|Up on top of Hanging Rock!|
Today Moms2 hold down the fort in Bandon (which means they knit, crochet, cross-stitch and nap all day according to them!) while Rick and I take off for Myrtle Point, Powers, and a trailhead deep in the coastal mountains! It is a glorious sunny day – perfect for exploring back roads and trails!
We leave Bandon around 8:45, hoping to take the shortcut road to Arago over the mountain between Bandon and Myrtle Point. Unfortunately, we don’t recognize the name of the road until too late, so end up driving all the way to Coquille, and then up the main highway to Myrtle Point. This is dairy country and the many farms, pastures, and cows are beautiful in the morning sun. So many farmers are in the midst of haying right now – field after field of mown hay, baled and ready for pickup.
It is a windy road from Myrtle Point to Powers…..and patched in multiple sections due to washouts and other damage. Again…many more large hay fields than we anticipated. Powers is bigger than we thought. We toasted Cherrie, Arron Moxon, and Jenny Moe as we drove through town!
Our trailhead is 17 miles past Powers, then 9 miles up a paved one lane road, then another 2 miles up gravel roads, the last section rather steep with drainage ditches across the road which we a little tricky to maneuver in the Toyota, but we made it! The area was burned in places in 2005 in the Blossom Creek Fire, but while we passed several burned trees, we didn’t really go through a lot of burned area. We arrived at the trailhead at 11:15 – about 2 ½ hours since leaving Bandon!
|Coast rhodedendrons were in full bloom!|
The trail climbs 1200’ in two miles, much of it through once logged old growth forest – many BIG tall trees remain towering over carpets of fawn lilies (smaller versions of avalanche lilies), fairy slippers, and dwarf rhododendrons.
The uphill was fairly relentless and steady, but never too overwhelming! I had to stop and take some flower pictures, but overall kept a pretty steady pace I thought. Overall we identified the following flowers in bloom, or ready to bloom: stonecrop, rhododendrons (two varieties), currant, fairy slippers, beargrass, vanilla leaf, Solomon’s seal, Oregon grape, columbines, trilliums, wild rose, yellow wood violets, salal, huckleberry, Manzanita, lupine, fireweed, thimbleberry, cliff penstemon, paintbrush, and….. probably more!
|The Fawn or Avalanche Lilies were stunning!|
Once we got to the junction with the Panther Ridge trail and saw our hanging “Hanging Rock” sign on the tree, we turned left and headed up the last open stretch to the vistas awaiting! Once you hit the edge of the ridge, you need to keep to the left and go downhill for abit to get to Hanging Rock. We saw all these rocky outcroppings and didn’t realize which one was the actual rock since they all seem to “stick out”. We ate lunch atop our error (which Rick convinced me I could get on top of and did with his extreme help, all the while wondering how in the heck I was going to get down OFF the thing!) and gazed out at the vista 1500’ below which showed much of the Rogue River drainage and valleys. In the distance we could see a snowy white triangle of a peak. Much discussion over WHICH peak. (Finally using Google images and a matching of the pictures, it has been identified as Mt. McLoughlin east of Medford) Rick got me down off our first viewpoint using a back way under a huge bush (excellent job, husband of mine!) and we headed down the trail to the real Hanging Rock which we had seen from the “other top”. It was like a freeway to the top of this rock! What a view forever!!! Good breeze, but a warm sun. I could have taken a nap up on the top with the heat of the rock soaking my body, but alas, around 1:45 we decided we had probably better head back down the trail. Two miles and downhill and an hour later, we returned to the car.
|Hanging Rock with the Rogue River Wilderness|
in the distance.
Stopped on the way back down to the main road when we spied a small pool and waterfall to our left, and a crashing waterfall of the Coquille to our right. There are two waterfall hikes along this stretch of the Coquille that we didn’t take. A good reason to return to this area for additional hikes!
We stop in Powers for a cold drink and a phone call to Moms2 to let them know we are enroute home. In Myrtle Point, we find our shortcut road from this end, and Rick decides he hasn’t had enough of narrow windy mountain roads, so we turn left to Arago and the shortcut over the mountain! It is Lampa Lane, the road I suspected this morning AFTER we passed it by!
Back to Seabird Lane to find hamburgers and fried taters awaiting us. Quick showers to clean up and an evening of puzzle work and Quiddler! What a great day!