Wildflowers of Butte Falls Hwy

Wildflowers of Butte Falls Hwy

The drive to Butte Falls from Medford is magical this time of year. Blankets of wildflowers line the side of Butte Falls Highway, making the scenic drive a botanical wonderland adventure. Southern Oregon experiences tremendous native wild flower blooms every year. Now is the time to see them right outside of Medford, Oregon.

 

Depending on the rainfall, wild flower blooms on the rim of the Rogue Valley will extend into mid-July. Our native varieties withstand the heat in full bloom. The Shasta daisies, mildewed, and Indian Paintbrush blooms are in full swing right now and they grow thick by the road side of Butte Falls Hwy. Among the other varieties are Bachelor’s Buttons, Black Eyed Susan’s, and Lupines.

Many hiking trails in the area give you an up close and personal experience with these flowers. I have not experienced the overwhelming variety and numbers of native blooming plants, however, as you will find now in the Butte Falls area.

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From Medford, Oregon take Hwy 62 to Butte Falls Hwy. Continue up Butte Falls Hwy to the Town of Butte Falls. The best experience is the 3 mile stretch before the town of Butte Falls, continuing through Butte Falls, on to the Willow Lake turnoff. This is where you will experience the most roadside blooms and variety.

Mary Jane Feetham

A tribute: 2016 Morel Mushroom Season

A tribute: 2016 Morel Mushroom Season

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I am sad to say that the Rogue Valley’s 2016 morel mushroom season is wrapping up. I do believe that areas above 5000 ft in elevation may continue to see blooms if the wet weather continues. I will continue to venture these areas. Morel mushroom season gives way to salmon season, and I am quite excited about that! Thank you for all the feed back and support this year. The morel mushroom hunters of Southern Oregon – cheers!

Mary Jane Feetham

Butte Falls, Oregon

Butte Falls, Oregon

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Butte Falls is a small town situated in the foot hills of the cascades, 45 minutes from Medford, Oregon.This old logging town is still very much alive in heart and sense of adventure. Within miles of town are lakes, a network of trails, beautiful waterfalls, and gorgeous forests. The town itself offers a well stocked store, a gas station, and great old-time cafes. Butte Falls is home to the Butte Falls School District and the community is very education oriented.

Every year the Town of Butte Falls puts together a Fourth of July Festival.  The event is hosted by the Butte Falls Active Club Committee. The proceeds go directly back to the community oriented events to keep the community spirit alive.

This year is no exception. It will be a great year with local vendors, family game booths, live entertainment, excellent food, BINGO, and a bounce house! All this and more will be at the Butte Falls Park in down town Butte Falls, Oregon on July 4, 2016.

As the Vice President of the Butte Falls Active Club, I am putting together a fundraiser Fun Run that will coincide with the Butte Falls Fourth of July Festival. The 2016 Sasquatch 5K Fun Run event planning has gone well. Planning this type of fundraiser has it’s challenges but the local women here in Butte Falls know a thing or two about determination. What this community event has to offer is astounding. From a run through the forest to a outdoor BBQ and Bingo, there is something everyone in the family will enjoy. If you have never been, it is worth going to.

The run will begin at 8 am sharp at the Butte Falls Landing, located at 801 Laurel Ave, Butte Falls Oregon. The Sasquatch 5K meanders the outskirts of town down through the forest to the water falls, back up and through the charming town of Butte Falls, ending where it began. The Sasquatch 5K Fun Run is open to everyone and children 12 and under are free. Costumes are encouraged and rewarded and everyone will go home with a prize!

Free parking is available at the Landing for the day.

For more on what this fun fundraiser supports, view the Butte Falls Active Club Facebook Page.

For more information about the event Sasquatch Event Page

To register for the 2016 Sasquatch 5K Fun Run, click here.

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Mary Jane Feetham

Sunset Trail – Lake of the Woods

Sunset Trail – Lake of the Woods

Our local mountain lakes have so much to offer our families.Experience a leisurely stroll on the network of trails located at Lake of the Woods!

 

The Sunset Trail leads you along the lake side, through the forest, towards the resort. Epic scenes of Mount McLoughlin and Lake of the Woods itself are almost constantly visible. The trail itself is well maintained and easy to wheel a stroller on.

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Educational Boards are located along the trail side that teach you about the history of the area and the ecology of our local wilderness. Chairs along the trail make for a luxurious rest along the way.

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The Sunset trail meanders along the lake and crosses the Rainbow Bay Park at one mile. Here is another set of restrooms, and the resort is less than 1/8 of a mile from that point. Enjoy the day by making use of this wonderful trail system. You may learn a thing or to on the way about the area.

Lake of the Woods is about 45 minutes from down town Medford. From Hwy 62 head up Hwy 140, towards Klamath Falls to the Lake of the Woods Resort Rd. Turn right and pass the resort entrance. At the stop sign, turn right on Dead Indian Memorial Hwy. In less than a mile, turn into the Sunset Bay Campground area. There is a boat launch, an excellent swimming area, a bathroom, and a trail head. It is $5 to park for the whole day at the Day Use Area.

Mary Jane Feetham

 

 

On the banks of the Klamath River

On the banks of the Klamath River

The Klamath River is a wonderful place to spend the day. It is accessible off of Highway 66, less than one hour from Ashland, Oregon.

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Grassy meadows, pelicans, the sound of a soothing river. What a wonderful spot to be in for the day with your children. I have come to love the Klamath River and all of it’s tributaries. The fish are abundant as well as the birds. My favorite place to visit this river is close to home, near Keno, Oregon. Topsy Recreational Site is directly above the dam. Migratory birds flock to this region and this is a great spot to enjoy them.

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Hiking along the trails above and below the dam is an adventure in itself. There is an abundance of wildlife and farmland activity. The shallow slopes of the bank and calm beaches above the dam are great for exploration. A wonderful article including a map to this area was provided at Klamath Birding Trails.com.

I enjoy camping off of the Topsy Grade Road above the dam. In the morning, I take the kids to the river bank and we walk the bank of the Klamath River. After lunch, we take a short drive to the J.C. Power Dam and drop below, where the river runs swiftly to take a few casts. This section of the river is famous for it’s cold water … goldfish? Yes, gold fish are a common catch in this area. Check the water conditions above and below the dam to plan your tackle at ODF Topsy Reservoir.

Fishing for gold
Tyler Ridgeway and 10″ Goldfish     Photo Courtesy of Brian Northrup

 

 

I have smaller children and it can be challenging to spend any length of time below the dam due to the rocky terrain. This is World Class trout water though and is definitely worth your while to try.

 

 

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Directly below J.C. Boyle Dam

I have smaller children and it can be challenging to spend any length of time below the dam due to the rocky terrain. I return to the milder regions of the river for the afternoon at Topsy Reservoir. This is a great opportunity for a mini-day vacation where you can truly lose yourself in the beauty on the banks of the Klamath River.

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Mary Jane Feetham

 

 

The Wood River – Navigable History

The Wood River – Navigable History

A little less than 2 hours from Medford is the historical town of Fort Klamath. Through that town runs a river, with ancient history and epic scenery.

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The Wood River is not a ripping, thrilling, white water experience. It is a relaxing 18 miles float through a beautiful country side teeming with wild life. The Wood River is clear and cold, and in some sections lack a lot of depth. You may find yourself porting the boat here and there, but it is worth it!

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From the Rogue Valley, take 140 east and turn Left on to the West Side Rd, about 55 miles from Medford. The sign also reads Volcanic Legacy Highway. Fort Klamath is about 18 miles further. The history of the Wood River begins in the old US Calvary Fort built in the late 1880’s. Forth Klamath has some of the most unique old farm buildings I have ever seen. It is now an unincorporated active ranching community. The Wood River is short, about 18 miles from Kimball State Recreation Site, to the Wood River Wetland Area and take out.

The put in, at Kimball State Recreation Site, is located a few miles out of town. It has restrooms and a few camp sites. The river access is easy to drop a boat into and the views begin right away. From the river, views of the Crater Lake rim are present. The Wood River is best known for the fly fishing and bird watching opportunities. I am not an avid bird watcher, but a lot of places in Klamath County, the diversity of wild fowl is spectacular!

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The Wood River meanders around bends through the farm country and forests in the country side. One can do the entire length, or plan a shuttle and be on the water as little as a few hours. A majority of the river is banked by private property, but there are public take outs, such as the Fort Klamath County Park. The Wood River can be paddle boarded, kayaked or coned, but isn’t suitable for bigger boats because of its varying depth.

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As it ends, the Wood River flows into the Wood River Wetlands and then into Agency Lake. This area is worthy of a trip in itself, but bring the bug spray! The Wetlands are 26 miles north of Klamath Falls, off of Modoc Point Rd.

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Contact Christy Snook and Let’s Paddle! of Fort Klamath for awesome rentals and shuttle rates!

 

Mary Jane Feetham

 

 

McKenzie River in the Spring Time

McKenzie River in the Spring Time

The McKenzie River is an awesome Spring run when you have some good weather. There is a lot of river bums that flock to this river in the early season months, rain or shine. I was very glad it was sunny when I went. It was perfect in a full wet suit as is. The water is so clear, and so cold.

The drive took roughly 3 hours. Leaving Medford the night before was the right move for sure. From Eugene, the put in was only about 35 minutes away at Finn Rock. I had researched a few different runs and I felt ready for this one. A great link was McKenzie River Details by BLM which was the easiest map to use that I could find online. The best shuttle information I got from Northwest Rafters Association. I have made great river connections from this site. If you have your own equipment and you are on a budget, this site will help you as it did me. I paid $30 for the first trip and $20 for the additional stretch. There are many neat river stops and stores on Highway 126 for fuel and food.

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The biggest rapid on my first run was a 3(-) in early April, and that was Martin Rapids. Directly after that, I bailed out at Helfrich Landing County Park. This was an awesome run, however, I had only been on the water at that point for a little less than 2 hours. The water was moving right along and I oared quite a bit. So, I called the shuttle back up and arranged for another run.

This time I drove up to Paradise and launched. It is by far the better run up there as far as scenic beauty in my opinion. The water is also more technical even at the higher water level I floated. I pulled out at the boat ramp at Forest Glen Landing. It was a great day on the water. I was reminded that this river is excellent for hot summer camping. The temperature at water side stay 20 degrees lower than the road side, and the dense tree canopies at McKenzie River Park would keep you cool even on the hottest day.

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I look forward to spending a few nights there this summer with the children. I will also be back for the hot springs, which would have been a perfect end to a day on the river, however, I had to get home to the kiddos!

Mary Jane Feetham

Morels at 4467 Ft

I am following the morels as they continue to pop in higher elevations. Currently, I am having very good luck off of Highway 140, in Jackson County, Oregon.

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Freshly popped clusters of 2″ – 3″  morels

As the first flushes of morels at this elevation begin to age out, the second flush is just popping up. A lot of solid, fresh naturals growing to good size.

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Fresh morels that are firm, cream colored stocks

 

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Aged morels that are squishy and stocks beginning to turn yellow

I usually leave the aged morels to do their thing, hoping to preserve the quality of these morel picking spots.

Mary Jane Feetham

Bicycling in Bend

Bicycling in Bend

Bend is a very special place to me three hours from Medford. For a small city, it is very much about outdoor activity, and the way the town is laid out, promotes that. The Deschutes River runs through it, perfect for water play opportunities such as rafting or kayaking. The town is surrounded by awesome forests and geological sites, which means there are plenty places to hike. And biking is a big thing!

I love bicycles and I use to ride them every day. Before children and before I turned 30, of course. But living my life to the fullest sometimes means getting back on that long lost horse. And just like they tell you, bike riding is a breeze to pick back up even years later.

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I made the decision to ride an electric bike for two reasons: I have never done it before and I was not sure I was in good enough shape to bike 2 children for long distances.

After a little bit of research I found Bend Electric Bikes. They are home of the latest, greatest electric bike models and are extremely affordable. We paid $40 for each bike and were set up to carry 2 children each. The bikes convert to carry all sizes of children, so it was very neat that my 9 year old son and both of my children under 2 were able to be accommodated, as was my 5 year old niece.

Ultimately I could not have been happier about my decision. Getting places was easy on an electric bike. When I saw a hill ahead, I simply reached down and turned the “assist” up a notch. Biking around Bend was a breeze. There is a network of trails leading around and out of town, from mountain biking trails to large, paved paths along the Deschutes River.

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Between my sister and I, we had 4 children and 2 electric bikes. And it could not have been possible without the extra help an electric bike provides. I still got a work out, but I was not inhibited by my lack of “bike muscles” when we chose our routes. There are many nice parks down town to stop and break at and the food is everywhere in Bend!

We will be back to explore Bend further on the bicycle and I love that my children are able to enjoy this great activity with me, thanks to the wonderful staff and equipment at Bend Electric Bikes and my wonderful sister, Claire!

Mary Jane Feetham

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