The Minority Report
We may have put this one on the schedule a wee bit early in the year. Solid snow cover above 4,600'. Trail up from Cameron Meadows was in good shape. Brad was able to lead on the way up in the snow by following cut deadfall, etc.
On the way down we were able to combine both snow whacking with bush whacking, eventually getting back on the trail. Frog Pond trail had good sized deadfall. Frog Pond itself was quite extensive. Water and snow everywhere.
Road in was in pretty good shape, although there were some good size fallen boulders on FS 1035.
Our original plan was to continue on down the Middle Fork of the Applegate. However, we ran out of time and ended up walking back on the road from the Frog Pond TH. The water was running high in Frog Pond Gulch. Best plan to continue on down the Middle Fork would have been to go down the road to below the ford and then to bushwhack down to the trail. The bridge over Frog Pond Gulch has been decommissioned.
The Hank Report
Has it ever occurred to any of you that we might schedule a no-confidence vote for our leader??? Today's hike was a "growing experience!!"
If any of you, who were not on yesterday's hike, wonder what would generate such a radical suggestion against our hard-working, fearless and some times unjustly maligned leader, let me give you a "brief" description of the hike.
After a 1 hr 45 min drive from Ashland, we arrive at the trail head. From that point the trail proceeds straight up for the first hour. (500 ft in the first half mile, 1,200 feet in the first hour) At that point we start to encounter patches of snow on the trail. The patches soon turn into 2 - 4 feet covering the whole trail. We do manage to find enough cut logs to follow the trail to a "meadow" (snow covered) where our leader does find us a good lunch spot with bare rocks to sit on.
After lunch, the next 3 hours are spent slogging through the snow, fording streams (mostly shallow, but by this time our feet were all soaked anyway) bush-wacking (since we could not find the trail), taking numerous tumbles in the snow (a notable one by yours truly suffering a bloody shin and two puncture wounds in my hand), a total elevation gain of around 600 feet (having been told it was only another 140 feet after lunch), highlighted by a 2 - 300 foot climb,bush-wacking straight up, to finally reach the still snow covered trail.
To our great relief we finally reach the road on which our cars were parked and were told that it was only about a mile back to the cars. 2.5 miles later, after fording a major stream, closed to cars, which ensured that not only were our boots thoroughly wet, but also squishy, we reached the cars after 6+ hours of hiking. Where upon the group concluded that since it would be after 6 PM when we got back to Ashland, we would skip our reward at the Applegate Valley Country Club and proceed directly home wet and tired and unrewarded.
So, to make up for it, our leader should at least issue a medal of some sort to all of those who survived the experience. I believe that we got home with all 9 who started the hike.
For the rest of you, aren't you sorry that you missed it!
P.S. I forgot to add that we were further subjected to sleet and soaking rain.