Cathedral Hills Trail System

Just outside of Grants Pass, Cathedral Hills is a trail system for hikers, bikers, and horse-riders. Since it’s so close to a city, I have always kinda avoided going there. However, last weekend I didn’t have much of an option with the rainy/snowy weather all over the region, so I tried out Cathedral Hills for the first time. It was pretty wet, so I only got a few pictures. I started at the Espey trailhead and did the Backside loop, along with the W trail and Wild Rose loop.

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Backside loop + W trail and Wild Rose loop, 3.28 mi, 607 ft elevation gain

Today I decided to return to Cathedral Hills, especially since it wasn’t raining as consistently and I had some more trails to explore. This time, starting from the same trailhead, I did the Outback loop, which is a bit longer. I also added on the Skycrest loop via Timber Riders trail. The skies were a little more kind to me this time and I got some pretty pictures of fog rolling over nearby hills. I also got a lot of macros of lichen and plants.

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❀

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I love this little mushroom picture

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Outback loop + Skycrest loop via Timber Riders, 4.76 mi, 653 ft elevation gain

All in all, this trail system does the trick when you’re desperate for a hike, but it’s really built more for mountain bikers and it’s way too close to the city for my taste. I’ll have to keep exploring to find something more isolated for next weekend.

Women’s March 2018 – Medford

Today marks the first anniversary of the Women’s March (among other less-important things). Last year where I live, the march in Ashland drew in an estimated 8,000 people from all around Southern Oregon — blog post here. This year it came to the somewhat-less-progessive Medford, so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I met up with close friends from work, all incredible women in their own right, for this amazing event.

So many negative things have happened in the country in the past year have made it feel like we’ve regressed decades as a society. On top of that, hatred and bigotry of every kind seem to dominate our political discourse. Our divisions are now more pervasive and influential than our commonalities are and should be.

Today the march, just like last year’s, gave me hope that a tide of change is coming to wipe out all of that hatred. But it’s different because 2018 elections are coming. We’ve already seen this year through the elections in Virginia and Alabama that change is coming. More women and people of color are running for office. More powerful, white men are being held accountable for their sexual misconduct and/or corrupt behavior and their power is slipping. There are definitely still problems that need urgent attention. Fortunately, movements such as the Women’s March remind us that we are more alike than we are different. Unity is a major part of community and without it, there is no undoing the bad that comes our way. Coming together is the only way that we can really overcome obstacles in order to create a better future.

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My awesome friend, Jen, selling pussy hats πŸ™‚

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❀ ❀ ❀

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Probably one of my favorite signs of the day

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❀

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❀

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The force is strong with this one

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My roommate made a pussy hat by “suturing” on some pieces of a tea towel to a baseball cap LOL it was rad

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I hope that the lone Trump supporter realized that he looked silly

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If you can’t see it, the white sign in the middle says, “Literally everything about this is so aweful (sic) that I have no idea where to start”

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Jamie McLeod — future congresswoman for OR District 2 who will take Greg Walden out πŸ˜€

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Me and Jamie McLeod ❀ Change is coming

Revisiting Babyfoot Lake

It’s been a little while since I went to Babyfoot Lake in the Kalmiopsis for my first backpacking trip. Since there were some pretty serious fires rolling through the area this summer, I was curious and nervous to see what I might find. The area had already suffered when the Biscuit Fire hit in 2002 and the plants had been making some strides toward rejuvenation and recovery, so I wasn’t sure if this was going to be a happy hike or a bittersweet one.

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From the Babyfoot Lake trailhead

I looked at the weather forecast before I left civilization and figured that I had about 6 or 7 hours until the weather got ugly. However, pretty much right from the start, there were ominous grey clouds building in the sky. I headed down to Babyfoot Lake first, where it didn’t seem like the fire had reached this summer.

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From the north shore of Babyfoot Lake looking up at the rim I was about to climb

After spending some time near the lake (and tolerating Grace rolling in poop…twice), I doubled back and started my ascent up the Kalmiopsis Rim Trail. My goal was to make it to the top of the ridge and over to Canyon Peak. I calculated that it would be about 4 miles out and 4 back, but I wasn’t sure what I would actually be able to pull off.

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Above Babyfoot Lake looking down

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Another from above Babyfoot

The higher I climbed, the more the wind roared above me, sounding like a jet plane. I knew that the bad weather was hitting a bit sooner than the forecast showed, but apart from little sprinkles that were on and off, it was tolerable. I wanted to at least get to a prominent overlook from high up.

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The first major signs of a recent fire. This was still on the rim right above Babyfoot

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View to the southwest

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Canyon Peak looks closer than two miles away

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More burn zone from Chetco Bar fire

The weather started to get kinda crazy and sleeted on me for a few minutes. I had trouble finding the trail through the burn zone (though I think I just had to keep going downhill to a road) and I didn’t want to die on the mountain, so I turned around. The sleet didn’t last long, but it was probably for the best that I had turned back when I did. When I got back to my car, I found a faint, but pretty rainbow had formed.

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If you’re interested in the stats and map from this hike, here they are:

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5.64 miles total, 1217 ft elevation gain, 2 hours 39 mins — still miles away from my goal 😦

Spence Mountain

I headed back to Klamath Falls area today to hike Spence Mountain for the first time. This trail system is multi-purpose, so it feels like you’re hiking on a mountain bike trail. I was a bit concerned when I first got to the trailhead that it was going to be too muddy because I didn’t want to destroy the trail, but in the end, the ground was cold enough in most parts for it to be OK.

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Upper Klamath Lake through the trees

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Since I started at the Spence Mountain trailhead (not the newer Shoalwater Bay one) my only option really was to go up South Ridge trail and make a loop with Hooligan trail to get back to my car. On the way, I took a short detour on the summit trail, but I don’t think I got to the true summit.

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The overlook point had some great views of the Crater Rim and Shoalwater Bay Marsh

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I love it when the trunk of a tree living on an incline is all disfigured, yet the tree lives on

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I didn’t really know about the presence of the really cool, kinda frozen, jigsaw-puzzle-lookin’ marsh right beside Spence Mountain, so when I got back to my car after a 10-mile loop, I drove down Eagle Ridge road to see theΒ  marsh up close. My timing was just right that the sun was refracting through the clouds and created sundogs on both sides. The one above Pelican Butte was a bit more distinct, and it made for some cool sights to end off my day.

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I’m excited that they are making more trails in the Spence Mountain area. I’ll have to come back in the spring or summer when they finish the ones above the marshes.

If you’re interested in the stats and map for this hike, here they are:

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10.14 mi, 1604 ft elevation gain, 4 hrs 11 mins

Lower Devil’s Peak

Every winter, I seem to have the urge to climb the PCT out of Seiad Valley toward the Devil’s Peaks. Each winter, I fail. In Feb. of 2016 I had terrible tick problems, along with lots of downed trees. In Feb. of 2017 the snow and fallen trees made it so I couldn’t go any further. Out of the blue this morning I decided that I was going to make my 2018 attempt at reaching Devil’s Peaks.

The fog was interesting on the drive in. The whole Rogue Valley side was in thick fog all day. The California side of the Siskiyou Pass was a lot less foggy, though when I reached the turnoff for Highway 96 in the river valley, there was a blanket of fog in the surrounding mountains that I knew I’d have to climb through.

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The PCT trailhead just west of Seiad Valley is the one that climbs north toward the Red Buttes Wilderness

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About to enter the fog

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The ticks were pretty bad again. Over the entire hike, we must’ve encountered two or three hundred of them. I got bitten three times and Grace got seven. The foggy part of the hike took all of my perseverance because I had to stop every two minutes to swat ticks off of my legs and Grace. At one point, Grace had 4 ticks making their way into her eye. Repulsive.

With all the elevation that I had in store (almost 4000 ft!!!), I knew that I’d climb out of the fog eventually. Sure enough, I came out of the fog to the most spectacular view — I found myself under the clouds, but above the fog with a view of the snowy mountain range across the valley.

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❀ ❀

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I was kind of disappointed that I couldn’t see anything in the valley because I was finally going to make it to Lower Devil’s Peak. I kept climbing, though my legs told me to stop.

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Eventually, enough sunlight came through the clouds that it broke up the fog below and Seiad Valley became visible.

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At about 5.4 miles in, I had climbed over 3700 feet. All I wanted to do was teleport back to my car, but I still had to make the final hike up to the top of Lower Devil’s Peak. The little trail that I found led me under the real summit and over to the foundation for a lookout. I had a quick snack in the windbreak of the structure and headed back down.

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Looking down the PCT at Middle and Upper Devil’s Peaks

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Almost there

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Red Buttes in the middle ❀

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From the window of the structure

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Another window shot

I am incredibly proud of myself for being able to reach the lower peak, especially after so many failed attempts. It was worth all of the ticks and the climbing. Next summer, I need to arrange something so that I can hike from the Red Buttes down through the Devil’s Peaks so I don’t have to deal with the climb.

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If you’re interested in the stats and map for this hike, and you should be because it was fuckin’ impressive, here you go:

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11.19 mi, 3858 ft elevation gain, 5 hrs. 11 mins.

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Steady, torturous climb

Link River Trail

Since the trail that I was originally headed to was too snowy to reach, I headed to Klamath Falls to Link River Trail. I hadn’t ever really considered this trail before since it is pretty much in the middle of the city. Sure, there were lots more people than I am used to from my secluded hikes, but I quickly forgot that I was kinda still in civilization.

This trail is one of many designated Klamath Basin Birding Trails, so I knew I was in for some wildlife. Though I didn’t really get any on camera, there were many, many ducks.

The first part of the hike follows a levee between the Link River and the Keno Canal, which serves as one of the outflow channels for the dam upriver.

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Many parts of the Keno Canal were frozen

_N8R5081_N8R5084Right before the bridge to cross to the other side of the canal and see the dam, I saw a spur trail sign for some “falls” so I followed it.

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The river was more impressive than the falls (off screen right)

As I came to the dam, I knew that I was almost to the halfway point and would have to turn around. It was about 1.7 miles at that point. Not bad for a little hike in town.

_N8R5101_N8R5105When I got back to my car, I saw that there were several other trails in the area, so it looks like I’ll have to come back to explore some more next time I run out of places to hike.

Here’s my stats and map for today’s hike:

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3.23 miles, 180 elevation gain, 1 hr 12 mins

Gateway Trail

On my never-ending search for lower elevation hikes to keep me occupied in the wintertime, I started a different approach for finding new hikes. Basically, I just type “trail” or “trailhead” into Google Maps and keep zooming in on different areas to see what trails pop up. It’s not foolproof, but it led me to Gateway Trail just north of the city of Mt. Shasta.

I’d driven by this trailhead in the past on my way to Black Butte trail, but I never really thought anything of it. After researching a bit, I found that it actually has quite a bit of mileage of trails, more of which are in the works. It seems like the whole trail system was designed for mountain bikers, but it’s a multi-use trail, so everyone seemed to be very considerate. I should mention — this is a pretty popular trail, especially with locals, so expect the trailhead parking to be full (or close to it) on a sunny day.

I should also mention that I somehow went down this little paved path for about a .85 mile loop that came back to the parking lot before I realized that the Gateway Trail starts on the far west end of the parking lot, not near the sign (oddly). Maybe there was something I missed.

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Very pretty views of Mt. Shasta right off the bat

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Mt. Eddy ❀ ❀

The trail had some pretty open views of the mountains in the area for the first mile or so, but after that, it dove into the forest and didn’t really come back out. I went as far as Marley Junction, then I turned around.

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Another Mt. Shasta shot

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My favorite pic — Black Butte on the right and Mt. Eddy on the left

As I usually say, I’ll have to come back and explore this one some more some other day.

If you’re interested in the stats and map for this hike, here you go:

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8.75 mi, 935 ft elevation gain, 3 hrs and 30 mins