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Get Out: May 1, 2008

Table Rock Guided HikesJune 21: Echo Lake with possible loop to the PCT. 13 miles strenuous. Peter Grant, 951-9139

Guided hikes atop Lower and Upper Table Rocks begin in April and continue through early June. Groups of 10 or more are invited to participate in weekday hikes Tuesday through Friday. The hikes, which begin around 9 a.m. and last about four hours, are from three to five miles roundtrip on a moderate grade. Weekend spring hikes by the BLM and The Nature Conservancy run from early April through mid-May. There is no charge but reservations are required since participation is limited. For more information about the weekday hikes, check out www.blm.gov/or/resources/recreation/tablerock/index.php or contact Leah Schrodt at 618-2468. For information about the weekend hikes, call BLM at 618-2200, check out the BLM Web site, or go to The Nature Conservancy's Web site at www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/oregon/preserves online. Participants should dress appropriately for the weather and bring a lunch and something to drink. Restrooms are available at both trailheads.

The weekend hikes and hike leaders include:

Saturday, 10 a.m., Lower Table Rock, Jeff Lalande, retired archaeologist and historian for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

Sunday, 10 a.m., Upper Table Rock, Bill Elliott, assistant professor of geology at Southern Oregon University.

May 10, 10 a.m., Upper Table Rock, Jeff Stephens, wildlife biologist.

May 11, 10 a.m., Lower Table Rock, family hike with Greta Gardiner, a BLM environmental interpreter.

May 17, 10 a.m., Lower Table Rock, naturalist Leah Schrodt.

May 18, 10 a.m., Upper Table Rock, nature sketching with illustrator and naturalist Irene Brady.

Crater Lake Snowshoe Hikes

Free, guided, weekend snowshoe hikes at Crater Lake National Park are over for another year (sniffle, sniffle), but don't let that stop you from grabbing a pair of foot rackets and heading up to the Crater. The average snow depth at the park is more than 136 inches, so while you won't get a free tour from a ranger, you can still play in the snow.

Sierra Club Outings

Imortant Note: The overnight backpacking trip planned for this weekend along the Rogue River has been canceled.

Saturday: Strenuous 8-mile hike up to Ostrich Peak in the Ashland area. Call David and Susan for details, 488-0152.

May 10: Roxy Ann. 4 miles moderate. George Lescher, 482-4477

May 17: Squaw Lakes Lookout. 12 miles difficult. Peter Grant, 951-9139

May 25: Parsnip Lakes. 8 miles moderate. Cathy Edwards, 210-0204

May 31: Devil's Punch Bowl. 12 miles difficult. George Lescher, 482-4477

June 8: Round Mountain. 5 miles (cross country) moderate. Cathy Edwards, 210-0204

June 14: Grizzly Peak. 6 miles moderate. Carol Walker, 488-8517 and Carol Ingelson, 245-6380

June 28: Grouse Gap. See early wildflowers along the Pacific Crest Trail. 7 miles moderate. Carol Walker, 488-8517 and Carol Ingelson, 245-6380.

July 19: Sierra Club Trail Clearing Project on Frog Pond Loop Trail in the Red Buttes. It is time to give a little back so others will have access to this wonderful area. The Trail has been overgrown by saddlers oak and other bushes. We will spend about 3 hours clipping them back. Long-handled loppers and gloves are all you need to help with this worthwhile task. Short-handled loppers will work, but are more tiring. A few small hand saws would be useful for some of the smaller branches. We will leave the large trees for someone else. This is all wilderness area so no power tools are allowed. Bring tools, lunch and water and we will relax over our noontime repast. After lunch we can talk about flowers and forests as we snip our way back to the trailhead. Meet at the Star Ranger Station, Upper Applegate Road, between Ruch and Applegate Lake, at 8 a.m. to carpool. There are several options for camping locally on July 18 or July 19, but it is not part of the Sierra Club outing. Contact Al Collinet at dewbobal@verizon.net for more information and RSVP, or call Kristin Biechler 840-7236. You do not need to be a member to participate.

July 25, 26, 27: Backpacking to Towhead Lake in the Red Buttes

We will be starting out at the Cook and Green Trailhead on the Pacific Crest Trail. Hike is 4.5 miles with a 1,718-foot elevation gain. Saturday we will leisurely explore the area based on the group's desires. The area boasts some very unusual rock formations and interesting flora. Carpooling opportunities will be facilitated. Costs of transportation will be shared with drivers. More details will be made available to participants. Maggie Purves will be co-leading this trip. Space is limited to eight so be sure to make a reservation. Contact Al Collinet at dewbobal@verizon.net, or Darin Banner at 531-7623 for more information and RSVP. You do not need to be a member to participate.

Aug 30-31 and Sept. 1: Backpacking trip to Mountain Lakes in the Cascades

Views, lakes and flowers abound this time of the year at this high-elevation spot. Mountain Lakes are east of Medford about 60 miles on Hwy140 near Upper Klamath Lake. Trail is accessed by taking 4 miles of gravel road to the Varney Creek Trailhead. The first day we plan on 4.5 miles with an elevation gain of 1,566 feet to Zeb Lake. The second day we will hike 6 miles with an elevation gain of 1,606 feet to Lake Harriette. The third day we will travel six miles with an elevation gain of 732 feet and 1,194-foot elevation loss to the trailhead. We will be spending most of our time at over 6,500 feet. Hiking distances are modest and the pace will be set to the slowest participants so we can enjoy ourselves. Carpooling opportunities will be facilitated. Costs of transportation will be shared with drivers. We will determine a rendezvous point so we can reach the trailhead about 10 a.m. Space is limited so be sure to make a reservation. Contact Al Collinet at dewbobal@verizon.net, or Darin Banner at 531-7623, for more information and RSVP. You do not need to be a member to participate.

Siskiyou Project Outings

Saturday: Illinois River Trail. Hike with Siskiyou Project ecologist Rich Nawa along the Illinois River Canyon trail from Briggs Creek to York Creek Botanical Area. This popular annual hike features Kalmiopsis leacheana discovered by botanist Lilla Leach in 1930. This beautiful Rhododendron-like flower is found almost exclusively in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. Numerous other wild flowers and plants will test your identification skills. This is an all-day, 6-mile (total) moderate hike on mostly level ground. Meet 10 a.m. on the highway side of Ray's Food Store parking lot in Selma and bring a lunch. Call Rich at 476-6648.

Sunday: Rough & Ready Botanical Area. Join Kathy Lombardo for a walk through an amazing natural flower garden. This educational hike is especially suited for kids 8 and older and those new to wildflowers. A color brochure featuring local flowers, trees and shrubs will make identification easy and fun. This hike is less than a mile on level ground. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Rough and Ready Wayside on the right side of Hwy 199 about 4 miles south of Cave Junction and before crossing the Rough &Ready Creek Bridge.

May 10: Illinois River Canyon. Will our fragile wild flowers survive climate change? This is just one of the many subjects that will be explored when hikers join Oregon Caves naturalist John Roth for a road and hiking tour of the Illinois River Canyon west of Selma. Learn how plants have survived for millennia in the vast serpentine rock refuge of the Siskiyou Wild Rivers Region. This easy 3-mile hike has an elevation drop of 600 feet. Meet 10 a.m. on the highway side of Ray's Food Store parking lot in Selma and bring a lunch. For more information call Rich at 476-6648 or visit www.siskiyou.org.

May 17: Whitehorse Park. This hike visits Whitehorse Park, the premier birding location in Josephine County. Karen Phillips and Rich Nawa from Siskiyou Project will teach you to spot and identify our feathered friends. No binoculars necessary, but bring them if you have them. We will have spotting scopes available for visitors to use. This is an easy 1-mile hike on flat ground, and a great trip for families with children aged 8 and older. Meet at 8 a.m. at the riverside parking lot at Whitehorse County Park to hear the early morning chorus of songbirds recently arrived from the tropics. Whitehorse Park is located about 7 miles west of Grants Pass on Upper River Road. For more information call Karen at 476-6648 or go to www.siskiyou.org.

Ashland Watershed Hike

May 31: The Ashland Forest Lands Commission is sponsoring a series of hikes to "Know Your Watershed." This is a fun guided hike to the city-owned Windburn Parcel located within the usually restricted area of the Ashland watershed. This 160-acre parcel is accessible only by foot and is both rich and diverse in topography, vegetation, wildlife and local history. Meet at Darex Skating Rink parking lot on Windburn Way at Nutley at 10 a.m. We will carpool to the trailhead and return at 2 p.m. Attendees should dress appropriately for the weather and bring water and a sack lunch. The hike will be strenuous. To sign up contact Nancy Slocum at slocumn@ashland.or.us or call 552-2420. The number of participants is limited to 25.

Saturday: Slopes and Trails, an active singles group, is holding a 5-mile hike at Lost Creek Lake. Call David Lewin at 512-0436 for time and location.

Every Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m., a group run leaves the Rogue Valley Runners store, 161 E Main St. in downtown Ashland. All ability levels are encouraged to show. Group runs an easy/social 6 to 7 miles on trails and roads in and around Lithia Park. Call 201-0014 with questions.

Lithia Park Nature Walks

Starting Saturday, running to Sept. 28; 10-11:30 a.m.: Every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, rain or shine, trained volunteer naturalists from Ashland Parks and Recreation will lead an easy 1.5-hour nature walk through Lithia Park. Topics will include trees, flowers, birds, climate, water, geology and the history of the park. Meet at the entrance to Lithia Park, across from the Plaza in Ashland. Free. For information, call 488-5340.

Bridge the Gap Run/Walk

Saturday, 8:30 a.m.: Hosted by Southern Oregon Runners, the 4th Annual Bridge the Gap Run to benefit Mobility Unlimited will be held at Railroad Park in Medford. Registration begins at 7 a.m. The run path features rolling paved trails and bridges. Four competitive heats feature both a men's and a women's 5K run, and a men's and women's 10K run. A 5K walk also will be offered with ribbons presented for all age categories. Lots of nice prizes will be available to all those who sign up and stay for the drawings immediately after the race. Forms are available at any PremierWest Bank; call 618-9468 for a form, or sign up online at www.bridgethegaprun.com

For more about nonprofit Mobility Unlimited, call Glory Cooper at 618-9468 or check out the Web site at www.mobilityunlimited.org.

The Avenue of the Giants Marathon

Sunday, 9 a.m.: Marathon, half-marathon and 10k sponsored by the Six Rivers Running Club. One of the most beautiful marathon courses in America, mostly flat to gently rolling, much of it beneath a redwood canopy. Start and finish at Dyerville Bridge. The marathon is a double out and back, while the half marathon is a single out and back. For information go to www.6rrc.com.

Eugene Marathon

Sunday, 7 a.m.: The first Eugene Marathon was held last year, with more than 4,200 people finishing, spurring Runners World to name it one of the top new races in the country. The course is flat, fast and rural with lots of entertainment and events planned. Go to www.eugenemarathon.com for information.

Up the Crooked River Duathlon

May 18, 10 a.m.: The Duathlon offers two events, two distances and two sets of winners. The distances are a 5k run/40k bike/5k run and 2-mile walk/10-mile bike/2-mile walk. Top three places awarded in each age group, male and female. The entry free of $40 (prior to May 3) will include a t-shirt, finisher's medal, "cowboy" lunch and donation to the Crook County High School Athletic Department and The Humane Society of the Ochoco's. Further information and entry forms are available at www.normsxtremefitness.com or by calling Norm's Xtreme Fitness (541) 416-0455.

Siskiyou Out Back 50K/15K Trail Run

July 12: Entries are being accepted for the 10th running of the Siskiyou Out Back 50K/15K Trail Run. The race starts and finishes at the Mount Ashland Ski Area, and utilizes the Pacific Crest Trail and dirt Forest Roads. The scenery is spectacular with huge views of the State of Jefferson all around, and wildflowers in abundance. Well-supported with lots of aid on course, the 50K is a great choice for your first ultra. Registration is on-line ONLY, check the Web site at www.siskiyououtback.com for details. There are field limits and the race filled early last year. Call 482-1530 for details.

Crater Lake Rim Runs and Marathon

Aug. 9: Registration for the 33rd annual Crater Lake Rim Runs and Marathon is underway. Participants from 21 states and Washington D.C. have already registered. Information and registration options are available at www.craterlakerimruns.com or by calling 541-884-6939 after 6 p.m. The 2008 Rim Runs include four events - 6.7-mile walk, 6.7-mile run, 13-mile run and 26.2-mile marathon. Registration is limited to 500 entrants.

Mountain bike rides

Every Wednesday, John's Peak, Jacksonville. Sponsored by Cycle Analysis, these rides are for all ages and abilities and are group oriented. They begin at 6:30 p.m. from Cycle Analysis in Jacksonville and include the John's Peak trail system. Every ride ends with free refreshments supplied by Cycle Analysis. Helmets are required and lights are recommended until the days get longer. Contact: Jana Jenson, 899-9190, cyclea@internetcds.com. More information at Southern Oregon Mountain Bike Association Web site, www.somba.org.

Every Thursday, Cycle Sport's crew meets at the Plaza in Ashland at 6:30 p.m. Wide abilities of riders welcome, but be able to climb for a few miles to get to the trails. The group will wait at intersections and there are often many outs for people that are time pressed or gravity challenged. Singletrack descents are of intermediate ability. Contact: Thom Kneeland, 541-476-4935, unoveloce@hotmail.com.

Every Sunday, SOMBA Show 'N Go Rides, Ashland. Meet at the Lithia Park band shell parking lot at 8:15 a.m. Ride route and intensity are determined by who shows and goes. Contact Lisa with questions, 201-0933, bach@mind.net.

Spring Thaw Mountain Bike Festival

Saturday and Sunday: Oregon's largest mountain bike event is ready to thrill and challenge racers of all ability levels. Come to Ashland for an exhilarating two days of racing and fun in the spring weather of Southern Oregon. The Spring Thaw has something for everyone. It is a great first race or a way to challenge yourself early in the season. For more information visit the Spring Thaw Web site (springthaw@somba.org), or contact Amy Warner, 541-601-9663.

Siskiyou Velo Club rides

Every Saturday, Siskiyou Velo Club organizes two rides: A mellow 20-miler begins at 10 a.m. Starting locations and routes vary. Ride leader Phil Gagnon: 488-4289. The second ride, led by Alex Hayes, 857-0819, covers 20+ miles at race pace. Starts at Medford Cycle Sport at 10 a.m.

Every Sunday: Training ride begins at 9 a.m. along the bike path behind Bad Ass Coffee Co. in Medford. Race pace, 20-plus miles. Ride leader Glen Gann, 779-6986.

Every Monday: A 25-mile ride begins at 9:30 a.m. at Colver Park in Phoenix and journeys to Jacksonville. Gently rolling terrain, brisk pace. No ride leader.

Every Tuesday: A mellow ride begins at 6 p.m. on 2nd Street between the Library and The Grotto in Talent. Ride leader Charles Whitaker, 488-4349.

Every Wednesday: A 25- to 40-mile ride begins at 10 a.m. at the Roasting Co. in Ashland. Moderate terrain, brisk pace. No ride leader.

Every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: Varied mileage and varied start times. Ride leader Rick Berlet, 488-0036.

Create Natural Habitat to Attract Birds

Tonight, 7 p.m.: Master Gardener Marjorie Neal will talk about making your property a more welcoming and beneficial habitat for wild birds. With the increase in development and habitat destruction, the need to establish a welcoming environment for wildlife is more important than ever. Learn how to double or triple the number of birds to your backyard. Marjorie will discuss plants, shrubs, water features and bird feeders to attract wild birds to your property. Free. The Northwest Nature Shop, 154 Oak St., Ashland. Call 541-482-3241 for information.

Saturday: The Klamath Bird Observatory and the Northwest Nature Shop are sponsoring free bird walks around the Rogue Valley the first Saturday of every month. The walks are led by an experienced birder from KBO. The next hike, to Lower Table Rock, will come just as wildflowers are reaching their peak. The Table Rocks, prominent geographic features towering above Rogue Valley, are an Area of Critical Environmental Concern given their unique plant and animal species. View some of the 75 species of wildflowers. Watch for blue-gray gnatcatchers, oak titmice, Western bluebirds, lazuli buntings, California towhees, turkey vultures, lark sparrows, Lewis' woodpeckers, and migrating warblers. Due to limited group size, sign up in advance. Free. Meet at the Northwest Nature Shop at 8 a.m. to carpool: 154 Oak St., Ashland. For more information call 541-482-3241.

May 10: Wild Birds Unlimited and the Klamath Bird Observatory lead free bird walks the second Saturday of each month. The walks are jointly led by an experienced birder from the Klamath Bird Observatory and Katy Reed, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited. Call 770-1104 for information.

Rogue Valley Audubon Society

Saturday: Group will attempt to locate an elusive California Thrasher, among other birds, on this outing along California's Hwy. 96. The first stop is at the Collier I-5 rest area. Meet at the Ashland Shop 'N Kart, off Hwy. 66, next to the dirt lot, no later than 7 a.m. for carpooling, as side roads have limited parking. Short hikes along gravel roads are possible. Bring food and drink. Pre-trip reading tip: Bob Claypole's "Klamath River Bird Finder," Tour 3 (pages 75-82). No dogs. Contact Dennis Vroman for information, 479-4619 or dpvroman@budget.net.

2008 Migratory Bird Day

May 10: 8 a.m.-Noon: Ashland Parks and Recreation Department, Rogue Valley Audubon Society and the Klamath Bird Observatory will celebrate Migratory Bird Day. This year's theme is "Tropics to Tunda." The event will offer a variety of outdoor learning activities for birders of all ages. Hourly guided walks will visit the mist netting and bird banding station. "Bird-friendly" shade-grown coffee will be served. Wildlife Images will be bringing some wild birds of prey.

North Mountain Park Nature Center, 620 N. Mountain Ave., Ashland. Free. Call 488-6606 for information.

Tule Lake Migratory Bird Festival

May 17: The Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge will hold its free, annual Migratory Bird Festival at the Refuge Visitor Center, 4009 Hill Road, in Tulelake, Calif. Events and activities for all ages include airboat rides (reservations required), guided bus tours of the wildlife refuges (reservations required), mist netting and bird banding, kids activities, exhibits, a morning bird walk and a tour of the historic Conservation Corps camp. Food will be available, and music will be provided by the Klamath Blues Society. For more information, to make reservations or to check updates, call 530-667-2231 or visit the refuge Web site at www.fws.gov/klamathbasinrefuges.

Spring Wild Mushroom Show

Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.: Learn what you've always wanted to know about our local fungi. Many locally collected mushrooms will be identified and on display at the shop. Local experts will be available to answer questions and identify mushrooms brought in. Bring your own mushrooms and learn how to identify the poisonous ones. We will have some deliciously cooked wild mushrooms available for tasting. Come on by and have some fun learning more about your local fungi. This event is free and open to the public. The Northwest Nature Shop is located at 154 Oak St, Ashland. For more information call 541-482-3241.

Siskiyou Field Institute Spring Events

The Siskiyou Field Institute, based in Selma, deepens people's scientific understanding and intimate connection to the Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion by providing educational programs and outdoor experiences to a broad spectrum of the public. Program costs vary. For information or to register for classes call 541-597-8530 or visit www.thesfi.org. Spring events include:

Saturday: The Flora of the Bald Hills with Stassia Samuels. Hike into the Coyote Creek drainage to discover the beautiful spring bloom in Northern California's Bald Hills. Key out wildflowers and grasses in coastal prairies and Oregon white oak woodlands. Lean about human impacts and restoration projects.

Saturday and Sunday: Lichen Dyeing with Rachel Winters. Collect lichens from trees, ground and rocks and process them into vibrant and muted dyes that color fibers without the use of caustic chemicals.

May 9-10: Seabirds and Marine Mammals with Keith Bensen. Hike an unroaded section of California's north coast with an expert wildlife biologist. Observe the state's fourth largest seabird colony, foraging seabirds, migrating gray whales, a rookery for the threatened Steller's sea lion.

May 16-18: Birds and Blooms Weekend. Spend the weekend at Deer Creek Center in Selma with expert botanists, ornithologists and ecologists. Learn about bird song, rare plants, ferns, wildflowers and owls. Courses Friday, Saturday and Sunday with free evening events.

May 19-20: Wildland Grasses: Identification of Native and Naturalized Grasses. Review terminology, grass morphology and keying without dissecting microscopes. Learn important features that help you identify our local grasses.

May 24-26: Birding the Northern California Coast. Spend the weekend at a beautiful coastal getaway. Wake up each morning to a home-cooked breakfast before you head out to view birds with local experts. Learn bird identification and ecology while relaxing in a comfortable farmhouse.

Nature Series for Kids

The Northwest Nature Shop has started a monthly series of nature classes for young children and their parents to explore nature together. This fun-filled, interactive experience encourages future naturalists to learn about nature through games, stories, songs and outdoor activities. Space is limited. Sign up in advance at the Northwest Nature Shop, 154 Oak St., Ashland, or call 541-482-3241.

Saturday: Plants and Tots, 10 a.m. to Noon; for 2 and 3 year olds. Stroll through Lithia park and explore the plant world from a toddler's perspective. There will be lots of searching, touching, silliness, stories and songs to encourage a sense of wonder about the blossoming spring in your little budding nature lover. A stroller or baby carrier would be a good idea to get us over and up into the park a bit. Bring snacks and water and dress for the weather. Meet at the Northwest Nature Shop. $5 per child/adult pair.

Spring Wildflower Show

Saturday: The Siskiyou Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Oregon and the Northwest Nature Shop will sponsor a wildflower show from 12-3 p.m. at the NW Nature Shop, 154 Oak St, Ashland. Come to learn about local blooming wildflowers. Members of the Native Plant Society will collect samples of wildflowers and discuss how to identify many of the unique fascinating flowers on display in Southern Oregon. Ask local experts your questions regarding wildflowers in this area. Free wildflower packets will be given away. The event is free. For more information call The NW Nature Shop at 482-3241.

Ashland Community Bike Swap

May 10, Noon-4 p.m.: Activities include a bicycle rodeo, raffle, Bike-It freestyle tricks and bicycle races. If you are interested in buying a bicycle, the swap is open to the public from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 10. If you are interested in selling your bicycle and it is in working condition, bring it to The Grove on Friday, May 9, between 6 and 8 p.m., or Saturday, May 10, between 7 and 10 a.m. Location is The Grove parking lot, 1195 E. Main St., Ashland. Admission is $1 per person or $3 per family and includes one raffle ticket per person. Call 488-5340 for information.

Local Lake Tour with Medford Parks and Recreation

May 24: All ages welcome; children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The group will visit five lakes including Willow Lake, Lake of the Woods (where lunch will be provided), Fish Lake, Howard Prairie Lake and Hyatt Lake. 8 a.m. - 3 p.m., meet at the Santo Community Center, 701 N. Columbus Ave., Medford. Cost is $46 per person. To register, call 774-2400, see www.playmedford.com, or go to Medford Parks and Recreation office, City Hall Building, second floor, 411 W. Eighth St., Room 225, Medford.