A Walk on the Wild Side of Southern Oregon… to the Mail Box: Part I

Applegate River in Applegate Valley, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Peggy and I always stop to admire the Applegate River. Here it reflects the afternoon sky and trees along our mailbox walk.

It’s a new year– a time for resolutions, a time for planning. Right? I mean, right! My laptop is poised and ready for action. But wait, my mind isn’t here. It’s outside wandering around in the woods with the deer and squirrels and foxes and bears.

Why should this be so tough? I love planning. I’ve been doing it forever. I still have plans I developed in high school bouncing around somewhere. I was doing MBO before Peter Drucker invented it. I have plans on top of plans. If I don’t control me, no one will. Or worse, someone else might.

But today, this third day of 2014, my mind just isn’t into planning. Fortunately, I am even better at rationalizing than I am at planning. One of my resolutions is more exercise. Isn’t it everybody’s? It’s on my list every year, regardless of the results. So I will go exercise. I’ll be resolute instead of wishy-washy. I will walk to our mailbox.

Join me as I take a walk on the wild side.

Applegate Valley, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

We will start our trip to the mail box following Cody’s Bear Trail. Each of our grandchildren (5 boys) has his own trail. Cody’s happens to be the trail the bear follows when it comes to visit.Last time Bear came by, he tipped over my grill.

Applegate Valley,Oregon deer trail. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

The five-year old Cody and I could have named it Deer Trail, instead. (It’s more like a deer freeway.) But that lacks the pizzaz of Bear Trail.

Coming off Cody's Trail, I smelled a skunk. Was our culvert occupied again. Last summer, I had to replace the culvert. My 76-year-old friend Tuffy was removing the last few feet of the old culvert with a backhoe, when the fattest skunk I have ever seen came waddling out and disappeared into the blackberries where the foxes live...

Coming off Cody’s Trail, I smelled a skunk. Was our culvert occupied again? Last summer, I had to replace the culvert. My 76-year-old friend Tuffy was removing the last few feet of the old culvert with a backhoe, when the fattest skunk I have ever seen came waddling out and disappeared into the blackberries where the foxes live…

I got down on my knees and looked into the culvert. I wanted a skunk photo for this blog. Peggy hates it when I poke my head into the culvert; she's afraid I'll be sprayed. No worry, the pipe was empty.

I got down on my knees and looked into the culvert. I wanted a skunk photo for this blog. Peggy hates it when I poke my head into the pipe; she’s afraid I’ll be sprayed and she’ll have to live with me. No worry, the culvert was empty.

Looking back down the road past the culvert toward our house. I would have followed the road if I hadn't used Cody's trail.

Looking back down the road past the culvert toward our house. I would have followed the road if I hadn’t used Cody’s trail.

Blacktail deer herd in Applegate Valley, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Ten members of the local Blacktail deer herd were present, however. They were curious about whether Peggy had left them any apples. I caught four of the deer in various poses.

Blacktail deer scratches belly in Applegate Valley, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

One doe had an irresistible itch on her belly.

Now I am faced with another choice. Do I walk up the neighborhood road past our fence, or do I cut through the woods?

Now I am faced with another choice. Do I walk up the neighborhood road past our fence, or do I cut through the woods?

My preference is always for the woods. Our property line on the back is the Klamath National Forest.

My preference is always for the woods. Klamath National Forest provides our back property line.

Hobbit Tree in Applegate Valley, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

So I head up the trail past the Hobbit Tree.

Ponderosa Pines in Applegate Valley, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

And past the Ponderosa Pines…

Just "me and my shadow strolling down the avenue."

Just “me and my shadow strolling up the avenue.”

View of Red Buttes from Upper Applegate Valley, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

There is a small knoll at the top of the mailbox walk where I can look south toward the Red Buttes (looking quite blue) in California.

Now it's time we leave the woods and rejoin the neighborhood road.

Now it’s time we leave the woods and rejoin the neighborhood road.

A week ago this road was a sheet of ice.

A week ago this road was a sheet of ice.

And the goal! Our mailbox is on the right just across the Upper Applegate Road.

And the goal! Our mailbox is on the right just across the Upper Applegate Road.

My reward– a new Scientific American.

My reward– a new Scientific American. “Our Unconscious Mind, It exerts a profound influence: Shaping decisions, molding behavior, and running our lives.” Hmmm.

NEXT BLOG: We walk along the beautiful Applegate River, meet the neighborhood dogs, and follow Ethan’s Hidden Trail as we return to our home from the mailbox walk.

16 comments on “A Walk on the Wild Side of Southern Oregon… to the Mail Box: Part I

  1. The best throwaway line of 2014, so far – “Klamath National Forest provides our back property line.” I don’t know whether to be jealous, covetous, or start planning a visit. I suppose I could varnish your mailbox. 😉

    Seriously – what a beautiful place. Going off to travel must be even better when you’ve got something equally entrancing to return to.

  2. I really felt I had taken the walk – that’s my exercise for the day! Love the Hobbit tree. One of my current books is John Duncan’s How Intelligence Happens, and Daniel’s Bor’s book, The Ravenous Brain, was a winner a year or so ago. These two guys are both at the sharp end of research into brain function, if that interests you.

  3. The most splendid mailbox walk we can imagine! Do keep your head out of that culvert – Peggy doesn’t need that aroma in her life. Curious to see the return journey and if it can better this.

    • I think its a match. BTW, I saw the skunk last night. He is a big, magnificent creature for a skunk. Now he is living in the culvert down on the front of our property. He wanted to live under our house but I discouraged him. 🙂 Curt

    • Born here, moved away at about one year old, and then came back three years ago. Interestingly, Peggy and I came through here doing genealogical research. I have grandparents, great grandparents, and great-great grand parents buried in the area. We fell in love with Southern oregon and then spent a year finding our “perfect” place. –Curt

  4. Whoever thought our mailbox walk would become a favorite hiking destination! Grin! I do love it, always a surprise along the way each time we walk it. Once I spotted a grey coyote, uncommon in our area….thought it was the wolf that has been wandering N. CA and our part of OR. Peggy

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