Hike Difficulty: moderate (because of the freakin’ sun)
Hike Length: 4.45 mi roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 938 ft
Time: 2 hrs 10 mins
It is definitely summer. I had the bright idea of hiking through a burn area at midday on a hot summer day. It wasn’t as bad as you could expect, but it was still a hot mess of a hike.
I had already hiked the trail to the south of this one, Middle Fork Trailhead (Rogue River) twice, and both times I told myself that I wanted to hike the ridge above the canyon. After doing some research, I found that there are several little used trails in the area that go along the ridge. Tom and Jerry trailhead is an entry point to get to the Mudjekeewis trail, which then leads to a viewpoint at Kerby Hill above the Middle Fork Canyon.
Middle Fork Canyon became engulfed in a forest fire in 2008, so today there are patches of green, live trees in a sea of dead, toothpick-like snags. It actually pretty much shut down most recreation in the area, which is good and bad. The hike starts off in a more-or-less green forest and crosses a few small creeks. That was the only running water the dogs got to enjoy. I underestimated the amount of shady trees on this hike and found myself missing them after we exited the forest around .3 miles. The next real patch of living trees came about a mile in distance and 400 ft in elevation later and they were a welcome oasis for me and the dogs.
I ended up deciding to cut my hike short because of the heat around mile 2.25. Looking at my map, I still had another mile or so to go just to get to the junction with Mudjekeewis trail. I knew that I could make it, but I didn’t want to push my dogs too much and have problems. Plus, with all that exposure I probably would’ve gotten a sunburn, even though I loaded up on SPF 50. I’ll have to come back at dawn some other time (or in the fall?) so that I can make it to the Kerby Hill viewpoint and not fry to a crisp.