We welcomed two new members, Linda of Medford and Marianne of Grants Pass. They came to us thanks to Val. Terry, also new, came for his second excursion with us. Ten of us enjoyed a perfect early summer day along the Rogue River trail from Woodruff Bridge to Takelma Gorge. A highlight always is to witness the River moving at its many paces, at times quiet as a ‘lake’ inviting a dip to cool off and in dramatic contrast as it crashes through the Gorge. Attending to the many sections of the trail with exposed lava rocks, and occasional holes and nearly eroded bits of trail, we ‘minded’ our steps and stopped often to view the river, an occasional fish, wildflowers, mushrooms, 2 handsome snails, and forest cliffs.
Kay made a welcome new ‘find’ others of us, veterans included, did not know before: A path to campground outhouses – men and women – ‘cute’, clean and open. While there, Anna found the rare Sugarstick wildflower thriving alongside the women’s outhouse. The Sugarstick is a mycoheterotroph found in shady forests. It cannot make its own chlorophyll; instead it obtains its nutrients from soil fungi.
Along the trail, hikers pointed out a number of wildflowers and Anna kindly checked all the identifications based on her knowledge and referring to the wildflower book she brings along. Here’s our partial list: Northern inside-out flower, Oregon anemone, spotted coral root, queen cup, woodland phlox, tall bluebells, vanilla leaf, yellowleaf iris, trillium, and of course, Oregon grape.
Our hike amounted to 4.2 miles RT. We lingered longer than usual over lunch with much conversation in pods, getting to know one another better. Several lovely comments about what a pleasure it is to hike with such interesting and fun people. We’d offered an extension option to hike from Woodbridge up to Knob falls, but it had become a bit toasty by then and most folks opted to head on back.