Posts Tagged With: hiking

Exploring the Rogue River

Twisting, turning and plunging through Southern Oregon, the Rogue River provides summer thrill seekers the opportunity to experience a whitewater-white knuckle ride of a lifetime.

However, we were not looking for quite that much adventure as we set off for a day hike down the Rogue on a crisp December morning. It was definitely not summer and we hoped to keep warm and dry as we made our way along a portion of the Rogue River Trail. Our destination and lunch spot of choice was an old mining cabin located 3 miles downriver.

A narrow trail made it tough to get a good angle for the above shot, but the dash at the top of the sign indicated the high water mark from the 1964 flood. It went on to explain that the water rose 55 feet above the normal summer level. We stared, trying to comprehend just how much water that would have been.

Expecting a rundown old mining cabin, we were surprised to see the National Register of Historic Places designation posted on the cabin. We were also surprised at what an amazing peek into history Whiskey Creek Cabin offered.

The cabin was originally built in 1880 and is the oldest remaining mining cabin in the Rogue River Canyon. A series of owners and caretakers lived in and made improvements to the cabin over the years. The last resident moved out in 1973, when the Bureau of Land Management bought the property and opened it to the public.

According to Wikipedia, there are only two ways to reach Whiskey Creek Cabin…by floating down the Rogue River, or hiking in as we did. Either way, it’s well worth the effort!

Categories: Ashland life, Day hike near Medford, Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lake of the Woods Rewards

Our local weather forecast promises a wet week ahead so we took advantage of the sunshine today, grabbed our friends Lan and Jeff and headed for the hills.

Lake of the Woods, about 30 miles east of Ashland, Oregon, is one of our favorite day trips. As we walked along the water’s edge, we were rewarded when swirling clouds revealed a view of the 9,495 foot peak of Mount McLoughlin looming over the Lake.

During warm summer months the waters of Lake of the Woods are alive with boaters, kayakers and children splashing along the shore. Winter months offer a cold and quiet beauty…and (Friday -Sunday) Lake of the Woods Pizzeria, a cozy spot to enjoy the view, an afternoon bite to eat and visit with good friends.

Categories: Ashland life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

A Pleasant Hike on Humbug Mountain


It’s been awhile since we’ve given our hiking shoes a real workout, so today we put them (and ourselves) to the test along the 5 1/2 mile Humbug Mountain trail.  We hoped the promised ocean views would help distract us from the 1,748 foot climb.


The trail immediately began to rise, eventually leading us through a dense forest of amazing old-growth Douglas Fir, wildflowers and ferns.  As switchbacks led us back and forth up the mountain, Reg began to wonder just when we would see those Pacific Ocean views.  

At last we arrived at a break in the trees and were rewarded with a view north, up the Oregon Coast toward Port Orford.  We snuck several more peeks before trees grew dense and the trail took a turn, continuing up, up, up.  Surely, we thought, the view from the summit would be spectacular!

This little bench marked the end of the trail.  While I rested my feet, Reg documented our achievement with a quick photo.  Unfortunately, as the last picture shows, trees have blocked most of the views from the top.  Still, it was hard to be disappointed.  The hike was beautiful, we had made it to the top…and back down again…with plenty of energy to spare!

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Backroads Across America: Black Hills Give It Up

 

The drive to Mount Rushmore National Memorial gives visitors several frames for one of the world’s most spectacular engineering achievements. When you steer along Iron Mountain Road, go counterclockwise if you want the four presidents in your windshield.

A quick detour: Can you name the four presidents? (Answer below)

The 17-mile road was designed to connect three one-lane tunnels blasted in the rock. It features 314 curves, 14 switchbacks and three pigtails.

Sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s presidents measure 250 feet across and each head is 60 feet tall. Why were these four chosen? George Washington, for leading the struggle for independence. Thomas Jefferson, the idea of government by the people. Abraham Lincoln, ideas on equality and the permanent union of the states. Theodore Roosevelt, the emerging role of the U.S. in world affairs.

On our way to see the four stone heads, we explored the 71,000-acre Custer State Park. This place alone would be worth a visit to South Dakota’s Black Hills. We walked around Legion Lake, one of several lakes in the park, then picnicked next to a creek.

We began our day by hiking to Cathedral Spires, one of the park’s many treks that vary in length and degree of difficulty. They share a location as beautiful as any we have seen on our journey, which is nearing 8,000 miles.

Categories: Back Roads Across America, Backroads Across America | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Backroads Across America: Views from Sedona

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During two days in the Sedona, Arizona area, we have enjoyed stunning scenery and great weather. A bit warm (low 80s) for March, but we are not complaining.

After an early morning look at Bell Rock (top photo), we grabbed a coveted parking spot at Cathedral Rock for a steep scramble. Two photos show a ledge on the back side at the end of the trail. Reg on the ledge was not a happy site for Sue. It was bottoms down for most on the decline as hikers seemed to prefer sliding to slipping and falling.

As for Sedona, the town, we give it a thumbs down. It feels like an upscale resort. We expected a more rustic atmosphere.

 

 

 

Categories: Back Roads Across America | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Alas, spring arrives in Rogue Valley

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A warm spring day welcomed us to Upper Table Rock, a U-shaped mesa overlooking the Rogue River near Medford, Oregon. Friends Jeff and Lan hiked with us on the 2.8-mile loop that climbs 720 feet. Wildflowers, vernal pools as well as views of Mount McLaughlin and the Siskiyou Mountains made the trip well worth every step.

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Categories: Ashland life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Coastal Trail reveals hidden beauty

The Coastal Trail weaves like a thread along the rugged Pacific Coast, stringing together scenic viewpoints, state parks, hidden coves and dense forests. The trail also offers numerous opportunities to stretch one's legs, which is exactly what we did while sightseeing on our most recent camping trip on the South Coast of Oregon.

Armed with our Coast Trail and Travel Guide and a picnic lunch, we drove north from Brookings, Oregon one day and south, into California, on another day. The beauty stretches for miles in both directions. The views are easily visible from the road, but I'd encourage you to take a short (or long) walk and enjoy all the Coast Trail has to offer.

The Pacific Ocean appears endless from the cliffs above.

A window to the rocks below.

A misty fog is a familiar sight along the Pacific Coast.

Driftwood creates patterns along the beach.

Forest growth is so dense that it creates a tunnel along the Coastal Trail.

It's hard to resist climbing a tree like this!

Reg is dwarfed by soaring evergreen trees.

A splash of color.

 

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Going Green on the Oregon Coast

When we reserved our Harris Beach campsite last week, the weather report for the south coast of Oregon called for several days with mostly blue skies and temperatures in the mid-sixties. The perfect opportunity to sneak in, what might be, one last trailer trip before winter weather arrives.

As promised, temperatures have warmed up each day, allowing us to comfortably explore, but the sunshine we were hoping for has remained scarce. Although the gray skies haven't slowed us down, they have served as a reminder of one of the reasons Oregon continues to be such a beautiful, green state.

In celebration of my green theme, I thought I'd share a few photos from our Riverview Trail walk along the Chetco River, in Alfred A. Loeb State Park.

Reg pauses to check out the curtain of moss dangling from a fallen tree.

The Riverview Trail eventually turned uphill and past a cascading creek.

As we left the river and climbed higher we entered a Redwood forest.

Lots of green...everywhere!

As a couple fishermen quickly floated down the Chetco River, we noticed it too was a unique shade of green.

We stopped to look for a four-leaf clover, but couldn't spot one. Can you?

 

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Smith Rock State Park – A Commanding Presence

We chose the Misery Ridge Loop Trail, opting to begin along the banks of Crooked River.

We packed our lunch with us, which turned out to be a good decision. Lots of water is also a must when temperatures soar.

Bursting from the high desert floor, Smith Rock State Park offers outdoor enthusiasts 650 acres of breathtaking recreational opportunities.

With its towering rock formations, Smith Rock, 25 miles north of Bend, Oregon, has become a popular destination for rock climbers of all abilities, attracting enthusiasts from around the world.

For those of you who, like us, prefer to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground, there are miles of hiking trails around and through the park.

Smith Rock State Park is another example of how volcanic activity shaped the Oregon landscape.

As we approached Monkey Face, our trail took a steep turn uphill...and the misery began.

Climbers are dwarfed as they climb towards the top of Monkey Face.

At an elevation of 3289 feet, we found a shady lunch spot at the summit of Misery Ridge Loop Trail.

 

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tour du Mont Blanc: Spirits Lifted

Muddy hiking boots are removed and left in the entryway of Refugios, and Crocs are provided for inside wear.

 

 

 

 

We awoke Sunday morning (day 5) to more clear blue skies, and after a 6:30 am breakfast packed our things and started our trek.

The hike down from Refugio Elisabetta eventually leveled out onto a wide pathway of relatively easy walking…a welcome relief to the relentless ups and downs of the last few days.

We were pretty sure the easy walking would not last, and of course it didn't. We soon found ourselves headed up and out of the area known as Vallée des Glaciers. Anticipating two nights and a day of rest in the village of Courmayeur, we figured it wouldn't be too tough.

 

We soon found ourselves high above the valley floor with no end in sight. Our path took us by several piles of rubble, described in our guidebook as abandoned buildings.

The hillsides are covered with the most amazing display of wild flowers I have ever seen. The camera doesn't do them justice.

From across the valley we can see Glacier du Miage, which must have once reached the valley floor.

Onward we trekked, hoping to catch our first glimpse of Courmayeur around the next bend.

The village of Courmayeur is a charming place to kick back for a much needed rest.

Our itinerary called for an eleven mile day. After what seemed like at least that, if not more, we arrived at another Refugio situated on a ridge above our destination.

Trail markers pointed us steeply downhill for what was estimated to be another two hours of walking.

Ski lifts to the rescue. We purchased our tickets and hopped on the lift down. Best purchase of the trip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We discovered this cute little lunch spot that served delicious crepes.

And they had outdoor seating!

 

Categories: Tour du Mont Blanc | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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