Snowshoe Crater Lake This Winter
Popular and free ranger-guided snowshoeing is a wonderful way to see Crater Lake and learn about the local natural history, especially how plants, animals and people have adapted to thrive in the snowiest inhabited place in America.
The views are spectacular when you snowshoe Crater Lake — and snowshoes are really the only way to explore the park because the park receives an average of 43 feet (516 inches) of snow per year.
The snowshoe “walks” are offered every Saturday and Sunday (and some holidays) over the winter for as long as there’s snow up to May 1, 2016. Walks will also be offered on weekdays in late December and early January. Visit the Crater Lake park’s website for the latest in schedule and information — you don’t want to miss the opportunity to snowshoe Crater Lake.
The “walks” begin at 1:00 p.m., last two hours, and cover one mile of moderately strenuous terrain. The hike is an off-trail exploration through the forests and meadows along the rim of Crater Lake.
No previous snowshoeing experience is necessary. Snowshoes are provided free of charge, and there is no cost for the tour. Participants should be at least 8 years old and come prepared with warm clothing and water-resistant footwear.
Space on each tour is limited, and advance reservations are required. For more information and to sign up, call the park’s visitor center at 541-594-3100. The visitor center is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except on December 25. Groups of 10 or more people (such as scout troops, hiking clubs, and church groups) may be able to arrange for a separate tour just for their group.
Crater Lake National Park is open year-round, 24 hours a day. The park’s north entrance and Rim Drive are closed to cars in the winter, but the west and south entrances are plowed daily and are open to automobiles throughout the year. There is no winter lodging in the park, but the Rim Village Café & Gift Shop is open daily except on November 26 and December 25. Spectacular views of Crater Lake can be obtained at Rim Village during periods of clear weather.
Mount McLoughlin from Grizzly Peak’s Trail Head
Mount McLoughlin, easily viewable from the Rogue Valley, is a “Fujiyama-esque” lava cone built on top of a composite volcano. For most years, and sometimes all year round, there usually is snow on top. Lately however due to the lack of winter rains, this mountain is bare and brown — like too many other peaks in the Cascades.
Its elevation is about 9,495 feet. When I see that number, I always think, surely a team of burly and determined youths should haul up rocks and dirt to obtain an extra 5 feet so the height would be a nice round 9,500 ft.
Hiking in Ashland
It’s easy to do hiking in Ashland … go out the front door and walk uphill a few blocks. There are wonderful trails and country roads all throughout the “water shed” — an area that forms the foothills of Mt. Ashland.
Today I walked along “the ditch”, as the locals refer to the Talent Irrigation District Ditch. A water way source that comes from the mountain lakes in the Cascades, the ditch was built in the early part of the last century for agricultural use around Ashland. Now it’s a back up source, if/when the water from Mt. Ashland dips too low.
I love hiking in Ashland, you can get out into the country within mere minutes.
For more information go to the Ashland Trails Organization website
Lower Table Rock Trail
This is one of my favorite springtime trails, especially during the mid-week. I like that it goes through a few distinct eco-systems, each with its own set of wild flowers. The trail starts from the car park and briefly goes through oak savannah, where you see meadow/woodland flowers, such as camas, buttercups, mariposa lilies, shooting stars, with white oak trees and chaparral. The trail then steadily winds through more forested and shady section as it climbs up the side of the mesa. On top of the mesa, is where you can see the mounded prairie and vernal pool plant communities. The meadow flowers that form concentric circles around the vernal pools are especially striking. Depending on how much spring rain we get, the vernal pools might be seen as late as early May. It’s usually better to go in April.
The Table Rock vernal pools are micro-ecosystems of habitat that support a federally threatened species of fairy shrimp and a state endangered plant called dwarf wooly meadowfoam (Limnanthes floccosa ssp. pumila). This plant is endemic to the Table Rocks, meaning it is found nowhere else in the world.
You can see Mt. McLoughlin and Mt Ashland from the top of the mesa, as well as the Rogue Valley floor stretching south toward the Siskiyous.
From Interstate 5, take Exit #33 heading east one mile on East Pine Street and turn north (left) at the second signal onto Table Rock Road. Drive 10 miles to Wheeler Road and turn west (left). The sign for Lower Table Rock Trail is well posted. The trail head is accessible off of Wheeler Road.
Details of the Lower Table Rock Trail
The trail is 1.75 miles long. It is a moderately difficult trail approximately .5 miles longer than Upper Table Rock Trail. Lower Table Rock Trail offers interpretive signs for hikers. Water is not available along the trail or at the trailhead. Allow approximately 4 hours for a round trip hike.
For those eager to extend their hike, you may enjoy walking along the abandoned airstrip to the edge of the rock. This will add an extra mile to your trip. The south edge of the rock offers a great view of the unique habitat of Kelly Slough. This wetland lies 800 feet below and provides unique habitat for many aquatic birds.
Guided Lithia Park Nature Walks — Free
From May to September, no matter the weather, a trained docent naturalists will lead a fun, informative and easy 1.5 hour nature walk through Ashland’s gem — Lithia Park.
Topics include: trees, flowers, birds, climate, water and history of the park.
Days: Sunday, Wednesday and Friday (Saturday in July and August)
Time: 10 am
Meeting point: park entrance nearest the Plaza
And yes, you can do it all! You can enjoy the Chanticleer breakfast and get to the nature walk on time without being rushed.
“Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Garden”
Learn what to do in your garden to attract hummingbirds.
Talk: Wednesday, May 6th 6:30-8pm
Laura Fleming is opening Wild Birds Unlimited in Medford this spring. The “Walk” for this event will be an invitation to visit Wild Birds Unlimited at its new location plus a gift certificate offering a discount on purchases.
$25 fee is for both the Talk and Walk. Contact email@example.com to sign up.
Chanticleer Inn Garden in Spring
Over the years, more than 1,500 bulbs have been planted throughout the gardens. Some are early spring bloomers, such as those in these pictures, others are mid- and late-spring blooming.
Ever a challenge in the Chanticleer Inn garden, thankfully, the deer don’t like daffodils and hyacinths (yet).
Klamath Bird Observatory Presents on October 15th, “Beautiful Birds, Beautiful Words”
Klamath Bird Observatory Board Member Shannon Rio combines bird photography with poetry, myth, and lore in this presentation that celebrates nature, literature, and our connection to words.
Details: Wednesday October 15th from 6:30-8:00pm, Ages 10-Adult, event is at North Mountain Park Nature Center, and cost is $10. Pre-register online at www.ashland.or.us/register or call the Nature Center at 541-488-6606.
Lithia Park in Ashland Oregon Listed in American Planning Association’s “Great Places” for 2014
Lithia Park is truly the gem of Ashland. Locals and visitors of Ashland already know and enjoy Lithia Park — it’s truly the town’s heart and soul. A place to meet friends, hike trails, admire seasonal changes in the park, listen to concerts, play and even meditate.
This year Lithia Park is listed in American Planning Association’s (APA) “Great Places” program in the Public Spaces category. This program honors places of exemplary character, quality, and planning. Annually selected, Great Places meet a gold standard and criteria that have a substantial sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow.
According to APA:
APA Great Places offer better choices for where and how people work and live. They are enjoyable, safe, and desirable. They are places where people want to be — not only to visit, but to live and work every day. America’s truly great streets, neighborhoods and public spaces are defined by many criteria, including architectural features, accessibility, functionality, and community involvement.