Archive for Ashland

Hiking Grizzly Mountain – Ashland, OR

Yesterday I hiked Soda Mountain because my hiking book said the views were extraordinary, plus lots of wildflowers.

Today I chose to hike Grizzly Mountain simply because of its name. Given a choice of Lower Table Rock, Mt Ashland Meadows or Grizzly Mountain, who’d NOT chose Grizzly!

It was a 6 mile hike. 1.2 steep miles up and then a loop around the top of the mountain, and 1.2 miles down.

This is the view at the summit. But one must keep going to the loop.

LOTS of colorful wildflowers. Yesterday I had big beautiful butterflies flying everywhere, today there was a constant buzz from black flies.

I came upon an older couple coming from the opposite direction. They told me that I “am in for a treat. Right around the corner there.” This is what I saw:

Yes, the remnants of the 2002 wildfire [which started from a sagging electrical line].

When I did get to the view, it was similar to that of Soda Mountain, but that was ok…the Rogue River Valley is pretty with Mt Shasta, Emigrant Lake and all.

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Hiking Soda Mountain – Ashland, OR

I picked this hike because I read about the extraordinary views and all the wildflowers. The review was spot on re the wildflowers. Lots of them, all colors and very pretty. Also a lot of HUGE butterflies. There was a smell of cedar in the air.

The trail is part of the PCT [Pacific Crest Trail], which I had never hiked any of before.

It was a rather easy 1 mile hike and then .2 miles straight up. Excellent view of Ashland. Mt Shasta. Emigrant Lake.

The most dangerous part of the trip? Driving there.

We don’t have cable, so have never seen that tv show Ice Road Truckers. However, just before we left for Ashland Ralph put it on Roku. We didn’t see any of the regular season [when they are in the Arctic Circle], but the show was about some truckers in India on this really steep and twisty road where they are driving next to the drop off/edge of a steep cliff. It’s one of the most dangerous roads in the world – someone gets killed every 4.5 minutes!!

I’m obviously exaggerating here, but the road to Soda Mountain reminded me of that Indian road. Steep incline, NO shoulder dropping down several feet, NOT hundreds, rock slides, sunken grade, windy/twisty.

I told Ralph my Return Time (when to call the Park Service cuz I’m NOT back and thus I’m in need of rescuing), but I never thought that it would include the drive! Ha.

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Bear Creek Bike Trail – Ashland, OR

I just happened to be cycling around and found a bike path next to the railroad tracks.  In talking to someone walking on the path, I was told that it’s about 30 miles long and “goes all the way to Central Point!”.  Later, I spoke with 2 other people, and they too said that it “goes all the way to Central Point!”. 

Apparently Central Point is on the other side of Medford, and that makes people happy!  I saw signs referring to it as the Bear Creek Trail and another said it’s the Creek to Crest Bike Trail.

The part I was on stops for a bit and then picks up down on Oak Street.  NO problem, I’ll just cycle down Oak and follow the signs. However, there are NO signs. 

After talking to some locals, and getting lost a couple of times, I found it.  Sure would be nice to have some signs.  One time when I was talking to a city employee [that I just happened to cycle upon], he said, “Ashland doesn’t like to put signs up”.  I guess the bike trial is supposed to be a secret.

To find the trail, you need to cycle past the Llama farm.

Then past a cool abandoned gas station.

Then past the Wastewater Treatment Facility.

The trail follows the path of Bear Creek.


This sign sums up the condition of the path. The only word missing on the sign is “Very”.

Someone did go thru and mark the rough spots with green spray paint. Unsure if it’s to let cyclists know where it’s really rough, or what they plan on fixing at some time in the future. If it’s the fixing reason, they just need to re-do the entire d*mn thing.

Most of the trail is next to I-5. The path is between I-5 and a wall.

There is also a portion where it is right next to highway 99.

And last but not least, I have to mention the REALLY run down, trashy trailer park that you cycle by.

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FREE Green Show [Koto Player] – Ashland, OR

Tonight we saw Mitsuki Dazai play the koto. The koto is a traditional Japanese wooden instrument with thick, really tight strings. Underneath the strings are bridges, which look like little ivory Eiffel Towers.

While tuning before each song, she would change the placement of the bridges [and pitch]. Some times she changed them during the song.

She also wore picks on her fingers, and thus “finger picks” the strings. There was NO singing. In general, the songs were NOT melodic, but did “sound Japanese”.

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FREE Green Show [Living History Part II] – Ashland, OR

Since we enjoyed the first show so much, we returned to see the second part of the living histories series, as part of the Green Show which takes place every night from 7.15 – 8 pm. Since it was beginning to rain a bit, the performance was inside.

Tonight’s performance was a historical account of life as a middle, lower class person [someone who has a trade – baker, shoemaker…] during the time of Elizabeth I.

This wasn’t as interesting as the first part. Unsure how much had to do with life as a noble person is more interesting than a commoner, vs hearing some of the same material again.

Tames Alan was entertaining, nonetheless.

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FREE Green Show [Living History Part I] – Ashland, OR

Since we didn’t value the ticket prices the same as the Shakespeare Festival Ticket Price Committee, we partook in the Green Show. Every night from 7.15 – 8 pm on the outdoor courtyard stage there was a FREE performance.

On the first night after we sat down, I read that the “performance” was a historical account of life as a noble person/courtier during the time of Elizabeth I.

Oh-oh. We are in the front row and already I’m thinking of an escape route game plan.

Who Knew there would be NO need? It was excellent. I would have paid admission for this and wanted it to last longer.

The actress/performer, Tames Alan, was excellent. She came onstage in her Elizabethan sleeping attire and slowly got dressed. The hoop skirt plus 13 layers of skirts. The corset (some so tight women miscarriaged). The fleas, ticks, lice on EVERYONE [thus the need for a lapdog…hopefully the buggers jump from you to the dog]. The twice in a lifetime baths (once when born to get the mothers blood off and “a spritz” on the eve of your wedding). ALWAYS having the white pancake make up on, even when going to bed. They never washed it off, just kept adding to it…

The same actress will be back to tell us of the life of a middle, lower class person [has a trade] during this time period. I am now looking forward to that!

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Tickets to Ashland’s Shakespeare Festival are Expensive

Ashland, home to the 9 months long Shakespeare Festival and the country’s oldest Elizabethan theatre.

While we were in town there were 8 plays performed in rotation at their 3 theatres. 5 Shakespeare plays, Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, Pulitzer Prize winning play August: Osage County and some other modern play.

Guess what I wanted to see? Yep… Pirates of Penzance and Osage. NO Shakespeare for me!

However, there was just 1 performance of each (during our 6 day stay), and of course they were both on the same night!

I decided on Penzance since I figured Ralph would prefer a joyous musical rather than a dysfunctional family drama.

Come to find out, tickets are around $75 a pop! Ahhh, NO Thanks.

Makes me re-think the price/value of our $125 Cirque du Soleil tics while we were in Vegas a few weeks ago!

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Southern Oregon University’s Campus Sure is Ugly – Ashland, OR

Nuf’ said…just check out these photos.

I was told that this is the prettiest building on campus. It’s Churchhill Hall, built in 1926.

I did go into the library and was happy to see that they loan out bikes to students. They have 9 bikes, and the loan period is 24 hours.

The library also has a Media Room with 4 big flat screen tvs. Sit under the appropriate ceiling speaker, and you can hear what’s on tv.

I had never seen a skateboard hanger before.

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Lithia Park – Ashland, OR

Lithia Park encompasses 93 acres and starts at the Plaza in city center.  Ashland Creek runs thru the park. In 1908, the architect who designed San Fran’s Golden Gate Park was hired to lay out the curving paths, pools, duck pond, picnic lawns and gardens. 

In the Plaza there is a water fountain where you can taste Lithia Water – a bubbly, bitter combo of sodium, calcium, iron, bicarbonate and “other healthful minerals” piped to the fountain from natural springs nearby.

Ralph tasted the restorative water.  Yummy?  NOT!

I road my bike around the park and part way up to Mt Ashland. I stopped here to read in the shade while listening to the babbling Ashland Creek gurgle next to me.

Little did I know that less than 50′ upstream there is a dam and thus a swimming hole!  The water is very cold, and of course, there are fools swimming in it!

View from part way up Mt Ashland.

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Honeysuckle in the Air – Ashland, OR

There is an ongoing, persistent (is that redundant?) smell of honeysuckle in the air. I really like the smell, so I’m digging it. Makes sitting outside even better!

We are in Ashland so that Ralph can go to a week long bike mechanics school at the United Bicycle Institute.  I’ll be playing.

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