Roxy Ann in the Fog
Sunday January 7, 2007 I needed to get in a conditioning hike before my body reverts back to a mass of marshmallow cream. I live in Medford, Oregon and it was foggy and dreary outside, so I chose to hike the local hill Roxy Ann Peak that is just east of town. I knew it was going to be muddy in spots because it had been raining the last couple of days. Earlier in the week you could see snow about half way down the flanks of Roxy Ann. Now, it was foggy with a light drizzle and about 40 degrees.
Hiking has to be better than watching NFL Playoff games right? I drove the 4 miles to the bottom of Roxy Ann Road. I’ve walked this 4 miles before, but today I wanted to map some of the trails on Roxy Ann with my GPS so that I could submit them as Routes on Summit Post.
I’ve started training for another attempt at Denali in May, so I threw a couple of small dumbbells in my day pack to get the weight up to 35lbs and headed off up Roxy Ann Road. The road is graded well and is easy to hike on. There is little traffic and on nice days you will meet other hikers, bikers, and people on horses all out enjoying the day. Today was not a nice day. I was wearing gloves to fight off the cold fog and I kept up a good pace to stay warm.
The first gate is only .4 mile from the car and the second gate is another mile further up the road. About 300 yards past the second gate, I came to my first objective. Madrone Trail branched off to the right and climbs steeply up to the Madrone Ledge Picnic Area. This trail is slick with mud and I was glad I had me trekking poles to help keep my balance. This trail in only .25 long but it always takes my breath away because it is steep. At the top of the Madrone Trail, I crossed through the picnic area, crossed the Roxy Ann Loop Road and started up the Manzanita Trail.
The Manzanita Trail is not as steep as the Madrone Trail, but it is muddier. This is a real mud slog in the Winter and Spring. Make sure you wear boots, because your tennis shoes will be ruined. There is no way to avoid the mud, so I just tromped through the puddles and goo all the way to the top of Roxy Ann Peak. Near the top of the trail I saw another hiker with her dog. The dog seemed to be enjoying the mud.
I walked out to the ledge that overlooks Medford and could see the fog was trying to break up into a heavy gray overcast. I’m not sure this was any improvement. I could see parts of Medford below me through holes in the fog. They are building a new communications tower on the summit of Roxy Ann. I avoided their work tools, supplies, and vehicles. It had taken me 1.25 hours to get to the summit from my car.
I returned back down the Manzanita Trail to the Roxy Ann Loop Road, followed it a few hundred yards to the west and picked up the Oak Trail on the right. I followed this muddy Oak Trail around to the west side of Roxy Ann Peak to where it met the Ponderosa Trail coming up from the Roxy Ann Picnic Area. I followed the Ponderosa Trail back up the summit of Roxy Ann Peak. The Ponderosa Trail was not as muddy as the other 3 trails I had been on and I was grateful. I reached the summit this second time about 2.4 hours after I left the car. I rested a few minutes and then went down the Ponderosa Trail all the way back to the Roxy Ann Picnic Area and the Roxy Ann Loop Road. I took a right on the road, heading north now and in about .5 mile I was at the road that goes up to the summit of Roxy Ann Peak. I hiked up this steep road to the summit again, reaching it about 3.25 hours into my hike.
The weather and fog weren’t much better, so I went down the summit road to the loop road, turned right again and went around the east side of Roxy Ann Peak. I followed the road all the way around to the Madrone Trail. I slid down the Madrone Trail doing kind of a boot ski technique in the mud to Roxy Ann Road. I followed the road back down to my car, arriving there 4.5 hours after I started. I covered about 12.5 miles and gained 2,793ft in elevation. Getting out of my muddy clothes and having a warm shower at home felt good.
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