East Applegate Trail - 8/27/2021

Photos by Kay

Our plan was to hike the Soda Mountain Trail to Little Pilot Peak. Air quality forecasts had looked promising, but we awakened to see with our own eyes that it was otherwise. Yet, the Smoke/Air Quality sites were inconsistent, at best, some showing “good” when we could see that it was not so in Ashland. So, we contacted the dozen members who had indicated they planned to come, telling them we’d go ahead and meet at Rite Aid to catch up on AQI together and try to find an alternate location.

The best options appeared to be either the Applegate or Grant Pass areas, though not at all certain. We picked the East Applegate Trail. Ten tenacious troupers ventured there in spite of driving with smoke on the horizon, until we reached the TH:  Nancy, Janet, Kathy, Debra, Gabrielle, Richard, Cindy, Jackie, Elisabeth and Kay.

We enjoyed clear air and comfortable temperatures while we hiked along the ridge to the high point where the trail heads into its steep descent.  Off trail into a lovely, wooded area we had enjoyed before for lunch. Such a wonderful time to catch up with one another’s lives while enjoying lunch and sharing cookies. In our sometimes ‘tradition’, Kathy read a poem about love and Elisabeth read a poem about peace found in nature.

On our return trek back to the TH and cars, the air felt closer to ‘moderate’ but tolerable. Everyone was happy to have gotten out of the house and enjoyed a good 5.8-mile hike without suffering unhealthy air quality in that location.  Returning to the Rogue Valley, the AQI had deteriorated to unhealthy, thick with smoke.  Alas, it’s late summer.

Elisabeth Zinser

Ashland Hiking Home

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