Get Out: Friday, Dec. 23

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Whale Watching Week

Tuesday-Saturday, Dec. 27-31: Gray whales are on the move along the Oregon Coast headed south to their winter grounds off Baja California, Mexico. Trained volunteers will help visitors spot migrating whales from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 24 sites during those days to share whale-watching tips, migration facts and information about whale feeding habits. The winter migration typically lasts until mid-January. A map of the watch sites is available online at whalespoken.org. Check www.oregonstateparks.org and www.tripcheck.com for weather-related alerts and closures before heading to the coast. Be aware of winter storms and high waves, respect closures, stay off the sand and watch storms from an elevated location.

Ashland Christmas Bird Count

Thursday, Dec. 29: The Ashland count circle is centered at the northwest corner of Emigrant Lake, so the count area includes the northeastern slopes of Mount Ashland, the western slopes of the Cascades (as far east as Little Hyatt Lake), the steep Siskiyou Mountain woodlands, extensive farmland-grassland-oak savannah in the eastern section, and the entirety of the city of Ashland with its parks, gardens and riparian habitats. To participate, email Carol Mockridge at mockridge50@hotmail.com by Dec. 9. Teams usually meet about daybreak and bird until dusk. Birders who wish to count the birds that visit their backyard feeders are also encouraged to join the Ashland CBC lineup. Participants, and even those who are just curious about the results, are invited to a post-count dinner starting at about 4:30 p.m. at El Tapatio, 1633 Highway 99 N., Ashland.

First Day Hike at Touvelle State Park

Sunday, Jan. 1: For the sixth year in a row, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is offering free, guided First Day Hikes in state parks across Oregon on New Year's Day. In Southern Oregon, a 1.5-mile hike will start at Touvelle State Park at 11 a.m. at the picnic shelter near the park entrance. Dogs allowed on a six-foot leash. For details, call 541-660-7344.

Rogue Valley Walkers

Saturday, Jan. 1: A 10K New Year's Day walk in Ashland will start at 9:45 a.m. Meet at the corner of Siskiyou Boulevard and Sherman Street by the former Safeway parking lot. For more information, call 541-582-2607 or see www.roguevalleywalkers.com.

Frostbite Race 2017

Saturday, Jan. 7: 5K and 10K runs begin at Talent Middle School, 102 Christian Ave. The 10K kicks off at 11 a.m. and the 5K starts at 11:30. For details, see the Southern Oregon Runners online race calendar at www.southernoregonrunners.com

Siskiyou Mountain Club brush workshop

Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 14-15: SMC field coordinator Aaron Babcock will lead a two-day workshop about how to properly brush a trail and bring it back to life. Participants will learn how to identify the trail prism and brush a trail to Siskiyou Mountain Club and US Forest Service standards on the Osgood Ditch Trail. With this workshop and current CPR-First Aid training, you would be ready to lead your own brushing parties on behalf of SMC. Participants have the option of staying at SMC club house in Selma. A van will leave there for the Osgood Ditch Trail at 9 a.m. Saturday, with a rendezvous option in Cave Junction. The group will head back out Sunday and be back to Selma by 2 p.m. Email aaron@siskiyoumountainclub.org for details and to sign up.

Hiker Rendezvous at Ashland Outdoor Store

Thursday, Jan. 19: This is the first meeting of the Southern Oregon Hikers Rendezvous, a monthly event for hikers to meet up, learn more about hiking in our region, and meet other hikers. Hosted by Ashland Outdoor Store, 37 Third St., the event will happen from 6 to 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month. Attendees will be eligible for raffle of free Siskiyou Mountain Club memberships and outdoor gear donated by Ashland Outdoor Store. Beer, wine and snacks will be available. The meeting will include a presentation, "Three New Backpacking Trips in SW Oregon." From one of the world's most pristine lakes in the Sky Lakes Wilderness, to a remote arm of the Siskiyou Crest, all the way to the Oregon Caves, these backpacking routes have something for everyone, and they're all connected by the Pacific Crest Trail.

Rimrock, Playas, Petroglyphs and Pronghorns

Thursday, Jan. 19: Dennis Albert will focus on botanical surveys of Playa Lakes of Hart Mountain and Sheldon Wildlife refuges. He is a research professor in the Horticulture Department at Oregon State University, where his research has focused on wetland restoration and native plant marketing. Refreshments at 6:45 p.m., meeting and program at 7 p.m. at the Southern Oregon University Science Building, Room 161. Free and open to the public. For information, call Dave at 541-535-5355.

Project FeederWatch

Project FeederWatch is a citizen-science program run by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, with individuals and groups making regular counts of birds that visit feeders in backyards, at nature centers and other locations throughout North America. Local counts take place every other Saturday at North Mountain Park Nature Center in Ashland and every other Thursday and Friday at Coyote Trails School of Nature in Medford. The free, one-hour watches are open to everyone, and there is shelter in case of inclement weather. For the complete calendar, see www.roguevalleyaudubon.org/Project_Feeder_Watch.html

Siskiyou Velo Club

Every Saturday: Velo Melo meets at various places and rides about 20 miles at 11 to 13 mph. No one will be dropped. Call Ginny Jensen at 541-488-1398.

Every Saturday: Siskiyou Velo Slo-Mo rides begin at various morning hours from different locations. Pace: 7 to 10 mph over 12 to 18 miles on mostly flat terrain. Call Ken Kelley at 541-857-6819.

Every Saturday: Siskiyou Crank It Up rides begin at various morning hours from different locations; 20 to 30 miles. Pace 12 to 15 mph, varied terrain. No one will be dropped. Call Tom Ryan at 541-261-4757.

Every Saturday: Brisk rides begin at various morning hours from different locations. Rides include extensive pace lining at high speeds. Pace: 18+ mph over 50 to 65 miles on mostly hilly terrain. Call Dennis Cramer at 541-773-5804.

Every Monday: Coffee rides begin at 10:30 a.m. at Colver Park in Phoenix and go to Jacksonville. Pace: 14 to 18+ mph average over 25 miles with periodic pace lines on flat terrain. Call Bob MacCracken 425-512-3829.

Every Wednesday: Coffee rides begin at 11 a.m. at Rogue Valley Roasting Company in Ashland. Pace: 14 to 18+ mph with periodic pace lines over 35 to 60 miles with some hills. Call John Bullock at 541-488-7962.

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