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