A Breathtaking Hike!

 by Ezekiel O'Brien in Uncategorized

In the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon near Medford there are two prominent mesas accentuating the picturesque valley, named Lower and Upper Table Rock. Besides being great landmarks to view from a car heading north or south on Interstate 5, both mesas afford great leg-stretching, boredom-breaking hikes.

Although I’d seen the promontories dozens of times from a car, I first hiked Lower Table Rock with my father on my 21st birthday. I was home from college at the University of Montana and
he asked what I wanted to do, and I said, “do a hike on Table Rock.” I was a bit chagrined at the 250-mile round trip from Eugene for a three-and-a-half-mile round-trip day hike, the trip up the
magical mesa and my first legal beer at Rennie’s Landing in Eugene to take the edge off the long travel day.

Magical is not an overstatement for these 800-foot-tall, Nature Conservancy-managed preserves. The vernal pools on the tops are the only location in the world for the dwarf wooly meadowfoam wildflower. Overall, it’s a great hike for viewing wildflowers and also affords handsome views of Mt. McLoughlin.

I waited 26 more years to hike Upper Table Rock. Heading north with my wife and senior kitty to our family Thanksgiving this year, we checked into our hotel, left Princess Jasmine to guard the room and consulted the AllTrails app for directions…arriving at the trailhead just before dusk. Groups were headed down the well-groomed trail as we headed up, including one elderly gentleman who asked, “Are you going to get down before dark?”

We plateaued after about 40 minutes and meandered to the other edge of the mesa. There was a photographer on the cliff’s edge hoping to capture images during the golden hour. The sun went down and we happily enjoyed the endorphins and remembered images of the mesa as we walked back to the parking lot. When we started the engine of the Silverado, the first stars began to shine.

Ezekiel O'BrienA Breathtaking Hike!