Bear Gulch Trail to Sterling Mine Ditch Trail, November 20, 2017

A miracle happened, again. The weather forecast called for 100% chance of rain and it started to rain as soon as we parked at the trailhead. The chant began for me to put on my magic poncho. I felt like Harry Potter with his Invisibility Cloak. Sure enough, as soon as I had wagged my hiking pole a few times along the trail, the rain stopped. And it stayed stopped until the end of the hike. Once we returned and were in the cars the rain started up again. 

In any case it turned out to be a delightful hike. We made the considerable climb to the Mine Ditch Trail and onwards and upwards to the left. The Little Applegate Valley opened up below us and the fall colors were beautiful. We also had panoramas below us of low clouds between the hills. 

We did about 3 3/4 miles until the trail started to drop quickly in elevation and returned to a good lunch spot, making sure to avoid any poison oak. After taking the group pic we made the descent to the cars. 

At the trailhead we met a hunter who has returned to look for a scope he had dropped on the trail. He explained that this was black powder week and only flintlocks were allowed. He showed us his flintlock rifle and how it worked. He said you would have to get within 50-75 yards to use it. The rifle was long and heavy and not much changed from 1800 or so. 

Thus educated, we made our way to Boomtown for refreshments. Sarah Means informed us she had just done the Camino and we congratulated her. After a libation we were making plans for the Italian Alps and a Paris hiking tour. The latter would involve somewhat less vertical and require a difficult 2 hour lunch. Mike Sanson assured us the Italian hike was all downhill and we professed to believe it. Elisabeth Zinser wowed us by ordering an Irish coffee with a name whiskey and Baileys thrown in as an appetizer. She goes wild when not driving. 

What was expected to be  a wet day turned out to be a feast of fall colors. Our 8 intrepid hikers  had a wonderful day, thanks to the magic poncho. 

Ashland Hiking Home

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