Ashland Watershed Loop 4-7-23

Photo by Carol

Ashland Hiking Home

Those of us willing to challenge the weather forecast to enjoy the magnificence of the forest, arrived in great spirits with abundant energy. The hike leader choosing to lead by example showed up in full rain regalia, prepared to weather the worst. Much to our delight, the foul weather did not manifest and layers started coming off early as blue skies with fluffy white clouds appeared.

Seven hikers, in total, followed the planned route, starting at the trailhead of the Lower Red Queen, turning left on Bandersnatch, right on the Upper Red Queen up to the top where the Ashland Loop road intercepts the Upper Red Queen, Caterpillar and Lewis Loop trails. After a short break, we returned down the Upper Red Queen, turned right onto Gryphon, hiked up to the Bandersnatch intercept, turned left on Bandersnatch, hiked down to the Lower Red Queen intercept, right on Lower Red Queen and down to our cars.

A fast pace allowed us to outrace the incoming rain clouds and we only experienced a few sprinkles of rain at the end. Done by noon, we proceeded home to prepare for the second part of the day’s adventure.  Those who chose to participate, met up again at Kerr Manor to experience the famous Kerr Manor Wine and Cheese extravaganza.

As a special treat, John and Diane’s son-in-law, Brian, joined us. Brian the creator and producer of cheeses (not sure of his title) at the Rogue Valley Creamery, discussed at length the process of developing and making exotic cheeses, including the 2019 “World’s Best Cheese”, the 2019 Rogue River Blue. Additionally he spoke to us about the steps required to convert to producing Organic Cheeses. A very involved process is not an overstatement.

Brian and Diane then prepared us cheese plates with a number of cheese samples, including generous helpings of the 2019 “World’s Best Cheese”. The cheese was served with John’s homemade baguettes, fruit, olives, nuts and other complimentary dishes brought by guests. We were treated to so many great cheeses, I lost count.

It was very nice to spend time with John and Diane and based on the smiles on their faces, they enjoyed our presence.  John assured me there would be more of these socials in the future.

The wine flowed and abundant food was consumed, all of which led to very pleasant and lively conversations. Over all, a great day with amazing friends.

Make it a great life,