Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Wonder of Wildflowers

As the month of April ends and we head into the warmer months and summer, we have lots of new hikes planned and are excited about seeing and hiking new places.  We also have trips planned to the Redwoods and the Oregon Coast.

The month of April has been mostly about hiking locally.  However the wildflowers this Spring have been beautiful and abundant.  Both Roxy Ann and the Jacksonville Woodlands Trails provide variety and color when it comes to wildflowers and it has been fun to hike both areas often and the see the changing wildflower landscape.

So before we get to those new hikes, we wanted to share some of the beautiful wildflowers we have seen in the month of April & have posted pictures below.  We did not include the names so that you can simply enjoy their beauty. However, if you really want to know the name, just email us.

Also this is the time of year when most long distance hikers begin their thru hikes. We are again following Erin "Wired" Saver who is hiking the Appalachian Trail to finish her triple crown.  She does a great job of updating you almost daily with stories, pictures and videos and has recently been featured in various magazines.

Two new blogs we are following are MarmotsAdventures as she hikes the Continental Divide Trail and Eathikerepeat which features Alan & Janel as they hike the Pacific Crest Trail.  So in a sense we are watching the Triple Crown hiked at the same time!  Please take some time and check out each of these blogs by clicking the link highlighted or use the link listed under blogs we follow. You can also subscribe to each blogs so you get automatic updates.  It's lots of fun to follow along on these hikes.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Little Grayback Trail

Last week we both had vacations so during the week we took Katie and did a few local short hikes. But when Sunday rolled around it was time to venture out and try a new and longer hike.  We drove out to the Ruch Country Store to meet our hiking friend Richard and then carpooled to the Little Grayback trail near Applegate Lake.

It's Trekking Time!!!
Richard told us that this trail was a steady climb but featured great views.  That was enough to interest us and Richard didn't lie.  The trail was a continuous slow steady climb but never overwhelming and the continuous views of the snow capped Red Buttes and Siskiyou mountains provided us an excuse to stop.

Our constant view of the Red Buttes and Siskiyou mountains
The trail took us through alternating shaded wooded areas and open sunny portions. As we got closer to the top and our turnaround point, we hiked through multiple open grassy knolls, some with small wildflowers. Each provided us with beautiful views, warm sunshine and plenty of photo opportunities.

One of many sunny grassy knolls that we hiked through
At one point on the trail we came across a group of Knobcone pine trees.  This was the first time we have seen these trees with their unique cones.  Instead of growing at the end of branches, these cones grow right on the tree. This tree is considered to be a fire-climax species as the cones do not open until the tree is killed by fire. After the fire, the cones begin to open to release seed into cooled mineral soil.

Our turnaround point came at the 3.9 mile mark along another open grassy area.  We went off trail a little bit and broke out the food and drinks.  The view was incredible and there was no sound but the wind.  We could see the mountains in the distance, had trees in view as far as the eye could see, and we even got to see Big Squaw Lake. Even Katie enjoyed the break when normally she does not like to stand still - unless there is food involved.  Hmmm..maybe that had something to do with it.

Our lunch break view.....can you see Big Squaw Lake?
Our hike today put us over the 100 mile mark for the year.  It is the earliest we have ever reached that mile mark and puts us on pace for a 300+ mile year!!! (knock on wood)

100 miles hiked already this year!!!
After getting our fill of food and drinks, we started the 3.9 mile descent.  The return hike seemed to go by quickly - maybe it was because if was almost all downhill. As we hiked through one of the grassy knolls areas, something caught our eye.  There among the rocks and grasses was a flower we had not seen on the way up ---the "one and only" monkey-flower. Glenn loves monkey-flowers - something about the name. When we hiked the nearby Stein Butte trail, a few years ago, we saw a barrel full of monkey flowers!

The one and only Monkey Flower we saw on this hike
Alas, all good things must come to an end.  We really enjoyed this new hike and the weather was absolutely beautiful -- around 70 degrees with a few clouds.  After driving back to Richard's car at the Ruch Country Store, Richard treated us to soft serve ice cream cones at the Pit Stop Espresso. What a great way to top off a great day of hiking!

Be sure to check out Richard's blog on this hike as well.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol