Upper Table Rock

Yesterday was the best weather in a while, it would be the best day to visit Crater Lake, 80 miles, 1.5 hours away, to walk a little, take some pics, yet most of the trails and roads at Crater Lake remain snowed in. Instead, having enjoyed Lower Table Rock so much that I chose to visit its brother: Upper Table Rock.

Of the two, Upper Table is rated as a moderate hike whereas Lower Table is rated Easy. I would reverse those designations. Upper is a steady slope up 745 feet in 1.2 miles to the plateau at top, where you can hike between one and three miles on paths, through fields of flowers and black volcanic rock, whereas Lower Trail is 774 feet in 1.3 miles up, but alternates steep inclines with flatter sections. The steepness challenged me more. Then again, I have been hiking every day, so perhaps I have become a tad stronger by week’s end.

Whereas the trail up at Lower Table had progressed through six climes of varying flowers, the way up at Upper Table rock was dominated by shades of purple. Possibly because, the trail was open and sunny until more wooded sections brought greater variety. including a few Red Bells.

Of the two, I prefer Upper Table, because it is larger, less disturbed, and less trampled than Lower Table. Recently, an article lamented the hordes of sight-seers crushing the flower bloom in the deserts further south. The consequences of heavy foot traffic were apparent at Upper Table Rock. The earth becomes compacted and barren on the trail – that is true of every trail. The area immediately around the trail at Upper Rock had been taken over by grasses and plants which can withstand foot traffic. Further away from the trail, native species prosper and also, small plants on the trail, protected from feet by sheltering rocks. People wandered off trail at Upper Table, visibly thinning the bloom near the entrance to the plateau. Further on, the fields were more lush.

The good weather brought many people out to see the annual spring bloom. When I addressed one man coming down as I was going up, “beautiful day.” He replied, “Yes, it is: six months sober today.” I met a couple from Wisconsin, full-timing in an RV. We shared favorite spots and recommendations with each other. A large group from New York having a picnic near the cliffs took an interest in me and offered a beer. And a local family conversed with me for over two miles. The child was pointing out her finds: a cougar track, elk tracks, snake holes, and fur left from a meal of squirrel. All in all, it was a wonderful day, but what I thought about afterwards was six-months sober.

The views are of Lower Table Rock and Mount McLoughlin.

 

 

Today I saw an eagle

Today I saw an eagle fly over the wild river portion of the Rogue River northwest of Grants Pass where kayakers need a permit to venture more for the rangers knowing they have gone down river than for any other reason. I gambled the weather forecast of the rain stopping around noon would hold twenty miles out at the Rainie Falls Trail, two miles down, two miles back, according to Alltrails 1,600 feet of elevation , but 400 high to low, on a wet, rocky trail the width of my hiking pole, in some areas pure jumbled, jagged rock, cut by waterfalls running streams across and down the trail, forming pools deeper than my boots. I loved every inch. Although wet from rain falling, water dripping off overhangs, and sweating, I was unsatisfied as I neared the end back at the beginning below the bridge: I wanted more. I could see the parking lot on the other side of the river, when the eagle reappeared. I stopped to watch him turn, gliding back over the river, then I lingered listening to the raging river roar. I left satisfied.

Pics: some of the waterfalls of Rainie Falls.

 

Why

You know the reasons why: adventure, travel, hiking, friends, living, and inspiration.  I enjoy writing poetry. It suits my back, traveling lightly; a sense of rthym, a decent vocabulary,  a good memory, and inspiration to carry.

I left crescent city playing tag with the rain along the redwood highway until the tunnel on the other side the rain held off long enough to set up. Rained heavily all night, then yesterday was unexpectedly, a clear, sunny day. So I did the 4 miles around cathedral trails outside grants pass then another five at lower table trail about twenty miles up the rouge river. Two trails with different sets of trees, plants and flowers. Rolling wooded Cathedral dominated by red indian paintbrush and violet shooting stars, also called birds’ beak under moss coated pines and deciduous. Table trail rising 800 feet transitioning through 6 climes with different trees, brush, flowers, some found only, yes, only there. A much greater variety on table, my favorite flower was the perfect red bell, reminding of my yet unpublished poem, bells. At the top of table is a flat tireless horseshoe snapped plateau more than a mile wide, a field of varied wild flowers and vernal pools w fairy shrimp and a 360 view including snow covered mountains in the distance. One of the most incredible places I’ve been. The moss and lichens, adorned with the tiniest flowers perfect in size for boquets and garlands for elves.

In August 2016, I left the Appalachian Trail to sell my house and purchase an Airstream 25FB travel trailer which I describe as living in a tunnel.

This is the post excerpt.

My name is Thomas Buzas, also known by the trail name Apa. This blog covers my travels, experiences, and impressions since August 2016, and back to 2010 covering four trips cross country, to Alaska and 1,600 miles of the Appalachian Trail. I’m fairly boring, but I do interesting things.