Scheduled for Fridays, year-round, the Moderate Group is one option under the Ashland Hiking Group. It is for those who need or desire a lightly paced, shorter hike than is customary in the other AHG options. These hikes feature an easy pace for 4-6 miles (occasionally 7) and typically under 800’ elevation gain. Winter snowshoeing distances and elevation gains will be less.
We take a leisurely lunch break to socialize and sometimes share a short poem or other form of inspiration (voluntary but welcomed). On the trail, we stay together for safety and enjoyment. If a hiker wants to stop short of the destination, at least one fellow hiker will join. We recommend a hiking pole or two, and sturdy hiking boots. When driving a distance, we may have a voluntary post-hike experience in the area or on our return drive. Bring lunch, plenty of liquids, sunscreen, hat, and basic first aid items. Seasonal items include bug repellent, raincoat, winter attire and snowshoes.
Meet at 8:20 AM at the Rite Aid parking lot on Ashland Street for an 8:30 AM departure (unless informed otherwise for a given hike). Plan a full day, unless the hike location is close to Ashland. Carpooling is by personal choice, arranged at Rite Aid parking. All hikers must sign a liability waiver, provided by the hike leader, before their first hike with an Ashland Hiking Group, which covers liability for any of the AHG hike options.
While the Covid 19 Pandemic is with us, hikers must be fully vaccinated and bring masks for use when close to others or indoors, and while driving together in an enclosed vehicle.
December 3: Quarry Hike at Emigrant Lake Depart Rite Aid at 8:30 AM
TH: From Rite Aid, take Highway 66 to Emigrant Lake. Stay on Highway 66 for 2.8 miles past the Emigrant Lake main entrance to the Old Green Springs Highway gravel road that jackknifes off of the left side of #66. The parking area is ½-mile down the road. Vaulted restrooms present there.
Hike Description: We cross the old road and follow the trail east through teasel, wild roses and oaks along the edges of the hill Creek arm of the lake. In 1¼ miles, we’ll cross the old Siskiyou highway that once connected Oregon and California. A roadbed turns right and reconnects with the dirt trail. Spur trails take us up to the knoll and on to the top of the quarry. Return same way, for a 4-mile RT hike and minimal elevation gain. RT mileage=20 miles. Weather forecast.
December 10: Songer Butte from Songer Wayside Depart Rite Aid at 8:30 AM
TH: 8 miles out Highway 66 to a left at the Songer Wayside parking area.
Description- Take the Wayside trail out from the left of the parking lot. Go about 2 miles to a left onto trail up Songer Butte (2,700') for lunch and views of the south Rogue Valley. 5-6 miles RT with about 600' gain. Weather forecast. RT mileage: 30 miles.
December 17: Holiday Season’s Day Hike: Grotto, Jackson Creek Nature Trail Loop in Forest Park, Jacksonville. Depart Rite Aid at 8:30 AM
TH: Drive to Jacksonville, through town on California staying on Highway 238. About 1.6 miles past the last Stop sign, turn right on Mary Ann and, in 36 feet, turn left on Jacksonville Reservoir Road. Drive up to P3 (third parking area). EDT = 35 minutes.
Description: A narrow lightly traveled trail through the forest and many lovely views. This is a 4-mile loop hike with about 800’ elevation gain/loss.
Following our hike, we’ll have a Holiday Lunch in Jacksonville, probably at Bella Union and stroll holiday window-dressings of Jacksonville. RSVP for hike and RSVP for lunch (Elisabeth will make reservation). [If COVID cases surge in area, we’ll forgo lunch, but celebrate on trail]. RT mileage = 40 miles. Weather forecast.
December 24 No Hike; Merry Christmas Eve
December 31: Buck Prairie I Snowshoe Leave at 10:00 AM
TH: Take DIM about 18 miles to Buck Prairie I Sno-Park. Sno-Park Permit required; passengers should help pay for it. EDT: 30 minutes. Description: Do a loop via Buck Prairie Road, Bullwinkle's Run, Wayback, and Peabody's cross-country ski trails. Distance: 5 miles; elevation gain: 900 feet. Weather Forecast. Howard Prairie SNOTEL. RT mileage: 40 miles