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DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER: To Stay Rooted or To Explore?

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Don't Shoot the MessengerPerhaps the biggest question of the season is: To stay planted or to un-root? That is, spring inspires both a restlessness to get out and go, as well as a desire to dig in the dirt and plant seeds and plants for the upcoming months.

We are pleased to present ideas for both: Our Spring Into Action issue, with mentions of a few hikes, thoughts about gardening, and, overall, a big sense of attay-boy get-out-there-and-go encouragement to spring into action.  

Jeanine Moy with KS Wild wrote in with a mailbag full of hiking suggestions and, in particular pointing out the amazing geography and biodiversity of the region.

“Today,” she emailed, “the Rogue Valley takes great pride in its plant-derived products; beer and wine, non-GMO crops, and of course the new green-gold, cannabis. But little known to most local residents is that we are blessed with a hotbed of native plant wonders, nothing short of world-renown.”

Moy points out that the Rogue Valley, as part of the greater Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion, “harbors staggering biodiversity; globally recognized for having some of the highest conifer diversity in the world, and named as one of only seven North American Ecoregions of Global Botanical Significance by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.”

What is remarkable—and important to remember when heading out for hikes and exploring this springtime—is that the beautiful of the region is derived both from the grand (the views, the mountains) as well as the small, like the some hundred-plus unique and what Moy calls “iconic” plants to our region; “endemic, rare, and awesome!”

Over 3,500 plant species, she points out, and 220 of them being totally unique to the area. 

If you don’t know where to start, KS Wild is a good place. On April 22 (yes, Earth Day), KS Wild hosts a Hike and Happy Hour on the Greensprings, an easy-going two mile loop with scenic views of the Rogue Valley that points out some of these unique wildflowers. (12:30 pm, meet at Greensprings Loop Trailhead).

Southern Oregon is also home to a number of long-distance hikers, residents who (ironically?) call here home but wander over the earth, one step at a time. The other evening, I hosted a lecture by Shane Von Schlemp, a computer engineer who had itchy feet and became a long-distance hiker. He has traveled the famed Pacific Coast Trail, but more impressively, he has helped pioneer the Oregon Desert Trail, a faint trail that meanders 800 miles through some of Oregon’s most hard-scrabbled and remote reaches. The first complete thru-hike of the ODT was made during the summer of 2013 by Sage Clegg. It largely traverses over BLM land and patches together remote federal tracts. Unlike the PCT with its well-marked pathways, ODT is what is hikers call a “conceptual hiking route.” The trailhead is east of Bend, and yarns southeast for some 200 miles before doglegging just above the California border. In the Owyhee Canyonlands in the state’s southeast corner, the route even leaves a dirt trail completely and requires “hikers” to swim along a river. From the desert floor to Steens Mountain, temperatures can fluctuate 100 degrees in a 24-hour span.

Another such hiker is Aria Zoner, an Ashland author and professional long-distance hiker. On Monday, April 25, Zoner is presenting on The Hot Springs Trail “the world’s longest therapeutic trail.” (5 pm, Ashland Library’s Gresham Room)

“I’m convinced that the challenges and efforts of climbing over mountains and traveling on foot through the wilderness when combined with hot springs soaking and unbelievable views from the campsite is sure to improve not only the health of our bodies but the wellness of our spirit and minds,” Zoner told us. It is a trail that has both wilderness and community—“more summits, more Farmer’s Markets, but mostly more hot springs,” Zoner exclaims.

And, finally, in a planting seeds and taking first steps sort of way, the student newspaper at SOU is need funding. Please donate the price of a cup of coffee and help the insttition of The Siskiyou stay in the business of providing news and information, GoFundMe.com/vcxcz8k.


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