Back on the Sunny Ditch (Oregon) 24-Mar-2019

Last week, I returned to the middle section of the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail for the first time in several years. Except for the absence 😦 of The LovedOne, it was a great hike in near perfect weather. Today was cast as a similarly near perfect hiking day between periods of rain and gloom. And The LovedOne was free (temporarily) of both the library and her numerous fabric projects. So I pitched a bike-assisted hike of the eastern end of the ditch – one we hadn’t done since 2013 – and she went for it. 🙂 It was this earlier hike between the Bear Gulch and Tunnel Ridge Trailheads that convinced us that Southern Oregon was a good place to be if you wanted to enjoy the outdoors year-round. Today we hid the bike at the Little Applegate Trailhead, drove back and parked at the Bear Gulch Trailhead, and then followed the ditch trail back to Little Applegate. Then I rode (coasted mostly) the bike back to Bear Gulch and drove back to collect The LovedOne. Superb hiking weather! A few wildflowers (Grass Widows, Henderson’s Shooting Stars, Henderson’s Fawn Lily, Desert Parsley) were out but the big bloom is 3 to 4 weeks away. However, the poison oak is leafing-out in all its oily, toxic glory 😥 and the ticks 😡 are active. Those irritations aside, this was a great 8.3 mile, 1,000 feet of gain nostalgia hike on a wonderful trail. 😀

Ascending Bear Gulch
A tiny, fleeting cascade deep in Bear Gulch
One of the first leaves of Spring
Approaching the Mine Ditch Trail
Under blue skies on the Mine Ditch Trail 😎
Oaks, pines, and madrones along the trail
In a few places, stones walls were used to contain the ditch
In other places, only a few boards remain of the flumes that were used to get the ditch across gullies
This is the biggest madrone we’ve ever seen in Southern Oregon
Going through Tunnel Ridge was easier than going around it
Birdwatching along the trail
Crossing Goat Cabin Ridge, another way to reach Anderson Butte
View to the west: (1) Little Grayback Mountain, (2) Mount Emily, (3) Baldy Peak, (4) Whiskey Peak, (5) Lake Peak, (6) Tannen Mountain, (7) Swan Mountain, (8) Grayback Mountain, (9) Big Sugarloaf Peak.
Crossing a meadow, with the Siskiyou Crest on the horizon
Nearing the end of the accessible part of the ditch
Last year’s leaf, this year’s moisture
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