Friday, February 6, 2009

Medford - Week #1

Oregon Trivia

Computer guru Steve Jobs is a graduate of Reed College in Portland, Oregon.

Friday - January 30, 2009

I left Seattle at 10am, mostly on time, for the drive to Bend. Actually I was going to Sunriver, twenty miles south of Bend, to spend a night with my friends Don, Mary, Mancil and Jennifer who were at the end of their week long ski trip at Mt. Bachelor.

Saturday - January 31

The gang of many at Sunriver is departing this morning after their week of skiing at Mt. Bachelor so I left Sunriver to stay with Perry and Carol until Sunday.

Saturday afternoon we went for a hike in the Bad Lands outside of Bend at a place called Dry River Canyon about ten miles east of Bend. In fact Saturday was the last day hikers would be allowed into the area until the end of August. In wetter times thousands or maybe millions of years ago the Dry River Canyon used to be the outlet for a large lake upstream. If you look carefully it's possible to see evidence of old river-worn rock in the canyon whose base is at least two hundred feet below the adjacent land.

I love the old Juniper trees here, many of which are hundreds of years old. They're not really very big with the oldest, maybe 400 years old, being only 20 inches or so in diameter.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

-Henry David Thoreau

Sunday - February 1

On Sunday I drove the 177 miles from Bend to Medford and checked in to the Knights Inn Motel where I had reserved a weekly-rate room. Wow this is living-- wireless internet, microwave, mini-frig, and 100 channels of cable TV— with nothing worth watching of course, and maid service daily! I arrived in time to watch the Superbowl but can’t say I watched much of it except for the commercials and the last quarter.

Monday - February 2

By Monday I decided that I'd go ahead and spring for a full month at the Knights Inn and spent the morning settling in.

In the afternoon I explored downtown Medford-- just a couple of blocks from where I'm staying. All of downtown amounts to only about twelve square blocks. Most of the buildings are just a couple of stories with the largest building being the old four story Woolworth Building.

It looks like Medford's downtown has gone through some kind of revitalization project recently to make it more attractive and pedestrian friendly. But it has a lot of empty storefronts and not very many people on the streets. It seems to be largely a retail downtown-- very few people seem to work in offices there. Like many downtown business districts across the country it appears to have been in decline for decades.

Tuesday - February 3


On Tuesday I biked to the town of Jacksonville, about 5 miles west of Medford, which lies among the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains. I headed west toward Jacksonville on Main Street in Medford which eventually turns into the Old Jacksonville Highway-- marked bike lanes are provided on both sides of the road. The rout that I choose for my return trip to Medford didn’t have a marked bike lane but there wasn’t much traffic either.

Jacksonville was originally settled in 1851 after the discovery of gold in Rich Gulch off of Daisy Creek that runs through town. At the time of Oregon’s statehood celebration in 1859 Jacksonville was the regions largest town. But the town’s aspirations took a turn for the worse in 1884 when the railroad decided to bypass Jacksonville and instead run through the small nearby settlement of Medford; too bad for Jacksonville! Then in 1927 the county seat was moved to Medford; the miserable bastards! In the early 1966 the town was declared a National Historic Landmark and officially given the green light to transform itself into a tourist trap-- a future much different from the vision of it’s original founders.

Wednesday - February 4

Roxy Anne Peak – Prescott Park
Wednesday I took a hike up Roxy Ann Peak a little over three miles east of downtown Medford. When my friends Jeff and Mai lived here Jeff and I hiked up Roxy Ann almost every time I visited. It’s a little less than a three mile hike round trip to the summit at an elevation of almost 3476 ft according to my GPS.

In the picture to the left, taken on the return trip from Jacksonville yesterday, the peak without the snow on it is Roxy Ann Peak three miles east of Medford with Mt McLoughlin in the background to the right of Roxy Ann.

Thursday - February 5

Lower Table Rock

Today I went hiking at a place called Lower Table Rock about twelve miles north of downtown Medford. The hike is a little over three miles round trip; at least half of which is the dead-flat part on top of the rock. Parts of the trail going up are very steep. I think I may have hiked this before with Jeff a few years ago but most of those brain cells seem to be dead since I don't remember the hike on the flats on top all all.

Geologists say that the Rogue River valley was filled with lava from a volcanic eruption millions of years ago and that over the years the changing course of the river eroded most of the valley away except for Upper and Lower Table Rocks. What a bunch of crap... I'm pretty sure they were made by aliens.

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