A really special place

A really special place

5 April 2013 | Ashland, OR —

The Shoofly Trail in the Red Buttes Wilderness is a really special place.

The trailhead, just south of Applegate Lake, is at less than 3,500 ft. elevation; that’s low hanging fruit. From there, the trail winds itself down a slope into the Butte Fork Applegate River and Trail 957, which leads to a historic tool shed, as well as Azalea Lake.

Sugar pine

Along Shoofly are gargantuan sugar pine trees. My guess is they are some of the world’s largest.

But along this easy-moderate spring hike, I like to look down. Each year an unusual form of plants comes up from underneath the protection of these giant trees. Saphrolytes are plants that grow without using chlorophyll. Instead they depend on the root systems of old-growth trees.

Snow-plant (Sarcodes sanguinea)

Every year this trail fills in with some windblown trees, and because it’s in a federally designated Wilderness Area, no chainsaws are allowed. So tomorrow, a group of SMC volunteers are packing in a couple of crosscuts to see what winter left us.

We’ll let you know how far we get!

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