Wednesday, July 6, 2022

North Umpqua Trail (Deer Leap Segment)


At Medicine Creek and about three years ago, a huge boulder went on a gravity-induced rampage through the forest along the North Umpqua River. Trees stood no chance against the humongous rock and one tree in particular, was leveraged into karate-chopping the stout hikers' footbridge on the North Umpqua Trail into two large sections of kindling. Somewhat surprising after several years though, the bridge still remains unrepaired and unusable for hiking. To continue on the North Umpqua Trail's Deer Leap Segment from the Soda Springs Trailhead, hikers are forced to bushwhack down to the creek and then either wade or rock-hop across.

Bridge with a back problem

Friend Missy and I set out on the North Umpqua Trail on an overcast morning and within a third of a mile, we ran into the aforementioned crime scene at Medicine Creek. A large destroyed footbridge is truly an awesome sight to behold and we gawked for a bit before actually doing the tedious work of scrambling down to the creek, and then wading (me) or rock-hopping (Missy) across. From there it was a short but steep scramble (both of us) up to the North Umpqua Trail, where in essence, the real hike commenced.

Some of that morning rain on the local vegetation

It had been raining for days prior to this hike but the rain had stopped and apparently this was the day for the storm to dissipate into happy blue sky oblivion. We couldn't fully celebrate being dry, however, as the burgeoning spring vegetation was only too happy to transfer idling water drops stored on leaves and flowers onto the clothing of passing hikers.

Slide Creek slides on by

We passed several creeks crossing the trail but only Slide Creek was deemed worthy of a name. We decamped from the fully intact hiker's bridge there and attempted to get closer to the stream tumbling though its rocky defile. Missy got on a mossy boulder that was canted at an incline towards the creek and the moss let loose and she had a scary glissade that stopped just short of sending her into what surely would have been a painful freefall into the creek and surrounding rocks. Maybe that's why it's called Slide Creek!

Remnant of an ancient landslide

No, Slide Creek did not get its name from Missy nearly sliding into the creek. As we hiked away from the creek, we passed by the obvious remnants of an ancient rockslide that gave Slide Creek its name, the slide now covered with a thick layer of moss. Besides the rockslide, other geologic formations loomed between the intervening trees in the lush forest, as rocky cliffs, spires, and ramparts all stood at attention in permanent testimony to the volcanic origins of the North Umpqua River terrain.

There was plenty of uphill hiking 

The hike gained nearly two thousand feet of elevation over the course of three-plus miles, testing our mettle somewhat but I'm glad to report we were both up to the challenge. By now, the sun was making a concerted effort to warm the day and the combination of wet plant life and hiking exertion turned this hike into a rather humid, sweaty, and smelly affair. And the same goes for me, too!

Candystick emerges 

The season was spring, and to go along with the rampant greenery was rampant flowering with a multitude of colors on display. The rhododendron bushes were still festooned with large pink blossoms but clearly their blooming glory was on the wane. I pointed out to Missy the white and pink flowers of prince's pine and she suggested that become my trail name. White hyacinth, yellow tarweed, and brown wild ginger flowers all represented their respective slices of the color spectrum and we also spotted the striking red and white canes of candystick emerging onto the forest floor from some subterranean sugar shop in the dark earth beneath. 

Nice view, but don't get too close to the edge

The downhill side of the trail dropped away rather abruptly, making for a dizzying overlook of the North Umpqua River coursing over a thousand feet below. I always thought deer with broken hearts leaping to their deaths to squelch their sorrow was how the Deer Leap Segment got its name, but that's just me, because everybody knows deer are heartless creatures. At any rate, we enjoyed the view of the river, canyon, and mountains a safe distance away from the sheer edge of the rim.

The sun came out as we descended to the trailhead

After about four miles of going uphill, the trail finally crested and began to head downhill. Pleased to be hiking downhill but unwilling to surrender our hard-earned elevation gain only to have to regain it on the way back, we called it good and ate lunch at a level spot among some manzanita bushes. On the return leg, it was the same old sublime forest scenery all over again, but happily it was a pleasant downhill walk this time.

Missy picks her way down to Medicine Creek

After crossing over Slide Creek, where we both avoided any near-falls this time, we returned to the wreckage of the Medicine Creek Bridge. From there it was a sketchy drop down to the creek, and from there it was another simple wade (me) across Medicine Creek or a complicated and arduous rock-hop (Missy) that had her wishing she could just do a Deer Leap across. Maybe that's how Deer Leap got its name.

Lava formations were a common sight next to the trail

For more photos of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Nip and Tuck Lakes


Now seemed like the time for my very first hike to Nip and Tuck Lakes, or the Plastic Surgery Lakes as I like to call them. Yeah, that's a bit of a groaner but seriously, if you like pristine lakes with plenty of solitude (and who doesn't?) then Nip and Tuck should suture needs. Sorry about those atrocious puns but hopefully they'll leave you in stitches. There's more where that came from and that's why I usually hike alone.

The last vestige of winter

Snow played a big part in my deciding to hike here. Our little corner of Oregon had experienced a pretty good winter and as a result, snow was still lingering on the ground and covering up trails about three weeks later than normal. Eager to get up into the mountains and ascertain where exactly the snow level was, I penciled this hike in for a sunny but mild day in the Windigo Pass area.

The trail was actually Forest Road 60 at first

From the Pacific Crest Trailhead at Windigo Pass, it was a three-quarter mile hike down a dusty forest road to the official Metolius-Windigo Trailhead. The MWT runs over one hundred miles in distance between the Mount Jefferson area and our own Windigo Pass but today I'd be hiking just about three miles of it.

The trail had kind of a dry vibe about it

Dry and dusty. That about sums up the hike to Nip and Tuck Lakes, although you'd never know it from the trailhead. There, several patches of snow lay underneath the trees and the melting thereof created several very cold but clear running streams but that was it for the snow and water. Once I left the trailhead it was all tan-colored pumice soil underneath a thin forest with little to no undergrowth.

Beetle markings on a lodgepole victim

Lodgepole pine grows where other trees can't, like in the pumice-based soil I was hiking on. Accordingly, thin stands of scrawny lodgepole trees grew along the trail, which ran unerringly straight through them. Because of the harsh environment they grow in, it's hard to become a successful adult lodgepole pine tree and accordingly, the bleached bones of failed attempts at treehood from years past were strewn along and on the trail. At least the carpenter ants and woodpeckers were happy.

Nip Lake in all it's nippy glory

After almost three miles of hiking on a gently undulating up-and-down trail, the path to Nip and Tuck Lakes was arrived at. It's almost as if Nip and Tuck Lakes are one single lake. You don't say "I think I'll nip over to Nip Lake" or "Tuck me in at Tuck Lake". Nope, it's "Nip and Tuck", forever inseparable as one, like Batman and Robin, like Marc Anthony and Cleopatra, or maybe like Lane and Richard. Just a narrow wooded isthmus about 20 yards wide is all that keeps us from referring to a single lake as "Tucknip". 

Tuck Lake in all it's tucky glory

Tuck Lake is the larger of the two lakes but smaller Nip is not without its charm. Marshy meadows surrounded both lakes and made shoreline exploration nigh impassable. Fortunately, this hike took place before mosquito season so no Deet was needed as I ate an active lunch, walking back and forth between the two lakes so as to give each equal viewing time. Come back in a few weeks though, and the mosquitoes will be most appreciative of your unwilling donation to their blood bank.

Pink heather was abloom along the lake

Small clumps of pink heather, which incidentally was my stage name when I was in the theater, bloomed within the lakeshore grasses along with some isolated specimens of shooting star. The color yellow was represented by the odd buttercup or two and "odd buttercup" is what they called me on the work crew. I'll stop now.

The Pacific Crest Trail had no snow on it

The easy terrain encountered on the hike in meant that it was also easy terrain on the hike out. And, after several miles of easy walking, I found myself back at the PCT Trailhead at Windigo Pass. It was still relatively early in the day, I had only hiked about five miles, and certainly I was dressed for the occasion, so I concocted a brilliant plan to bushwhack over to the Windigo Lakes for some extra lakes and mileage.

Time to bushwhack in slushy snow

The Windigo Lakes are two lakes that lie in the forest east of the Pacific Crest Trail. There is no trail to the lakes, so out came my GPS and I hiked up the PCT until I reached 5,900 feet of elevation, which was just a bit higher than the first of the two lakes. I then stepped off the PCT and headed out into the forest and that was when I found out my well-crafted plan had a major flaw. While the PCT had no snow on the trail tread, underneath the shady trees lay a veritable winter wonderland of slushy and mushy snow, and me without snowshoes. It was a tedious post-holing slog to the first Windigo Lake and a tedious slog back but I did get a nice view of Cowhorn Mountain in the distance. The second lake will have to wait for a snow-free day.

The view at Windigo Lake's outlet

So that was it for the hike to Nip and Tuck Lakes: short and sweet, just like me. The snow surrounding Windigo Lakes won't be there much longer and I may bring my backpack with me when the Friends of the Umpqua hike to nearby Cowhorn Mountain. The many lakes surrounding Nip and Tuck just beg for further exploration. Stay tuned!

Clear running creeks were full of melted snow

For more photos of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Hemlock Creek


Sometimes, the forest is the hike and the hike is the forest. What I mean by that when you hike, there's usually a destination in mind, a place to go to, a particular something to see, as the reason for your being out on the trail in the first place. But then again, sometimes there is no raison d'etre for the day's venture, it's just about the being of it. Hemlock Creek was such a hike, because once I entered a forest sublime, it became all about the journey and not the destination.

Pink rhododendron flowered next to Lake in the Woods

This tree-centric hike began at smallish Lake in the Woods, ringed not only by campers trying to escape the heat cooking the Umpqua Valley, but also by flowering rhododendron bushes gracing both lake and woods. Not wanting to disturb sleeping campers, I grabbed a use trail that skirted around the camping spots along the semi-stagnant lake. This led to some momentary confusion when I egressed onto a gravel road and had to spend a few minutes searching for the resumption of the trail.  

A log spans Hemlock Creek and tempts the adventurous

From the aforementioned gravel road, the trail entered a thick forest and headed uphill at a moderate grade. But who cares about uphill hiking when the forest was so out-of-this-world beautiful? The shade was as refreshing and as cool as a waterfall's mist. Sunlight filtered through trees, limbs, branches, and leaves, winding up on the trail as dappled light and shade. Life was good here and I considered staying in this place for the remainder of my days, it was so pleasant. 

Elegant cat's ear with that fuzzy feeling

A diverse collection of wildflowers mostly shared the forest in a harmonious rainbow coalition of specie and color. However, Columbia windflower and elegant cat's ear each practiced a form of floral apartheid, staking their claim on a particular patch of ground, making sure that not one pistil or stamen belonging to the lower castes of flower rabble dared cross over their territory. They couldn't stop me from taking photographs, though.

Lower Hemlock Falls wasn't easy to get to

Hemlock Creek was seldom seen from its namesake trail but did provide a couple of notable waterfalls to gawk at. The first cascade was Lower Hemlock Falls, which was kind of hard to see, you have to bushwhack a bit to get a decent photo thereof. The second waterfall, encountered on a side creek, is Clover Falls and is a lot harder to see, seeing how it's effectively screened from view by trees and tree parts. In fact, I didn't even notice the cascade when I hiked past but caught it when I returned in the opposite direction. Such are my keen powers of observation.

Trail into the forest darkness

After the two waterfalls, the route temporarily departed from Hemlock Creek and inscribed what seemed like an endless amount of switchbacks but were probably only four. My GPS said I was about to cross another forest road but the back and forth through the dense vegetation made the road crossing seem a lot farther away. 

Stout bridges crossed and re-crossed Hemlock Creek

After crossing the forest road, the trail did provide some quality Hemlock Creek time and miles. The path crossed and re-crossed the pristine and clear-flowing creek passing underneath the stout footbridges. Initially, the bridges were sturdy and sound except for one span showing its age by sagging in the middle, just like some hikers do. The final creek crossing had no bridge at all and required an easy ankle-deep wade.

The forest was a pleasure to hike through

Once Hemlock Creek was forded, the route commenced a more rigorous climb through the forest in yet another series of switchbacks that seemingly went on forever but probably only numbered four. Orange and salmon-colored clumps of coral fungus pushed their way into existence along the trail, emerging from the dark depths of the earth below. Flowers bloomed in the forest undergrowth and always, there was that delightfully mottled light keeping things cooler than they would otherwise have been. 

The meadows at the Yellowjacket Loop junction

After a mile of slogging ever on upward, the trail grade eased up and the forest thinned out, providing views of intermittent meadows with willow thickets in the middle, where Hemlock Creek flowed somewhere within the small trees, hidden away from the prying eyes of passing hikers. And just like that, the forest ended and the trail spit me out into some large meadows near Hemlock Lake. 

A wasp enjoyed the shade, just like me

These meadows are part of the Yellowjacket Loop, a great hike in its own right if you like meadows (and who doesn't?), wildflowers, and yellowjackets. I briefly entertained a notion of hiking the full Yellowjacket Loop and turning this moderate eight mile hike into an exhausting fourteener. But it was a hot afternoon by now, giving me the perfect excuse to turn around and head back to Lake of the Woods. But you know I would have done the longer loop except for the heat, and quit your sniggering! 

Fern frozen in mid-furl

It was all downhill back to the opaque green waters of Lake of the Woods, through the same beautifully shaded forest I had so enjoyed when hiking up. But, the easy downhill walking allowed me to better appreciate the shade, rampant greenery, and tall trees just that much more. When the hike ended at the trailhead kiosk, I turned around and said out loud "Thanks, forest!" but not too loudly. No need to get the nearby campers wondering about the lone sweaty dude talking to trees.

Peace like a forest

For more photos of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Da-Ku-Be-Te-De Trail

 


Da-Ku-Be-Te-De just nicely rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Well, maybe not. I was watching a YouTube video by some dude who hiked on the Da-Ku-Be-Te-De Trail and boy, did he ever struggle to pronounce the trail's name. He eventually gave up after he sprained his tongue and suffered severe mouth contusions. Speaking from personal experience though, it's pretty simple to say when your other native language is Spanish. Fortunately for the linguistically challenged, pronunciation and elocution are not a prerequisite for enjoyment of the hike. Just let your boots do the talking, the trail will always understand.

"Once upon a morn so dark and dreary,
while I hiked, weak and weary..."

It had been raining the week prior to this hike along the shore of Applegate Lake. When I began walking, the sky was overcast, dark, and dreary, matching my mood perfectly. Stepson Carl had been badly injured in a work accident and the worry about his well-being definitely harshed my mellow. Hopefully the sun would just stay hidden behind the moody clouds, no need to unduly mellow my harsh. However, as I hiked along the trail, the day would eventually bifurcate into equal parts sunny and cloudy, improving my mood and overall outlook, despite my best intentions to do otherwise.

Not your basic wilderness hike

The Da-Ku-Be-Te-De Trail is part of a trail network that circumnavigates Applegate Lake and this hike began at Hart-tish Park which boasts a campground, picnic area, boat ramp, small general store, and hundreds of squealing children recreating in the lake's cold waters. The civilized start to the hike continued as I walked past the campground, especially since the trail was paved at that point.

Mirrory

After several years of minimal precipitation and maximal wildfires, it was nice to receive a lot of rain last winter, leaving Applegate Lake full to the brim with water, as every lake should be. The air was quiet and still, and the lake reflected the gray clouds in the sky on its mirrory surface and I don't think "mirrory" is really a word, but I'm still going with it. In general, the body of water sported an alpinesque vibe, seeing how the narrow fiord-like lake is surrounded by tall craggy peaks still flecked with snow.

Mule Mountain rises beyond the lake's dam

Even though the trail closely followed the shore, dense woods surrounded the track and at times, it was like there was no lake at all. But periodic openings in the tree cover allowed me to observe some of the surrounding lakeside topography, like Little Grayback Mountain, whose tip-top generally hid somewhere within the low cloud cover. Across the lake was Elliot Creek Ridge with Stein Butte being the most prominent high point on the forested ridge. Not all the scenery was mountain-centric though, as the pronounced bay of Squaw Creek's arm reposed on the opposite shore below Elliot Creek Ridge.

Golden yarrow brightened up the trail

Wildflowers were a thing on this hike, too. Much of my time was spent bent over or lying prone on the trail, photographing small plants with colorful blooms representing all colors of the rainbow. Many of the plant species were regular Siskiyou denizens, seemingly exotic to this particular denizen of the Oregon Cascades country. Elegant brodeaia, ookow, checkermallow, golden yarrow, and paintbrush all did their part in colorizing the hike and much photography ensued.

The ticks await my presence on the trail

Intermittently, the woods gave way to small meadows and open grassy fields. Somewhat paranoid about the small biting creatures that lurk in the grass, I performed frequent tick checks, particularly right after a round of photo-grazing at grass level. I'm glad to report only one eight-legged vermin was found crawling on my pants leg, and luckily that was before it found its way to the delicious O'Neill blood flowing underneath my preciously soft and tender skin.

The Da-Ku-Be-Te-De Trail follows
the shore of Applegate Lake

As the miles slowly accrued, the lake's dam, eminently visible at the beginning of the hike, soon receded from view and it was easy to pretend Applegate Lake was then a natural body of water. On a clear day, the high peaks of the Red Buttes Wilderness, most notably those of the Red Buttes themselves, are an impressive sight from the shore. Unfortunately though, all that sumptuous snow-capped mountain scenery was hidden from sight by the brooding cloud cover on this latest visit.

Trail intersection near Watkins Campground

After about four miles of pleasant and mostly level hiking, a wooden footbridge and trail intersection marked my arrival at Watkins Campground. To continue hiking further around the lake required a fairly lengthy road walk, which made the campground my logical turnaround point. If I wanted to hike on pavement, I would have just walked back and forth a bunch of times on the campground path at Hart-tish Park.

I can see most of the Red Buttes

On the way back, the whole semi-stormy vibe completely changed as the clouds began to break up and dissipate. More and more, blue sky began to hold sway above the lake, but the clouds resisted mightily while I hiked below, fully entertained by the meteorological contest of wills. At the end of the hike, the Red Buttes, looming large on the Siskiyou crest, did finally make a brief appearance.

Blue sky began to rule the day, come afternoon

This hike had been another exercise in mental health, allowing me to assimilate myself back into civilization and generally mimic socially acceptable behavior. Totally enjoyable it was and I'll probably return to this trail in the future, for the backpack trip around Applegate Lake is on my to-do list. Because the trail around the lake is relatively level, it would be a pleasant backpack trip and probably is as easy as pronouncing Da-Ku-Be-Te-De.

Easy for you to say!

For more photos of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Rogue River Trail (backpack)


So there we were on the last day of our Rogue River Trail backpack trip, eating lunch in the shade and sitting next to the trail. A fellow backpacker came up from the opposite direction and as is customary, we greeted each other, he by giving us a friendly nod and a curt acknowledgment of "Gentlemen". Three out of the four people in our party thought it no big deal while one was singularly nonplussed. The one irritated member of our quartet was not gentleman nor man and Missy was fuming at being so mistaken for a member of the male species. "Couldn't he see that I'm not a man?" she wailed, our laughter no tonic for her discomfiture. We decided Missy's trail name could be Sir or Mister, but looking at her long braids draping over the front of each shoulder, I'm of the opinion that our erstwhile dude could have no greater honor than to accept with pride, her given trail name of  "Willie Nelson".

Day 1

Golden iris put on a show for
the entire time of our visit

The first day of our forty mile journey was overcast but we (Rogue River Trail newcomers Missy, Mike, and Terry) were off and hiking anyway, except for yours truly, who had to backtrack to the car to retrieve a rain hat, which would be sorely needed on this trip. But at least I get the Golden Boot Award for hiking farther than everybody else. 

Whiskey Creek, as we arrived

All participants were familiar with the first three miles to Whiskey Creek, but once we passed that first major stream, it was all new trail for my Rogue River Trail newbs. However, by the time we reached Whiskey Creek, we had all become accustomed to the basic pattern of the trail, consisting of a climb to a cliff overlooking the river in its canyon and then a descent down to a tributary creek, followed by another climb away from the creek to a cliff overlooking the river. Up and down, in and out, and repeat for forty miles. Also repeated for forty miles were the soft caresses of poison oak leaves on our arms and legs as that pernicious shrub was constantly encroaching the trail.

These flower smelled lovely, Blogger
needs to add a scratch n' sniff option

We passed creeks Whiskey, Alder, Russian, Bronco, and Bunker over the first nine miles of trail and so far so good as far as my aged legs were concerned. However, the next three'ish miles had some pretty steep grades and by the time we reached Horseshoe Bend I was thoroughly pooped, but on the plus side, we had knocked off nearly twelve miles which wasn't bad for us old hikers.

Day 2

A cloudy dawn yet Terry said
the storm was dissipating

Day 2 will live in infamy in the memories of all participants. Although, there were just some clouds in the sky when we struck camp, the day would soon be as wet as the interior of a water balloon, Terry's cheery and overly optimistic prognostication of "it's dissipating" notwithstanding.

Missy has a bonding moment with the wet earth

After an hour or so of hiking on a trail covered with numerous piles of bear poop, the first raindrops began to fall. We hiked another hour or so before we all began to feel the need to put on raingear. Missy should have put on mud gear too, for she took a spill crossing a creek and suffered an ignominious sit-down upon the wet earth. 

OK, it's raingear o'clock

One highlight of the second day was a side trip to Zane Gray's cabin, a rustic ramshackle cabin in the middle of a grassy meadow where the famed author stayed when he fished the Rogue. Shortly after leaving the cabin and resuming our hike on the Rogue River Trail, we ran into a party of about eight day hikers. It was our friends, the Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club, day hiking to the cabin and they looked wet. They probably thought we looked wet, too.

The rain did not dissipate

After exchanging pleasantries with our friends, we continued on and at the eleven-mile mark, we arrived at the Rogue River Ranch, now a historical backcountry museum. And that was when the wind started. We were all soaked at this point, having hiked in the rain for the last six hours or so, and that wind had us all shivering in no time flat. Backpacking is so much fun!

Arrival at Rogue River Ranch

We went to the ranch and sat on the porch with about a half-dozen other backpackers in a vain attempt to seek shelter from the elements. The caretaker offered the services of his wood stove to dry out clothing and gear but we all politely declined for there's no wood stoves in backpacking. He was a nice guy though, and it was a relief to know hikers in trouble could have a place to go to for help, if needed. At any rate, we camped by the river and all of us were in our tents by three o'clock in the afternoon, listening to the wind and rain raging on the other side of our flimsy tent fabric.

Day 3

Still not dissipating, Terry

The ranch caretaker did share with us that the storm would abate this morning, but you'd never know it from the rain that was still vigorously pelting our campsite. Humorously enough, we held a quick meeting to decide that we'd start our hike later in the morning when the weather would break, the humor being that the meeting was held verbally, each one of us participating from inside one's own tent. It was like the backpacking version of a Zoom Meeting.

Overjoyed when the sun broke out

From the ranch, there is a short road walk to the Marial Trailhead and it was somewhere around there that the mid-morning sun came out, warming limbs and souls alike. From Marial, the trail entered an amazing world comprised mostly of black jagged rock at the bottom of the river canyon. Here, the Rogue funnels into narrow Mule Creek Canyon, famed as a formidable challenge for rafters. The precarious trail is etched into a cliff face and you really want to watch your step here, for the drop-off from the trail is sheer. The highlight of this section is Stair Creek, which tumbles into the Rogue in a series of awesome waterfalls. One other highlight was that because of the sun, we removed rain gear, jackets, pant legs, and applied sunscreen to our pale and pallid skins. 

Precarious trail etched onto a cliff

Continuing onward, we passed through the grounds of Paradise Lodge, which was not as backpacker friendly as it had been in years past, although they graciously let us picnic on their deck. From there it was the usual up and down ramble over flowing creeks, through lush forests, and across dry and open cliffs. At the ten mile mark, we set up camp at Tacoma Camp, well populated with rafters camping there.

Day 4

Tacoma Rapids as we began the hike out

Day 4 was getaway day. It also was our shortest day, coming in at a paltry 7.9 miles. Good thing too, because hiking in wet shoes during Day 2's deluge had given me some blisters. Of course, the last and easiest day also had the best weather, something that had also occurred during my two other through-hikes of the Rogue River Trail. It must be a rule.

Peaceful Flora Dell Falls

The main highlight as we left Tacoma Camp was Flora Dell Falls, where Flora Dell Creek tumbles over a cliff to splash into its basin. The weather wasn't particularly warm but the cool spray blowing off the picturesque cascade still felt refreshing.

Pathway through the woods

The remainder of the hike crossed several creeks and was mostly wooded. The Rogue had been the official Wild and Scenic Rogue River during our hike but here, the river widened and began flowing a lot more in keeping with its now ponderous bulk. Welcome to the Tame and Civilized Rogue River, boys and girls. We did have two steep uphill sections to hike over though, as the trail had to detour around some private property parcels, much to our annoyance.

Advertisement for "Come to Oregon!"

The end of the Rogue River Trail was pretty spectacular, though, as it went through a long extended pasture in a valley ringed by forested mountains.  As we hiked by, appreciating the postcard view under a blue sky, incurious cows impassively gazed at us. The trailhead put an official end to the Rogue River Trail but we still had a short walk on a roadway to where my car was waiting for us at Foster Bar.

We did it!

We did it! Even though this was my third go-round with the Rogue River Trail, I still felt a profound sense of accomplishment. No doubt my newbs felt a similar sense of accomplishment, unburdened by the ennui that multiple hikes on the same trail can engender. And as a reward, we stopped in Gold Beach for barbecue sandwiches that were to die for, in our deprived post-hike condition. There are some things about civilization that you just appreciate more after a long backpack trip.

Elegant brodeaia, looking elegant, as always

For more photos of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.