We’ve put a lot of energy into restoring trail connections in the Red Buttes Wilderness, with support from the Klamath and Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forests. Now we’re committed to working with the Forest Service to restore trailheads and signs there.
2 OCTOBER 2017 | APPLEGATE, ORE. — Last summer, Jessica Rohrbough encountered some of those trailheads. She’d returned from a five day trip on the Umpqua and decided she’d had enough of the mosquitoes, and someone told her that the Red Buttes might be better.
All that’s left of sign at critical trail junction
“We went to the Ranger Station and got maps and info,” says Rohrbough. “We initially tried to go to Azalea Lake.” But they had a hard time finding the trailhead. “Because it wasn’t marked,” says Rohrbough.
Rohrbough on N. Umpqua Trail
This has become a common problem in the Red Buttes Wilderness, which has trailheads in three different Ranger Districts, two National Forests, and two Forest Service Regions.
Photo courtesy Jessica Rohrbough
After chatting with another driver on the labyrinth of roads around the Red Buttes, Rohrbough ended up at the Frog Pond Trailhead and started hiking up to its namesake. “It was one of the steepest trails I’ve ever encountered. With full packs, it was treacherous.”
But, to Rohrbough’s appreciation, there were “no mosquitoes!”
She describes Frog Pond, a north facing cirque under the fortress of cliffs that rise to Mt. Emily, as “enchanting,” pointing out the abundance of wild lilies. She says it was a peaceful day, with nobody around but her and her friend Ginny. “The stars were some of the most incredible I’ve ever seen. It was truly spiritual.”
Trail to Frog Pond by Lilia Letsch
Rohrbough got spit out at the Cameron Meadows Trailhead, one which they had passed the day before, but not noticed at the time. It’s also brushed in and lacks a sign. Then they walked the road a couple miles back to their car.
Photo courtesy 2017 intern Amalie Dieter
“We’d had our hearts set on Azalea Lake, but Frog Pond was a fun adventure that turned out for the best.”
Just a couple of years ago, a long section of the Cameron Meadows Trail above Frog Pond had been swallowed by brush, but SMC board members, staff, and volunteers recovered the historic route. Now we’re committed to working with the Forest Service to get the area’s signs up to date.
Photo courtesy 2017 intern Amalie Dieter.