Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hiking Grizzly Peak in Southern Oregon

August 30th, 2013

Due to rain in the forecast we ditched our original with plans with Tim and Amanda to head to one of my favorite places in Oregon, Floras Lake. Instead we made alternative plans, pretty much on a whim, to pack up the camper and head south to southern Oregon- specifically to the southern Oregon Cascades near Ashland. We pretty much looked at a map and a weather forecast and picked a spot. We ended up at Fish Lake. The area is very beautiful with your typical high mountain fauna. It's a bit different than the central Cascades where I spend much of my time because it's drier. We brought plenty of beer, plenty of food and way too much warm clothes. Although it did chill down quite a bit at night so bring a warm sleeping bag!
Fish Lake started as a natural lake- a dam was added in 1902 to collect water for irrigation for the Rouge Valley. While we were here the lake itself wasn't much use to us. It's pretty but the water level was very low exposing the stumps from a bygone era. There were signs posted about warning about an algae bloom. I didn't see drastic evidence of this but I did see a ring of stinky water plants surrounding the lake's edge. The camp host told us she had never seen the water level this low. On the other hand, the Milky Way fucking blew my mind- I stood by the lake's edge with my binoculars and got dizzy with the thought of it all!

Setting up camp. First things first: Gina grabs a beer!

We scoured our hiking guide books, including the fascinating tome Where the Trails Are by Bill Williams (excellent cover, Bill!) that Tim bought in Ashland at an outdoor store, and decided that Grizzly Peak would be up our alley and fit our mood.  Under 700 feet in elevation gain and around 5 miles (5.4.) I guess other people had the same idea as I counted 16 cars in the parking lot on this Saturday!

This sign reminds me of a joke my brother, a former commercial fisherman, used to enjoy telling. I can't remember the exact verbiage but the point was land lubbers are more assholes than sea goers are. How often do you see a sign shot up in the waterways? Funny! I think I'm missing part of the joke...

The trail begins in some cool forest.

The first of many rad meadows we passed through.

At the loop intersection we turned left- shortly we took a short spur trail which led to a nice view southwest.

Mount Shasta, Pilot Rock and Immigrant Lake. 

Can't wait to look at this later!

We then traversed through some of the Antelope Fire. It burned some 1800 acres in 2002.

That;s the top... almost..... there...

Looking east from the summit.

Tim contemplating. Why he hangs out with us. That's Ashland at the foot of the hills towards the right of the photo.

Dry. Bring water! Not pictured: the 4 PBRs we brought with us.

Heading down the hill we pass through more burned trees.

A massive fucking meadow. Gina can't believe it!

Finished... what else? An Alchemy Ale from Widmer straight from the icy cooler in Tim's trunk! I enjoyed this hike and would recommend it if in the area. And you were in the mood I was in before we started. Not much work and some nice views.

Gina and I decided to cut over to highway 97 to head home. We took some gravel back roads on the map and found this beautiful spot. It's called the Jackson F. Kimball Recreation Site and I had never heard of it. It's the headwaters of the Woods River and is mind blowingly pretty. We saw 5 or 6 people in kayaks tooling around and there was a small campground too.