Categories
Hiking Klamath/Siskiyou Mountains Medford/Ashland Area Oregon Trip report

Bandersnatch & White Rabbit Trails

A change in the forecast led us to swap the final two hikes of our Ashland vacation when Friday called for rain and the possibility of thunderstorms. Heading into the Red Buttes Wilderness under those conditions didn’t sound like the best idea so instead we looked to a closer pair of Sullivan’s featured hikes in the Ashland Trails System. The two featured hikes are a 3.5 mile lollipop loop using the Bandersnatch Trail (hike #53 edition 4.2) and a 4 mile lollipop on the Mike Uhtoff and White Rabbit Trails (hike #54 edition 4.2). Our plan was to combine the two hikes utilizing several of the other trails within the trail system. Our plan was to start at the Witzend Trailhead and take the Waterline Trail from there to the Bandersnatch Trail where we would turn left
following it to the Red Queen Trail. We would then take a right on the Red Queen Trail following it to the Caterpillar Trail where we would turn left to a junction where we thought we would turn right onto the Mike Uhtoff Trail. (Spoiler – you have to first take the Queen of Hearts Loop to reach the Mike Uhtoff Trail.) We then planned to follow the Mike Uhtoff Trail to a junction with a trail from the Oredson-Todd Woods where we would hook up with the White Rabbit Trail. We could then turn left onto it and follow it to an upper trailhead where we could pick up the Alice in Wonderland Trail which would bring us back to the Bandersnatch Trail. A right on the Bandersnatch Trail would then bring us to the Jubjub Trail where a left turn would lead us back again to the Bandersnatch Trail section that we’d first been on which we would follow back to the Waterline Trail and our car. If that sounds confusing you’re not alone, we spent much of the hike confused but for the most part successfully managed to follow our plan.

We got a little later start than usual due to taking advantage of the full breakfast offered at the motel but there was still only one or two other cars at the trailhead when arrived.
IMG_4266Sign for the Witzend Trail at the trailhead. Not one of the trails we wanted today.

IMG_4267The Waterline Trail is the smaller gravel roadbed to the left of the fire hydrant.

IMG_4268Despite the sign saying Snark online maps show that trail starting further up the Waterline Trail.

IMG_4273The Snark Trail splitting off to the right.

IMG_4274Turning left onto the Bandersnatch Trail.

There were a few pieces of art along the lower section of trail.
IMG_4275Marty the Pacific Fisher

IMG_4281

IMG_4280

The Bandersnatch Trail climbed uphill passed a number of wildflowers and a whole lot of poison oak.
20220617_072155Henderson’s stars

IMG_4292Paintbrush and blue sky.

IMG_4296Mariposa lily

20220617_072903Ookow

20220617_072919Diamond clarkia

20220617_073207Some of that poison oak.

IMG_4308A cryptantha

20220617_073331Honeysuckle

IMG_4312Madia and winecup clarkia

IMG_4315Bell catchfly

IMG_4318View down toward Ashland.

IMG_4320Picnic table at the top of the hill.

From the picnic table the Bandersnatch Trail descended to a crossing of the bike only BTI Trail before arriving at the junction with the Red Queen Trail.
IMG_4325Crossing the BTI Trail

IMG_4326Baresteam wild buckwheat

IMG_4332Wallflower

20220617_075706heart-leaf milkweed

IMG_4336Wild onion

IMG_4339Another Snark Trail encounter.

IMG_4340The Red Queen Trail junction ahead.

IMG_4341

IMG_4343Bluehead gilia

We followed the Red Queen Trail for 1.6 miles to the Caterpillar Trail.
IMG_4349Madrones along the Red Queen Trail.

IMG_4352National Forest boundary.

IMG_4355Lupine

IMG_4357Clouding up.

IMG_4363

IMG_4364Deer brush

IMG_4366A madrone and a ponderosa

IMG_4368Nearing the junction with Road 2060 and the Caterpillar Trail.

IMG_4371Sign for the Caterpillar Trail across the road.

IMG_4373

After 0.4 miles on the Caterpillar Trail we came to a series of signs and junctions.
IMG_4374

IMG_4376Iris

IMG_4378

IMG_4381The first signed junction with more signs in the distance.

IMG_4382

IMG_4383

After consulting the maps we had and reading all the signs we headed uphill past a sign for the Queen of Hearts Trail which listed the Mike Uhtoff Trail as being 0.15 away.
IMG_4385

The one mistake we made on our route came at the next signed junction which was just a short distance uphill. At this junction with a small bench the sign only listed the Queen of Hearts and pointed left and in the direction that we had come from. A third trail continued uphill which we mistook for the Mike Uhtoff Trail thinking that we had gone the 0.15 miles and it just wasn’t signed.
IMG_4388

This path led uphill past some boulders and nice madrone trees before reaching a fence at some private land where it made a hard left and followed the fence line.
IMG_4394

IMG_4395

IMG_4399

IMG_4405There were a lot of cool madrones along the trails.

The trail followed the fence line to a ridge with what looked like it would have been a decent viewpoint on a clearer day.
IMG_4413

IMG_4415

IMG_4418Madrone bark

The trail followed the ridge to the left away from the fence and after a gradual initial descent dove almost straight down the ridge end.
IMG_4430

This design didn’t seem to fit with the other trails we’d seen and been on and we wondered why the Uhtoff Trail was different, then we came to a large junction near a bench where a sign on our left for the Mike Uhtoff Trail pointed to a different path.
IMG_4431Arriving at the junction with the Mike Uhtoff sign to the left.

IMG_4432That isn’t the trail we were on so where were we?

As I mentioned above we learned later that we should have stuck to the Queen of Hearts Loop a little longer instead of heading uphill on the unsigned trail that we’d taken. As far as we can tell the trail that we were on has no name but I was able to find at least one map showing it as a red dotted line. While we were thoroughly confused about how we’d missed the Mike Uhtoff Trail and had no idea what trail we’d just been on we quickly recognized where we were on the map at a junction with the White Rabbit Trail which we would be coming back up.
IMG_4433

For now we stayed right on the Mike Uhtoff Trail (now it really was) and descended through more madrones.
IMG_4437

IMG_4439Still no real rain but it was clouding up even more.

20220617_094755Grand collomia

20220617_094806

IMG_4446

IMG_4457

IMG_4458

IMG_4460Silverleaf phacelia

There were a number of connector trails running between the Uhtoff and White Rabbit Trails but they were fairly well signed allowing us to stick to the Uhtoff.
IMG_4461

IMG_4462

We did turn off the Uhtoff when it crossed the White Rabbit Trail above a junction with the Oredson-Todd Woods Trail.
IMG_4466We turned right onto this road bed which is the White Rabbit Trail.

IMG_4468We hiked downhill on the White Rabbit to a bench (just visible through the vegetation on the left) at the trail junction.

IMG_4469Trail to the Oredson-Todd Woods.

Sullivan showed a map as being located a little further down the White Rabbit Trail and we were hoping it was a full sized map so we continued downhill to see if maybe it could tell us where we’d gone wrong earlier. There were a lot of bachelor buttons, a non-native but pretty flower, along this stretch of the White Rabbit Trail.
20220617_101648

20220617_101705

20220617_101906

20220617_101812

We were losing a fair amount of elevation (and we’d already lost a lot) so when we saw what appeared to be just another small map on a sign post in the distance we decided to turn back onto the Uhtoff Trail and head back uphill.
IMG_4482We turned left here. There is a sign downhill on the left with what looked to be a small white map which we’d seen on other trail signs. These gave very limited information for bike routes.

We followed the Uhtoff Trail back up to the crossing of the White Rabbit Trail where we again turned onto it, now heading uphill.
IMG_4484

IMG_4488

IMG_4490

IMG_4492One of the white maps at the White Rabbit/Cheshire Cat junction.

We followed the White Rabbit for 1.8 miles ignoring side trails. The trail gained over 500′ via a series of switchbacks before leveling out a bit and then descending to a trailhead on Ashland Loop Road.
IMG_4493A connector for the Uhtoff Trail at a switchback.

IMG_4496

IMG_4500Large boulders near the Looking Glass Trail jct.

IMG_4504Passing the bench at the junction where we’d discovered that we had not in fact been on the Mike Uhtoff Trail.

IMG_4506

IMG_4510This section was a little confusing. The trail dropped to a junction in a small basin. We ignored this sign which pointed to another road bed with a gate.

We also ignored the March Hare Trail which was a very short trail heading steeply uphill only to rejoin the White Rabbit Trail a short distance up.
IMG_4513

IMG_4514Looking down the March Hare Trail (it took less than 2 minutes to get from the bottom to the top via the White Rabbit Trail).

IMG_4519Yet another side trail = Mad Hatter.

IMG_4520The Queen of Hearts Loop junction with the White Rabbit Trail.

IMG_4524Sign as we neared the trailhead.

IMG_4530Lots of cars here.

IMG_4534This was the map that we needed earlier.

From the trailhead we followed a sign for the Alice and Wonderland Trail.
IMG_4535

Sullivan mentioned that the trail might not be open due to it crossing some private land which the map at the trailhead also showed but there was nothing stating that the trail was not open and I’d read some recent trip reports from people who had hiked/biked it so we decided to give it a try. We ran into several other trail users and no signs to indicate the trail was not open for use.
IMG_4541

IMG_4542Madrone circle.

IMG_4545A couple of short spurs went up and over small hills, we stuck to the more level road bed.

When we reached the Bandersnatch Trail we turned right. While the Alice in Wonderland Trail continues it is only open to bikes beyond the Bandersnatch.
IMG_4548

IMG_4551

IMG_4552

We left the Bandersnatch Trail when we reached a sign for the Jubjub Trail where we turned left.
IMG_4558

The Jubjub Trail crossed the Alice in Wonderland, BTI, and Red Queen Trails before ending at the Bandersnatch.
IMG_4560

IMG_4562Rain to the north over Grizzly Peak (post).

IMG_4565Approaching the BTI crossing.

IMG_4567Red Queen crossing.

IMG_4572Descending to the Bandersnatch junction.

We turned right on the Bandersnatch Trail and climbed back up to the picnic table we had passed earlier and retraced our steps to the Witzend Trailhead.
IMG_4575

IMG_4576

IMG_4577Marty the Pacific Fisher from the other side.

IMG_4578The Waterline Trail 0.1 mile from the Witzend Trailhead.

We wound up with a 9.5 mile hike with over 2000′ of elevation gain which was a surprising amount for a hike so close to town but there were a lot of ups and downs. Despite the abundance of poison oak it’s a fun area to hike in. The Lewis Carroll themed trail names add to the fun and the madrone trees with their twists and bends seem to belong in Alice in Wonderland. The trails are wide enough that the poison oak was never a concern and for the most part are well signed. There are just so many that criss-cross and intersect that even with decent signage it’s easy to get confused.

We managed to stay pretty dry as it only sprinkled a couple of times while we were hiking. That changed in the afternoon as it was pouring when we ventured out for a meal at Xeres Mediterranean Grill. The food was great there and they had a nice little market as well. We packed up as much as we could that night so that we could get a nice early start in the morning for our final hike of the trip before heading home. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Bandersnatch and White Rabbit Trails

Categories
Hiking Klamath/Siskiyou Mountains Medford/Ashland Area Oregon Trip report

Siskiyou Peak & Gap – 06/16/2022

Much like our first day in the Ashland area (post) we spent our second day hiking on the PCT in the Siskiyou Mountains. Just as we had the day before we had planned to head both north and south from our trailhead which was supposed to be at Siskiyou Gap. The driving directions given by the Forest Service say to take FR 20 -Mt. Ashland Road, but we opted to take FR 22 – Wagner Creek Road per Sullivan’s driving directions. This road was in good shape but about halfway to the trailhead our “Low Tire Pressure” light came on. Those have become my most dreaded three words while on vacation as it seems to happen every 2 or 3 trips we make. FR 22 ends at FR 20 about three quarters of a mile from the trailhead so we turned right onto FR 20 which was filled with two large pools of water. The first hole wasn’t bad but the second was deceptively deep and the Outback had a momentary struggle getting through. Just beyond this puddle we passed through a 5-way junction staying on FR 20 which was full of potholes. With the tire light on I decided enough was enough and turned the car around. We drove back through the water filled hole and parked at the FR 22/20 junction.
IMG_4265The deepest hole, it doesn’t look too bad here.

IMG_4063Potholes on FR 20. These turned out to be the worst of the stretch between the junction and Siskiyou Gap but we didn’t know that until we’d walked this road later in the day.

While not an official trailhead the PCT passes through the 5-way junction that we’d parked near so we easily hopped onto the trail.
IMG_3954The PCT was just a few yards into the forest from the FR 20/22 junction.

Today we headed north (left) on the PCT first hoping to reach the summit of Siskiyou Peak before clouds started moving in. Heading into vacation the forecast for the day had been for mostly sunny skies with rains showers moving in the next afternoon (Friday) but by Wednesday night things had shifted and now the showers were arriving Thursday with rain Friday and showers Saturday.
IMG_3955

IMG_3967Jessica sticktight?

There were occasional glimpses of Mt. Shasta to the south along this stretch of trail.
IMG_3973

IMG_3983Mt. Shasta and Black Butte (post). The layer of smoke from the day before seemed to have blown out overnight.

IMG_3977Paintbrush

We followed the PCT north approximately two and a quarter miles to a ridge on the north side of Siskiyou Peak where a clear path led uphill towards the summit.
IMG_3985

IMG_3992Siskiyou Peak from the PCT.

IMG_3999Lupine and pussypaws

IMG_4004The PCT heading toward Mt. Ashland from the ridge where we left it.

IMG_4006Towers on Mt. Ashland.

IMG_4008The trail up Siskiyou Peak.

It was a little over a quarter mile to the summit.
IMG_4011Observation Peak to the left, where we had been the day before with Big Red Mountain on the right, where we were going later today.

IMG_4011Mt. Ashland to the right.

IMG_4016Mt. McLoughlin (post) dealing with a few clouds.

IMG_4018The final rocky climb to the summit.

IMG_4021Mt. Shasta from the summit.

IMG_4022

IMG_4024The snowy Marble Mountains (post) with Observation Peak to the right.

IMG_4027Some of the Marble Mountains.

IMG_4028I believe these are peaks in the Russian Wilderness.

While this was a nice view, the view from Observation Peak had been just a bit better as from it you could see the Red Buttes which were now ironically hidden behind Observation Peak.
IMG_4033Observation Peak and Big Red Mountain with Dutchman Peak in a cloud behind Big Red.

IMG_4043Our shadows from the summit.

IMG_4044Dutchman Peak emerged from the clouds to make an appearance over Big Red Mountain.

After a nice break at the summit we headed back to the PCT and returned to the 5-way junction.
IMG_4051Wagner Butte (post) on the left with the PCT on the hillside below FR 20. Mt. McLoughlin is behind the ridge middle right.

IMG_4059Arriving at the junction.

From the junction we had the option of following the PCT almost two miles to Siskiyou Gap or walking FR 20 for 0.7 miles. Sullivan didn’t show anything of particular interest along that stretch of PCT and when we saw that the section of trail began by heading uphill we both opted for FR 20.
IMG_4060

IMG_4064Trillium along FR 20.

IMG_4069California Jacob’s ladder

IMG_4071FR 20 looking a little better here.

IMG_4078Pretty face

20220616_115714Larkspur

20220616_115723Larkspur

20220616_120056Mariposa lily

IMG_4081FR 20 became a little rutted just before Siskiyou Gap.

IMG_4087Mt. Shasta from the gap.

IMG_4088Mt. Shasta

IMG_4091Siskiyou Gap

We headed uphill on the PCT from the gap and almost immediately spotted a doe who looked like she might be expecting.
IMG_4093

IMG_4096

IMG_4098

From the gap the PCT climbed steadily for a mile to a spring on a hillside filled with white Drummond’s anemone and yellow buttercups.
IMG_4104

20220616_090218Chocolate lily

IMG_4106Violets, larkspur and alpine pennycress.

20220616_090449Ballhead waterleaf

IMG_4112Bleeding heart

IMG_4115

IMG_4119

IMG_4121A trickle of water flowing down over the rocks along the trail.

IMG_4129

IMG_4134

IMG_4138Anemones and buttercups

IMG_4139It’s hard to tell just how many flowers there were from the photo but it was very impressive to the naked eye.

IMG_4140A cloud over Wagner Butte which stayed this way the rest of the day.

Beyond the spring the PCT reentered forest for a little over half a mile before trading the trees in for colorful rock cliffs.
IMG_4141

IMG_4147A few small patches of snow were all that was left along the PCT.

IMG_4152Starting to leave the trees behind as the PCT passes below Big Red Mountain.

From the first set of big rocks which Sullivan refers to as “Crags” it was 1.3 miles to our turnaround point on a ridge above the Monogram Lakes.
IMG_4154

IMG_4156

IMG_4157Looking toward Medford to the NE.

IMG_4158Upper Table Rock (post)

IMG_4161You could see where this large chunk of rock used to be.

IMG_4166Something budding out.

20220616_101008Dummond’s anemone – the blueish/purplish hue on some was quite pretty.

IMG_4172Violets

IMG_4175There was a decent sized beargrass meadow along this section which appeared to have bloomed last year.

20220616_101146Anemones

IMG_4176A saxifrage

IMG_4183Siskiyou Peak from the trail.

IMG_4188Splithair Indian paintbrush and a lomatium.

IMG_4187Phlox

IMG_4200A small green pond and two of the Monogram Lakes.

IMG_4195The green pond.

Sullivan mentioned an old mine cart located between the PCT and the lakes and described how to find it so I decided to give that a try while Heather took a break on the ridge. I followed the PCT downhill a tenth of a mile and set off cross country along the ridge to a snag with cable wrapped around the bottom (this was visible from the PCT but it took a while to spot).
IMG_4203Looking down the ridge.

IMG_4205

I continued down the ridge past the cable until I came to a pit where an old mining trail led back along the cliffs below the cable.
IMG_4206Heather sitting up on the PCT while I made my way down the ridge.

IMG_4208The pit with the mining trail on the far side.

IMG_4209Old mining trail.

IMG_4210The mining cart.

IMG_4213

IMG_4212Cable running up to the snag.

I climbed back up to Heather and we headed back stopping along the way to admire the many wildflowers.
IMG_4221

IMG_4224

IMG_4227

IMG_4234

IMG_4241I spotted something moving down in the meadow here.

IMG_4242Had too use a lot of zoom to determine it was a deer.

20220616_114736Chocolate lily

IMG_4254Mt. Shasta and Black Butte from Siskiyou Gap on the way back.

IMG_4258Our final view of Mt. Shasta this trip.

IMG_4257Mt. Eddy (post)

We were happy to see that none of our tires were flat (or even appeared all that low). We drove back down to Ashland and stopped at the Les Schwab. They added some air to the tires which took care of the light by the time we’d gotten back to the motel. Since it hadn’t started raining yet we decided to walk back to Caldera Brewing to try some different beers, split an appetizer and get dessert. It had indeed clouded up but for the most part the clouds had been high enough not to adversely impact the views. As a bonus they kept the temperature down making for a comfortable 12.6 mile hike with approximately 2250′ of cumulative elevation gain.

Happy Trails!

Flickr: Siskiyou Peak & Gap

Categories
California Hiking Klamath Mountains Klamath/Siskiyou Mountains Medford/Ashland Area Oregon Trip report

Observation Peak – 06/15/2022

The forecast for our stay in Ashland was for a sunny Wednesday and Thursday followed by a partially sunny Friday before rain showers moved in Friday evening and into Saturday. That worked well for our planned set of hikes which were to spend the first three days at higher elevations in the Siskiyou Mountains and then on Saturday hiking in the foothills before heading home. Up first was a hike to Observation Peak just off the Pacific Crest Trail not far from where that trail crosses the Oregon/California border. In fact the start of Sullivan’s featured hike (Hike #63 in “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Southern Oregon & Northern California” edition 4.2) is at the Stateline Trailhead for the PCT. Sullivan lists this hike as open beginning late June so we were a couple of weeks early but we had been watching the snow level using the NOHRSC Snow Analysis Data layer on the Pacific Crest Trail Associations interactive map to check the snow depth and all seemed clear. Some late season snows hadn’t been enough to make up for the drought conditions that have plagued the area.

From the trailhead the hike to Observation Peak and back is just under 5.5 miles so we were open to other options to lengthen the hike a bit. While Observation Peak was north along the PCT Donomore Meadows, just across the California border, to the south offered a chance to see a cabin and the meadows. After parking in a pullout near the PCT crossing of Forest Road 2025 we set off south on the trail to visit the meadows before heading north to Observation Peak.
IMG_3548The PCT heading south from the Stateline Trialhead

From the trailhead the PCT descends a little over 550′ in approximately 1.5 miles to a footbridge across a creek in the lower portion of Donomore Meadows which we thought would be a good turnaround point for this part of our hike.
IMG_3552

IMG_3556Iris

IMG_3557

IMG_3563A register is located 0.4 miles from the trailhead at the Oregon/California border.

IMG_3564We were long overdue for a visit to California, our last hike in the state was way back in 2018 at the Lava Beds National Monument (post).

IMG_3566A good reminder of how much of the PCT is located in CA.

20220615_065219Pussytoes

IMG_3575First look at Donomore Meadows.

IMG_3585This road crossing is just over a mile from the trailhead. The Donomore Cabin is just up the road to the right.

IMG_3586

IMG_3588The cabin was built in 1935.

IMG_3589The meadow below the cabin.

IMG_3590

IMG_3596

IMG_3602Death camas in the meadow.

We’d seen one doe in the meadow and as we began to descend to the creek crossing we spotted another one below us.
IMG_3606

IMG_3607

We watched each other for a bit before she started to head off. When she moved we both noticed what appeared to be another set of ears in the grass. It turned out to be the smallest fawn either of us had seen in the wild. We watched from afar as mom led the youngster to the safety of the trees then we continued down to the footbridge.
IMG_3614

IMG_3625

IMG_3627

IMG_3630Mariposa lily

IMG_3632Chocolate lily

IMG_3637Cinquefoil?

20220615_072644Violets

20220615_072727Bistort

IMG_3643Heather passing through the meadow.

IMG_3645There wasn’t much to the brushy creek but it made for a definitive turnaround point.

After pausing at the footbridge we climbed back up to Oregon and the Stateline Trailhead and set off in the other direction for Observation Peak.
20220615_080217California ground cone

IMG_3663PCT heading north from the Stateline Trailhead.

This section the PCT passed through a manzanita covered hillside with views of Ductchman Peak.
IMG_3666

20220615_082356Pasque flower

IMG_3680Grayback Mountain in the distance with a small patch of snow.

IMG_3688One of three springs the trail passes on the way to Observation Peak.

IMG_3690Marsh marigolds

IMG_3693

IMG_3695Alpine pennycress

IMG_3698

IMG_3702Another spring with marsh marigolds and glacier lilies.

IMG_3714Scraggy Mountain

The views along the PCT were very good as it passed through several open hillsides.
IMG_3716

IMG_3719Looking SE to the Red Buttes (post), Preston Peak, and Grayback Mountain.

IMG_3720Kangaroo Mountain and Red Butte with Preston Peak, Twin Peak and El Capitan behind in the Siskiyou Wilderness.

IMG_3723View south.

IMG_3724Part of the Marble Mountains (post)

One and a half miles from the trailhead we rounded a ridge end above Kettle Lake. The lake basin still had a fair amount of snow and there were a few small lingering patches on the PCT.
IMG_3734Kettle Lake through the trees.

IMG_3737

From the ridge end above Kettle Lake it was just over half a mile to another ridge on the NW flank of Observation Peak. We left the PCT here and first checked out the rocky ridge to the north where wildflowers were just getting going. Then we headed cross country a half mile to the summit. The open hillside made for an easy off trail climb and was easier than if we had been trying to continue on the PCT because that trail disappeared under a large snow drift on the other side of the ridge.
IMG_3744Heading up to the ridge.

IMG_3748Dutchman Peak from the ridge.

IMG_3751Not sure if these are mule’s ears or a balsamroot.

IMG_3753Splithair Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja schizotricha)

IMG_3760Swallowtail on phlox.

IMG_3764Wildflowers on the ridge.

IMG_3766Cutleaf daisy?

IMG_3767Snow drifts covering the PCT.

IMG_3769Lance-leaf Spring Beauty
Claytonia lanceolata

IMG_3774Heading for the summit.

Mt. McLoughlin (post) came into view to the NE as we climbed.
IMG_3775

IMG_3776

IMG_3779Pilot Rock (post) to the east was slightly smokey.

IMG_3785A rockcress

IMG_3789

Once we reached the summit Mt. Shasta came into view to the SW.
IMG_3818

IMG_3807Mt. Shasta above a layer of smoke that mostly hid Black Butte (post). Mt. Eddy (post) is the snowy peak to the right.

IMG_3813I think these peaks are a mix of the Russian Wilderness in the forefront and Trinity Alps behind. Bruce correct me if I am wrong on that :).

A red can houses a summit register tucked in a rock pile at the summit. As I was flipping through looking for a page to sign on I came across what we considered a huge find, a bootsonthetrail.blog business card.
IMG_3814Rock pile at the summit.

IMG_3823Our big find. I took a couple of pictures and put the card back for someone else to find (and added one of ours).

It was a great temperature at the summit so we took an extended rest (and way too many photos) before heading back.
IMG_3830There were dozens of ladybugs in the rock pile.

IMG_3827One of many photos of Mt. Shasta. We don’t get too many chances to see this Cascade Mountain.

IMG_3831We could see Mt. Thielsen (post), the rim of Crater Lake (post) and Mt. McLoughlin beyond Wagner Butte (post) and Mt. Ashland (post).

IMG_3835The peaks around the rim of Crater Lake.

IMG_3863Mt. Thielsen to the left of Crater Lake.

IMG_3878Mt. Bailey (post)

IMG_3843The Red Buttes in front of Preston Peak.

IMG_3839Grayback Mountain

On the way back down we were concentrating on any flowers that we’d missed on the way up.
IMG_3886Buckwheat

20220615_103859Alpine pennycress

20220615_104325Quill-leaf Lewisia
Lewisia leeana

IMG_3903Larkspur

IMG_3909Chipmunk having a snack.

IMG_3914One of two hairstreaks we encountered on the PCT.

IMG_3916The 2nd hairstreak.

I decided to detour at Kettle Lake and headed cross country downhill a tenth of a mile to check it out while Heather continued toward the car.
IMG_3923Where I left the PCT.

IMG_3925Lots of this orange fungus in the forest.

IMG_3926

IMG_3928

IMG_3929

IMG_3934

While I was scoping out the lake Heather was getting wildflower photos.
20220615_113100Bee on a marsh marigold.

20220615_113143Glacier lily

20220615_113236Trillium

20220615_113635Anemone

20220615_113648Buttercup?

IMG_3944Passing through the manzanita section.

IMG_3948

The hike came in at a reasonable 8.8 miles with a little over 1800′ of elevation gain. A reasonable day with lots of great scenery.

After showering and changing at the motel we walked to Caldera Brewing which was only about 0.2 miles from our room. Neither the food or beer disappointed and the view from the restaurant was good too. It was the perfect end to our first day in Ashland. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Observation Peak

Categories
Hiking Klamath/Siskiyou Mountains Medford/Ashland Area Oregon Trip report

Applegate Lake – 05/29/2022

Having escaped the rainy weather thus far Sunday of Memorial Day weekend was yet another foretasted “chance of rain/showers” but also contained the words partly sunny. Today’s hike was another piece of one of Sullivan’s featured hikes that we had done a different portion of on a previous trip. For Applegate Lake Sullivan gives two options – a 6.4 mile peninsula loop starting at French Gulch and the 17.8 mile loop around the entire shore of the man made lake. Going around the lake requires a good amount of road walking mixed in with trails and given the distance never sounded too appealing so in 2017 when we hiked Collings Mountain (post) we made a loop incorporating Da-Ku-Be-Te Trail on the west side of the lake. That trail was not part of Sullivan’s 6.4 mile option which is located on the east side of the lake so today that hike was our goal. We had tentatively planned on lengthening his hike by following the Payette Trail beyond the Osprey Trail as an out-and-back extension. That idea was scrapped after our first hike of the trip at Mule Mountain (post) turned out to be a lot more challenging that expected leaving us a little depleted.

We began our hike at the French Gulch Trailehad a little before 7am.
IMG_1681

Here the Payette Trail headed downhill into the forest.
IMG_1682

We followed this trail as it wound around the lake for a mile to a 5-way junction.
IMG_1690

IMG_1695Walk in campsite at French Gulch.

IMG_1697French Gulch

IMG_1704Hooker’s Indian Pink

IMG_1709White lupine

IMG_1714

IMG_1715Violet

20220529_070516Iris

20220529_070712Pretty face

20220529_071505Starflower

20220529_071621Columbine

IMG_1744

IMG_1750Osprey

IMG_1755Ground cone

IMG_1767Madrones near the the 5-way junction.

We stayed straight at the junction ignoring two trails to the right the led onto a smaller peninsula and the Calsh Trail on the left which would be our return route on the loop.
IMG_1772

After another half mile we took a short trail downhill to the lake.
IMG_1775The side trail to the right.

IMG_1776

IMG_1778

IMG_1781Collings Mountain

After checking out the view from the lake we returned to the Payette Trail and in a quarter of a mile passed a junction with the Sins Bar Trail.
IMG_1791

Just beyond the junction the Payette Trail became an old road bed.
IMG_1793

20220529_081358Penstemon

IMG_1800Stricklin Butte in the distance.

Two tenths of a mile along the road we came to a fork where a pointer indicated the trail left the road to the right. We could see from the maps we had that the trail would rejoin the road in a little over half a mile so we had the option of following either.
IMG_1801

IMG_1802

We decided to split up here with me taking the trail while Heather stuck to the road where there was much less chance of encountering poison oak.
IMG_1804

IMG_1808We didn’t see many mushrooms on the trip but this one was good sized.

IMG_1812Collings Mountain on the left.

IMG_1831

IMG_1833Deer brush and manzanita along the trail.

IMG_1835Marble

IMG_1845Rejoining the roadbed.

In another mile the trail split off from the road again, this time to the left while the road headed down into the lake.
20220529_084502Oregon sunshine

20220529_084604Kellog’s monkeyflower

IMG_1856heart-leaf milkweed

IMG_1865Blue gilia

20220529_084815Ookow

20220529_085312Silverleaf phacelia

IMG_1879Blow wives?

IMG_1883Lupine

IMG_1885Payette Trail to the left.

We decided to stick to the road to see how much of it was above water. We made it a quarter mile before the road vanished but we were able to follow a use path uphill along the hillside to rejoin the Payette Trail.
IMG_1889The road vanishing into the lake.

IMG_1893Back on the Payette Trail.

At a signed junction with the Osprey Trail we turned uphill leaving the Payette Trail.
IMG_1898

IMG_1901

IMG_1899Mallards

IMG_1903
Heading up the Osprey Trail.

Approximately 0.2 miles up this trail we came to a fork. A small pointer on a tree seemed to indicate that the Osprey Trail was to the right which was another old roadbed.
IMG_1904

The paper map we had did not show both a trail and a road so we weren’t certain which was correct, but based on the arrow pointing right and not straight up we turned onto the road and followed it uphill. As it turns out this was the wrong choice and if we’d have stopped to look out our GPS we would have known that.
IMG_1907

IMG_1908Clarkia

IMG_1909Looking back down the road.

IMG_1910Mariposa lily

The roadbed grew fainter the more we climbed and we eventually began to suspect we’d gone the wrong way which was confirmed when we finally did consult our GPS maps. The good news was that this road, appearing as a trail on the GPS, hooked up with Forest Road 1075 which the Osprey Trail also did. The bad news was that the two trails veered in opposite directions leaving us with a quarter mile road walk to reach the Dagelma Trailhead where the Osprey Trail terminated.
IMG_1911

IMG_1912This obvious trail split off from the road to the left. We’re not sure if it would have led us to the Osprey Trail possibly by old cabin ruins that are in the area or if it would have gotten us nowhere so we stuck to the road.

IMG_1913The roadbed petered out a short distance from FR 1075 leaving a short cross-country scramble up to a pullout along the road where a section of barbed wire fence had been broken by what appeared to be an off-road vehicle of some sort based on tire tracks down the slope.

IMG_1914Signboard at the pullout.

IMG_1915Unintended road walk.

IMG_1919

IMG_1920The Dagelma Trailhead

IMG_1921These chutes prevent equestrian and motorized users from passing through but also tend to attract poison oak.

The Osprey, Sinns Bar, and Calsh Trails all begin/end here with the Osprey being the left most, Sinns Bar center and the Calsh on the right. We took the Calsh Trail and headed downhill through the forest 0.7 miles to the 5-way junction at the Payette Trail.
IMG_1922

20220529_095259Northern phlox

IMG_1929

IMG_1932The 5-way junction.

We turned right onto the Payette Trail and followed it back to the French Gulch Trailhead.
IMG_1935Junco

IMG_1939Canada geese in French Gulch.

It was another day without any significant precipitation despite the forecast and while there were a number of folks fishing near French Gulch and we’d heard others along the lake shore we didn’t encounter anyone else on the trails. We ended the day with a 6.4 mile hike, the same distance as Sullivan’s described hike despite a couple of deviations from it. My guess is we saved some distance following sticking to the road instead of turning inland on the Payette Trail then added about the same back by splitting off of the Osprey Trail.

This was a nice hike with a surprising variation in habitat and some nice views. We were however glad that we’d decided to shorten it though since we were both dealing with blisters we’d picked up 4 days (and hikes) earlier. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Applegate Lake

Categories
Hiking Klamath/Siskiyou Mountains Medford/Ashland Area Oregon Trip report

Jack-Ash Trail: Griffin Gap to Anderson Ridge – 05/27/2022

With the snow level forecast to drop as low as 4500′ over the weekend we shifted the order of our planned Memorial Day weekend hikes so that we could do the highest elevation hike on Friday before the big snow level drop. It was already going to be a much cooler day than the previous two had been and there was a slight chance of showers which didn’t sound all that bad at this point. Sullivan added the Jack-Ash Trail as a featured hike in his 4.2 edition of “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Southern Oregon & Norther California” guidebook after the 2020 wildfire season wreaked havoc on some of the previous featured hikes. We have switched our goal to completing the 100 featured hikes in this most recent version for the same reason and this would be the first hike on this trip that would check another of the 100 off. (While our hike at Upper Table Rock (post) the day before had been one of Sullivan’s featured hikes we had previously done Lower Table Rock which is the other option Sullivan gives for the featured hike and so we had been counting it as done.) Sullivan’s described hike is a short 3 mile loop visiting the site of a former lookout tower on Anderson Butte. We had originally planned on hiking a longer portion of the trail which the BLM is in the process of developing. When completed the trail will connect the cities of Jacksonville and Ashland, OR thus the name. There are several different trailheads that can be used for access and we chose to start at the Griffin Gap Trailhead and planned on hiking to the Anderson Ridge Trailhead which is where Sullivan’s described loop begins. (Directions to the trailheads can be found on the BLM page for the trail here.)

We’ve seen all kinds of trailheads over the last dozen years and this one was up there on the list of odd ones. Located on a saddle where pavement ends on Anderson Butte Road there was no visible signage at first glance and the area was clearly popular with the target shooting crowd (a subset of which tends to leave quite a mess). An ATV/Motorcycle trail was visible diving steeply down a ridge to the north and then up the ridge on the other side of the saddle where the now gravel Anderson Butte Road forked to the left of the ridge and BLM Road 39-2-8 forked to the right side. The Jack-Ash Trail follows this road 0.9 miles to the Greenstone Trailhead. We didn’t attempt driving to that trailhead because why drive a potholed gravel road if you don’t have to. After deciding on a parking spot that we felt would be the most out of the line of fire we got out of the car and spotted the trailhead sign several feet downhill where the Jack-Ash Trail came up to the saddle from the Grub Gulch Trailhead.
IMG_1027The target shooting area and the OHV track coming down the ridge.

IMG_1029The track going up the ridge between the two roads. We briefly wondered if this had been the BLM’s work to bypass the road walk in between this trailhead and the Greenstone Trailhead but decided it likely wasn’t (good call).

IMG_1025The “hidden” trailhead sign.

We set off on the road which indeed had a few potholes.
IMG_1036

We gained about 200′ getting to the Greenstone Trailhead passing another graffiti filled shooting area at an old quarry and finding yet more evidence of target practice at the Greenstone Trailhead.
IMG_1045Despite the empty shell casings and garbage left by the shooters there were some nice flowers along the road.

IMG_1048Valerian

IMG_1049Bleeding heart

IMG_1051The Greenstone Trailhead

IMG_1052People suck

The Jack-Ash Trail turned uphill over a dirt berm and continued on a old road bed for another half mile or so.
IMG_1055Nicer signs on the other side of the berm.

IMG_1058

There were quite a few Henderson’s fawn lilies blooming along this stretch which was a flower we had not encountered in bloom until this trip so we took a lot of pictures.
IMG_1065

20220527_073940Can you spot the insect?

IMG_1089

IMG_1097Trillium

The old road bed became fainter the further we went and eventually at a post the Jack-Ash Trail veered uphill to the right.
IMG_1099

IMG_1106

The trail climbed up through an open forest that showed signs of a previous fire. We made three switchbacks gaining approximately 400′ in the process. The under story here was full of milk-vetch and wild iris and was also hosting a number of ticks.
IMG_1123

IMG_1126Milkvetch

IMG_1127Iris

IMG_1130Pacific houndstongue

20220527_081407We managed to spot a few of the bloodsuckers before they grabbed my pants but we also had to flick 6-8 of the little buggers off.

IMG_1137Charred tree trunks along the trail.

After climbing near to the top of the ridge the trail leveled off and straightened out as it headed south following the ridge.
IMG_1143

IMG_1147Snow queen

IMG_1151No signs of fire here.

Approximately two miles from the Greenstone Trailhead we left the forest at a small saddle below Anderson Butte.
IMG_1154

IMG_1155

Had we been doing Sullivan’s described hike we would have been coming from the other direction and at the edge of the forest where he says to “..turn uphill on a smaller, unmarked trail that leads to an old roadbed..”. We got a bit turned around here because we only saw two trails, the continuation of the Jack-Ash Trail and a faint trail passing an unmarked post heading west.
IMG_1162The Jack-Ash Trail continuing south.

IMG_1157The trail heading west.

The problem was Anderson Butte was to the SE not to the west but we wandered out on that trail just to make sure we were reading the map right. The path led a short distance to a knoll confirming this wasn’t the trail to Anderson Butte.
IMG_1158Balsamroot

IMG_1171Phlox

IMG_1173

We walked back to the saddle and then walked back into the forest a few steps to a faint trail heading slightly uphill toward the butte and turned onto it.
IMG_1177

This trail soon joined an old roadbed.
IMG_1179

IMG_1180

IMG_1181

Four tenths of a mile after leaving the Jack-Ash Trail we arrived at another road where we made a sharp right turn and climbed a quarter mile to the former lookout site.
IMG_1186

IMG_1198Scarlet fritillary – Fritillaria recurva

20220527_090638(1)

IMG_1214

There were an number of wildflowers around the summit and despite the cloudy day the views were good.
IMG_1211

IMG_1220Parsley, larkspur, prairie stars and blue-eyed Mary.

IMG_1229Lupine and buckwheat

IMG_1216Mt. McLoughlin (post)

IMG_1224

IMG_1227Zoomed shot of Dutchman Peak

IMG_1230Zoomed shot of Red Buttes

After a nice break at the summit we followed a trail down the southern ridge of the butte.
IMG_1231

IMG_1236Paintbrush, blue-eyed Mary, and redstem storksbill

IMG_1241A stonecrop

After 0.2 miles this trail joined a roadbed which we followed for roughly 450 feet. We were looking for a short connector trail described by Sullivan that would take us down to the Jack-Ash Trail. If we couldn’t find the connector Sullivan mentioned a steep OHV Trail that could be used.
IMG_1242

We weren’t really seeing anything that looked like a connector but we thought we saw what might be a very faint path leading downhill through a more open section of forest at a point where the GPS showed the Jack-Ash Trail less than 100 yards away. Whether or not this was the right spot it seemed preferable to a steep OHV trail so we set off downhill and soon found ourselves back on the Jack-Ash.
IMG_1243Where we left the roadbed.

IMG_1244Back on the Jack-Ash.

Before heading back toward the car we continued south on the trail a little over three quarters of a mile to the Anderson Ridge Trailhead. This stretch of trail was relatively level with more views and wildflowers. As we neared the Anderson Ridge Trailhead we did hear some shooting along the road on the other side of the ridge but we never saw anyone and they weren’t at the actual trailhead.
IMG_1246Giant white wakerobbin

IMG_1249Paintbrush and waterleaf

IMG_1252Grayback Mountain to the left with snow.

IMG_1253The OHV trail crossing the Jack-Ash Trail.

IMG_1255The OHV trail coming down from the road.

IMG_1259Lupine

20220527_094828Larkspur

IMG_1263Always appreciate a good mountain locator.

IMG_1266

IMG_1271Mariposa lily

IMG_1274Paintbrush

IMG_1279Silverleaf phacelia

IMG_1286Some sort of big thistle on the hillside.

IMG_1289Some pink lupine.

20220527_095839Rough eyelash-weed

IMG_1295Western wallflower with a crab spider.

IMG_1312Clustered broomrape

IMG_1316Buckwheat, paintbrush, and lupine

IMG_1321Plectritis

IMG_1325Nearing the Anderson Ridge Trailhead.

IMG_1329

This trailhead had a sign-in log so we filled that out and then headed back sticking to the Jack-Ash Trail and passing below Anderson Butte.
IMG_1333

IMG_1337

IMG_1338Miniture lupine

IMG_1352A ringlet on fiddleneck.

IMG_1356Post at the OHV trail crossing.

20220527_104523Salsify

IMG_1363

IMG_1364Yarrow

IMG_1367The Jack-Ash Trail nearing the saddle where we had turned off to go up Anderson Butte.

IMG_1369Wild onion (possibly Siskiyou)

IMG_1371Meadowfoam

IMG_1377Royal Jacobs-ladder

20220527_115145Royal Jacobs-ladder

IMG_1389The berm at the Greenstone Trailhead.

We were happy to find that there was no one using the Griffin Gap Trailhead when we got back and aside from the gunfire near Anderson Butte we hadn’t seen or heard any other people all day. The hike came in just a bit over 9 miles with approximately 1650′ of elevation gain. The incoming wet weather held off aside from a couple of sprinkles but the cloud cover kept the temperature very comfortable which was welcome after the previous two days.

This hike was a needed break from both the heat and poison oak. We only spotted the latter a couple of times on open hillsides but never had to worry about it. Long pants were still useful though due to the occasional ticks that we had to stop and flick off my pants (we never saw any on Heather this time). We were starting to feel like we were back on track now that we were halfway through our trip. Saturday looked to be a rainy one so we were going to stick close to the motel and check out the Denman Wildlife Refuge. For now though we headed back to Medford looking forward to our leftover pizza from Kaleidoscope. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Jack-Ash Trail

Categories
Hiking Klamath/Siskiyou Mountains Medford/Ashland Area Oregon Trip report

Mule Mountain – 05/25/2022

We took a few days of vacation prior to Memorial Day weekend and headed to Medford, OR for six days of hiking. Our original plan had been to make 8 different stops over those 6 days hiking around 70 miles. Seven of the stops would be new to us with two of the hikes being featured hikes in Sullivan’s “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Southern Oregon & Northern California” (4.2 edition) that we were hoping to cross of our list. Two others involved featured hikes that we had done part of previously and were now looking to complete another portion. The other three hikes that we hadn’t done were listed in the “More Hikes” section in the back of his book. I said our original plan because after the first hike our plans were blown up. For the first hike we picked Mule Mountain which had been a featured hike in Sullivan’s 3rd edition but lost that status after the Mule Mountain Trailhead was closed in 2016. From that previous trailhead the first 0.3 miles of the Mule Mountain Trail pass across private land and the Forest Service has so far been unable to obtain an easement. The Forest Service shows two alternate trailheads that can be used to access the loop that Sullivan describes – the Charlie Buck/Baldy Peak Trailhead and the Mule Creek/Baldy Peak Trailhead. Sullivan and Oregon Hikers suggest starting at the Charlie Buck/Baldy Peak Trailhead which is what we chose to do.
IMG_0353

Our planned hike here looked to be about 12 miles with approximately 4000′ of cumulative elevation gain. Those numbers were quite similar to our hike at Elk & Kings Mountain (post) the previous Saturday. That had been a hard hike but not anything that we couldn’t manage and we had forgotten to bring our Endurolytes on that hike. These have seemed to really help on warmer/more difficult hikes when we work up a good sweat. It was supposed to be a little warmer for this hike with highs forecast to be in the mid to upper 70s but we had hydrated ahead of time, were carrying full water bladders and a filter to get additional water from Mule Creek if the opportunity arose. Despite the similarities in overall statistics there were a couple of key differences between the two hikes that we failed to take fully into account. The biggest difference was that it had been a brisk 37 degrees at 6:50am when we set off on the steep climb at Elk Mountain while here due to the long drive time from Salem it was 9:20am when we started and already in the mid 60s. Another key difference was that the majority of the elevation gain on the previous hike had been during the first half of the hike meaning we were done earlier in the day with the most strenuous portions. Here the climbs were broken up with a steep initial 1200′ climb in the first mile and a longer 3.5 mile 2000′ climb later near the end prior to the final downhill mile. The other differences were the amount of direct Sun exposure involved in this hike and that the one long downhill section on the Mule Creek Trail would involve a lightly maintained trail requiring extra effort.

The hike started off nice enough despite the steep initial climb. We spotted a number of wildflowers and a couple of alligator lizards as we huffed our way upwards.
IMG_0368

IMG_0367Mariposa lilies

IMG_0372Alligator lizard

20220525_093017Henderson’s stars

IMG_0383Hooker’s Indian pink

IMG_0390Fern leaf biscuitroot

20220525_093338Blue dicks

IMG_0400Larkspur

IMG_0404Paintbrush

20220525_093613Mariposa lily

IMG_0418Another alligator lizard. They eat ticks but in this case it appears a couple ticks got the jump on him (or her).

IMG_0420Lupine

IMG_0426View from the trail.

IMG_0437Grayback Mountain to the right in the distance.

IMG_0440Fiddleneck

IMG_0450Miniture lupine

IMG_0458

IMG_0460A lupine, clarkia and madia?

IMG_0467Madia

IMG_0476A molting lizard.

IMG_0477A lomatium

IMG_0484Believe this is a female black-headed grosbeak

IMG_0485The Red Buttes (post) in the distance.

IMG_0502Red bells, these were on a short wish list of wildflowers that we’d yet to see on trail.

After the mile climb the trail gained a ridge on the west shoulder of Baldy Peak and began a 0.4 mile traverse below the peak through an open grassy hillside. Sullivan showed a 0.3 mile use trail leading up this ridge to the summit of Baldy Peak but while Heather noticed the trail neither of us at the time remembered it was on Sullivan’s map (I thought it was at the other end of the 0.4 mile traverse.) which was probably a good thing.
IMG_0510

IMG_0518Poppy

IMG_0524Scraggy Mountain behind Little Grayback Mountain

IMG_0526Red Buttes behind Little Grayback Mountain

IMG_0530Butterfly on scat.

When we arrived at the ridge at the end of the 0.4 mile segment we spotted a faint trail heading up Baldy Peak.
IMG_0534

After giving it some thought and consulting Sullivan’s map we realized that this wasn’t the trail he showed and so we decided to skip Baldy Peak for now and then see if it was something we wanted to attempt on our way back by later. In addition to the use trail heading up Baldy Peak the Mule Mountain Trail joined the Baldy Peak Trail on the ridge. For now though we headed out along the ridge on what was now a much more level trail.
IMG_0537

IMG_0541Mule Mountain is the lower peak along the ridge with the brown left side.

IMG_0539Lupine

IMG_0540Prairie stars

IMG_0545Balsamroot

IMG_0554Blue-eyed Mary

IMG_0559A collection of various small wildflowers.

20220525_111535Rough eyelashweed

IMG_0568Bee on silverleaf phacelia

IMG_0570Poppies

IMG_0576Butterfly on grass

20220525_112746Blue gilia

IMG_0578Grayback Mountain behind Mule Mountain

IMG_0580Yet another lizard

IMG_0584A colorful moth.

IMG_0602Little Grayback Mountain

The trail descended to a forested saddle before joining an old road bed that led to the Mule Creek/Baldy Creek Trailhead approximately 1.5 miles from the Mule Mountain Trail junction.
IMG_0604

IMG_0613

IMG_0618

IMG_0627Iris

IMG_0628Approaching the trailhead.

IMG_0629

A very short road walk brought us to the Mule Creek Trail on our right.
IMG_0632Looking back at the trailhead from the road.

IMG_0633

It was just a bit after noon now and it was getting pretty warm out so we were looking forward to the long downhill section in the forest. Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, the Mule Creek Trail was in need of maintenance so there was some blowdown to navigate. Possibly worse, at least for those of us that aren’t used to a lot of poison oak, the trail was rather overgrown in places so we found ourselves twisting and turning in vain to try and avoid making any contact. Eventually we realized that wasn’t possible so we did our best to minimize contact and keep it to our clothing (we were wearing long pants/sleeves and sun gloves so we were pretty well covered).
IMG_0635

IMG_0638Henderson’s fawn lily, another one we could check off our wish list.

IMG_0643A typical obstacle.

IMG_0656Overgrown trail.

IMG_0658Giant white wakerobbin

IMG_0660Some flagging on the left and bleeding heart on the right.

IMG_0666Star flower

IMG_0668Striped coralroot

The trail crossed Mule Creek several times, sometimes there was water and other times it was dry. We were so busy trying to dodge poison oak though that we didn’t think to check our water supply and refill if necessary.
IMG_0678There was a good pool at this crossing where we could have gotten water.

IMG_0680California ground cones.

IMG_0687A folded up mushroom.

IMG_0692A butterfly

After almost three and a half miles following the creek the trail turned north and gradually climbed 250′ over the next three quarters of a mile to a junction with the Mule Mountain Trail.
IMG_0695

IMG_0698Apparently lady bugs and butterflies don’t care about poison oak.

IMG_0701The trail got pretty faint at times.

We eventually popped out of the forest into an oak grassland on a hillside overlooking Upper Applegate Road.
IMG_0714

IMG_0721

The heat blasted us with the Sun beating down and Heather realized that despite the water and electrolyte tablets she wasn’t going to be able to make the climb back up to the shoulder of Baldy Peak. She decided that when we reached the Mule Mountain Trail she would head to the decommissioned trailhead and plead mercy if anyone questioned why she was trespassing.
IMG_0732Arriving at the Mule Mountain Trail.

While I too was warm I felt pretty good when we reached the junction so we decided to split up and I would retrieve the car and drive down to pick her up. It was about 0.8 miles downhill to Upper Applegate Road and I was a little concerned that Heather might pass out on her way down but said she would take it real slow. I was facing the 3.5 mile 2000′ climb back up and after we split the electrolyte tablets between us we went our separate ways. I set off at a slow but steady pace gradually climbing what was a forested hillside.
IMG_0739

IMG_0738White lupine

IMG_0743Grand collomia

As I neared Mule Mountain I lost what little cover the trees were providing though.
IMG_0745

IMG_0746Penstemon

IMG_0749

IMG_0756A brief section of shade.

IMG_0761Dwarf purple monkeyflower

Approximately 2.5 miles into the climb I hit a wall. I still had water that I was sipping on and the electrolytes but between the climb and all the sweat I had already lost I really began to struggle. I managed to make it another quarter of a mile or so to a small tree that was providing a bit of shade on a section of trail that was free from poison oak. I sat down in the shade in the middle of trail thinking that this might be where I waited for SAR. I had been praying for Heather to make it out safely and now I added my own safety to the list. I knew I was close to running out of water but I had plenty of food, extra clothing and a small pad that I could sit/sleep on if needed. I didn’t have cell service or an SOS beacon though so I sat, waited and prayed. While I waited for my hands and feet to stop tingling I flicked a lone tick off my pant leg, fought of a cramp behind my left knee, and worried about passing out and rolling down the hillside. I didn’t want that to happen and I knew I couldn’t sleep there if it came to that due to the same risk so after what felt like at least an hour (it was actually just over 20 minutes) I stood up and decided to make an attempt at the ridge where I knew I could spend the night. I was a little under three quarters of a mile from the ridge and a little over 400′ below it. My body had noticeably cooled down so I proceeded out of my shady spot and slowly climbed toward the ridge.
IMG_0765I needed to get just below the lone tree on the ridge in the distance.

IMG_0772

I pretty much had given up on pictures at that point and could only laugh at the thought of trying to climb Baldy Peak. Once I had gained the ridge I considered my next plan of action. It as a fairly level 0.4 traverse below Blady Peak to the other ridge where there were better spots to spend the night and I was feeling okay so I kept going. Miraculously my water held out until I had made the ridge even though I was sure every sip was going to be the last of it. It wasn’t until I was traversing below Baldy Peak that it was gone. Once I was on the western ridge I was only a mile from the car where I knew there was a cold powerade and some gatorades waiting. I wasn’t sure if my legs were strong enough though to handle the steep descent but I wanted to know if Heather had made it so after eating a little something I started downhill relying heavily on my poles. I made it back to the car half expecting to either find Heather there (if she had managed to find a ride) or SAR or both. It was just our car though so I grabbed a cold drink and started the drive down FR 940 to Beaver Creek Road (FR 20). When I got to Beaver Creek Road I promptly turned the wrong way, chalk that up to a deteriorated mental state, but almost immediately questioned myself so I pulled over and reread Sullivan’s driving direction and discovered my mistake. I drove back past FR 940 hoping I didn’t miss Heather or anyone heading up to the trailhead. Not long after passing FR 940 though I spotted Heather hiking up the road. She appeared to be doing a lot better than I was. As it turns out she had made it to the closed trailhead without incident and then made here way toward FR 940 stopping a few times to rest against fences. A little way up Beaver Creek Road she came to the Twin Pear Farm which had a small stand/store where she was able to buy some rations including a Popsicle which she ate while sitting in a chair there.
20220525_172728_HDRA random Minion in a field.

20220525_183323Deer along the road.

20220525_184238The Twin Pear Farm on the way back by.

My track at Mule Mountain

Heather wisely took over the driving duties and got us to our motel in Medford then ran out for some food from the DQ across the street. It was after 8pm and we were exhausted. We decided that we would plan on taking it easy the next day and probably skip the hike in lieu of recovery. It was an unnerving experience and a good reminder of how easily things can go wrong no matter how prepared you try to be. We did some things right including listening to our bodies and stopping/bailing when needed and had almost everything we needed aside from a rescue beacon. On the other hand we should have taken the opportunity to replenish our water at Mule Creek when we had a chance. That wouldn’t have helped Heather but it might have helped me a bit and definitely would have if I’d have had to spend the night out there. We also should be carrying a rescue beacon/satellite communicator but every year we talk about getting something then fail to be able to choose and wind up with nothing so any recommendations you have please leave in the comments. The good news was neither of us did get hit by poison oak so that was a big positive. Happy and safe Trails!

Flickr: Mule Mountain

Categories
Hiking Klamath/Siskiyou Mountains Oregon Trip report

Rogue River Trail – Big Bend to Clay Hill – 05/14/2021

Day two of our Southern Oregon Coast extended weekend had us visiting the Rogue River Trail for the first time. We were admittedly a bit apprehensive about this hike as we had hiked another river trail (the Illinois) in the area around the same time of year in 2016 and had been overrun with ticks on that outing. This turned out to be a much more pleasant outing with just a single tick needing to be flicked off Heather which she promptly flicked straight at me.

We started our hike at the Big Bend/Foster Bar Trailhead at the western end of the Rogue River National Recreation Trail.
IMG_4211

It was a beautiful morning as we set off on the trail in the forest skirting a pasture.
IMG_4216

IMG_4219

IMG_4226

IMG_4221Madia

IMG_4225Blue dicks

Near the half mile mark the trail passed below the Illahe Lodge where a couple of deer had their eyes on us.
IMG_4228

IMG_4232

IMG_4231

The trail passed through a fence that was booby trapped with poison oak.
IMG_4507The poison oak trap in the afternoon.

While the relative absence of ticks was great we still aren’t accustomed to hiking with the amount of poison oak that tends to be present in the southern part of the State but we’re working on that. This hike was a good test as the majority of the first 4.5 miles of the trail passed through quite a bit of vegetation that more often than not included poison oak. We weren’t entirely sure what to make of the hikers we saw in shorts or pants that left open skin near the calves and ankles, were we being too paranoid or are they crazy? The first four miles also included a couple of climbs to bypass private land which limited the views of the river quite a bit.
IMG_4234Bridge over Billings Creek.

20210514_072347Del Norte iris

IMG_4249

IMG_4251

IMG_4278Tolmie’s mariposa lily

20210514_074548Douglas iris with insect.

IMG_4286

IMG_4287

IMG_4297

IMG_4300More mariposa lilies (with a poison oak background)

IMG_4303Thimbleberry

IMG_4306

IMG_4314

IMG_4315The Rogue River from the trail during one of the climbs.

20210514_091222Henderson’s stars

IMG_4328One of dozens of lizards we saw (or heard).

IMG_4330Camas

We watched a number of rafts float by and later learned that it was the last weekend to float the river without needing a permit so it was an extra busy weekend.
IMG_4325

We had honestly been a little underwhelmed with the trail as we reached the bridge over Flea Creek at the 4.5 mile mark. We had equated the Rogue River Trail with the dramatic views we’d seen in others photos but the section of trail up to now was short on those.
IMG_4339Footbridge over Flea Creek

Things changed in a hurry beyond Flea Creek though as the views opened up a bit before the trail arrived at Flora Del Falls less than a quarter mile later.
IMG_4343

IMG_4346

We took an extended break at the falls before continuing on another 1.75 miles to the Clay Hill Lodge where we decided to turn around. The scenery was now excellent, exactly what we had been hoping for but it was warmer than we were used to and we had more hiking to do over the next couple of days so as tempting as continuing on was, the lodge made for a good turnaround point.
IMG_4358

IMG_4367

20210514_094507

20210514_094757Oregon sunshine

20210514_095219Elegant brodiaea

IMG_4378

IMG_4384

IMG_4388Yarrow

IMG_4394

IMG_4398Bindweed

IMG_4405

IMG_4407Poppies

IMG_4412

IMG_4422

IMG_4431

IMG_4436

IMG_4438

IMG_4439Clay Hill Lodge

IMG_4441Rafts in Clay Hill Rapids

IMG_4445

IMG_4451

IMG_4456

IMG_4462Winecup clarkia

We saw our only snake of the day on our return trip when we spotted our first ring-necked snake in the trail.
IMG_4466

The rafts seemed to have given way to Jet Boats which we could hear coming well before we saw them.
IMG_4471

We stopped again at Flora Del Falls where I was tormented by a swallow tail that just wouldn’t land.
IMG_4481

IMG_4489One of the dozens of photos I took trying to get the swallow tail in flight.

After the break we headed back to the trailhead. We were trying to come up with markers to break up the 4.5 mile section and Heather remembered that Sullivan had said that there were 5 bridge crossings over named creeks. We ignored the “named creeks” detail and began counting bridges down from 5. There were well more than 5 bridge, closer to a dozen but only 5 crossed “named creeks”. Either way we made it back to the car (and past a few cows) finishing a very nice 12.9 mile hike just after 2:15pm.
IMG_4511

After staying in Gold Beach the night before we were now headed north to Bandon for a couple of nights. We stopped for dinner in Port Orford at the Crazy Norwegian on a recommendation from Heather’s Dad. We shared a clam chowder and split the fish and chips. They were wonderful, a perfect ending to our day.

We found out a couple of days later that we had missed running into the folks from Boots on the Trail, one of our favorite hiking blogs. They had been hiking the entire trail one way and would be doing this section on Saturday the 15th, one day after our hike. We have wondered if that might happen sometime when we are down in that area and it almost did. Maybe next trip. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Rogue River Trail – Big Bend to Clay Hill Lodge

Categories
Hiking Klamath/Siskiyou Mountains Oregon Trip report

Rough and Ready Creek Botanical Wayside

As we were driving back to the motel from our Hidden Beach hike I had become progressively ill. By Thursday evening it had developed into a full on stomach bug. Heather spent the night taking care of me. We were glad we’d moved the Hidden Beach hike up a day because there was no way that would have been a good idea Friday.

We left the motel a little before 7am and began our drive home. I was still feeling pretty bad but at least I hadn’t vomited since the previous night. Our plans had called for us to stop on the way back at the Rough and Ready Botanical Wasyside just north of O’Brien, Oregon.

We’d been in the car a little over an hour when we reached the wayside and I was feeling well enough (stubborn enough) to want to give the hike a try. We parked at the pullout along Highway 199.
20170512_075419

A .3 mile gravel path led to a picnic table overlooking the creek.
20170512_081311

2017-05-12 08.21.59

2017-05-12 08.22.09

It was cold and wet, raining off and on, and there looked to be fresh snow in the foothills. Despit the conditions we continued on following an old roadbed from the picnic table just over a mile to Seats Dam which is used to divert water for irrigation before returning as we’d come.
20170512_082210

2017-05-12 08.46.30

The area is known for its botanical diversity which was understandable given the number of different wildflowers we saw along the 2.8 mile hike. We likely missed many but here is a sample of the ones we did see.

20170512_081640

2017-05-12 08.20.05

2017-05-12 08.22.18

2017-05-12 08.22.54

2017-05-12 08.23.46

2017-05-12 08.24.03

2017-05-12 08.27.23

2017-05-12 08.30.34

2017-05-12 08.35.38

2017-05-12 08.36.31

2017-05-12 08.36.55

20170512_083658

2017-05-12 08.37.07

2017-05-12 08.38.39

20170512_084142

2017-05-12 08.42.47

2017-05-12 08.44.22

2017-05-12 08.45.18

2017-05-12 08.52.09

2017-05-12 08.53.42

20170512_091859

20170512_092022

It was a tough 2.8 mile hike but well worth the stop. Our vacation hikes were over. We were down a camera, I wasn’t sure what was going on with my left foot, and I was hoping we’d make it home before I had any more rounds with the stomach flu, but in spite of all of that we had had a good time overall and been on some interesting hikes. When we got home we ordered a new camera and began to recover for our next outing. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Rough and Ready Creek

Categories
California Hiking Klamath/Siskiyou Mountains Northern California Coast Oregon Trip report

Shrader Old Growth, Myrtle Tree, Lower Rogue River, and Yontocket

On the fourth day of our vacation we were changing our base of operations from Gold Beach, OR to Crescent City, CA. We planned on checking out of our motel in Gold Beach in the morning and doing three hikes along Jerry’s Flat Road before heading down to our next motel. So far the vacation had been going okay but each day had thrown some kinks our way and this day would do the same.

Our first stop was the Francis Shrader Old Growth Trail.
20170509_072027

The interpretive loop was just under a mile long. Brochures were available at the trailhead which we found to be very informative. It was probably the best interpretive trail we’d been on and would make a great hike for kids. Unfortunately our phones didn’t handle the low light conditions of the morning in the forest well so our photos were limited.
2017-05-09 07.31.57

20170509_072723

To reach this trail we’d turned off of Jerry’s Flat Road 9.7 miles from Gold Beach onto Road 3300-090 for two miles. Our next stop was just across the Rogue River at the Myrtle Tree Trailhead. To get there we drove 100 feet further along Jerry’s Flat Road and turned left on Road 3310 crossing the river and turning right onto an unmarked road for less than a quarter mile to the signed trailhead.
2017-05-09 08.10.51

This trail was even shorter than the Old Growth Trail at just half a mile out and back. It climbed to Oregon’s largest known myrtle tree.
2017-05-09 08.22.03

2017-05-09 08.18.32

Rough skinned newts and snails were numerous on the trail so we had to watch our steps.
2017-05-09 08.14.13

2017-05-09 08.24.44

After visiting the tree we returned to Jerry’s Flat Road and followed it across the Rogue Rive to Road 375 where we turned left and followed it to Agness. We parked at the Agness Community Center/Library per the trail signs.
20170509_091653

We were a little nervous about our planned 6.2 mile hike here given it was almost the same time of year as our tick filled visit to the nearby Illinois River Trail the previous year.

The first part of the trail follows roads and paths through private property so following the trail signs was important.
20170509_092551

20170509_093424

Candyflower and wild iris were in bloom along the trail.
20170509_094504

20170509_092849

2017-05-09 09.55.34

Poison oak was also a common sight.
2017-05-09 09.49.01

The trail had not been maintained yet this year and we encountered blowdown almost immediately after leaving the old roads. We were able to navigate the first few spots without having to deal with any of the poison oak but it meant being more in the brush and it wasn’t long before we’d each brushed off ticks.

After only a mile we came upon a large washout.
20170509_095342

20170509_095350

I crossed it to see if I could easily pick out the continuation of the trail. It wasn’t obvious and no marking was visible so we considered our options and decided neither of us were too keen on continuing. We were unsure of the trail conditions further on so we turned around, went back to the car, and did a thorough tick check.

It was going to be too early to check in to our motel in Crescent City so we decided to pick out another hike from our guidebook that would be along our way. We chose to check out the the site of a former Native American village in Tolowa Dunes State Park.

We parked at a tricky trailhead to find along Pala Road. My best advice for finding it is to look at the park on Google Maps, find Pala Road near the NE end of the park and get driving directions. 🙂
2017-05-09 12.58.14

Pala Road passed through cow pastures which proved to be interesting on our drive out as we wound up in a heard of dairy cows on their way to be milked.
2017-05-09 12.54.30

As for the hike my left foot had gotten a little tender during the drive. I had been wearing an older pair of hiking shoes and they were really irritating a tendon or ligament on the outside of that foot. Every step shoved the shoe up against it and I was really having trouble walking.

We were headed for the village site which was located atop a small hill.
20170509_130756

2017-05-09 13.11.25

2017-05-09 13.11.43

2017-05-09 13.12.24

We stopped at the picnic tables so I could put some bandages on my foot to try and cushion the contact before heading back downhill to a marked trail junction where we headed for the Smith River.
20170509_130929

The scenery in the area was great with several types of flowers blooming and many birds flying overhead including great white egrets and a bald eagle.
2017-05-09 13.22.50

2017-05-09 13.08.08

20170509_132746

The bandages weren’t helping so Heather came up with the idea of trading shoes. For the rest of the hike we each wore one of the others shoes which did provide some relief. We managed to make it to the Smith River which was less than a half mile from the village site.
20170509_133627

2017-05-09 13.36.50

It was late enough now that we’d be able to check in to our room so we called it a day and I limped back to the car. When we got settled I iced my foot and we wondered what the next day had in store. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Shrader Old Growth, Myrtle Tree, Lower Rogue, and Yontocket

Categories
Hiking Klamath/Siskiyou Mountains Oregon Trip report

Hanging Rock -Panther Ridge Trail

The second day of vacation we left Gold Beach and headed toward Agness of Jerry’s Flat Road aka NF-33. Our plan for the day was to visit Hanging Rock in the Wild Rogue Wilderness and to revisit Elk Creek Falls to retake the pictures we’d lost when I threw the camera into the Coquille River the day before. When we drove past the Coquille River Falls Trailhead on our way out Road 3348 I gave one last goodbye to the camera.

We began our hike at the Buck Point Trailhead.

The trail climbed for a mile around Buck Point to a spring at the head of Buck Creek.
20170507_071121

Early spring flowers included fairy slippers, fawn lilies and trillium.
2017-05-07 07.15.07

20170507_162519

20170507_071942

2017-05-07 07.20.22

Just over half a mile from the spring the unsigned Hanging Rock Trail split off to the left. We were planning on continuing along the Panther Ridge Trail to make it a longer hike than the 4 mile round trip out to Hanging Rock and back so we decided to save the side trip until later when the sun would be more overhead and not interfering with the view east from the rock. The Panther Ridge Trail followed the rim of Panther Ridge up and down through a variety of scenery.
20170507_083227

20170507_080421

20170507_074955

Approximately 2.7 miles north of the Hanging Rock Trail we reached the signed cutoff for Panther Camp.
2017-05-07 09.30.08

We continued on passing through a beargrass meadow and a dry section of trail lined with manzanita.
2017-05-07 09.52.42

2017-05-07 09.58.19

2017-05-07 10.02.25

2017-05-07 10.02.51

Two miles from Panther Camp we came to a junction with the Clay Hill Trail which led down into the Rogue River Valley.
2017-05-07 10.27.29

Our guidebook indicated that another .9 miles would bring us to the rentable Bald Knob Lookout so we kept going.

After about a mile we arrived at a grassy turnaround at the end of an abandoned road. There was no lookout to be seen but the trail continued north below a small hill along the ridge. We kept following the trail for another mile and a half where we came to another abandoned road bed. The Garmin showed this road heading up to the top of the hill we’d just skirted around so we followed it up to the top where there was no lookout and just a minimal view to the west.

20170507_113850

While we took a break I did some looking at the map on the Garmin and decided that the actual lookout was likely still to the north but we’d already gone further than we’d planned and were still confused by the description in the guidebook. We returned the way we’d come checking around the grassy turnaround to see if we’d somehow missed the lookout.

On the way back the views to the east had improved and now we were able to make out a snowy Mt. McLoughlin on the horizon.
2017-05-07 14.47.21

2017-05-07 14.45.51

We turned onto the .4 mile trail out to Hanging Rock which still had some lingering snow of its own.
2017-05-07 15.20.50

It was quite windy on the exposed rocks but the views were good with Hanging Rock towering over the Rogue River Valley.
2017-05-07 15.27.00

2017-05-07 15.28.24

20170507_152830

Having slipped on the wet rocks the day before I chose not to make my way out onto Hanging Rock itself although it is possible.
20170507_154215

After a nice long break we returned to our car stopping at Elk Creek Falls before returning to Gold Beach. We hadn’t seen much in the way of wildlife on the hike but on the drive back we spotted a couple of deer and a young black bear along Jerry’s Flat Road. A check of the Garmin back at the motel showed we’d gone 19.5 miles on the day, nearly 5 miles more than we’d planned. We were also able to determine that the Bald Knob Lookout had been another 1.5 miles north of the road we took up the hill where we turned around. It was a good example of what can happen when you don’t take the time to fully research your hikes. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Panther Ridge Trail