Great views and solitude on hike to Mount Baldy

Great views and solitude on hike to Mount Baldy

I’d be lying if I said that I dream of making an epic backpacking trip on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Yes, I know that marching from dawn until dusk with a load on one’s back has become the in thing to do, ever since Cheryl Strayed ballyhooed the PCT in her book “Wild” (2012), which spawned a movie starring Reese Witherspoon.

But I prefer day-hiking bits and pieces of the PCT, a few miles here and there, picking up the trail at various spots close to the.....

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Wildflowers, big trees and distant views on Grizzly Peak

Wildflowers, big trees and distant views on Grizzly Peak

A hike to Grizzly Peak in the eastern Siskiyous is a welcome escape from the heat of summer. Along the way you will experience the wonder of old-growth conifers, a smorgasbord of wildflowers and spectacular views of the Rogue Valley, -Table Rocks, Mount Ashland, Pilot Rock, the Marble Mountains and Mount Shasta.

The 5.3-mile loop hike takes about three hours, but it is best to plan on more time so you can stop to admire the views, identify wildflowers and have a lunch or snack at the...

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Navigating the beaches, jitneys and eateries of Nassau

Navigating the beaches, jitneys and eateries of Nassau

Nassau’s Cable Beach is made up of fine grains of beige sand, defined and gently caressed by turquoise waters.

Located on Nassau’s north shore, it’s paralleled by West Bay Street, a thoroughfare that serves the hotel district for the island. Taxis, mopeds and Rolls Royces travel back and forth on the very English left side of the road. A word to the wise. Look right first, then left before crossing.

Taxis can cost $15 and up for a ride into hilly Nassau, the.....

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Casting — not gigging — for bullfrogs

Casting — not gigging — for bullfrogs

When my old friend Mike Lunn said, “Let’s go frogging for bullfrogs,” I was elated at the prospect of a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Mike says frogging is really fishing and hunting combined and should not be confused with gigging. When bullfrogs are gigged, it’s with a three-pronged steel fork or other sharp instrument. Our day out involved a casting rod and a rubber worm like the ones used to catch bass.

Mike grew up hunting and fishing around his...

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Nothing prepares you for your first view of The Wave

Nothing prepares you for your first view of The Wave

It took years, but we finally got to surf the Wave.

The Wave is a Navajo-sandstone rock formation in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah and northern Arizona. It is a surreal landscape with baroque bands of red, yellow, ochre and pink sandstone flowing across the rock in curves so fluid they appear to be moving, like a wave.

The unique terrain is so fragile and fantastic that only 20 hikers a day are...

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Hiking the Illinois River Trail

Hiking the Illinois River Trail

The biggest impediments to through-hiking the Illinois River Trail are arranging a shuttle and accessing the trail's western trailhead.

The first problem was solved when my wife passed on this adventure, drove the shuttle and waited for me in Gold Beach. The second problem was overcome when a Gabriel Howe article in the Mail Tribune pointed us to using FSR 4105 — an excellent gravel road — to reach Briggs Creek.

From the end of FSR 4105, it was an easy downhill walk....

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Solo hiker finds herself on the Pacific Crest Trail

Solo hiker finds herself on the Pacific Crest Trail

During the summer of 2013, I began researching local hiking trails. I desperately wanted to learn to hike, and to return to some of the most memorable parts of my childhood; playing carelessly through the woods.

I grew up in the Illinois Valley and remember long summer days of exploring the woods around my home and swimming in local swimming holes. I had spent much of my adult life focused on raising my son and earning my degree while working full time. I was suddenly struck with a...

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Costa Rica surfing honeymoon

Costa Rica surfing honeymoon

Mid-February is an ideal time to escape winter in the Rogue Valley, so Barb and I decided to combine romance and surfing and take a surfing honeymoon in Costa Rica.

After the red-eye flight from LA, we arrived in San Jose and took a shuttle to Santa Teresa, a rustic surf town on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. We stayed at Casa Azul, a beach house overlooking the beach break at Playa Carmen.

The tourist presence in Santa Teresa has generated a plethora of good...

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Zipping through a Hawaiian jungle

Zipping through a Hawaiian jungle

The tall, good-looking Kamuela was waiting with the other adventurers when we slid in five minutes past our appointment time.

We had signed up with Skyline Eco Adventures to go ziplining on the Big Island of Hawaii. Because of road construction, we were running late. Delighted to see they had waited for us, we hurried through the requisite waiver-signing before our guides Kamuela and Corey strapped us into harnesses. We donned our helmets, stowed our cellphones in fanny packs and...

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Scouting the Castle Crags

Scouting the Castle Crags

For many years I served as a Boy Scout leader. Almost every month, regardless of weather, I took my two oldest sons and other boys their age backpacking into remote mountain areas for overnight or multiday camping trips.
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Going wild on the Klamath

Going wild on the Klamath

The Klamath River offers some of the best fly-fishing for steelhead in the State of Jefferson. Sometimes regarded as the stepchild when compared to the Rogue or Umpqua rivers, the Klamath is really a Cinderella.

Just south of the Oregon border, the Klamath has many advantages over its northern brethren: more wild steelhead, fewer boats, fewer anglers, and it's closer to Ashland and Medford than the Umpqua and many sections of the Rogue.

Autumn and early winter are when these...

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Glaciers highlight Tatshenshini River expedition

Glaciers highlight Tatshenshini River expedition

The Tatshenshini River flows through Glacier Bay National Park, an area of incredible pristine wilderness. It is also part of the Tongass National Forest, the largest block of protected park land in the world.

Glacial rivers of frozen ice ease their way between rugged mountain peaks to dump their load of ground-up rocks, cobbles and boulders into the main river channel.

Alaska was on my bucket list so I could complete a visit to all 50 states, and with the effects of global.....

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Musings on a strange Kalmiopsis meadow

Musings on a strange Kalmiopsis meadow

The old backcountry trails of the remote and rugged south Kalmiopsis Wilderness are the stuff of legend. Tall tales of Bigfoot, strange mountain men, ill-fated mining ventures and carnivorous plants abound, and at least in the case of the carnivorous plants, some of the bizarre old-time stories are actually true.
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Sleepless in a sleeping bag

Sleepless in a sleeping bag

Who knew that bitterns have appetites as voracious as tigers’?

I have just witnessed one of these brown, chicken-sized birds catch and eat a frog. A minute later, it snagged and swallowed a fish. To put this in human terms, it’s equivalent, I figure, of devouring a slab of prime rib followed immediately by a halibut steak.
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You showed me the ocean, again

You showed me the ocean, again

Our daughter is teaching us about trees as we hike the Waxmyrtle Trail in Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Specifically, she is breaking the news that certain evergreens we have always called cedars — incense cedars and western redcedars, for example — aren’t true cedars, scientifically speaking.

She is a forestry student at Oregon State University, so we trust she learned this from a reliable source and not from Tree Dude on the Internet.

This talk of.....

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Sprinkling a little magic on the trail

Sprinkling a little magic on the trail

The curtain is closing on Summer 2015, and another chapter of the Pacific Crest Trail is coming to an end as a record-setting class of through-hikers nears their destination. Hikers from around the world have endured months of sweat, smoke, snow, withdrawals, breakthroughs, accomplishments and failures on the trail from Mexico to Canada, and I had the opportunity to share some of their stories.

This summer I maintained a cache of hiker treats near the California-Oregon border for PCT...

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