Ashland’s Trail Guide Covers City and Mountains – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

Jamie Lusch/Mail Tribune Maria Katsantones hikes the Lower Red Queen Trail in the Ashland Watershed on Wednesday.

Jamie Lusch/Mail Tribune Maria Katsantones is the author of “Hiking in Ashland.”

In “Hiking in Ashland: a Comprehensive Guidebook,” author Maria Katsantones covers an area much larger than the city. Trails in the nearby Cascades and Siskiyou mountain regions are highlighted, along with information about the various natural features that hikers will encounter along the way.

“We are so lucky. (Trails) are very close to town. That’s what’s really special. In an instant, you find yourself in a wooded setting that seems very remote,” Katsantones said.

The author will give a talk and slide show at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 20. She previously gave a presentation to REI in Medford.

Although she’s been hiking in the Ashland area since the mid-1990s, it wasn’t until 2017 that she began gathering the data and taking the photos needed to compile the guide.

“I recognized that Ashland needed a hiking guide and took on the challenge,” Katsantones said. There wasn’t a single guide focusing on the Ashland area. Some of the information available on the internet was inaccurate and in some cases described unauthorized leads, she said.

The book is divided into five major sections by geographic area: Ashland Watershed; Mount Ashland; Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument; Ashland Parks and Trails; and Siskiyou Mountain Park and Oredson-Todd Woods. In some cases, the sections include widely dispersed features, such as the Emigrant Lake hikes that are part of the Ashland Parks category.

At the end of each section is a selection of color photos and maps. Photos depict the flora, fauna, geological features and views that will be encountered while hiking. The maps have QR codes that can be scanned to be available on smartphones. The 219-page volume contains 65 pages of photos and maps.

Eighty hikes are described in the book, and each hike includes a box with quick data including hike length, season, permitted use, elevation range, elevation gain/loss, and a grade, from easy to difficult. The characteristics of the hike, directions to starting points, and a description of what a hiker will encounter, are all given in written accounts.

It is in the features of the hike that readers learn that they will encounter a huge landslide on the Wagner Butte trail or read a description of the sound made by the tall woodpecker. The book’s sidebars offer more detail on what hikers encounter, such as the major types of evergreens found in the Ashland watershed.

Hikers can use an attribute index to determine which type of hike is right for them. The index refers to page numbers for things like hiking ratings, permitted access, age and ability, elevation gains, presence of poison oak trees, and chance of sightings of trees. birds, wildflowers and exceptional views.

In recent years, Katsantones has seen an increase in trail use. The pandemic has pushed more people out into nature, she said. The completion of several trail systems by collaborations of government agencies and organizations has also increased the number. Katsantones has worked on trail construction and design with the Ashland Woodlands & Trails Association and served on its board of directors.

“As little as five years ago I could run in the watershed on a Sunday and maybe not see anyone. Now any day of the week you will go to the watershed and meet a hiker, cyclists or trail runners,” Katsantones said. She is a trail runner, and the Mount Ashland Hill Climb is a family tradition.

“I love seeing families on the trails. We have an increasing number of families on the trails, including families with babies in backpacks,” Katsantones said. “There are easily accessible trails for families and young children.”

When she first started hitting the Ashland trails, it was sometimes with her sons in a stroller. But baby backpack technology has evolved, making it the preferred choice now, she said.

Being outdoors, experiencing nature and making discoveries is one of the biggest draws of trails for Katsantones. She regularly encounters wildlife, but meeting Pacific anglers three times over a two-year period was one of the highlights. The animal, a relative of the weasel family, is described as reclusive and encounters are considered rare.

Katsantones worked as a freelance editor for 15 years after graduating from a technical writing program at Southern Oregon University. She primarily works with Duke University Press on journals and non-fiction books.

The author’s self-published book had a first printing in July 2021. It is now in its third printing, produced locally by Medford’s CDS Publications, with 1,000 copies sold.

The book is on sale locally at Bloomsbury Books, Rogue Valley Runners, Northwest Nature Shop, Inspired by Oregon, Get ‘N Gear, Siskiyou Mountain Club, REI Medford, and Cycle Analysis in Jacksonville. The cost is $25.

Contact Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at [email protected]

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