Sagebrush to Sea: A Journey Across the Siskiyou Crest

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Sagebrush to Sea: A Journey Across the Siskiyou Crest

November 01, 2021
Book Cover: The Siskiyou Crest by Luke Ruediger

The Siskiyou Crest: Hikes, History & Ecology

By Luke Ruediger

An invaluable and detailed tool for exploring this little known, yet wonderfully diverse region. The Siskiyou Crest: Hikes, History, and Ecology explores the sunlit oak woodlands, ancient old-growth forests, scrubby slopes of chaparral, pristine mountain lakes, and the rugged, flower-filled ridgelines and meadows of the Siskiyou Crest.

Pictured Above:

Sagebrush to Sea Trailer

For those of you who follow this blog or have read my book, you know my passion for the Siskiyou Crest, its unique biological values, wildland habitats, unparalleled biodiversity and spectacular scenic qualities. The region is rugged, remote, incredibly diverse, and from a conservation standpoint, extremely important. Straddling the border of northwestern California and southwestern Oregon, the Siskiyou Crest is the only mountain range in the Pacific Northwest connecting the volcanic Cascade Mountains with the lush forests of the Coast Range.

This vital habitat connectivity corridor extends from the sagebrush clearings and quaking aspen groves near Mount Ashland, to the fog drenched redwoods of the Smith River. From sagebrush to sea, the Siskiyou Crest is the axis for biodiversity on the West Coast and home to some of the most diverse conifer forests in the world.

Bolanders Lily
The endemic Bolander’s lily (Lilium bolanderi) blooming on Clear Creek.

In June 2019, my wife Suzie and I hiked nearly 200 miles through the wildlands of the Siskiyou Crest, starting on the Pacific Crest Trail at Interstate 5 near Siskiyou Summit on the western edge of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument above Ashland, Oregon, and ending 10 days later on the shores of the Pacific Ocean south of Crescent City, California. The journey traversed the beautiful Applegate River watershed, the headwaters of the Illinois River, the Smith River and many, many miles of the rugged Klamath River watershed.

After two years of work, we are releasing Sagebrush to Sea: A Journey Across the Siskiyou Crest, a video presentation about the ecology, botany and views on the Siskiyou Crest, told through the lens of our backpacking trip. By creating this beautiful video presentation, we hope to bring you along on a visual journey across this wild and largely unknown region, through old-growth forests, lush mountain meadows, colorful rock gardens, and across the long, rugged spine of the Siskiyou Crest.

Our route through the heart of the Siskiyous traversed two states, Oregon and California, five counties, two wilderness areas, three National Forests, including the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, the Klamath National Forest, and the Six Rivers National Forest, as well as the Smith River National Recreation Area and Redwood State and National Parks.

Sagebrush to Sea Siskiyou Crest Map
A map depicting our route across the Siskiyou Crest.

With a portable solar panel for charging our phones and cameras for filming our journey, we hiked through long, hot days, cold, misty mornings, persistent summer downpours and windy afternoons in the high country, then dropped into a thick marine layer of fog to the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.

With our feet in the wet sand, we realized that a longer, harder journey still lies ahead, and that journey leads to the permanent protection the Siskiyou Crest.

Upcoming Video Presentations

Selma, Oregon

December 2, at 6 pm

Siskiyou Field Institute’s Deer Creek Center

1241 Illinois River Road, Selma

Free and open to the public

*Masks Required*

https://www.facebook.com/events/875632936453505


Medford, Oregon

December 8, 2021 at  6pm

Medford Library Large Meeting Room

205 S. Central Ave., Medford

Free and open to the public

*Masks Required*

https://www.facebook.com/events/1076172233186277


Phoenix, Oregon

December 11, 2021 at 2pm

Sponsored by the Siskiyou Chapter Native Plant Society of Oregon

Phoenix Grange at 209 N. Main St., Phoenix

Free and open to the public

*Masks Required*

https://www.facebook.com/events/245180824196164


More dates and locations will be announced soon!

Learn more on the film’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SiskiyouCrestFilm

Sagebrush to Sea Reviews

“Watching From Sagebrush to the Sea, I was seized with the urge to send it to all my out-of-area friends and family. “See?! These are the Siskiyous! See why I love them so much?” Here is the whole range of the Siskiyou Mountains in all its wildness, beauty, and variety—the wildflowers, the peak-top vistas, the burns that have replenished the land, the steep climbs, the big-tree forests, and did I mention those amazing wildflowers? And the mystical waterfall and the bear just ambling out of camera range? This video of two people’s ten-day backpacking trek from one end of the Siskiyou Mountains to the other— from the sagebrush country of the eastern edge west to the redwoods and Pacific Ocean—with its gorgeous photography, day-by-day maps, and delightful narration, highlights the varied landscapes and important ecologies of this beautiful, wild, rugged land.”

Diana Coogle, Author of many books, including Favorite Hikes of the Applegate, and the blog, From the Mountains Above the Applegate River http://dianacoogle.blogspot.com/  Applegate, Oregon

________________

“What a gem this is, such a monumental gift of love for the earth, and what an education for armchair video adventurers hiking along across this wild, remote region for the first time, fully connecting the entire route. Hearing the wind, the sound of footsteps, the crunch of leaves under foot, the “nature guide” narrative along the way, and close-ups of rare wild flowers, and the naming of them — I could feel myself squatting to sniff and examine them!

I loved being able to stop and go back to especially gorgeous spots and look at the marvelous up-close photos of wildflowers rarely seen in such luminous detail. The accomplishment of traversing and documenting this wild, remote, largely untraveled region at all, totally on their own, in such an intimate way, with minimal equipment is awesome and wonderful. The photography, the big views and panoramas — an amazing accomplishment!!”

Dot Fisher-Smith, Longtime social justice and environmental activist, artist, community organizer and great-grandmother http://anordinarylifethemovie.com/  Ashland, OR

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