Hike Coordinator – Lane Harris
Despite a long drive and one flat tire, 11 people enjoyed this one-way 6 mile mostly downhill hike on the newly developed Jack-Ash trail near Jacksonville and Ashland, OR (thus, the Jack-Ash name, which surely conjures up snickers from those of us still in the 2nd grade, mental-wise). The weather was a tad on the warm side (low 80’s) but it was tolerable, as higher elevations tend to provide cool afternoon breezes.
With Lane Harris leading the group, hikers headed out around noon, beginning at the Anderson Ridge trailhead near Anderson Butte. The trail was gentle and meandered along grassy fields covered with wild flowers still abloom on this final day in June. After a very gradual 1.5 mile sidehill climb underneath the butte, with stunning views to the west and southwest, everyone took a shady break underneath some trees to enjoy lunch. At this point, the trail was no longer going up, and as they say, “It’s all downhill from here!”
After a very scenic stroll through more open forest, flora and fauna, the trail spit us out at the Greenstone trailhead and onto a gravel road. The group accepted this 1 mile road hike as an interlude and an opportunity to chit chat with one another, as that sort of thing is a bit difficult when walking single file on a trail.
We soon rejoined the trail at the Griffin Gap trailhead and commenced our downhill march. The expansive views here were a bit sparser, but the trail was still throwing great scenery at us, with plenty of firs and pines as the staple of this portion of the hike. With occasional views to the valley below, the trail dropped quickly, with madrone trees and manzanita bushes starting to populate this part of the dry hillside.
Soon, the road which we had parked one vehicle at came into view. As the trail did multiple switchbacks across the hill, hikers could see the destination, but the trail kept teasing us, as if the we were in a funhouse with mirrors! Just when you thought you were taking that last turn to the end, there was another switchback! A bit frustrating, to say the least, in this afternoon heat. But eventually, we all exited the path at the Grub Gulch trailhead without incident.
Best of all, there are now 11 new bona fide “Jack-Asher’s”.
Pictures by Lane Harris