Showing posts from 2015

Badger Creek Wilderness Loop: Little Badger Creek and School Canyon Trails

Badger Creek Wilderness is located within a very interesting and strikingly beautiful ecosystem. Near the eastern boundary drought stunted Oregon white oak populate the grasslands, while the western portion is home to western juniper, ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, and grand fir. Stunning views east to the 'Oregon Plains' along with beautiful and varied forest make this a great destination for early season backpacking.

After walking along a ridge for about one mile you start to descend towards Little Badger Creek where there is an old mining cabin and a mine shaft. We thought about camping near the old cabin, but because of the stream and dense forest it was fairly chilly. There is also an incredibly steep .7 mile climb that didn't want to start the next day with. If you want to check out the mine walk about .1 mile along the well established trail west from the cabin.

After making our way up the nearly 1000 foot climb in about 7/10 of a mile, we set out for the spring th…

Pickett Canyon: South Fork Crooked River Wilderness Study Area

Found near the geographic center of Oregon, the South Fork Crooked River Wilderness Study Area (WSA) offers high desert beauty and solitude. Currently there are no official trails through the South Fork Crooked River WSA, but cross country travel is relatively easy. I had decided to start my hike at Furnace Waterhole, which was an adventure to reach. A high clearance vehicle is necessary because of the large rocks that you must drive over- you will not be able to make it here in a passenger car. There was also several large and fairly deep puddles that would have stopped a low clearance vehicle. If you don't have a high clearance vehicle available to you, you could park ~3 miles before Furnace Waterhole and walk in. Unfortunately because of the long drive I started hiking down Pickett Canyon about an hour before dark. This canyon was pretty easy to make my way down, but there was some pretty sketchy patches of ice. When I reached the confluence of Pickett Creek and the South For…

A Short Trek into Opal Creek Wilderness: Henline Falls

Gold was first found in the Opal Creek Watershed in 1859. The legacy of the ensuing gold rush left many hillsides up and down the narrow valleys dotted with mine shafts.There is little left of the Silver King mining complex. With the exception of a 1,700 foot long shaft right next to the falls. Over the years silver, lead, zinc, and gold were pulled out of the mines near Henline Falls. Thankfully nearly all of the signs of mining have long been washed away.

The trailhead for Henline Falls is near the boundary of the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area, which was established in 1998. Despite 20 years of legal battles and direct action, some areas in what would later become the Opal Creek Wilderness had already been cut. Much of the trail to Henline Falls follows an old logging road and passes through relatively young patches of Douglas-fir. Though there some very old western hemlock and Douglas-fir that can be found along the way. As you make your way up the road that is being quickly …

Three Days on the North Umpqua: Miller Lake to Umpqua Hot Springs

Late fall probably isn't the best time of the year to hike the upper section of the North Umpqua Trail, but it was when my friend and I had the time. Our plan was to start at the Digit Point Campground on Miller Lake. Unfortunately we only made it within 4 miles of the campground and with snow falling we wanted our ride to get back onto Highway 97. So we started off the evening with a 4 mile walk up Forest Road 9772. Thankfully the snow wasn't all that deep on the road, so we made decent time. Our goal for the next day was to hike the nearly 14 miles to the Kelsay Valley Horse Campground.

Backpacking during late fall is always a challenge because snow makes travel slow and there is only about 9 hours of day light. So we tried to set out shortly after first light which was definitely a good idea. Approximately 4 of the 14 miles was knee deep snow, which made for incredibly slow progress. Thankfully not long after Maidu Lake we started to descend which resulted in less snow.