Lightweight Backpacking After 60 in the Rogue Valley

Day Hike

Soda Mountain day hike: Apr 18, 2015

Map and photos from Tysen [.pdf]


May 31, 2014: Long Gulch & Trail Gulch Lakes

Hikers: Maria G., Steve W., George H.
Distance: ~8.7 mi.; Elevation: ~2200′
Summary: Trinity Alps in May! no people; no smoke; (almost) no snow; strenuous but very enjoyable
Driving: Description: Sullivan (2nd ed.) #94 (pp.222-223); or see Planning 2014

This last-minute (announced via email) day hike was originally to Ostrich Peak (in Ashland hills); however, given a flexible group, entire day available, great weather, minimal Google Earth snow coverage, and desire to scout for a future day hike, we decided to re-route. Two years ago, we backpacked to Long Gulch Lake and camped for 2 nights. When we couldn’t locate the ridge trail (connecting counterclockwise to Trail Gulch Lake — or maybe we were deterred by elevation gain w/ backpacks), we returned to west trailhead, drove to east trailhead and dayhiked to Trail Gulch Lake. There was an unfulfilled desire to connect the dots…

So, on this day trip, we hiked the complete loop in clockwise direction (much easier to find/follow in our opinion, though there is now a sign at meadow at end of Long Gulch Lake); we preferred the ascent/descent profile clockwise from Trail Gulch to Long Gulch.

Ashland: 8am
East trailhead (5500′): 10am
Trail Gulch Lake (6410′): 1.5 mi. (at junction, we skipped 0.3 mi in/out to lake itself)
Pass above Trail Gulch (7000′): 1.0 mi. (lunch)
Pass above Long Gulch (7400′): 1.1 mi. (break)
Long Gulch Lake (6440′): 1.3 mi. (few small snow patches on trail; water break at previous campsite)
West trailhead (5265′): 3.2 mi.
Back to car at east trailhead (5500′): 0.6 mi. (uphill on road; car shuttle?); 4:30pm
Dinner at Etna Brewing Co.: 5:15pm
Ashland: 7:30pm

For those, who’d like shorter, easier in-and-out day hikes:

  • East trailhead: Trail Gulch Lake: 3.6 mi. RT; ~900′ elev. gain
  • West trailhead: Long Gulch Lake: 6.4 mi. RT; ~1200; elev. gain

Note: the two lake names have been reversed over time, which can be confusing!

  • on the East: Trail Gulch Lake (newer signs/guidebooks); Long Gulch Lake (older topos)
  • on the West: Long Gulch Lake (newer signs/guidebooks); Trail Gulch Lake (older topos) — possible mnemonic: current Long Gulch has the Longer trail.

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Parsnip Lakes Hike – Father’s Day 2011

June 19, 2011 saw 10 hardy senior backpackers, one young sprout, Scott and two dogs plunge off the road just beyond the power lines that mark the parking area for Hobart Bluff on the Pacific Crest Trail in the Cascade–Siskiyou National Monument. One hiker celebrated her 66th birthday and several fathers celebrate the holiday that began with a disaster.

The first observance of Father’s Day actually took place in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908. It was organized by Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton, who wanted to celebrate the lives of the 210 fathers who had been lost in the Monongah Mining disaster several months earlier in Monongah, West Virginia, on December 6, 1907. [Wikipedia]

In addition, the June 19, 2011 was the 66th birthday of 1991 Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi Suu Kyii was also born on the same day in history as our intrepid lady hiker, Chiyemi.

Our day was no disaster but it did see the 6.8 mile hike begin with 4.5 miles of off-trail plunge through woods, meadows, past stream and lake, finally to ascend through pine and fir forest back to the PCT, returning to the cars. Not to be stopped there, we all proceeded to the Greensprings Inn for an early dinner (there were some mighty hungry hikers). We were entertained by the every-third-Sunday bluegrass jam. Some nice pix of the two very pretty youngsters (fiddle, mandolin and vocals) amid a group of 7 or 8 more mature musicians.

Planned (red) and actual 6.8 mile hike (blue)

Here’s the trip profile provided by Tysen, the GPS guy and One Mile Per Hour club founder.

Starting at the left side and winding up on the right

Beautiful warm weather following a cool, misty Saturday. Our temps were in the 70’s, bright blue skies.

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