly after 10:00AM on weekends) and pit toilets. The trails trails to the flowers are short (3 to 5 miles round-trip, with only 700 to 800 feet of elevation gain) and easy to follow. We’ve been doing Lower Table Rock (the longer hike of the two) periodically since we moved here, but I’ve held off doing a post until the start of the wildflower season – which is NOW, with its peak in April. The grass widows have come -and mostly gone – but a host of other species are starting to blossom. What follows is a composite of several trips to Lower Table during the past 3 months, including one from today.

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