Sunday, May 19, 2013

100 & Still Going Strong!

It is written - 100 miles done!

No, the title of this post does not refer to our age - although sometimes it feels that way.  Instead, it refers to our reaching the 100 mile mark for hiking this year during our hike of the Lower Table Rock trail on Sunday.  Our best yearly total to date was last year at 169 miles, so we are well on our way to breaking that record.

Sunday turned out to be the perfect day for hiking Lower Table Rock as the on and off rain over the last couple of days had stopped.  Today we had sunny skies with a few puffy white clouds and temperatures in the low 70's - beautiful.  We got on the trail around 9:00 am and were joined by Glenn's sister Karen who had never hiked either Table Rock trail.

Our view at the top
Not surprisingly the parking lot already had a dozen or so cars when we arrived, as both Table Rock trails are popular with hikers and runners (yes, people do run up to the top).  It didn't take long for us to warm up on the trail with the steady uphill climb, but we were treated to various wildflowers still in bloom along the path.  They included White Yarrow, Farewell To Spring, Henderson's Stars, Yellow Monkey Flowers, Fool's Onion, Deerbrush, Ookow, Death Camas, Sea Blush and Fiddleneck to name a few.

White clouds, blue sky - beautiful!
After about an hour we reached the flat summit of Lower Table Rock and took the 1-mile hike to the viewpoint at the far end.  Although the vernal pools were all dried up, the large white clouds against the blue sky and various wildflowers at the top provided more than enough beauty.  We also enjoyed a nice breeze hiking across the Table Rock. When we arrived at the viewpoint we took time to enjoy the view of the valley, watch some turkey vultures go by (I don't think they were circling us), celebrate our 100 miles of hiking and commemorate Karen's first Table Rock summit with an "I made it" picture.

Karen's "I made it" picture
There was nothing unusual about our hike back down - it was downhill.  The parking lot though was almost full as more folks had arrived to enjoy this short  yet beautiful hike. So we packed up our hiking gear and made one more parking space available.  Maybe it's still available for you?  Give this hike a try before the summer heat arrives and the flowers are gone.  You won't be disappointed with the view from the summit.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol
The Table Rock Trekkers - Carol & Glenn

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Grizzly Peak

Time to start one of our favorite hikes!
With the temperatures rising and the snow melting, it was time to hike one of our favorite local trails, Grizzly Peak in Ashland.  We were joined by Glenn's sister Karen and Friends of the Umpqua hiker Richard.

We arrived at the trailhead around 10:00 am and found the parking area quite full already.  This is a very popular and pretty hike,  and at 5.4 miles a relatively easy hike.  Yet it is loaded with lots of beauty and great views of the surrounding areas and mountains.

The first 1.2 miles took us up and through nicely wooded areas where trilliums, yellow violets and snow queen flowers lined our trail. It is a steady climb and with the higher temps, got us warmed up quickly. We arrived at the 3-mile loop trail at the top and hiked it counter-clockwise today, although we have hiked it both ways in the past.
One of the last snow patches

The first stop on the loop was the official Grizzly Peak summit - which really has no view and does not look like a summit, but it is the highest point. The area was covered with avalanche lilies on both sides of the trail which made up for summit.  This forested section of the trail did have a few patches of snow left, but with the recent heat it won't last long.

2002 fire area
The next area of the loop consisted of meadows with wildflowers which are watched over by the burnt tree remains from the 2002 fire that swept through this area.  Some may say that this area is ugly, but we think it has a unique beauty of it's own and as a result of that fire, smaller plants and flowers have grown in over the years adding beautiful colors to the landscape.  I have added some pictures of these flowers at the end of this posting.  It was great to have Richard along today since he knows so many varieties of flowers and could tell us the names.

Richard trekking along the trail
After hiking along the ridge through the burnt area, we climbed up and around to the rockier areas of the loop with views of Mount Ashland and Mount Shasta. Even in this rocky soil there were flowers - desert parsley, paintbrush, balsamroot and larkspur to name a few.  We really got to see a lot of flower varieties throughout today's hike.

We completed the loop after hiking through a few more meadows and wooded areas and made our descent back to the trailhead parking area. Although we were tired and it was hot, we once again enjoyed hiking this great trail.  So much to see!!!

If you have not hiked the Grizzly Peak trail , we highly recommend  you give it a try. Richard did and we think he is hooked.  It is one of those hikes you could do every month (snowshoe in the winter?) and be treated each time to a wide variety of beauty and outstanding views.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol
Oregon Anemone

Ballhead Waterleaf

Dwarf Hesperochiron

Yellow Bells

Snow Queen