Saturday, December 26, 2015

Roxy Ann Loop

December 26, 2015

Even with the holidays and all the recent rains & snow, we have still managed to get out hiking.  We haven't done any postings on those treks because most have been local hikes that we have posted about in the past.  But since our daughter Maggie was out visiting for the holidays and there was a good covering of snow, we decided to do this quick posting about our recent hike on Roxy Ann.
And so it begins......
 After driving up through the clouds to get to our starting point, we were treated throughout the hike to blue skies, much welcomed sunshine, and beautiful views.  The trail around Roxy Ann wasn't too bad although the shaded parts were still covered with lots of ice and snow.

Hiking along one of the shady portions of trail

Glenn's 3 snow angels - Maggie, Carol & Katie
We enjoyed seeing the Upper and Lower Table Rocks, the Rogue Valley, the snow covered mountains toward Ashland, and of course, Mt McLoughlin with its snow covered peak.  It's great to see all the much needed snow already!

First view of Mt McLoughlin

Full view of Mt McLoughlin

Katie got her snow fix as she took time to make snow puppies (her version of snow angels) and take an occasional dash through the snow off trail.

Panoramic view from the trail
When we started our hike there were only four cars at the trailhead, but as we finished two hours later, there were literally dozens of cars.  It's great to see so many people taking time to get out and enjoy nature.

Panoramic view with Mt McLoughlin  in the middle of the picture.
In closing, we want to wish all of you a Happy New Year, and we hope that in 2016 you will get to do some trekking of your own.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol (& Maggie)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Jeffrey Loop - Illinois River - Little Falls Loop Trail

October 17, 2015

Back in February we hiked a group of trails south of Selma that included the Jeffrey Loop trail, Little Falls Loop trail and a connector trail that we called the Illinois River trail.  Although all 3 trails combined are under five miles total, it was still a nice new hike for us that allowed various access spots to the beautiful Illinois River.

First view of the low but beautiful Illinois river
Having enjoyed that hike, we ventured back to hike it again despite the forecast of clouds and rain.  For specific details on the hike in February or links for the area, click here.

Suffice to say, the river was very low on this Autumn hike but still beautiful.  By being at such a low level, the Little Falls were actually a waterfall instead of a roaring narrow chute of water as  it was in February.
Little Falls - actually visible as a waterfall in Autumn
Katie enjoyed a no-leash hike that included dips in the river and occasional bear scat on the trail, while we enjoyed stretching our legs and taking in all the beautiful views as well as taking a break along the river. Below are some more pictures for your viewing pleasure.  Get out and enjoy the season!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Panoramic view of the Illinois river from the trail

View upstream during our break along the Little Falls Loop trail segment

Katie after enjoying a dip and swim in the Illinois river

A Pitcairn cairn appears again along a trail we hiked

View of the upper portion of the Illinois River

Monday, October 5, 2015

Elk Creek Trail

October 3, 2015

If you live in the Southern Oregon area and want to get out and enjoy an Autumn hike but don't like going uphill and downhill or prefer paved trails over dirt and mud, then Elk Creek Trail is your type of trail. The Elk Creek Trail just came into being last year and is an old paved road that parallels Elk Creek.  Along the way you pass by various large meadows and groupings of trees.  We hiked here last Spring and in late Autumn last year, but had not made it back in 2015.  So we decided to spend part of a day enjoying the beautiful Autumn weather and seeing what improvements had been made to the area this past summer.

Perfect Autumn weather for a hike!
Before even reaching the trailhead we experienced the newly paved entrance road leading to the Yellow Rock TH. Also from the parking lot area we could see that they also replaced the cement road over an inlet stream at the start of the trail and replaced it with another nice wooden bridge for bikes and pedestrians.

The new bridge at the very beginning of the trail
The trail stretches 4.7 miles between trailheads which makes for an enjoyable 9.4 mile bike ride or allows you to hike along the road and choose your turnaround distance or time. There are a few side trails along the way that lead down to Elk Creek, providing views of the creek and allowing you to take breaks along your hike.

The first side trail view of Elk Creek

As we hiked along today we did see some Autumn color in the trees, but we would suspect that in another couple of weeks the colors will be much more prevalent.  The various meadows have changed over to their Autumn colors already and Elk Creek is very low due to the lack of rainfall and snow this year.
One of the large meadows along the Elk Creek trail

Those trees along the edge of the meadow are just starting to change into their Autumn attire.
We hiked out 3 miles today from the trailhead and then took a side trail down to Elk Creek for a break.

A panoramic view of Elk Creek where we took out break
It was so nice to enjoy the sunshine, blue sky, puffy white clouds and hear the breeze in the trees with the sound of the creek.  Made us almost want to stay there all day. Katie of course plunged into the creek and enjoyed getting wet.  That alone made her day!

How can Katie love jumping into a creek but not love baths??

Someone is having a good day!

Be sure to get out and enjoy this short colorful season of Autumn before it is gone.......take time to enjoy life!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lower Table Rock - Last Hike of Summer

September 20, 2015

Lower Table Rock is one of those hikes in Southern Oregon that local residents should hike at least once during their lifetime.  We hike it much more often than that and decided this past weekend to get one more summer hike done before our favorite time of the year - AUTUMN!!! - is finally here.

We started out around 9:30 am and there were only 5 other cars in the parking lot (around 20 when we finished our hike).  The sun was out and the sky was blue which made it a great day to hike up the Table Rock for a panoramic view of the valley.

Time to hike UP...UP...UP the Lower Table Rock......

The mile long runway on the plateau that leads to the viewpoint

Once we reached the plateau, we hiked along the mile long "runway" to the viewpoint.  Along the way we came across a few carins that had been built this summer.  Evidently someone knew we would hike up here and built the carins to welcome the Pitcairns. We took it as a sign that this hike was meant to be.

One of the cairns built to welcome the Pitcairns
Gone was the water in the vernal pools and the spring flowers were replaced by drying grass, but each season has it's own beauty.

No water in the vernal pools at this time of year
We did take some time at the viewpoint to survey the valley which included Upper Table Rock across the way.

Panoramic view from Lower Table Rock.  Upper Table Rock is to the left.
On our way down we took the Oak Savannah Loop Trail which gave us some great views of Lower Table Rock from a distance.  No wild turkeys like we have seen before on this loop, but then again November is not far off.  We did see some woodpeckers and squirrels around, probably working on storing away all the acorns from the numerous oak trees in this area.

View of Lower Table Rock from the Oak Savannah Loop Trail
Although it was just a 2-hour hike, Lower Table Rock does make you work with multiple climbing segments along the trail and we were glad to be out of the sun before it got too hot.

As Autumn arrives we look forward to hiking in cooler weather and seeing the trees change color  We look forward to sharing some of those hikes with you, but why not try to get out and do an Autumn hike yourself and see firsthand the beauty that is Autumn.  Then you can share your hike with us! Happy Hiking.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Saturday, August 29, 2015

High Lakes Trail - Lake of the Woods

August 28, 2015

The month of August has not been friendly to hikers here in Southern Oregon. It seems that for most of the month there have been fires north, south, east and west of us and temperatures in the 90's or higher to go with the smoke.  A recent story we read stated that Southern Oregon has not had one continuous 24-hour period with "good" air quality since the end of July.  So as the last days of August were counting down we headed to Lake of the Woods to give our legs a much needed stretch on some hiking trails.

In addition to hiking trails, Lake of the Woods features cabins, campgrounds, a restaurant and store, plus many specials nights or activities which make a great place for the family.  If you have not been there yet, be sure and check it out sometime.

A panoramic view of Lake of the Woods.  The gray haze is from smoke.
We started our visit by hiking back through the day use area and past the campgrounds to the High Lakes trail.  This trail connects Lake of the Woods to Fish Lake and can be used by hikers and bikers.  The trail itself is easy to follow, wide and also pretty flat the entire distance.

Start of the High Lakes trail

Nice wide and easy High Lakes trail.
 As we starting hiking we got a see an Osprey perched at the top of a dead tree.  Evidently sushi was on it's menu for the day.  Although there was smoke surrounding the area, we didn't notice it throughout our hike. Part way to Fish Lake we took a break and then hiked back to Lake of the Woods.  We saw a few flowers still blooming along the trail as well as some ugly fungi stuff of which Glenn took pictures.

Marsh area of the lake near the start of the trail

Ugly gross looking fungi thing.

Aster still in bloom

Pretty flower, not sure of the variety.
Once back at Lake of the Woods we spent the day relaxing & reading along the lake shore.  Katie enjoyed multiple dips in the lake as well as rolling in the dirt, rocks, pine needles and bark.  She really likes the idea of being out in the wild and getting dirty!

Who is a dirty dog -- not me!!!
In the late afternoon the winds picked up and blew away the smoke and brought sunny skies to the area.  So before leaving we took another hike which covered part of the Family Loop trail and Great Meadow trail.  Even though this was a short 1-hour hike, we got to see a Pileated Woodpecker, Gray Jays and deer.
View of Lake of the Woods after the wind blew away the smoke......

Our spot by the lake
So as August fades we are looking forward to September and the arrival of Autumn.  We hope to get out and hike during that colorful yet short time of year and as always, we'll look forward to sharing that with you.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

P.S.  Since Katie pictures seem to be pretty popular, we've included a few extras from this trip to Lake of the Woods for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Hummingbird Meadows & Buck Canyon Trail

July 26, 2015

It seems that when wildflowers are in full bloom, so are the mosquitoes. And so too when the wildflowers are past their prime, the mosquitoes hum has faded.  So on that note, we drove up Highway 62 and 230 to the Hummingbird Meadows trailhead on the last Sunday of July anticipating few wildflowers but looking forward to hiking.

 When we started our hike the temperature was only 58 degrees and throughout our hike it stayed near 70 degrees - perfect for hiking!  The Hummingbird Meadows trail is just under a half mile in length and serves as a connector trail to the Buck Canyon trail.  However during that short distance we went through two meadows and crossed Muir Creek.

The meadows got their name as you might imagine from all the hummingbirds that frequent this area during the wildflower bloom, especially when their favorite flower, Horse Mint, is in bloom.  Even though almost every flower had faded, we did find one (maybe the last one) Horse  Mint still with color.
The last Horse Mint flower still in bloom!!!!
 Since the snow levels were low this year, Muir Creek was pretty easy to cross as we hopped from one rock to another. Katie just walked right through it as normal.
Muir Creek was more of a trickle and easily crossed.
 Once we connected with the Buck Canyon trail, we hiked another couple of miles out to the Upper Meadow.

Along the way we kept running into sections of trail that split and later would merge.  It seems that folks created these trails to get around fallen trails from seasons past.
Which trail do you choose?  One of the many forks in the Buck Canyon trail.
 The various meadows along the Buck Canyon trail still had plenty of flowers for viewing like Columbine, Aster, Paintbrush, Monks Hood, Tiger Lilies, Giant Larkspur, Hedge Nettle & Goldenrod. There were also Huckleberries, Thimbleberries, Baneberries and other berries all within reach as we made our way through the meadows and woods.

Columbine -- always beautiful!

Monks Hood - very pretty and still many in bloom.

Tiger Lily -- always makes us think of Peter Pan.

Aster - the most numerous of the flowers still in bloom.

Not sure what specific type of berry this was, but they sure look good!
Even the butterflies are still enjoying the flowers.

 As we passed the Devil's Slide area, we came to our turnaround and lunch spot, the Upper Meadow.  Katie spent most of her break time in Muir Creek.  We did meet a family of four on the trail who were heading back to the Hummingbird Meadows trailhead.  They had backpacked out and camped overnight for the weekend.

Devil's Slide rock area and the Upper Meadow
 The hike back gave us the chance to see and enjoy the beautiful meadows once again and at one point we could hear elk just beyond the shrub boarder of a meadow.  We enjoyed the beauty of the area and it was a nice break from the summer heat in Southern Oregon.  We can only imagine what this area must look like during the prime wildflower blooming.  Guess we'll have to buy some Deet and try it.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Note: In early June our fellow hikers from Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club hiked the Buck Canyon Trail from a different starting point.  To read about their hike and view pictures, click here.