The Soda Mountain Wilderness Council will lead weekly hikes in and near the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument area east of Ashland between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July to highlight some unique facets of the land there.
The themed hikes are free and will be led by professional and experienced naturalists to help give a sense of the ecological wonders of the area.
The hikes range from leisurely walks to strenuous off-trail scrambles; participants usually carpool to the sites after meeting at an unpaved lot next to the Shop 'N' Kart parking lot, 2268 Ashland St., Ashland.
Group sizes vary and space is limited, so participants are urged to call the individual hike's contact person to reserve space.
Participants should dress for hiking and the weather, while also bringing lunch, snacks and water.
Saturday, May 28: National Park Service ecologist Dennis Odion (541-552-9624; firstname.lastname@example.org) leads an extremely rugged, cross-country, four-mile-plus, Oregon-to-California hike-and-scramble from the Jenny Creek rim to Jenny Creek Falls and down Jenny Creek Canyon to Iron Gate Reservoir. Hike includes a swift-water creek-crossing, so bring good boots and extra wading shoes. Shuttle provided. Meet at 8:30 a.m.
Sunday, June 5: Aquatic ecologist Brian Barr (541-621-7226; email@example.com) and SMWC board member Lori Cooper lead a short, but challenging, round-trip hike along the flat Jenny Creek Canyon rim in Oregon and then down to the spectacular, but little-known Jenny Creek Falls in California. The distance is relatively short (three-plus miles), but some difficult hiking is involved, with very steep, off-trail scrambling from the canyon rim down to the falls and back. Meet at 8:30 a.m.
Sunday, June 12: Southern Oregon University aquatic ecologist Michael Parker (541-552-6796; firstname.lastname@example.org) and SMWC board member Carol Wright lead a moderately difficult, three-mile, off-trail ramble through Fredenburg Meadow and down into the forested Jenny Creek Canyon in the northeastern corner of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Learn about stream ecology, critters and public acquisitions of private land from willing-sellers inside the Monument. Meet at 9 a.m.
Saturday, June 18: Ornithologist Pepper Trail (541-482-9594; email@example.com) leads an easy or moderate (your choice) Pacific Crest Trail (and vicinity) hike east of Pilot Rock from Porcupine Gap to Babbitt Gap, Porcupine Meadow, and the Sound-of-Music view from Porcupine Mountain. This hike is in both the Monument and its Soda Mountain Wilderness backcountry. About four miles total; less if you choose the easier route. Some off-trail hiking. Meet at 8:30 a.m.
Saturday, June 25: Sierra Club hike leader Cathy Edwards (541-210-0204; firstname.lastname@example.org) and Southern Oregon University botanist and SMWC board member Steve Jessup will explore where Rogue Valley oak savannah meets Cascadian conifer forest in the Greensprings Mountain unit of the South Cascades Wilderness proposal northwest of the Greensprings Summit. Some off-trail hiking. Easy-moderate; less than four miles. Meet at 2 p.m. and bring a sack supper.
Sunday, July 3: Sierra Club hike leader Cathy Edwards (541-210-0204; email@example.com) and terrestrial ecologist and SMWC board member Evan Frost will explore where Rogue Valley oak savannah meets Cascadian conifer forest in the Greensprings Mountain unit of the South Cascades Wilderness proposal northwest of the Greensprings Summit. Some off-trail hiking. Easy-moderate; less than four miles. Meet at 1 p.m. and bring a sack supper.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.