Oak trees and meadow at Joseph Stewart State Park

Oak trees and meadow at Joseph Stewart State Park
Oak trees and meadow at Joseph Stewart State Park

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pacifica Gardens & Waters Creek


Lake at Pacifica Gardens


Our daughter Maggie is visiting us this week from Wyoming (it's Spring Break there and Maggie is a teacher), so what better way to celebrate but to take a vacation day from work and hike!  Doesn't everyone hike during Spring Break?



View of Pacifica Gardens from one of the trails

We recently read an article about Pacifica Gardens located in Williams (between Grants Pass & Ruch) and decided to drive out there and hike a couple of their trails.  Despite the forecast for chances of rain, the weather stayed dry and we even had sunshine at times.  Pacifica Gardens is a work in progress and we found that some of the trails were not well marked.  At one point we walked through a meadow (not sure if it was private property) with horses looking at us from the other side of the fence wondering what we were doing. We only hiked for about an hour on three different short trails, but we did manage to see some Spring flowers.  I have included those pictures at the bottom of this blog for your viewing. If you know the name of the red flower, leave us a comment.

The area at Pacifica is beautiful and includes a lake and retreat area. Over 100 species of birds have been identified there  - we saw a few Canadian Geese, a woodpecker (not sure which species), a Flicker, and a Purple Martin in our short visit.

Waters Creek
Since the Pacifica Gardens hikes were short, we then drove to Waters Creek which is south of Grants Pass. We have hiked this trail a couple of times in the past and always enjoy the sound of Waters Creek along the trail and viewing the lush green undergrowth throughout the main trail.
An omen of things to come!


Today there was one added feature throughout our hike - fallen trees on the trail!  I lost track of how many trees were down and how many we went over vs how many we went under.  Our dog Katie, who joined us today, didn't understand what all the fuss was about -- she just went under each tree - no problem!
 


Our amazing (and 4-armed) daughter Maggie!
We spent about an hour-and-a-half hiking the longer 3-mile outside loop trail and when combined with our earlier hikes at Pacifica Gardens, made for a great day of hiking.  Of course after all that hiking you need to eat and replenish those burned calories, so we stopped at Jasper's in Medford and picked up Burger Baskets with fries and drinks.......ahhhh yes, I love Spring Break!

Trekking Together
Glenn and Carol









Sunday, March 17, 2013

Collings Mountain Trail


View of Applegate Lake near the summit

Carol and I drove out to Applegate Lake yesterday to meet up with the "Friends of the Umpqua" Hiking Club from Roseburg and hike the 7-mile Collings Mountain Trail.

We parked at the Hart-Tish Park entrance and were then shuttled to the Watkins Campground entrance. After introductions to the club members, all 14 of us started what the club calls a "Richard Hike" - a hike that is uphill at both the start and end of the trail!
  
One of many snow covered mountains
The first 3 miles were uphill and tough, but also brought great views of Applegate Lake and the surrounding snow covered mountains.  After climbing almost 1700 feet to the summit, we took a lunch/snack break and got to meet and talk with the other hikers as well as take in more beautiful views. From the summit, the trail looped around the backside of the mountain where we encountered multiple fallen trees across the trail. It was quite an obstacle course, but it wasn't uphill.  After crossing the ridge for a few miles, the balance of the hike was downhill and eventually followed a little ravine with a small creek.  We did take a short side trail to view a Bigfoot Trap that was actually used back in the 70's in an effort to capture Sasquatch.  Unfortunately the trap was empty!  The end of trail was a short uphill climb back to the cars,  so the "Richard Hike" definition for this trail was true.

The Bigfoot Trap - still empty!

Carol and I enjoyed this hike, although we were very tired when done. In addition to the Collings Mountain Trail, the Applegate Lake area offers other hiking trails along with various facilities and activities that make it a great day trip destination.  For more info visit http://www.applegatelake.com/home.html

Carol and I want to say a big THANK YOU!!! to the Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club for letting us hike with you. You are a great group of folks and made us feel like we were part of your Club. We hope to hike with you again in the near future!!

If any of you are interested in knowing more about the Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club, please visit their website at http://friendsoftheumpqua.org/  One club member, and the leader for this hike, Richard O'Neill, has a website and blog containing great information and pictures of hikes in Oregon. Take a few minutes to check out his website too. http://richardhikes.com/

Till next time, get out there and hike -- who knows where the trail will take you and who you will meet.

Trekking Together
Glenn and Carol

Glenn & Richard striking the famous "Richard" pose!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Stewart State Park - Rogue River Trail

Last Friday was sunny and beautiful outside, so Carol & I took Katie and drove up Highway 62 to Joseph H Stewart State Recreational Area, otherwise known as Stewart State Park. The day-use area where we parked is open all year, but the campground is closed from November - February.

The bike path - our hiking trail
Since we hiked this loop last year, we decided this time to do so in the opposite direction. From the day-use area we hiked up to the nearby bike path. Stewart State Park has 11 miles of bike paths through the park, all paved and well marked, which makes it a great place for a family outing with the kids.  The bike path took us through wooded areas of Pine and Madrone and over various streams and runoffs.  We stayed on the bike path through the park and campground areas till we arrived at Peyton Bridge. During this 3-mile stretch we saw a couple of deer almost immediately, and when we emerged from the woods at the campground area, there was a group of six more deer watching us. I wasn't able to get a good picture of them, but trust me, they were beautiful to see and fast runners as well!



Our "rain forest" frog
At Peyton Bridge we turned off the bike path and began hiking on the Rogue River Trail.  This entire trail is over 17 miles long, taking you along the various shorelines of Lost Creek Lake.  We hiked the Rogue River Trail from Peyton bridge back to the day-use area.  Most of this trail segment is shaded all day, so at times it was like hiking in a rain forest.  Parts of the trail were covered in green moss and there were multiple bridges along the way for crossing streams and runoffs, some with beautiful little waterfalls.  We were even lucky enough to spot a little frog hopping across our path who then posed for a picture.  The Rogue River Trail gave us various viewpoints of the lake, took us past the boat marina and restaurant area, and finally back to the day-use area, our beginning point almost three hours earlier for this nice 7 mile hike.

If you live in the area but have never visited Stewart State Park or hiked any of the surrounding trails, why not put it on your list of places to go this year.  You can get more information on the park by going to http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_30.php

I would also recommend hiking the Rogue River Trail from the Lewis Creek Trailhead to the Blue Grotto, where at certain times of the year there is a beautiful waterfall. Get out and enjoy the outdoors!!!

Trekking Together
Glenn and Carol

One of many little streams we crossed