It was a typical spring day in Southern Oregon. Mother Nature couldn't make up her mind but one thing was for sure, we had cabin fever and needed to get out of the house...rain or shine. I admit I was reluctant at first when hiking was suggested. Soggy sneakers? Cold, damp, grey. Not what I consider to be ideal conditions but off we went. It was drizzling when we left the house so we put on our rain jackets and headed out to the trails behind Britt Festivals in Jacksonville.
The Jacksonville Woodlands Association does a nice job caring for this area. Formed in 1989 out of fear that development would take over, the non-profit Association was formed and has since preserved 22 parcels of forested open space (320 acres) and constructed 18 miles of connecting interpretive and recreational trails. We meandered around the Rich Gulch, Panorama Point Trail and Petard Ditch Trail but there are so many trails in that area. We took the dogs, on leash of course. I liked how there were dog poop bag dispensers at the trail head. I appreciated that others had their dogs on leashes too and that they picked up after their pets. That's not always the case on trails.
It was a dreary morning but the wildflowers brightened my mood. Manzanita, Western Buttercup and Shooting Stars were everywhere. This area is known for its Gentner's fritillary, or Fritillaria gentneri, a rare plant discovered by and named for Laura Gentner. It lives only in Southern Oregon. Pretty cool. We didn't see any. I guess they haven't bloomed yet. Jacksonville used to have a festival dedicated to the Fritillaria. I'm not sure if they still do.
My other favorites spring hikes include Table Rock and the waterfall hikes in the Prospect area (Mill Creek Falls, Barr Falls, Prospect Falls, Pearsoney Falls and Lower Red Blanket Falls). It really is one of the things I love most about living in Southern Oregon...all of the gorgeous places to play, practically right out our back door. And if dodging spring raindrops isn't your thing, that's okay. You never have to wait long for dryer conditions. By the time we got home that afternoon, the sun was out.