The Soda Mountain Wilderness Council hosts a series of public hikes of varying degrees of difficulty from May 29 through July 3.
Each trip includes a professional and/or experienced amateur naturalist to help give participants a sense along the way of why the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument's presidential Proclamation calls the area an "ecological wonder" and "biological crossroads."
Even when strenuous, these outings are not intended to be "power hikes" that merely churn out the miles, according to event organizers.
The first hike is this Saturday with National Park Service Ecologist Dennis Odion. The hike is an extremely rugged cross-country walk and scramble from the Jenny Creek rim, elevation 3,300 feet, to Jenny Creek Falls and down Jenny Creek Canyon to Iron Gate Reservoir, elevation 2,345 feet. The hike is a little more than four miles long and will likely include a wet creek crossing. Good boots and extra wading shoes are advised. A shuttle will be provided for participants, who will meet at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. Hikers must contact Odion at 552-9624 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot and learn the meeting point.
All the hikes require advance contact with the person leading the hike to reserve a place on the hike and to find out where the group will meet before setting out.
Hike organizers advise people to bring lunch, snacks, water, rain gear, sun protection, sturdy shoes or boots (depending on hike difficulty). Most hikes involve at least a little off-trail hiking. All hikes are free and usually involve carpooling.
Group sizes vary and are up to each hike leader. Space may be limited. Expect to be gone into the late afternoon or early evening on most hikes that begin in the morning. Ask the hike leader for their best estimate of return time.
Depending on the area of the hike, there may be hazards, including poison oak on trips into California; ticks and rattlesnakes on any trip in Oregon or California. Participants must sign a liability waiver at trip-start. Dogs are allowed by prior permission only at the discretion of each hike leader — call the listed phone number of the hike leader for the specific hike to discuss dogs.
Hikes planned through the summer include:
- May 29, Saturday: Join National Park Service ecologist Dennis Odion (541-552-9624; email@example.com) for an extremely rugged cross-country four-mile-plus Oregon-to-California hike-and-scramble from the Jenny Creek rim (elev. 3,300 feet) to Jenny Creek Falls and down Jenny Creek Canyon to Iron Gate Reservoir (elev. 2,345 feet). A likely wet creek-crossing on this challenging route — bring good boots and extra wading shoes. Shuttle provided. Meet at 8:30 a.m.
- June 5, Saturday: Join long-time SMWC board member and former backcountry ranger Susan Menanno (541-951-7467; firstname.lastname@example.org) on a five-mile loop hike along Scotch Creek in California's Horseshoe Wildlife Area (elev. 2,500 feet) just south of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Some off-trail hiking. Moderate. Meet at 9 a.m.
- June 12, Saturday: Join the USFWS ornithologist Pepper Trail (541-482-9594; email@example.com) on an easy or moderate (your choice) Pacific Crest Trail (and vicinity) hike east of Pilot Rock from Porcupine Gap (elev. 5,000 feet) to Babbitt Gap (elev. 5,180 feet), Porcupine Meadow (elev. 4,800 feet), and the spectacular view from Porcupine Mountain (elev. 5,290 feet).
Less than four miles total. Some off-trail hiking. Meet at 8:30 a.m.
- June 13, Sunday: The National Center for Conservation Science and Policy's aquatic ecologist, Brian Barr (541-621-7226; firstname.lastname@example.org), will lead a short, round-trip hike-and-scramble from the Jenny Creek Canyon rim in Oregon (elev. 3,300 feet) down to Jenny Creek Falls (elev. 2,700 feet) in California. Moderately difficult; three-plus miles, some steep scrambling. Meet at 9 a.m.
- June 19, Saturday: Veteran Sierra Club hike leader Cathy Edwards (541-210-0204; email@example.com) and National Park Service botanist Sean Smith will explore where Rogue Valley oak savannah meets Cascadian conifer forest in the Greensprings Mountain (elev. 5,225 feet) unit of the South Cascades Wilderness proposal northwest of the Greensprings Summit. Some off-trail hiking. Moderate, about four miles. Meet at 3 p.m. and bring your sack supper to enjoy the evening of the almost-longest day of the year.
- June 26, Saturday: Join Southern Oregon University aquatic ecologist Michael Parker (541-552-6796; firstname.lastname@example.org), on a cross-country ramble through Fredenburg Meadow (elev. 3,600 feet) and down into the forested Jenny Creek Canyon in the northeastern corner of the Cascade-Siskiyou Monument. All off-trail hiking. Moderate; three miles or less. Meet at 9 a.m.
- July 3, Saturday: Join veteran Sierra Club hike leader Cathy Edwards (541-210-0204; email@example.com) and terrestrial ecologist and SMWC board member Evan Frost to explore where Rogue Valley oak savannah meets Cascadian conifer forest in the Greensprings Mountain (elev. 5,225 feet) unit of the South Cascades Wilderness proposal northwest of the Greensprings Summit. Some off-trail hiking. Moderate, about four miles. Meet at 3 p.m. and bring your sack supper to enjoy daylight that lasts into the summer evening.