Greetings Earthlings! We're still in Ashland where we have been doing stuff. Saturday we hiked on the Pacific Crest Trail, up to Grouse Gap. It was a warm day, and turned out to be as much hike as we would want to do. See the white streak across the sky? That's the Gap fire in Seiad Valley south of here. It's a big fire.
I often wonder about people who hike the Pacific Crest or Appalachian trails. What do they think about all day? After about three hours of hike, I'm pretty much done. I wonder the same thing about people who ride across the US. What goes through their minds?
Grouse Gap was a very dusty hike. I ruined another pair of socks on this trail.
Sunday we drove into Ashland to stroll. We spent some time in Lithia Park. It's an amazing 93 acre oasis of greenery in the city. A river runs through it, and it's very tranquil in there. This is the upper duck pond.
There is a small Japanese garden, with a water feature.
There is a ski area south of Ashland. You can take a shuttle to the top and ride a mountain bike all the way down the mountain, and then along a forest service road, and eventually into Lithia Park. The area above the park is interesting. It's really steep, and there are many unpaved roads. We drove back into Ashland on the dirt roads, surprised to see that much gravel.
Today was the Grizzly Peak hike. If you're going, the summit is a non-event. What you want to see is on the loop part of the trail. So if you're pressed for time, ditch the summit, go for the loop.
Nothing to see here - a pile of volcanic rock.
The loop takes you around the other side of the peak. The views are just outstanding. There are a lot of dead trees from a fire in 2002.
Here is Jim surveying all that he sees.
Part of the trail is side hill and narrow. Above the trail are several dead trees. The wind came up and started whipping the dead trees back and forth. Fortunately the branches were falling up hill from us. Big chunks of bark were flying around, too. It was sort of like a dust devil on the side of the peak. We moved very smartly along that part of the trail.
This was also a very dusty trail. I ruined a second pair of socks on this hike.
After the hike, we drove in to the Ashland Municipal Airport. We saw this. It's a Burt Rutan VariEze. He designed the plane and sold the plans. They're home builts. It has 100 horse power engine, and will cruise at 165 mph. It's just a gorgeous, if somewhat odd looking, little plane.
In place of a parking brake, the plane's nosewheel retracts until the
nose rests on the ground. Resting the nose on the ground also moves the
plane's center of gravity forward relative to the main landing gear,
which prevents the plane from tipping onto its rear when there is nobody
in the pilot's seat to weigh the nose down.
So far, we're enjoying Ashland. It's been pretty windy, but now that the temperatures have dropped, we're happy.