Monday, December 12, 2016

Rogue River Greenway - Rivers Edge Trail

December 11, 2016

With all the recent rains, fighting illnesses, and Glenn's busy time at work, we haven't got out to hike as often as we would like, but we hit the 300 mile mark for the third year in a row when we hiked the Rogue River Greenway and Rivers Edge Trail at theValley of the Rogue State Park.

Time for another hike!!
We parked in the Valley of the Rogue Rest Area and walked down to the paved Rogue River Greenway to begin our hike.  We hiked along the Greenway towards the State Park till we came to the intersection with the Rivers Edge Trail off to the left..  We have hiked this trail many times and enjoy the fact that you hike along the Rogue River and get treated to many views as well as access trails down to the rivers edge.  On our hike today we were treated to views of three Blue Herons along the shore, but were unable to get a real good picture.

HIking along the Rogue River Greenway

Can you see the Blue Heron across the river?  Rivers edge in front of the second tree acorss the river.

Beavers are still busy this time of year!

After about a mile, the Rivers Edge Trail rejoins the Rogue River Greenway and heads outside the State Park  boundaries and towards the town of Rogue River and Grants Pass.  Today we hiked almost to Rogue River before turning around and retaracing out steps back to the rest stop and our car.

Autumn leaves are gone, but still pretty.
Along the way we were treated to views of the river, some nice foreested sections, and a display of multiple rock cairns alongside the trail.  We did meet a few other hikers out today and some folks bicycling the Greenway despite the cold and cloudy weather.

One the many birdhouses along the Greenway

Scary beaver mile marker!

One of the carins along the Greenway

The hardest part about today's hike was hiking next to the campground at the State Park and smelling the campfires, wishing we could join some folks at their campsite!!  It was great to get out again and as mentioned earlier, to get to the 300 mile mark.

300 MILES written out on the Greenway!!

The fast, high and murky Rogue River
There are still a few weeks left in the year and we are hoping to get out and hike a few more times to add to the mileage total.  Then it will be 2017 and time to start over again on a whole new set of hiking adventures and miles.  We can hardly wait!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Roxy Ann/Prescott Park - The New Nameless Trail Revisited

November 13, 2016

Back in August we hiked a brand new trail in the Prescott Park area that offers an alternative to hiking the paved and gravel roads through the park.  Being new, it still had no name and is part of an expansion of Prescott Park that will include more trails, parking and other facilities.  Having hiked the new trail beginning at the second gate, we decided to revisit the trail and hike it in the opposite direction.

What?  Where is the fun in not hiking in the mud!!!
We began by hiking the road a short distance past the second gate till we found the Madrone Trail sign and turned right to head up, up, up and yes up this short but steep trail. At the top of the trail we met the king of the Madrones overlooking his namesake trail.

King of the Madrones overlooking his namesake trail.
The Madrone trail is a connector trail between the roads, so we made a right at the road intersection and hiked the road till we found the Nameless Trail turnoff on the right.  With recent rains there were portions of the trail that were muddy, so this might be a trail to avoid during or right after rains when the roads provide a better alternative.  However, if  you enjoy mud, then you will enjoy this trail as we did for the second time.

One of the muddy sections of the Nameless Trail

Through the Manzanita's we go!!

There are great views of the surrounding areas and the trail takes you through a forrested section as well as through a maze of Manzanita.  We were also treated to great views of Little Roxy Ann before starting our climb up the switchbacks and to the end of the trail.

Great views of Little Roxy Ann

View up towards Roxy Ann near the end of the Nameless Trail
Although this is a short 5.5 mile hike, we are glad to have this Nameless Trail as another alternative when hiking at Prescott Park and look forward to seeing what other trails are created.  We'll keep you posted.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Sterling Mine Ditch Trail

November 5, 2016

It has been quite a few years since we last hiked the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail in the Applegate.  So with forecasted cool weather and plenty of time for a long hike, we ventured out to explore some of the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail along with a couple of access trails.

Time for a hike!
When we last hiked any of the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail, there were just two trailheads with access trails. When combined with the main trail and road, this formed a nice 4-5 mile loop hike.  As we began our hike today, the trail now has at least six different trailheads, four areas for horse trailer parking,  and with trail improvements and connections it forms a network over 18 miles long that can be used for hiking, bikiing and horse riding.

Informative sign about the Sterling Mine Ditch trail history.
We began our hike today at the Bear Gulch TH off the Little Applegate Road.  This 1-mile access trail wanders slowly uphill through tree filled woods before a couple of switchbacks bring you to the main Sterling Mine Ditch Trail.  This access trail was probably our favorite part of the hike due to the autumn color still on the trees, the shade and coolness of this portion, and the fun of having the wind pick up and blow a sea of leaves all around you when you stop and stand still.  Just hiking this trail to enjoy autumn is worth it.  There was even a bench where you could sit and just enjoy the woods.

Autumn color along......

....the Bear Gulch Trail
Once we got to the main trail, we made a left turn and began hiking what is a very flat trail along the ridge with the Sterling Mine Ditch alongside us.  Hiking along the ridge gave us so many opportunities to view the beautiful Applegate Valley and surrounding mountains, a few of which had snow.

View of the Applegate Valley, trail and to the right, the Sterling Mne Ditch
As we continued we weren't sure how far we would hike along the main trail, but after a couple of miles we came to a junction with another access trail leading to the Wolf Gap TH.  Rather than continue hiking along the ridge, we decided to give this 1.5 mile access trail a try which would make our total hike just over 9 miles long.
The very level Sterling Mine Ditch Trail

The Wolf Gap Trail, like the Bear Gulch Trail, was wooded and looked so inviting.  But we soon learned that this trail was almost all uphill and that shade we saw soon turned into a thing of the past as we emerged out into the open.  As we pressed on uphill, we began crossing exposed ridges and what was suppose to be a cool cloudy day turned into a very hot sunny day, which turned us into very hot hikers -- and not in a good sense.  (We later found out that the Applegate Valley was 15 degrees warmer than Medford, when usually the reverse is true)

One of many beautiful views from the trail.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

One last beautiful view!!!

At times it felt like we were hiking in the middle of summer as the sun reflected off the hillsides.  We trudged
on thinking that this was the longest 1.5 miles we had ever hiked.  We passed a hornets nest in the ground that was right next to the trail and filled with unhappy hornets, hiked through tick infested grass segments of trail (Glenn got 1 tick, Katie got 4) and even found a spot where a large black bird (Crow or Raven) had been killed and only feathers remained.  Was this the trail of doom?  Was there really a Wolf Gap TH??

An unhappy hornets nest along the trail!!
Tick infested grass portion of trail
Then we finally saw the trailhead sign in the distance and upon arrival, took a much needed food, drink and rest break. Glenn made sure to take pictures of the trailhead sign to prove we had hiked the Wolf Gap portion (since we might not hike that trail again).

Proof that we made it!!!!
Our return leg followed the same route in reverse and was pretty much all downhill or flat, so that felt good. We sprinted by the hornets, said a prayer for Mr Crow and quickly descended to the main trail.  We did enjoy the many beautiful views all along the trail and especially enjoyed the yellow autumn colored oak trees. There was also evidence that bears tend to hike the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail too (some very big bears based on their droppings!), but evidently they only come out at night.  We did see a number of other hikers on our return leg and the Bear Gulch Trailhead area was pretty full of cars when we finished.
One of the golden orchards of oaks!!
Our recommendation if you hike this area is to start at the Bear Gulch TH like we did and then head left or right at the Sterling Mine Ditch trail, take in the views of the valley, and then turnaround at the distance of  your choice.  If you head to the right, there is a tunnel that is about 2 miles down the trail which makes a great turnaround spot too.  Either way, get out and try this trail and enjoy the view!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lithia Park - Ashland

October 23, 2016

After viewing autumn colors on a short hike at the Jacksonville Woodland Trails on Friday, then hiking an 8.8 mile hike along the Rogue River with The Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club on Saturday, we decided to drive over to Ashland on Sunday and finish the weekend with a leisurely stroll through Lithia Park.  What a treat!!  Autumn was in full show and lots of other people had the same idea.  So sit back and take a stroll through the park with us and enjoy the pictures.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Monday, October 24, 2016

Upper Rogue River Trail: Woodruff Bridge - River Bridge

October 22, 2016

Autumn beauty also means autumn weather.  So it took a few weeks to finally get out and enjoy the beautiful colors that make autumn our favorite season.

We drove to the Woodruff Bridge Picnic Area located near Union Creek and met the Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club for a 9-ish mile hike along the Upper Rogue River Trail. This section of the trail provides you with many views of the Rogue River, autumn color along the river and trail, great starting and turnaround points (River Bridge Campground & Woodruff Bridge Picnic Area), very little elevation change, and then almost in the middle of the hike is the Takelma Gorge - a destination in itself.  It is a wonderful section to hike in either direction and one that we have hiked many times and at different times of the year.

Rogue River at Woodruff Bridge - the start of our hike.
For today's hike we headed south from Woodruff Bridge.  The Rogue river became so quiet at times, one would not even know they were hiking next to it, then the river would pick up speed and remind us that it was still there.  Our trail would wind along the river shore, at times almost too close, as we saw large trees that once stood on the shore now fallen over into and across the river. The woods along the trail were very thick with undergrowth that had changed to autumn yellow and since the weather was still mild enough, mushrooms of various shapes, sizes and colors also decorated our hike.  One pair of mushrooms even got into the autumn spirit with red color and was our favorite fungus of choice.

Our favorite fungi on the hike!!
Just before the 2 mile mark the river really picks up speed as it narrows and begins it's journey through Takelma Gorge.  Although water levels are lower at this time of year, Takelma Gorge is still an amazing sight to see and always worth the short hike for viewing.  If you really want to see the gorge at it's best, take this hike in early spring as rains and melting snow fill the river and thunder through the gorge.  Just look at how high some logs are that got stuck in the gorge.

Takelma Gorge

After passing the gorge, the trail meanders towards and then away from the river, winding through the woods and kept us in the shade most of the hike.  This is great when it is summer, but today the temperature was 42 degrees when we started hiking and the sun did not come out too often.  So our hiking pace was steady to keep us moving and warm.

Autumn color along the Rogue River

Leaves like this were a constant carpet on this hike
Once we reached the River Bridge Campground, our group found a picnic table at a campsite and took a much welcomed rest & food break.  It gave us the opportunity to meet some members of the club, share hiking stories, and of course it gave Katie a chance to beg for bannans and other treats -- to which end she was successful.
The Rogue River just above the River Bridge area

Although our hike back was along the same trail, it always amazes us how different things look from another direction.  We also ran into 3 other groups of hikers out on the trail which was great to see.  Our 9-ish mile hike took around 5 hours with breaks and picture taking.  We enjoyed talking with the folks from the Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club before, during and after the hike and hope to hook up with them again in the near future.  Thanks for letting us hike with you!!!!!  If you live in or around the Roseburg area, be sure to check out their website for their hikes every other Saturday.

The Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club
Be sure that  you too get out and visit a park or walk around the neighborhood while the colors of autumn are still around!!  Don't let the season pass you by - enjoy it!!!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Lower Table Rock -- End of Summer

September 18, 2016

Five months may not seem like a long time in the grand scheme of things, but in the realm of nature, five months can dramatically change a landscape.

Back in April we hiked Lower Table Rock and were greeted by an incredible display of wildflowers, one that we had never seen on Lower or Upper Table Rock before.  Just go back to our April posting on that hike and you will see the vast fields containing thousands of flowers.  But that was five months ago and now it is September.  So when we arrived at the top of Lower Table Rock on our most recent hike, it was quite a contrast to our hike in April.  Though still beautiful in it's own way, the colors of Spring flowers had now faded and were replaced with dried grasses on the plateau.  Below is a pictorial comparison of a few views at the top of Lower Table Rock between our April and September hikes.

View upon arrival on the plateau in April........

......and the view in September

Vast fields with thousands of flowers in April.......

....are now flowerless with dried grasses in September.

The plateau trail in April......

....and now in September

Don't get us wrong, we still enjoyed our hike.  Each season with it's colors and unique aspects adds to the fun of hiking and makes nature what it is.

View of Upper Table Rock from Lower Table Rock

A hot summer hike under blue skies with white waves of clouds.
 But as Summer comes to a close, we look forward to Autumn and the return of color in the form of yellow, orange and red.  Each year we try to get out and hike a few trails that feature the short lived Autumn foilage here in Southern Oregon.  The cooler weather and fewer people along the trails also allows you the time to just take in the sights, relax, and enjoy the views, sounds and smells of the outdoors. We'll do our best to try and share those hikes and sights with you, but why not get our yourself and enjoy first-hand what we think is the best season of the year, Autumn.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol