Categories
Hiking Medford/Ashland Area Oregon Trip report

Upper Table Rock – 05/26/2022

After the debacle at Mule Mountain (post) we made some adjustments to our planned set of hikes by removing a hike up Stein Butte and a stop at Lower Table Rock which we had visited on a previous trip (post) and shortening our other planned outings. Removing Stein Butte left open the option to not hike on Thursday if we needed a full day of rest which as we went to bed Wednesday night seemed likely. We got up Thursday and hobbled down to the motel’s continental breakfast to finalize our plans for the day which included a trip to the store for food and medical supplies and doing a load of laundry to hopefully wash off any lingering poison oak that we’d picked up on the Mule Creek Trail. It was going to be another warm day but then the forecast showed a dramatic shift with precipitation possible Friday through Sunday including snow as low as 4500′. While we ate we decided that it was going to be too nice to not get out at all and waiting for the afternoon/evening would result in a warmer hike than we’d like so we decided to head to Upper Table Rock as soon as we were done with breakfast.

The Table Rocks are a pair of horseshoe shaped mesas north of Medford and host a variety of Spring wildflowers. Pre Mule Mountain our plan had been to hike both Upper and Lower Table Rocks along with a visit to the Denman Wildlife Area. The plan now was to skip Lower Table Rock this time and split the two other hikes up with the shorter, Upper Table Rock today, and a little longer loop at Denman on Saturday which was forecast to be the rainiest day of the weekend. When we arrived at the Upper Table Rock Trailhead a little before 8am it was already fairly warm out.
IMG_0777

We stopped at the signboards and reviewed the map determining to do the yellow “recommended loop” once we had climbed the 1.25 miles to the top of the mesa.
IMG_0778

There were a good number of flowers still blooming and although poison oak is profuse in the area the wide trail made it easy to avoid. We were definitely feeling the effects of the prior days hike though as we gained the 700’+ of elevation to the start of the loop.
IMG_0784Acorn woodpecker

IMG_0788Death camas and vetch

IMG_0789Carrotleaf horkelia

IMG_0794Lazuli bunting

IMG_0799Finch

IMG_0792

IMG_0801Lupine

IMG_0807Oregon sunshine

IMG_0810Andestite boulder

IMG_0803Mt. McLoughlin (post)

IMG_0811Ground squirrel having breakfast

20220526_081826Blow wives

IMG_0819A clarkia

IMG_0826Blue dicks

IMG_0830

IMG_0832Paintbrush (and poison oak)

20220526_082152Could be a cutleaf silverpuff or a hawksbeard

IMG_0843Viewpoint bench at the half mile point.

20220526_083031Clustered broomrape

IMG_0856Siskiyou Mountains including Mt. Ashland (post), Wagner Butte (post), and Dutchman Peak.

IMG_0857Another type of clarkia

IMG_0870Possibly bastard toadflax

IMG_0874Mariposa lilies

IMG_0875Balsamroot along the trail.

IMG_0879Bell catchfly

IMG_0881Plumed solomonseal

IMG_0884Approaching the start of the loop.

We did the 0.9 mile loop counter-clockwise trying to stick to the most worn trails where the official trail wasn’t obvious.
IMG_0885Looking toward the Siskiyous.

IMG_0886The Red Buttes (post)

IMG_0889Pilot Rock (post)

IMG_0890Mt. Ashland (w/snow) and Wagner Butte

IMG_0894A couple of different wildflowers.

IMG_0896Narrowleaf onion?

IMG_0901

IMG_0912Pincushion plant

IMG_0917Meadowfoam

IMG_0919Not sure what these yellow flowers are. Yellow flowers are by far the hardest to figure out.

IMG_0922Rock wren

IMG_0925

IMG_0928Turkey vulture in flight with Mt. McLoughlin in the background.

IMG_0934Lower Table Rock beyond the other bench of Upper Table Rock.

IMG_0941An American kestral atop a tree.

IMG_0944Lizard

IMG_0957A butterfly and a beetle on arrowleaf buckwheat

20220526_093532

IMG_0975Yarrow

IMG_0978Chaparral false bindweed

IMG_0995White tritelia

After completing the loop, along with taking a couple of breaks to enjoy the scenery, we headed back down to the trailhead. Along the way we spotted a few more species of wildlife and passed a couple of elementary school classes heading up the trail.
IMG_0997

IMG_1004Rufous sided hummingbird

IMG_1013Lizard

IMG_1022Brown headed cowbird

IMG_1019Mt. McLoughlin on the way down.

This hike was just what we needed after the previous days outing. The 3.5 miles and 720′ of elevation gain kept our muscles moving and helped us not stiffen up too much but it was easy enough that we didn’t feel we overexerted ourselves.

After the hike we stopped at Fred Meyer for supplies and lunch from their deli then returned to the motel to do a load of laundry. Later we headed out to Kaleidoscope Pizza having seen it mentioned in a post by Boots on the Trail. It was a good choice and we wound up with leftovers for the next nights dinner as well. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Upper Table Rock

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