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Hiking Mt. Adams Trip report Washington Washington Cascades

Crystal Lake (Mount Adams Wilderness) -08/13/2022

For our day trips we try and keep our driving time time to trailheads under 3 hours (preferably two and a half or less). The one exception to that is Mount Adams which sits right around that 3 hour mark from Salem. Due to the distance we don’t get there as much as we’d like but we’d put it on this years schedule. We’ve been turning more to Matt Reeder’s guidebooks and hike #16 his “Off the Beaten Trail (2nd edition) was the hike that we’d originally planned on. While doing some research on the Riley Camp Trail I learned of a use trail not far from the that trail’s junction with the Pacific Crest Trail that led to Crystal Lake so we decided to extend his suggested hike a bit.

A very favorable forecast, sunny skies with a high in the low 50s, provided a green light for our plans and we made the long drive to the Riley Camp Trailhead.
IMG_9133The Riley Camp Trail (Trail 64) on the opposite side of FR 23.

A short distance up the trail we stopped to fill out a day use permit (free) and review the wilderness map on the signboard.
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IMG_9135

Trail 64 led gradually uphill through a nice forest.
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A little over one and a quarter mile from the trailhead we came to a signed junction with the Riley South Trail (Trail 64A).
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We stayed left on the Riley Camp Trail which almost immediately entered the Mount Adams Wilderness.
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IMG_9155We weren’t aware that the Forest Service was employing wilderness greeters.

IMG_9157May I see your self-issued permit?

We had started to notice a fair number of mosquitos near the junction and were forced to turn to the Deet. We’d been pretty luck so far this year at avoiding the little blood suckers but not on this day. While they weren’t anywhere near as bad as we’ve had them before they were persistent between the Riley South junction and the end of the Riley Camp Trail at the PCT. With the bugs after us we kept a decent pace as the trail continued it’s gradual climb through the forest.
IMG_9161The trail was in pretty good shape with just a few downed trees to step over/under.

IMG_9163First look at Mt. Adams through the trees.

Near the 2.7 mile mark the trail briefly entered a 2015 fire scar.
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IMG_9181

IMG_9182

IMG_9184Luna Lake

IMG_9188Aster

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We left the fire scar behind as the trail turned north passing by a series of ponds/lakes (mosquito breeding grounds).
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IMG_9214More Mt. Adams.

IMG_9220Paintbrush and lupine

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Beyond the mosquito birthing centers the trail began to curve back to the east and entered Riley Creek Meadows.
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IMG_9232Sub-alpine mariposa lily

IMG_9242Riley Creek along the trail.

Just over 4.5 miles from the trailhead we crossed Riley Creek.
IMG_9248Riley Creek at the crossing.

Beyond the crossing the trail made a final 0.3 mile climb to the PCT.
IMG_9253A trail sign up ahead at the junction.

We turned right on the PCT which brought us back to Riley Creek after 0.2 miles.
IMG_9256PCT marker on the tree.

IMG_9259

IMG_9263Riley Creek below the PCT crossing.

We detoured briefly upstream to revisit our dinner spot during an overnight trip in 2017 (post).
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IMG_9269White mountain heather

IMG_9271A nice paintbrush

After the short detour we continued south on the PCT to Burnt Rock (just under half a mile from Riley Creek).
IMG_9274Mt. Adams behind us as we headed south.

IMG_9276Sheep Lake

IMG_9282Mt. Rainier behind a line of clouds.

IMG_9290Burnt Rock behind the snags left over from the 2012 Cascade Creek Fire.

Alpine false dandelionAlpine false dandelion

IMG_9295Grouse

Near Burnt Rock we looked for a user trail heading toward the mountain and took a left onto it once we spotted it.
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It was another half mile to Crystal Lake. The use trail was fairly easy to follow. It did steepen just before the lake.
IMG_9421

IMG_9303Hummingbird visiting paint.

IMG_9307Mountain heather

IMG_9309

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IMG_9316On the final pitch.

IMG_9315Mt. Rainier and Goat Rocks

IMG_9321Phlox

IMG_9320Almost there.

IMG_9322Not Crystal Lake, just a pretty little tarn nearby.

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Fortunately mosquitos weren’t an issue up here so we were able to relax and spend a good deal of time exploring around the lake and a little beyond.
IMG_9327_stitchMt. Rainier

IMG_9326Just a bit of snow left around 6300′.

IMG_9332The little tarn we’d passed.

IMG_9334While not big Crystal Lake was deep.

IMG_9341View down from the rocky ridge on the south side of the lake.

IMG_9344The rocky ridge along the south side of the lake.

IMG_9357We continued a tenth of a mile beyond the lake for a dramatic view of Mt. Adams.

IMG_9354We could hear a waterfall below on Riley Creek.

IMG_9353Zoomed in on the waterfall below.

IMG_9347Crystal Lake from above.

IMG_9359Mt. Rainier with Goat Rocks to the right.

IMG_9364Mt. Rainier

IMG_9362Some of Goat Rocks.

IMG_9367Golden-mantled grounds squirrel

After a good break we headed back down past the lake and back to the PCT.
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IMG_9381

IMG_9383

IMG_9385

IMG_9389_stitch

IMG_9392Getting ready to drop down.

IMG_9398Clark’s nutcrackers

IMG_9401Butterfly on mountain heather.

IMG_9409Saxifrage

IMG_9410Violet

Alpine speedwellAlpine speedwell

IMG_9414A checkerspot

IMG_9418A crescent

IMG_9422Mountain bluebird

IMG_9425Northern flicker

IMG_9429I’m guessing a warbler of some sort. We saw quite a few of these little yellow birds but had a hard time actually getting a photo.

We turned right on the PCT and followed it back to the Riley Camp Trail and then followed that trail back to our car.
IMG_9431Mt. Adams from the PCT.

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IMG_9434

IMG_9435Adams Glacier

IMG_9441Riley Creek at the PCT crossing.

IMG_9445Wildflowers along the PCT.

IMG_9449Bee on valerian

IMG_9451Butterfly on valerian

IMG_9454Another butterfly on valerian

IMG_9456Looking back at Mt. Adams from the Riley Camp Trail.

IMG_9462Passing through Riley Creek Meadows.

IMG_9469Gentian

IMG_9479

IMG_9480We only saw a couple of beargrass blooms.

IMG_9485Pollinators on fleabane.

IMG_9503False hellebore

IMG_9506Luna Lake and Mt. Adams from the trail.

The mosquitos remained a nuisance as we made our way back to the car so we kept a brisk pace. When we arrived back at the car there was a family preparing to set off for an overnight stay. They had an extra half of a pizza due to getting a free pie after the pizzeria initially made the wrong one. They offered us the extra since they couldn’t take it with them and we gladly accepted. Lunch was solved and dinner wound up also being solved when my parents took us and our Son (who was visiting for our Nephew Tyler’s 4th birthday party) out to Gilgamesh Brewing’s The Woods. It was a great ending to the day.

Our hike to Crystal Lake came in at 12.6 miles with approximately 2900′ in cumulative elevation gain. While I typically don’t share tracks for off trail hikes this one is listed on several prominent hiking websites so am including it below. If you do visit please be respectful, tread lightly, and Leave No Trace. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Crystal Lake

Categories
Hiking Oregon Trip report Wallowas

Minam River via Rock Springs – 07/13/2022

No Summer trip to Eastern Oregon is complete without at least one thunder storm and ours came early Wednesday morning. When we awoke at 4am in La Grande one was passing overhead nearby. I pulled up the weather forecast for the hike we had planned that day and much like the forecast had been for Mt. Ireland on Saturday there was a slight chance of a thunder storm. We packed up and headed for the Rock Springs Trailhead which was between La Grande where we had been staying and Wallowa where we had reservations for the next two nights. We were following the storm as it passed over the Wallowas but it stayed ahead of us and things looked pretty good when we parked along the shoulder of FR 62 where the Rock Springs Trail headed downhill toward the confluence of the Minam and Little Minam Rivers.
IMG_7426We parked about 200′ north of the actual trailhead per a suggestion by Sullivan in his guidebook.

IMG_7431The Rock Springs Trail at FR 62.

The trail loses approximately 2500′ in the first 3.5 miles, sometimes steeply, passing viewpoints at the 0.7 and 2.0 mile marks. There were views along other stretches of trail though as the trail alternated between open wildflower filled hillsides and forest. It was the least maintained trail that we were on all week with quite a bit of grass and brush encroaching on the trail. It was also the only trail on which we encountered multiple ticks, about a half dozen, during the trip. (The only other tick we saw all week was one on my pants at Mt. Ireland on the first day (post).
IMG_7432The trail passed a large rock field just below FR 62 and then entered the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

IMG_7437

IMG_7442Lupine

20220713_063707Coralroot

IMG_7445

IMG_7452

IMG_7453The edge of the storm clouds.

IMG_7463Scarlet gilia along the trail.

IMG_7466Oregon sunshine and tapertip onion

IMG_7469Nettle-leaf giant hyssop

20220713_065127View from the trail before the first “viewpoint”.

20220713_065338Oregon checker-mallow

IMG_7480Assorted wildflowers

IMG_7481Blue sky following the storm clouds.

20220713_065503Scabland penstemon

IMG_7487Penstemon near the first “viewpoint”.

IMG_7492Yarrow

20220713_065701Douglas dustymaiden

IMG_7495Looking back from the viewpoint.

IMG_7498Buckwheat

IMG_7500The Point Prominence Lookout atop the high point to the left.

20220713_065912Ballhead sandwort

IMG_7507Heather coming down from the viewpoint.

IMG_7509Blowdown over the trail.

20220713_070820Nookta rose

20220713_070933Wood rose

IMG_7516View to the SE deeper into the Wallowas.

IMG_7519

IMG_7525Mountain parnassian?

IMG_7530Back in the trees.

IMG_7531Some pale columbine. At first we thought it might be yellow columbine but it definitely had a red tint.

IMG_7533Thimbleberry crowding the trail. The storm had left a lot of water on the vegetation which in turn wound up on our legs and shoes.

IMG_7539Heading down into the valley.

IMG_7546Elkhorn clarkia

IMG_7561Approaching the second viewpoint.

IMG_7566Backbone Ridge which separates the Minam and Little Minam Rivers. We had crossed over that ridge further south on Tuesday when we took the Horse Ranch Trail from Moss Springs to the Minam River (post).

IMG_7569Grand collomia

IMG_7572Prairie smoke

IMG_7584Mock orange along the trail.

IMG_7585Twin flower and foam flower

IMG_7597Sign marking the junction of the Rock Springs and Little Minam Trails.

IMG_7600Possibly a wasp of some sort near the junction.

We turned left at the junction and descended another tenth of a mile where we spotted the first of several structures that used to be part of a lodge.
IMG_7601The first cabin ruin.

IMG_7602Almost looks okay from this angle.

IMG_7603Not so good from this angle.

IMG_7605The lodge was at the edge of this meadow.

IMG_7606The lodge

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IMG_7610The fireplace seems to have held up well.

IMG_7615This cabin didn’t hold up.

Beyond the lodge several faint trails led off into the meadow.
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The map in Sullivan’s book appeared to show the main trail turning left after passing the lodge with a spur continuing straight to the Little Minam River and a drinking hole for horses.
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We had intended on taking the left hand fork but we wound up at the watering hole instead.
IMG_7622Wildflowers near the watering hole.

IMG_7623The Little Minam River. We couldn’t quite see the confluence of the two rivers from here despite being very close.

We headed north using our GPS units in an attempt to locate the actual trail which should take us to a dangerous ford three quarters of a mile from the old lodge. After a bit of searching we picked up the faint trail.
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IMG_7627

IMG_7628

IMG_7630The dangerous ford.

According to Sullivan, horses are able to cross later in the Summer but hikers should follow the Little Minam Trail south to the Horse Ranch Trail and cross the Minam on the footbridge that we had crossed on near Red’s Horse Ranch.

We sat on the rocks along the Minam for a bit before heading back.
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On the way back it was a little easier to follow the faint trail which led us to some campsites above the old lodge.
IMG_7639Here we tried looking for horse hoof prints to stick to the trail.

IMG_7644Butterfly on yarrow.

IMG_7646We think this was the trail.

IMG_7651The campsites where we picked up the Rock Springs Trail again.

We made the 2500′ climb back up, watching for things we missed (and ticks) as we went.
IMG_7654Lorquin’s admiral

IMG_7657Looking across the gully we could see the trail cut climbing up the far hillside.

IMG_7658Pincushion plant

IMG_7670Resting moth

IMG_7673A plane taking off from Minam Lodge.

IMG_7674

IMG_7688A popular thistle.

IMG_7703A skipper of some sort.

20220713_115425We both missed this yellow columbine on the way down.

IMG_7731View from the upper viewpoint on the way back up.

IMG_7747A final view from the Rock Springs Trail.

IMG_7748The cloud cover that moved in turned out to be a blessing as it kept the temperature reasonable as we made the long climb back up.

Our hike here came in just a tad over 9 miles to go with the 2500′ of elevation gain.

The ticks had been a bit of a distraction but the views had been good and there were a lot of wildflowers along the way. At the end of the day it was our least favorite hike of the trip but there was still plenty to enjoy. From the trailhead we drove to Wallow and checked into the Mingo Motel which turned out to be a surprisingly nice room. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Minam River via Rock Springs

Categories
Hiking Oregon Wallowas

Minam River via Moss Springs – 07/11/2022

Following a great first two days of hikes (Mt. Ireland & Catherine Creek Meadows) on our visit to Eastern Oregon Monday’s hike was set to be the longest in the trip, a visit to the Minam River via the Moss Springs Trailhead. We’d set our alarm for 4am in order to try and get as much hiking done during the cooler morning hours as possible. We’d left our motel at 5am and I started having abdominal pain as we drove to the trailhead. We think it was a side effect of my having preemptively taken some over the counter heartburn medication the previous nights since we had been eating richer foods than we typically do. Whatever the cause the my stomach seemed constantly cramped which was affecting my lower back and hips as well. I hoped that whatever was ailing me would subside soon as we set off on the Horse Ranch Trail (Trail 1908).
IMG_6919

IMG_6921Entering the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

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The trail descended from the trailhead 1.4 miles to a bridge over Horseshoe Creek. Going downhill was particularly painful for me as my cramped muscles protested each time I stepped down.
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IMG_6934Scarlet gilia along the trail.

20220711_062416Tapertip onion

20220711_062430Scarlet gilia

20220711_062551Lewis flax, we were hoping to see it opened up on the way back up to the car but somehow we both completely missed it.

20220711_062750Arrowleaf groundsel

IMG_6950

20220711_063552Bog orchid

20220711_063854False sunflowers

IMG_6958Paintbrush

20220711_064029Sticky geranium

IMG_6968Footbridge over Horseshoe Creek.

20220711_065308Horseshoe Creek

Shortly after crossing Horseshoe Creek the trail came close to the Little Minam River.
IMG_6970

The trail gradually descended along the river for approximately three miles to a bridge crossing it.
IMG_6978

20220711_071703Spotted coralroot

IMG_6981

IMG_6987Mountain lady slipper

IMG_6989Little Minam River

IMG_6992Coral fungus

IMG_6995Huckleberry Creek

IMG_6997Bridge across the Little Minam River.

IMG_7000Little Minam River

I had been forced to take a number of breaks due to the abdominal discomfort including several bouts of dry heaves. Other than my core though I felt good and being just a tad stubborn we continued on from the bridge. On the far side of the bridge we stayed left at a junction with the Jim White Ridge Trail.
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The Horse Ranch Trail briefly descended then climbed to a pass a little over 2 miles from the river crossing.
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IMG_7010The only area that we encountered showing signs of having burned in the not too distant past.

20220711_093724Elkhorn clarkia

IMG_7015Junction with the Little Minam Trail (left) just below the pass.

At the pass the trail turned left and began to descend along a ridge.
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Soon the trail left the ridge and began a steep descent to a meadow along the Minam River.
IMG_7022The meadow from the trail.

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IMG_7025Arriving at the meadow.

The U.S.F.S. owned Red’s Horse Ranch is located in the meadow. This historic ranch was acquired by the Forest Service in 1994 and still has a caretaker. Due to how I was feeling we didn’t actually visit the ranch but instead continued past it to the Minam River where we crossed on another bridge and took a long break across the river from the ranch.
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IMG_7033

IMG_7034Horses at Red’s Horse Ranch.

IMG_7035

IMG_7037Minam River

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I was hoping the long break would finally help my stomach relax but alas it wasn’t to be; so after our break we began the 8 mile trek back up to the car. We stopped at a spring on the way up to the pass to top off our water. For whatever reason I felt way better going uphill than I had downhill or even on level trail which was nice.
IMG_7045Landing strip near Red’s Horse Ranch.

IMG_7049

IMG_7057A plane coming in for a landing at the nearby Minam River Lodge.

IMG_7060Lousewort

IMG_7063Diamond clarkia

20220711_115525Grand collomia

IMG_7066Millipede

The pain was back as we descended from the pass but alleviated again every time we climbed. It was the first time I was happy to be climbing on a trail. We missed the flax on the way back up to the car but we did spot several white mariposa lilies which we hadn’t noticed that morning as well as a large patch of broomrape.
IMG_7082Pink pyrola

IMG_7083

IMG_7089Little Minam River

IMG_7090Coral fungus

IMG_7092We saw a bunch of these black moths? but they seldom sat still long enough to get a photo.

IMG_7108

IMG_7130An Orobanche

IMG_7131

IMG_7137Penstemon

IMG_7163Butterfly

IMG_7168

IMG_7183White mariposa lily

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IMG_7192Large-flower triteleia

IMG_7204Arriving back at the trailhead.

We arrived back at the car around 3:15pm after the long hike. It was a nice hike but admittedly my issues were a distraction for both of us which kept us from appreciating it as much as we should have.

Heather drove us back to La Grande where I tried taking a bath and eating half a sandwich was the only thing other than water and Gatorade that I’d had all day. Neither helped immediately so I laid down in bed and soon fell asleep. We kept the alarm set in hopes that I would be feeling better in the morning but if I didn’t we’d have to delay our planned hike to Burger Pass. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Minam River via Moss Springs

Categories
Hiking Oregon Trip report Wallowas

Catherine Creek Meadows – 07/10/2022

We’d spent the night in Baker City following our hike to the Mt. Ireland Lookout (post). Our plan for the next six days was to do five more of the “featured hikes” (post) from Sullivan’s 3rd edition “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Eastern Oregon” then before heading home on Friday do the Wallowa Homeland hike which is featured in Sullivan’s most recent 2022 edition of “100 Hikes Eastern Oregon”. Because the hikes were spread out along the western and northern sides of the Wallowas we would be moving our base of operations a couple of times during the week starting with a move to La Grande for Sunday through Tuesday nights.

Sunday morning we packed everything up and headed for the North Fork Catherine Creek Trailhead. After navigating the pothole filled FR 7785 we pulled into the large trailhead parking area.
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IMG_6598A $5 fee is required here and at several other trailheads we visited during the week. (An annual NW Forest Pass can be used instead.)

The trail doesn’t start at the parking area but rather another tenth of a mile up the road so we road walked to the official trailhead.
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The trail initially climbs above the creek to an open hillside, that was putting on a pretty good wildflower display, before descending to a bridge a little after 1.5 miles.
IMG_6608Lots of purple venus penstemon.

IMG_6613There were also some white scabland penstemon on the hillside.

IMG_6614Buckwheat

20220710_061539Venus penstemon

IMG_6619Lupine and stonecrop

IMG_6624Paintbrush

IMG_6625North Fork Catherine Creek

20220710_062027Douglas dustymaiden

20220710_062112Spreading dogbane

IMG_6634The trail crossed several side creeks, all of which were we were able to cross dry footed.

IMG_6636A brief stretch along North Fork Catherine Creek.

IMG_6637Queen’s cup

IMG_6638Another side creek.

IMG_6640Bog orchid

IMG_6641Spotted coralroot

IMG_6642A fleabane

One of the more interesting things we’ve witnessed was watching carpenter ants removing sawdust from a dead log and dropping it in a pile below.
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IMG_6653They’re a little blurry but you can see the ants in the cracks where they would drop their sawdust. It was fascinating to watch and we paused for quite a while.

IMG_6658Columbine

20220710_064502Mountain lady slippers

20220710_065926Large-flower triteleia

IMG_6685Back above the creek.

IMG_6692The bridge over Catherine Creek.

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IMG_6695Bluebells next to the bridge.

The trail climbed gradually for the next three and a half miles before reaching Catherine Creek Meadows.
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IMG_6704

IMG_6708Crab spider

IMG_6710Another type of penstemon

20220710_073039Rosy pussytoes

IMG_6713A side creek running down the trail.

20220710_073735Yellow columbine

IMG_6720Entering the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

IMG_6726Jim Creek, this was one of the trickier crossings.

IMG_6735Hound’s tongue

IMG_6737Nettle-leaf giant hyssop

IMG_6750One of several smaller meadows along the trail.

IMG_6751Jacob’s ladder

IMG_6752California corn lily and bluebells.

20220710_082334Boot Hill Creek was also tricky as it had taken over the trail.

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IMG_6766A large patch of coralroot.

IMG_6772A few remaining balsamroot blooming above North Fork Catherine Creek.

IMG_6777Arriving at Catherine Creek Meadows.

Up until this point we had been very lucky this year with mosquitos but the meadows were very wet and the recent warm weather had the bugs out in decent numbers so we couldn’t linger in any one spot too long but we did take a short break at a campsite near a side creek.
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IMG_6779

IMG_6786All the black dots in the blue sky were gnats flying over the stream at the trail crossing.

heart-leaved bittercressHeart-leaved bittercress

Our goal for the day lay about a half mile away, an early 1900’s log cabin at the far end of the meadow. After our break we set off across the creek following what became an increasingly wet trail to a junction where we forked left.
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IMG_6794

IMG_6799Looking back at the sign post in the meadow marking the trail junction.

IMG_6802Another dry section of trail.

IMG_6803It wasn’t dry for long.

IMG_6806Yellow buttercups and pink elephant’s head.

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IMG_6805Elephant’s head, one of our favorites.

IMG_6810Ladybug

IMG_6814Nearing the cabin.

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IMG_6817Ground squirrel

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IMG_6820Squatter running from the cabin.

We checked out the inside of the cabin before heading back.
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It was only 9:45am when we started back so we took our time and kept an eye out for anything we’d missed on our first pass.
IMG_6831Beetle

IMG_6836Another beetle and Nevada bitterroot.

IMG_6839Brunch

IMG_6845A comma of some sort.

IMG_6848Big mushroom

IMG_6852Something from the Lycaenidae family.

IMG_6855Coneflower

IMG_6874Swallow-tail on red clover.

IMG_6882Fritilary on clover

IMG_6897Mourning cloak perched overhead.

IMG_6899Lorquin’s admiral

IMG_6900A tortoiseshell

IMG_6903Skullcap, one of the hardest flowers to get a decent picture of for some reason.

IMG_6910Tapertip onion

IMG_6915Yarrow and other wildflowers up the hillside.

Our hike came in at 11.8 miles with approximately 1450′ of elevation gain.

From the trailhead we drove to La Grande and checked into our Motel, after hanging out at a park for about an hour because we’d arrived a bit too early, and then headed to Side A Brewing for an early dinner. It was going to be a warm week so we turned in early planning on another 4am wake-up the next morning to beat as much of the heat as we could. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Catherine Creek Meadows

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

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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For now we stayed right on the Mike Uhtoff Trail (now it really was) and descended through more madrones.
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IMG_4439Still no real rain but it was clouding up even more.

20220617_094755Grand collomia

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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.
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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.
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20220617_101705

20220617_101906

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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IMG_3556Iris

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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.

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IMG_3588The cabin was built in 1935.

IMG_3589The meadow below the cabin.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

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IMG_3695Alpine pennycress

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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.
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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.

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

IMG_3785A rockcress

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

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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.

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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

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.
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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.

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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.
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20220527_073940Can you spot the insect?

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

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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.
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This trail soon joined an old roadbed.
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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.
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IMG_1198Scarlet fritillary – Fritillaria recurva

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There were an number of wildflowers around the summit and despite the cloudy day the views were good.
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IMG_1220Parsley, larkspur, prairie stars and blue-eyed Mary.

IMG_1229Lupine and buckwheat

IMG_1216Mt. McLoughlin (post)

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.
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IMG_1338Miniture lupine

IMG_1352A ringlet on fiddleneck.

IMG_1356Post at the OHV trail crossing.

20220527_104523Salsify

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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 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.
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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.
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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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.
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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 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.
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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.
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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

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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IMG_0627Iris

IMG_0628Approaching the trailhead.

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

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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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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IMG_0738White lupine

IMG_0743Grand collomia

As I neared Mule Mountain I lost what little cover the trees were providing though.
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IMG_0746Penstemon

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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.

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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