Sunday, December 29, 2013

Rogue Gorge - Mill Creek Falls Scenic Area - McGregor Park

After a week of living in the fog - otherwise known as "the inversion layer" - we were  beginning to go stir crazy.  Especially since the forecast is for another week of  the same.

So to avoid catching cabin fever, we took Katie and jumped in our car (not literally) and headed north on highway 62.  By the time we hit the town of Shady Cove we actually saw sunshine - that missing element for the last week.

Our first stop was the Rogue Gorge Viewing Area just past Union Creek.  Since the road to the parking lot was still very icy, we parked along highway 62 and walked our way to the trail.  Katie especially enjoyed this part as she rolled and rolled in the snow and ice.  We think she may have just enjoyed spending all the time in the parking lot!
The parking lot for the Rogue Gorge Viewing area

The actual trail along the  Rogue Gorge was VERY ICY!  Katie used her 4-paw drive, but Glenn and Carol were left to very slow going on two feet.  At times we just held the railing and slid along the trail. The viewpoints though were awesome. We have never been to this area during the winter with snow and we're glad we made the trip today.

Part of the trail along the Rogue Gorge - very icy!!

Waterfalls along the Rogue Gorge

View of Rogue River downstream along the trail

We then drove back down highway 62 and stopped at the Mill Creek Falls Scenic Area.  A short trail hike took us to the Avenue of the Boulders, an area along the Rogue River where as the name implies, there are LARGE boulders.  This portion of the Rogue River has numerous small waterfalls due to the boulders, some with icicles as a winter accent.  We then hiked another short trail which led to viewpoints of Mill Creek and Barr Creek Falls.  Mill Creek Falls was especially full of rushing water while Barr Creek Falls had icicles all along it's descent and a snow pack at the base.
Residents along the Avenue of the Boulders

Waterfalls along Rogue River at Avenue of the Boulders

Mill Creek Falls

Barr Creek Falls

Back onto highway 62 we made one last stop at McGregor Park, which is just below Lost Creek Lake. Although the visitor center is closed, there is a short interpretive nature trail at the park.  This trail is often used by schools for field trips and includes views of a beaver den and Great Blue Heron nests.  We did not see either resident, but the trail was nice and easy with views of the Rogue River.  We hope to return to this trail sometime from February - April when the Great Blue Herons are nesting.

Bridge along interpretive trail at McGregor Park

Rogue River

Well all good things must come to an end and so we headed back home.  Our goal today was to get out and hike and to find some sunshine during winter.  So on both notes we were successful.

Since this is our last posting of 2013, we want to wish each of you a very Happy New Year!!!  We appreciate each of you who have followed our blog over the past year and enjoyed reading your comments.

We also want to say a very big THANK YOU to those of you who have listed our blog on your website and exposed us (in a good way) to others.  Also a big THANK YOU to the Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club for letting us join you this past year on a hike at Applegate Lake.  We really enjoyed your group and hope to hike with you again in 2014.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Prescott Park - Roxy Ann Loop

It seems like forever and a day since we last hiked.  Despite the cold temperatures, the sunshine and blue skies were too  much of a temptation for us and we took a short drive to Prescott Park to hike the Roxy Ann Loop.

The trail itself is really just a wide gravel road that circles the base of Roxy Ann.  Katie enjoys this wide gravel road because it means freedom from the leash and the ability to stop and go when she wants. We like this hike because the 4.7 mile loop gives us a nice hike without taking up our entire day and is quick to get to.

Family shadow portrait at start of the hike.
When we arrived, there were already several cars parked along the entrance road.  The first mile of the hike is a gradual incline.

And so it begins....up.....up....up.
This 1-mile segment gave us views of the Rogue Valley, Lower Table Rock and Upper Table Rock.  We eventually came to the infamous "fork in the road" and had to choose clockwise or counter-clockwise for the loop.  We went clockwise  --- seems a little easier to us, but who's cheating??

As the trail loops around Roxy Ann the landscape changes from oak trees to pine to madrone.  There are benches provided at various points allowing you to just sit and take in the great views. Almost half way through the loop we got our first view of Mount McLoughlin, which today had some snow, but was not yet completely covered in a winter coat.  Mount Ashland came into view a little later and showed very little snow coverage.
View of distant Mount McLoughlin
In addition to the loop trail we hiked, Roxy Ann/Prescott Park has numerous other trails such as the Madrone Trail, the Ponderosa Trail, etc that take you through different portions of the park and some eventually lead to the very top of Roxy Ann where you can sit among large boulders and take in an awesome view of the Rogue Valley.  With so many different options, no trail is ever crowded, which is another reason we like hiking here.

Glenn's first (and probably last) "Selfie"

Madrone tree portion of the loop

Just before completing the 2.7 loop, we walked off trail to an old tree that is the "Woodpecker Tree" of Roxy Ann.  It is really amazing with hundreds of holes, many with acorns stored away in them.  And yes, there were woodpeckers flying nearby.  We eventually rejoined the main road and hiked the last mile back to our car. Despite being a little cold when we started, we were quite warm now and feeling good after getting outside and enjoying such a beautiful day.

The Woodpecker Tree
In closing, we want to wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.
We have so much for which to be thankful!!!!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Sunday, November 3, 2013

200 Miles & RMNP Revisited

Over the past few weeks we hiked a couple of local hikes and have now reached the 200 mile mark for 2013!!

This moment came along the Jacksonville Woodland Trails and Glenn tried to create the number 200 along the trail with some large Autumn leaves.  Then a group of trail runners came by and ruined the 200 before the picture could be taken.  Glenn tried to fix the leaves but alas, a single trail runner came along and once again, the 200 was damaged.  So further along the trail Glenn created another 200, this time with pinecones along a portion of the trail where we could watch for other hikers.  Just as Glenn finished (yes you guessed it) along came a couple of hikers - but these folks were nice enough to walk around our creation and so the picture was finally taken.
The 200 mile memorial......
Of course 200 miles doesn't mean we are done for the year......we still have 2 months of hiking time left!!

We have taken some time to reflect on our hikes over the past year and we created a short video from some of the pictures/video of our time at Rocky Mountain National Park this past summer. Click on the video title below to access. Hope you enjoy.

As the year 2013 begins to wind down, we are already thinking of hikes we would love to do in 2014 and have some planned.  If you have a favorite hike, we would love to hear about it and maybe we will add it to our list of hikes for next year.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Monday, October 14, 2013

Applegate Lake - Payette, Calsh & Osprey Trails

This past Saturday we ventured out to the Jacksonville Woodland Trails again despite weather forecasts and hiked the Beekman Canyon, California and Grove Woods trails.  It was a short hike which concluded with about 10 minutes of hiking in the rain (which is nothing like singing in the rain).

This short hike only made us want to get out again on Sunday since the forecast was for sunshine.  So on Sunday we drove from Medford out to Applegate Lake, The drive itself was a treat with the red and yellow Autumn colors dotting the landscape and farms along our route.

Once we arrived at the lake, we parked at the French Gulch Trailhead parking lot area and started our hike by heading down the Payette Trail.  The sun was out but it was a brisk 46 degrees.  The first thing that caught our eye as we started hiking was the low water level of the lake. We have never hiked around the Applegate Lake area in the Autumn, so we are not sure if this level is normal or lower than normal.  Either way, it was low.  (A little later in our posting you will see how even despite the low water level, the lake can still be framed into a beautiful view & picture)

Yup, that is the lake.....way out there.
Another view of Applegate Lake with low water level
Along the first 1-mile stretch of the Payette trail we were treated to sections colored in Autumn yellow. At times we would stop and look up at the sky through a sea of yellow and take in the beauty of Autumn.  We have added a couple of pictures for your viewing, but they are not the same as being there.

The Payette Trail and Autumn Yellow
Yes, it is Autumn!
An upward view through a sea of yellow leaves!

One of the large Autumn  trees along the Payette Trail
After almost a mile, we reached an intersection with the Calsh trail and headed away from the lake through a more wooded portion of our hike.  This .7 mile connector trail was mostly uphill and evidently is traveled often by Yogi and Boo-Boo. We did not see any bears, but we knew they were around. Once again we were treated at various points along the trail to splashes of Autumn yellow.

The Calsh trail took us to another parking lot/trailhead area at Applegate Lake, the Dagelma Trailhead.  To continue our loop hike, we opted to take the Osprey Trail which would head back down the hill to another section of the lake and connect back into the Payette trail.

An Autumn thistle

When we have hiked the Osprey trail in the Spring or early Summer, there are grassy meadows that abound with wildflowers.  But thanks to Summer and the arrival of Autumn, those meadows were dried and brown. We did notice that Yogi, Boo-Boo and all their relatives evidently like this wide and easy hiking trail - even more than the Calsh trail.

We eventually made our way to the Payette trail again and hiked for more than 3 miles along the lake shore.  At various times we could not see the lake, but there were multiple views framed by trees and/or manzanita brush that provided incredible lake portraits for us to view.  By now the sun was out in full force and along with a blue sky, made for perfect Autumn hiking weather.

One of many "nature framed" pictures of Applegate Lake
At one point along our return hike, our dog Katie put her nose to the trail, wagged her tail quickly and in a burst took off down the trail.  Despite calls, she was out of sight for a few minutes.  Eventually she returned and had to be leashed for the balance of the hike. I wonder where in the world she went??  But then again,  maybe I don't want to know.  At least she wasn't being chased by a bear when she returned.

Our 6.4 mile hike concluded with the section of the Payette trail that we had started on, but the Autumn yellow colors were beautiful to see again and a nice way to finish our Autumn hike at Applegate Lake.

As we drove back to Medford, we did make one last stop.  At the local Hanley Farm they were holding a Scarecrow Festival.  Different organizations and/or people can stuff and dress up a scarecrow to help raise money.  Visitors got to vote for their favorite - we picked the Pirate Scarecrow (see below).
Our favorite scarecrow
You could also paint pumpkins, make your own scarecrow and check out the farm, gardens and livestock. We even got to meet two celebrities of Sesame Street fame - Bert and Ernie.  They didn't have much to say, but I did get their picture!!!

It's Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street fame!!!!
Enjoy the season!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Time for Autumn Adventures

Even though the seasons have changed, it hasn't changed our desire to get out and hike.  It does restrict when and where we hike and as a result we haven't sent out a new posting in some time.

Since our last posting of our hike on the Fish Lake Trail,  we have hiked at Roxy Ann/Prescott Park, Valley of the Rogue State Park, and of course at one of our favorite local hiking areas, the Jacksonville Woodland Trails - twice.  We are closing in on 200 miles for the year which for us would be the most miles in a single year!

Since these are all local hikes that we have done many times, we don't usually take many pictures (if any) and don't want to send out postings of the same hike over and over again on our blog.  Thus you may notice fewer postings through the Autumn and Winter months.

Having said that, Autumn is one of our favorite times of the year to hike as the temperatures drop, leaves change and the trails are less crowded.  We are hoping to get out on one or two more new hikes before years' end and if we do, we will try to put out a posting.

In the meantime, we want to encourage each of you to get out and enjoy the outdoors near you or at least take a walk through your neighborhood in the evening and enjoy a sunset. Don't let life quickly pass you by without taking the time to enjoy and experience the beauty around you.

To get a glimpse of what we mean, here are some of our Autumn pictures from various hikes we have done in the past.  We hope they inspire you to get outdoors......

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fish Lake Trail......Again

And we're off.....again.
Last time we hiked (or rather tried to hike) the Fish Lake Trail was back in April of this year.  If you have not read that posting or forgot, take a few minutes and go back to our April posting to see our adventure.

......a little jeopardy music please........

Ok, April was the snow hindered version of the Fish Lake Trail.  But since this was the first day of September, we felt confident there would be no snow to hinder our hike this time.  Miracle of miracles, we were right!

We started the hike at the pullout by the North Fork Campground along the North Fork of the Little Butte Creek. The first part of the trail follows along the river and offered great views of this beautiful little creek.  We were treated to views of both the slow and fast segments of the creek which included logs across the water which provided great picture taking views. This very scenic portion also seems to be the quickest part of the trail at just 0.6 miles.  We did however take an off-trail detour up to the top of the Fish Lake Dam (which is where the creek begins) for a better view of the surrounding area before hiking on.

North Fork Little Butte Creek.  Fish Lake Dam in background.

One of the slower portions of the creek....great for flyfishing.

Beautiful thistle bloom
The next 0.8 miles veer away from the creek and took us through forested areas that smelled soooooo good. This portion featured lots of ferns and Oregon Grapes mixed in with all the trees. Eventually we made our way to Fish Lake and followed the trail along the shore to the boat ramp area.  This would serve as our turnaround for the hike and provided benches for a break with a view of the lake.  Although the lake was very low (it's September), it was still a nice view while eating.

View of Fish Lake from the trail.  Brown Mountain in the left background.
Should mention also that on the hike to the lake and on the return trip,  we were treated to numerous sightings of heron along the lake shoreline.  It may have been the same one following us or it could have been a group of them, but either way it was awesome to get such great views of them along the hike

One of the Herons posing for a picture
Our return trip from the lake to the North Fork campground started off innocently enough as we skirted the edge of the campground at Fish Lake, but suddenly Carol let out a scream!  It was the attack of the killer yellow jackets!!!! OK, it was just one yellow jacket, but don't say that to the person being stung.

We applied ice from our water bottles and use an ice packet from our first aid kit to relieve some of the pain, then made a quick beeline (no pun intended) back to the trailhead at the North Fork Campground in record time. Carol is fine and recovering, just not eager to see another yellow jacket for a while.

We enjoyed (for the most part) getting out and hiking again and have now hiked as many miles as last year (the most we have hiked) with four months of hiking to go.  Here we come 200 miles.  But one thing is for sure, we won't soon forget our 2013 hikes along the Fish Lake Trail!!!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Day in Brookings

Awwwwwww....the Oregon Coast!!!
Why would one want to go to , Brookings, Oregon??

The beach? sky?....the beach?.....fresh air?.....the beach?.....Carol's birthday?.....did I mention the beach?

So for those reasons, especially since it was Carol's birthday wish, we drove from Medford to Brookings and spent the day at the beach, at the butte, and among big trees.

Some of the stacks along the Harris Beach area

Our first stop on arrival in Brookings was the day use area at Harris Beach State Park.  Since our dog Katie has never been to the beach, we were curious about how she would respond.  She loves lakes and rivers, but the ocean? Her first take was "why is this water so noisy & salty tasting & chasing me"? But that soon gave way and it was just more water to play in along with sand to roll in. Check out her beach version of making a snow angel below. We walked along the beach at the day use area and then took a break for lunch with a great view of the beach & ocean.

After lunch, we hiked the Harris Beach Trail that takes you from the beach to the State Park entrance area.  Along this short trip we were joined on the trail by a deer who was evidently surprised that someone was hiking this trail and not sunbathing at the beach.  Once we reached the park entrance area, we hiked another short trail, the Harris Butte trail to the top of the Butte for a great view of the beach from high above.
View from the Harris Butte trail

View at the end of the Harris Butte trail
View from top of Harris Butte

We also hiked the Sunset Point trail which offered more views of the coast and made our return trip via the South Beach trail and campground.  We have camped here twice before in yurts and enjoy this State Park.

With our desire for the beach somewhat fulfilled, we decided to go looking for the big trees - Redwoods.  We drove to Alfred A Loeb State Park which is about 8 miles outside of Brookings.  We began by hiking the Riverview Trail which winds it's way along the Chetco River.  Last time we hiked this trail, it was lightly raining and very wet.  Today it was quite dry and the river was very low.  Still beautiful views!

In less than a mile the Riverview trail crosses the road where the U.S. Forest Service Redwood Nature Trail begins.  This trail takes you through the northernmost stand of redwoods on the Pacific Coast.  This trail was closed when we last tried to hike it due to a fungus issue that was affecting the trees.  This one mile loop had a lot of uphill in both directions, but it was awesome to see these giant trees of the forest!!  We also crossed a stream a few times on the trail and were treated to some small waterfalls.  Very nice hike.

Redwood Nature Trail

Looking up at a Redwood tree

Upon returning to the Riverview trailhead, we opted for one last beach fix and drove to the beach area by the Beachfront Inn along the harbor.  We had to hike along the beach for a few minutes to get away from the crowds and take in the sights.  What a beautiful clear sunny day it was.  Katie took to the ocean again and tried to play ball but couldn't figure out how to pick up the ball without a mouthful of sand. Yuk!
Beach view through a stack opening
Although we knew it was time to head home and that we would be back in heat and smoke, it was the perfect day to getaway and enjoy the beautiful Oregon coastline.  Sometimes you just need one of those days.  Too bad Carol doesn't have a birthday every week!!!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Seagull playing the roll of King Kong