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.
2015 Ashland Farmers Market Opens
Always fun, the Ashland Farmers market, also called Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market, provides a wide selection of locally grown fruits and vegetables. As well as herbs, plants, soaps and crafts. Music and food booths add to the festive feel.
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the National Guard Armory on 1420 E. Main Street
Chanticleer Inn Staff Raft the Rogue River
The famed Rogue River. For locals, a summer well spent means at least one day on the Rogue River.
Every year, I try to think of something that we all can do together as a way to thank my staff for all their wonderful assistance — and just plain wonderfulness. This year it was an afternoon on the Rogue River.
Indigo Creek guided us and did a stellar job. We all highly recommend them. Indigo Creek does more than just rafting, they also conduct Brewery Tours, guided vacations and fishing trips.
I love my peeps!
Island Night, a Tropical Party at Daniel Meyer Pool
Aloha! Come to a tropical island themed pool party — “Island Night: An Aloha State of Mind”.
Saturday, July 19, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Daniel Meyer Pool!
Enjoy Hawaiian music and dancing and fun activities for all ages!
A free community Hula dance workshop will be offered for anyone wanting to learn the beautiful moves of Hawaiian dance.
Daniel Meyer Pool, a division of Ashland Parks & Recreation, is an outdoor facility located in Hunter Park at 1705 Homes Ave in Ashland.
The pool will be open through September, 6, 2014. The pool offers Starfish Aquatics Institute (SAI)® swim lessons, private lessons, swim team camps and Starguard® lifeguard certification. View complete information on pool activities and classes. The pool can be reached directly at 541.488.0313.
Applegate Lavender Tour Festival, 2014
The Applegate lavender tour comprised of farms and nurseries will be inviting the public to visit, pick, and buy lavender-based products while their lavender is in bloom. Some farms are not open to the public at any other time in the year.
Tour the lavender farms and nurseries to enjoy the beauty and scents of lavender; enjoy the journey as you travel through Oregon’s pastoral countryside to each destination.
Each location has different activities arranged for the festival, ranging from lavender bouquet cutting to mini-festivals with music, food, and vendors, so be sure to visit the Lavender-festival page to help you decide which locations to visit. Entry to each location is free.