Tag Archives: Tall Trees Grove

The Hikes of 2017 – A Look Back

Once again it’s time for our year end review post. Each year has a bit of a different feel to it, but this year was especially so. This was by far the most challenging year we’ve faced in terms of being able to visit the trails we’d planned on. A heavy winter snow pack lingered delaying access to many areas. Then an unusually bad fire season closed much of the Mt. Jefferson and Three Sisters Wilderness areas as well as parts of the Columbia Gorge. Snow returned in mid-September causing more changes to our plans. In the end plans for 39 of our originally scheduled 63 days of hiking were pushed out to future years as well as 2 additional short hikes that were part of multi stop days. Plans for another 12 of those days were shifted around on the schedule which meant that only 10 of our originally planned days occurred as we had envisioned them in January. We had also planned on spending 18 nights backpacking but wound up with a measly 3 nights in the tent. Despite all the issues we actually managed to end the year having hiked on 64 days and covered 751.6 miles.

Here is a look at where we wound up. The blue hiker symbols denote trailheads and the two yellow houses are the approximate location of our two backpacking campsites.
2017 Trailheads

Due to the issues with access to so many locations the mix of hikes this year was very different. An example of this is the average high point of our hikes:

                     2013-2016                2017
Jan.-Apr.    1444′                        1776′
May             2718′                        2355′
June            4900′                        3690′
July             5553′                        6530′
August       6419′                        3048′
Sept.           6400′                        4175′
Oct.             4886′                        3484′
Nov.-Dec.   2042′                        750′

Another example is our mileage distribution:

                     2013-2016                2017
Jan.-Apr.    9.19%                       9.74%
May             13.57%                     14.14%
June            13.75%                      13.50%
July             13.75%                      19.15%
August       19.33%                      6.07%
Sept.           14.13%                      23.28%
Oct.             12.17%                      10.36%
Nov.-Dec.   4.11%                        3.75%

As you can see August was way off the norm with many of those miles coming in September this year. Several wildfires were burning by then and we also changed some plans due to work and family commitments. Finally we chose to stick close to home the weekend of the solar eclipse .

On many occasions we visited multiple trailheads in a single day. We had been slowly increasing the frequency of doing so but this year 25 of our 64 days included more than one stop. In fact we stopped at a total of 106 trailheads this last year.

None of that made it a bad year, it just felt very different. The 64 hiking days was the most we’ve managed in a single year and the 751.6 miles was second only to 2016s 792.8 We managed to make decent headway on our quest to visit all of Oregon’s 45 visit-able wilderness areas by checking 8 more off the list. Rock Creek (post), Spring Basin (post), Wild Rogue (post), Grassy Knob (post), Bridge Creek (post), Clackamas (post), North Fork John Day (post), and Cummins Creek (post).

This year we made use of guidebooks by four different authors as well as a few websites. Most of our destinations can be found in William L. Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in Oregon guidebooks (information) but we also made use of Scott Cook’s “Bend, Overall“, Matt Reeder’s “101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region“, and Bubba Suess’s “Hiking in Northern California“.

A special thanks goes out to Bubba Suess and his Hike Mt. Shasta website for his suggestions and input on our visit to the Mt. Shasta area in July. On that trip we visited four of California’s wilderness areas: Russian (post), Castle Crags (post), Trinity Alps (post), and Mt. Shasta (post). Our visit the the Trinity Alps brought us to the most southerly point while hiking to date. We also reached our highest elevation on that trip when we hiked to the top of Mt. Eddy (post) and saw our first rattle snake along the PCT (post).

We also set a new mark for the western most point reached on a hike when we visited Cape Blanco in May (post).

One way that this year was no different than previous years was that we once again saw and experienced many things for the first time during our hikes. It’s not surprising that we saw new things given that 57 out of our 64 days were comprised of entirely new sections of trail and none of the other 7 were exact repeats. In fact only about 17.2 miles retraced steps from previous hikes which works out to less than 2.5% of our total mileage for the year.

Some new flowers for us included:
Butter and eggsButter and eggs – Yontocket

Possibly tomcat cloverTomcat clover – Rough and Ready Botanical Wayside

dalmatian toadflax along the John Day RiverDalmation toadflax – Cottonwood Canyon State Park

Heart-leafed milkweedHeart-leafed milkweed – Applegate Lake

California groundconeCalifornia groundcones – Jacksonville

GeraniumGeranium – Lost Creek Lake

GeraniumGeranium – Round Mountain

rockfringe willowherbRockfringe willowherb – Mt. Eddy

Leopard lilyLeopard Lily – Trinity Alps Wilderness

There were a few new critters too:
Bullock's OrioleBullock’s Oriole – Cottonwood Canyon State Park

Big Horn SheepBig horn sheep – Cottonwood Canyon State Park

Sheep mothSheep moth – Grasshopper Meadow

Pigeon guillemotPigeon guillemot – Yaquina Bay

EgretEgret – Cape Disappointment State Park

CaterpillarCaterpillar – Cape Disappointment State Park

As is often the case we started and ended our hikes at the coast.
Berry Creek flowing toward the PacificBaker Beach in January

Exposed rocks on Ona BeachOna Beach in December

In between we visited some pretty amazing places. Here are just a few of the highlights:
Clarno Unit - John Day Fossil BedsPalisades – Clarno Unit, John Day Fossil Beds, April

Hedgehog cactusHedgehog Cactus – Spring Basin Wilderness, April

Fern CanyonFern Canyon – Prairie Creek State Park, May

Tall Trees GroveTall Trees Grove – Redwoods National Park, May

Crack in the GroundCrack in the Ground, Christmas Valley, May

Wildflowers on Lower Table RockWildflowers on Lower Table Rock, Medford, June

View to the north from the Bridge Creek WildernessNorth Point – Bridge Creek Wilderness, June

Upper Linton FallsUpper Linton Falls – Three Sisters Wilderness, July

Deadfall Lakes from Mt. EddyView from the Summit of Mt. Eddy, July

Caribou LakeCaribou Lake – Trinity Alps Wilderness, July

Vista Ridge TrailFireweed along the Vista Ridge Trail – Mt. Hood Wilderness, August

Grey back whale seen from Yaquina HeadWhale – Yaquina Head, August

Mt. Adams from Horseshoe MeadowHorseshoe Meadow – Mt. Adams Wilderness, September

Bull elk at Clatsop SpitBull elk – Clatsop Spit, September

View from the Blue Basin Overlook TrailBlue Basin – John Day Fossil Beds, September

Mt. Ireland from Baldy LakeBaldy Lake – North Fork John Day Wilderness, September

Dead Mountain TrailDead Mountain Trail – Willamette National Forest – October

Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood and Mirror LakeMt. Hood from Tom Dick and Harry Mountain – Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, October

Cummins Ridge TrailCummins Creek Wilderness, November

It is only a small sample of the amazing diversity that we are blessed with here in the Pacific Northwest. We are looking forward to discovering more new places next year, hopefully with less disruptions to our plans (including not tossing my camera into any rivers). Happy Trails!

Tall Trees & Lady Bird Johnson Groves and Hidden Beach

The day after our most hiccup free hike of our vacation so far the rain arrived. We had picked up a permit for the entry road to the Tall Trees Grove Trailhead. details here

Covered benches at the trailhead allowed us to get our rain gear set while staying out of the rain.
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The trail to the Tall Trees descended 700′ in just under a mile and a half to the grove.
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A mile long loop explored the grove which was home to the tallest know redwood until a 1989 storm removed some of it’s 367.8′ height.
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We took a brief detour on the Redwood Creek Trail to visit Redwood Creek before finishing our counter-clockwise loop.
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We then climbed back up to the car and headed back. Before returning to Highway 101 we stopped along Bald Hill Road at the Lady Bird Johnson Grove.
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A 1.4 mile lollipop loop here visits a grove of redwoods dedicated to the wife of President Johnson who was a supporter of creating the Redwoods National Park.
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A footbridge led from the parking lot over Bald Hill Road to the start of the short loop.
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My foot had been holding up pretty well, my two sock system seemed to be working, but now my stomach was starting to give me problems. By the time we had reached our next stop, the Lagoon Creek picnic area, I really wasn’t feeling well.

The picnic area was located along Highway 101, 25.7 miles north of Bald Hills Road (13.5 miles south of Crescent City). We had originally planned on doing this hike before heading home on Friday but when my foot began acting up we changed our plans. We had been planning on starting the Tall Trees hike from the Dolason Prairie Trailhead which didn’t require the free permit but would have been over 15 miles round trip with around 3000′ of elevation gain. When we decided to go the free permit route it shortened that hike to 4 miles and 700′ of elevation gain freeing us up to add in the Lady Bird Johnson Grove and to move Hidden Beach up a day.

The hike to Hidden Beach was only 2.4 miles but the California Coastal Trail provided an opportunity to extend the hike to a Klamath River Overlook for a total of approximately 8 miles. Between my foot issues and now not feeling well we decided that we’d only be doing the 2.4 mile option this trip.

The trail began at a signboard at the northern end of the picnic area.
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After crossing a footbridge over the lagoon’s outlet creek a short walk brought us to the start of the Yurok Loop.
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We took the right hand fork which brought us through windswept meadows overlooking the ocean. The rain had ended and now the clouds were breaking up revealing pockets of blue sky.
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The meadows were home to several wildflowers and some ripe salmonberries.
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We stayed right on the Coastal Trail when it split from the Yurok Trail following it approximately a half mile to a sign for Hidden Beach.
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The short spur trail led down to the secluded little beach with a view north to False Klamath Rock.
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We didn’t stay long on the beach as I was not feeling well at all so we headed back to the Yurok Loop which we completed by following the trail on the back side of a small hill.
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It was too bad that we weren’t able to explore more of the Coastal Trail to the south as the weather was so much better and the meadows along that stretch were really nice. I just wanted to get back to the room and rest though. We were heading home the next day and just had a 3 mile hike at the Rough and Ready Botanical Wayside planned on the way. Happy Trails!

Flicker: Tall Trees & Lady Bird Johnson Grove and Hidden Beach