Sunday, December 28, 2014

Applegate Lake Loop

As 2014 comes to a close, we were able to get in a few more hikes - #67 & #68 for the year.  One of those recent hikes was at Applegate Lake.

Time for the last hike of 2014!
Despite the colder temperatures, recent rains and cloudy forecast, we made our way up to Applegate Lake along with our son & daughter in-law  (and of course Katie).  We started at the French Gulch trailhead and did a "lollipop" hike consisting of the Payette-Calsh-Osprey-Prospector-Sinns-Payette trails.  That combination may sound impressive, but the hike only took a little more than two hours and covered just over five miles.
Lake...What lake?????  See the vehicle way down there?
At the start, the Payette trail provided us with views of the lake (or lack of the lake) which is still very very very low.  We saw one vehicle at the lake edge and did not know whether someone had driven down to fish or if the vehicle had been exposed by the receding lake.
Some sort of yellow fungi stuff -- yuck!

Mushroom along the Sinns trail segment -- good enough for a pizza!!

Now that's what we call FUNGI!!
After just under a mile, we intersected with the Calsh trail.  This portion took us up (and up and up) along the side of a ridge and provided us with great views of steep ravines that were green with moss.   The trail also provided us with a wide variety of mushrooms and fungi which seem to be along every trail we have hiked over that last couple of months.  We encountered our first down tree across the trail too, but it was easily passed.

Once we reached the Dagelma trailhead parking area, we stopped for a break and took pictures of ourselves with Smokey the Bear!!

A short quarter-mile hike down the Osprey trail took us to the Prospector trail.  The Prospector trail is actually a loop (1.6 miles) trail that you can do from the Dagelma Trailhead, but for today we were using it as a connector trail to get back to the lake.  The lower portion of the trail took us along the other side of the ridge that we climbed on the Calsh trail.  As the sun came out we were treated to views of the surrounding mountains which still had a light dusting of snow.  Portions of the trail were very dense with manzanita brush providing us with segments that were more like tunnels to hike through.

Katie peers ahead at one of the "manzanita tunnels"
One of many "manzanita tunnels" along the Prospector trail
Eventually we connected to the Sinns trail.  It was time for going downhill!!!  Slowly but surely we descended along this .8 mile trail segment catching glimpses of the lake until finally connecting with the Payette trail again at the lake shore.  Since the first portion was not a retracing of the start of our hike, we had new views of the lake and dam and it's low level.
View of Applegate Lake looking towards the dam from the Payette trail.
The trail worked it's way around what use to be inlets of the lake until we arrived back the at the French Gulch trailhead.  Evidently some other folks decided to get out and enjoy the sunshine as there were now four vehicles in parking area in addition to ours.

So our hiking for 2014 is done, but our memories of them will continue.  We hiked 68 times for just over 311 miles --- 91 more miles than last year!!  We hiked our longest single hike (see our Redwood National Park posting) and did 3 hikes that were over 10 miles in length.  So now it is on to 2015 and a whole new year of hiking and making memories.

We want to close by wishing each of you a Happy and Healthy New Year.  Thank you for following along with us and for your comments and notes.  As the saying goes "Life is either an incredible adventure, or it is nothing at all".  Here's wishing you an incredible adventure in 2015!!!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Elk Creek Trail -- 300 miles!!

Hopefully the title of this posting did not confuse you -- we did not hike 300 miles along the Elk Creek trail. But we did hike the Elk Creek trail and as a result we reached 300 miles hiked for the year 2014.
Closed to cars, but not hikers!

During the late Autumn and Winter months it is hard to find trails that are not all mud and water, so we ventured up highway 62 just past Shady Cove to the Elk Creek trailhead.  The day use area is closed for the season, so we had to park our car at the gate and hike down the road to the day use area where the trail begins.  It was quite chilly at 37 degrees when we started hiking and the first part of the road was mostly in the shade, making it seem even colder.

We eventually got to the trailhead and enjoyed viewing the inlet stream that flows into Elk Creek.  The bridge  crossing offered us a great viewpoint and photo opportunity
Downstream view from bridge of the inlet stream

The bridge at the beginning of the Elk Creek trail
Upstream view from bridge of the inlet stream

When we hiked the Elk Creek trail earlier this year, we enjoyed all of the green meadows & the unique wildflowers along the road.  Hiking it today provided us with meadows flooded with pools of water, an Elk Creek that was full and fast, and even icicles on rock formations.  Each season has it's own beauty.

Meadows with Elk Creek in the background

It's cold - icicles on rock formation along trail

A little more water in Elk Creek this time!!!

We enjoyed hearing and seeing Elk Creek along our hike and Katie especially enjoyed running leash-free along the road.  It was evident that cows use this road/trail quite often, but we did not see any today. Katie was not sure what to make of the cow plops and probably was a little worried about what type of animal would go so much.
Mushrooms instead of wildflowers

The cold and clouds melted away as we hiked and we enjoyed some nice warm sunshine and blue skies for most of our hike.  It may have been just a quick 2 hour hike today, but it is always nice to get away from all the man-made chaos (especially the after Thanksgiving weekend) and enjoy God's creation.

Teasel along the Elk Creek trail
There is just one more month to go to finish out the year, but we are hoping to get a few more hikes in.  It's hard to believe that we have hiked 300 miles this year -- a far cry from the 54 miles we hiked our first year!!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Monday, November 3, 2014

Lithia Park - Ashland

Lithia Park is one of those places that you take for granted because it's in your own backyard.  This 93 acre park has a lot to offer from wildflowers in the spring, to a cool creek and shade in the summer, an outdoor ice skating rink in winter and in autumn, the beautiful orange, yellow and red foliage. It was also recently rated as one of the top 10 Great American Spaces.

The park has a great trail that takes you through the park to the upper reservoir.  Once there, connecting trails to the watershed, fairy ponds and Mount Ashland branch off in all directions.  Along the trail there are benches and stream access points that allow you to take a break and relax and take in the sights and sounds.  There is also a large playground for kids and occasionally musicians performing in the park.  It is a great place for a family day trip!

What Autumn beauty!!
So we decided to pay another visit to Lithia Park before the colors of Autumn were gone.  We started at the north end of the park and walked the trail past one of the ponds.  We had to stop for a few minutes as a group of ducks had decided to make a crossing.  We walked past trees in their orange, red and yellow autumn colors all the while within sight and sound of Ashland Creek. Since the sunshine was out and the temps were in the 60's, many other folks had the same idea of a Sunday stroll in the park!

View of the first pond area

Duck crossing!!!
We didn't hike the entire trail, rather we cut across one of the many bridges over Ashland Creek and returned on the opposite side of the creek where we encountered even more trees in their Autumn beauty.  It was a beautiful one-hour stroll that left us wishing every day was like this!!
The park floor also was covered in color

Even a family of fungi were out for a sunny day in the park
Autumn color and blue sky - what a combo!!
European Swindle fruit/seed pod
Of course hiking (or strolling) does work up an appetite, so our next stop was the Great American Pizza Company - best pizza in Southern Oregon!!! Pictures don't do justice, but take a peek at the pizzas below and let us know which you think sounds and looks better!!!

New York Tomato Pie pizza on sourdough crust

Vegetarian pizza on whole wheat crust
If you live in the Southern Oregon area, maybe you should check out Lithia Park for a day. (and the Great American Pizza Co)  Or maybe there's a park in your area that you take for granted.  Either way, get out and enjoy the outdoors while you can.  Life is an incredible journey!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Upper Rogue River Trail

The Upper Rogue River trail is 47.1 miles long and stretches from the Mt Mazama Viewpoint to the Prospect Reservoir Park.  Over the years we have hiked various sections and decided to complete one more section before the winter snows arrive.
This trail sign has seen better days
We started at the Mt Mazama Viewpoint trailhead located off highway 62. Our plan was to hike all the way to Rough Rider Falls & back, a little over 9 miles.  About 3 years ago we hiked the other half of this section from Hamaker Campground to Rough Rider Falls. Today's hike would complete another section of the trail for us.

The first half mile was a steady descending trail into sparsely wooded forests due to the volcanic soil.  Trees were down on the ground everywhere except across the trail (for now).  We came to the Boundary Springs Trail intersection but continued on the Upper Rogue River trail.  We have hiked the Boundary Springs Trail a few times and highly recommend it. Not only it is a beautiful hike, but it gives you the chance to see where the Rogue River begins as water gushes out of the rocks -literally!

Downed trees were everywhere at the beginning of our hike
The next few miles took us up and down through various wooded areas and also brought us within view and sound of the Rogue River.  However, the river soon dropped away as we climbed up and along the ridge that follows the Upper Rogue Canyon. We had some amazing views as the trail brought us to very edge of the canyon numerous times.  We kept a close eye on our dog Katie since the canyon drops over 200 feet to the river.
Upper Rogue River Canyon - a long ways down!
We hiked many more ups and downs along the trail before we started one final steady descent, entering into the woods towards the river and Rough Rider Falls.  After hiking in the open sunshine area along the canyon rim, this portion of the trail was the exact opposite as it was shaded, dark and much cooler in temperature.

The upward view was also amazing!
As we descended we began encountering fallen trees across the trail.  Some were difficult to navigate due to their size and the narrowness of  the trail.  We decided to stop for a lunch break in the shaded area next to the river.  As we looked ahead, the trail had many more down trees and since we did not hear the falls, we decided to make this our turn-around spot.

Katie working it to get some jerky during our lunch break
Although we did not get to the see Rough Rider falls on this hike, we included a picture of the falls from our 2011 hike below for your viewing pleasure.

Rough Rider falls in 2011
It is always interesting to see a trail in a different direction and so on our return hike we were treated to new views of the river and canyon.  We did meet and talk to a few other groups of hikers as we neared the Mt Mazama viewpoint area and arrived tired after almost 5 hours of hiking uphill both ways....this time it is true!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

P.S. In addition to the Upper Rogue River hike, we have hiked numerous times at the Jacksonville Woodland Trails and also at Valley of the Rogue State Park enjoying the Autumn colors.  We are fast approaching the 300 mile mark for the year (276 currently), an amount that a few years ago seemed impossible to hike within one year.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

One Last Summer Fling - Brookings and The Stout Grove Trail

As summer was nearing it's end here in Southern Oregon, our nephew Dylan from Southern California came up to visit and check out some local colleges.  Since Dylan enjoys hiking, which of late has included Mt Whitney and Half Dome, we thought it best to get him out onto a few trails here in Oregon.

Since most of the weekdays were taken up with work and Dylan scouting out the schools, our first chance to hike with him was the last Saturday and Sunday of Summer.  On Saturday we took Dylan to nearby Upper Table Rock and hiked to the summit and back.  Dylan had hiked Lower Table Rock on previous visits,  so upon completion of this hike he had completed the Southern Oregon Double Crown.
Dylan preparing for the ascent up the Upper Table Rock trail

We hiked in the morning to beat the heat and hiked around the entire loop at the top to take in the views of the surrounding valley.  Upon our descent Dylan decided to jog down the trail.   Oh to be young!

The 3 Amigos at the top of Upper Table Rock

On Sunday we were joined by our son and daughter-in-law and along with Dylan drove to Brookings at the coast.  We stopped at the Harris Beach SP day use area and hiked along the beach and rocks.  We also hiked a trail from the beach up to the campground and walked around the loop to show Dylan what a Yurt looks like.  We hiked the Harris Butte trail and then the wooded trail from the campground back to the day use area.

A cloudy but still beautiful day at the Oregon Coast
Matthew, Cassie and Dylan exploring one of the large rocks at Harris Beach

A seagull holding still long enough for a picture.
Dylan and Matthew hiking along the beach???
By this time everyone was getting hungry so we drove into town and made a stop at the Fred Meyer Deli where almost unlimited choices abound.  We took our lunches back to the Harris Beach day use area and enjoyed eating  to the sound of ocean waves.

After lunch we drove up highway 101 and made stops at Arch Rock, Thunder Rock and Natural Bridges - hiking to each viewpoint.  We also made one more stop at the beach near the Beachfront Inn.  While in the area we posed for pictures using some painted cut-outs along the port boardwalk.  We will post one of Glenn but told Dylan that we would not print his "mermaid" pose.

Watch out for "crabby" old men in Brookings!!!
As we drove home from Brookings we had one more stop.   We have driven through the Redwoods and hiked many trails in and around the Redwoods, but had never hiked The Stout Grove loop located in Jedediah Smith State Park.

This is a short 0.6 mile loop that is easy for anyone to hike and takes you by some incredible trees. Although the hike did not take long, the views of these trees was well worth the trip
The start of the Stout Grove trail

One of the first views of Redwoods on the trail

Trail wandering by some large Redwood trees

Not all the big trees were standing upright.
Dylan enjoyed both the Redwood trees and our Oregon Coast.  He especially enjoyed how the Oregon Coast has trees right near the shoreline and we would have to agree with him.  Oregon is a beautiful state and has so many opportunities for hiking and enjoying the outdoors.  We are so thankful that we are able to get out and enjoy the outdoors through hiking and hope you enjoy hiking along with us.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Monday, September 1, 2014

High Lakes Trail to Fish Lake

It's the Labor Day weekend and what better thing to do than labor on a trail.

Our first stop on this holiday weekend was a trip back to the Cathedral Hills Trails in Grants Pass.  We hiked the same trails as noted on our March blog posting plus a few new ones. Of course all of the spring flowers are now gone.  Rather than do a posting on that hike and bore you with pictures of brown plants, brown trees and the brown trail, we recommend you go back in time and see the flowers from that March hike with us.

When we recently hiked the Brown Mountain Lava Flow trail, we met another hiker who was just starting out on the trail and found through our conversation that he was hiking down to Fish Lake via the High Lakes Trail, eating lunch at the lake, and then returning to the Summit Sno Park parking area.  That sounded like a nice hike for us in the future and sure enough, the future is now.

In addition to our dog Katie, our sister Karen joined us for this relatively easy 5.6 mile hike.  From the Summit Sno Park parking area we hiked the access trail to the PCT and then hiked the PCT across highway 140 to it's intersection with the High Lakes Trail.

The High Lakes Trail from here to Fish Lake is just 2 miles.  The entire High Lakes Trails runs from Fish Lake to Lake of the Woods, and if you include the Fish Lake Trail and Great Meadow Trail at either end, the entire length is over 12 miles one-way.  The trail is for hiking and biking and today we came across a good number of bicyclists, including our auto mechanic Jason and his family.

View of the High Lakes Trail - nice and wide for hikers and bikers
The trail is well maintained, has a few ups and downs, and provides views of Mount McLoughlin and some of the Brown Mountain Lava Flows.

View of the Brown Mountain Lava Flow and Mt McLoughlin from the trail
After hiking a little over an hour, we arrived at Fish Lake and took a break to eat and drink and enjoy the quiet.

The lake itself is very low this year (see pictures below) and as a result there were not a lot of people around despite being a holiday.  Fish Lake, much like Lake of the Woods, does have cabins for rental which makes hiking or biking this trail an ideal activity when visiting or staying at either location.

Very low Fish Lake

Looking towards the boat launch and dock areas of the lake

After we finished our snacks and Katie took a dirt bath, we hiked back along the High Lakes Trail enjoying the views from the other direction.  Despite cool temps when we started, we were plenty warm by hikes' end and especially thankful for a car with air conditioning!

Katie after her "dirt" bath --- one dirty dog!
Having completed these last two hikes, we have now surpassed our previous personal best for hiking miles in a year -220 miles - and are currently at 228 miles.  Just 72 miles away from the big 300!  Hope you join us as we hike on through the last third of the year.

Trekking Together
Glenn and Carol

P.S.  Many times while hiking we take pictures of the sky with the tree tops as an outline.  On the High Lakes Trail hike Glenn took the following picture and after viewing it, we think the outline of trees forms a dog silhouette.....what do you think.  The two ears are at the top with the dog nose to the right. Are we losing our minds and seeing things???

It's a bird, it's a plane, no it's a dog????