Sunday, April 28, 2013

Upper Rogue Trail: Takelma Gorge

Deer on Jacksonville Trails

Since our last posting two weeks ago, we made a couple of trips back to the Jacksonville Woodlands and Trail System. After completing the Britt Canyon Trail and the two trails in the Beebe Woods area, we have now hiked all 18-miles of connecting trails.  Our last hike there included seeing many deer which was a special treat.  I would encourage anyone in the area to get out and hike a trail or two in Jacksonville.

Limpy Creek trail waterfall
We also made a stop at Limpy Creek Botanical trail south of Grants Pass on Saturday.  We saw many wildflowers  in the meadow area (Shooting Stars, Buttercups, Camas Lilies, Wild Iris', Indian Paintbrush) and enjoyed the segment along the creek which included a small waterfall.  This is a great short hike for the entire family (hint, hint) with benches along the trail for taking breaks and enjoying the views.

Since the weather in Southern Oregon has been in the upper 70's to 80's this past week, we decided on Sunday to venture to higher elevations again and chose the Union Creek area.  We have hiked various segments of the 48-mile long Upper Rogue trail over the years and hopefully will finish all of them in the future. Sunday we started our hike at the Woodruff Picnic Area and hiked south to Takelma Gorge. My sister Karen decided to come along and hike with us too!
Takelma Gorge

The weather was BEAUTIFUL!!!!  This trail segment is pretty level and for the most part follows a very calm and quiet segment of the Rogue River.  At times you don't even know that the river is nearby.  Eventually the river narrows and the trail gets rockier until you finally reach your first viewpoint of Takelma Gorge. The trail continues along the top of the Gorge, although views of the water are hard to come by since the Gorge is so deep. We stopped about halfway along the Gorge at a beautiful viewpoint just off the trail and took in the view along with some snacks and water.

Eventually we had to get up and begin our hike back.  The weather was much warmer on our return trip, so we were glad that we started hiking early enough  (we hit the trail around 10:00 am).  We did see some wildflowers along the trail - trilliums, violets and even a few Calypso Orchids. When we got back to the Woodruff Picnic Area, we took in a view of the Rogue River whitewater just above the parking area.  BEAUTIFUL!
Whitewater above the trailhead

Katie enjoying the view during our break. Notice the leash - not a good place for a dog to jump

We are excited to be able to get back up into the woods for another season of hiking ( and so is Katie!). Hope you follow along with us and get out and  hike yourself.  There's so much beauty to see!!!!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Jacksonville Revisited - WOW!!

After last week's snow encounter at Fish Lake, we decided to take a local low elevation hike.......

Several times a year we hike various trails that are part of the Jacksonville Woodlands Park & Trail System.  We have hiked the Jacksonville Trails four times already this year (see February posting for Beekman Canyon Loop) and on Friday we took hike number five.
Fawn Lillies

How can you hike there so many times and not be bored you ask?  Good question.

The answer is variety. The Jacksonville Woodlands Park & Trail System has a wide variety of trails located in different areas of Jacksonville. Some have multiple starting points. Check out their map by clicking here and see all the different trails options for hiking.

Pussy Ears
Our hike Friday lasted two hours.  We parked near the Jacksonville Library and used the pathway to Britt to access the trails.  We hiked on 12 different trails/portions of trails, all of which had wildflowers in bloom! Some areas, like the Ridge trail, were lined with Shooting Stars, Hounds Tongue and Buttercup flowers, creating multi-colored patches along the trail. It was amazing!!

Gentner Frittilaria
 It was the most variety and number of wildflowers we have ever seen on these trails. We identified at least 16 different flower varieties including the rare Gentner Frittilaria and Scarlet Frittilaria.  Check out some of wildflowers that grow in this area by clicking here.  If you live in the Southern Oregon area, now is the time to hike these trails and see all the color of Spring. We did and all we could say was "WOW!".

Since it would take too long to describe our entire hike, we have made a 2-minute video summary of our hike on Friday.  In it you will see each trail sign along our route and some wildflowers and other sights we encountered during our  hike.  Hope you enjoy.  But don't just watch the video - get out there and hike.  Enjoy the beauty of Spring before it is gone.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fish Lake Trail

Road to Fish Lake
Since we have been hiking lower elevation hikes the last four or five months, we decided to be adventurous and check out a slightly higher elevation  hike, the Fish Lake Trail.  This 3.3 mile (one-way) trail starts at the North Fork Campground and ends at the Fish Lake Campground.  We last hiked this trail back in September of 2008.

The Fish Lake Trail
 However, when we turned off highway 140 onto Forrest Road 37 to get to the North Fork Campground, we were stopped by S-N-O-W. Rather than attempt to get to the campground and make the 6:00 pm local news, we went back to highway 140 and drove to Fish Lake to see if the trail could be hiked in that direction.

Fish Lake

The road at Fish Lake was plowed and after a brief walk through the closed campground we found the trail along the lake shoreline.  The trail still had patches of snow, some rather deep, and there were some winter down-falls across the trail.  Our dog Katie didn't seem to care as she had fun running through the snow, around the trees and even took a dip in the lake!  Crazy dog!

We weren't able to hike the entire 3.3 miles to the North Fork Campground, but we did hike around parts of the lake and took time to enjoy the beautiful views and the quiet. I guess the higher elevation hikes will have to wait a little while longer.........
Shoreline of Fish Lake
View from the trail!!!

Before we sign off, I wanted to let all of you who live in the Southern Oregon region know about some hikes that will be upcoming in the area and should not have snow:

  • Each weekend in April and May, the Siskiyou Environmental Education Center of Southern Oregon University will be hosting interpretive hikes on the Upper and Lower Table Rocks.  These are some great short hikes, but space is limited, so check out the options and make reservations for yourself or the family.  We have already signed up for one of the hikes, so maybe we will see you.
  • The Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center is sponsoring group hikes in April, May and June.  They meet at Evo's Coffee in Ashland and carpool to the trailhead.  Check out their listing for more information and see if any of the hikes interest you.  Hiking with a group is a lot of fun as we experienced last month when we hiked with the Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club from Roseburg.

Trekking Together
Glenn and Carol