Get Out: Friday, Dec. 28


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    Cross-country ski lessons

    Saturday, Dec. 28: The Southern Oregon Nordic Club offers ski lessons at various locations during the winter depending on conditions. For location of Saturday’s lesson, call Michael Dawkins at 541-482-2703.

    Whale Watch Week

    Friday-Monday, Dec. 28-31: Trained volunteers will be on hand at spots along the Oregon Coast to help people see and learn about gray whales as they head south for the winter. Learn more at whalespoken.wordpress.com.

    First Day Hikes

    Tuesday, Jan. 1: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department holds a series of New Year’s Day hikes at parks around the state. All hikes will be guided by a park ranger or volunteer who will share stories about the park’s history, geology, wildlife and plants. All hikes are free; day-use parking fees will be waived at all participating parks Jan. 1 only. Hikers can register for specific hikes online at the Oregon State Parks Store: bit.ly/ParkStoreEvents. While online registration isn’t required for participation, visitors are encouraged to register. It helps park staff plan the hike and provides them with participant contact information should hike details change. Hikes closest to Medford are at Joseph H. Stewart State Recreation Area at Lost Creek Lake at 11 a.m., meet at the group camp; TouVelle State Recreation Area in Central Point at 1 p.m., meet at TouVelle area F parking lot; Valley of the Rogue State Park near Gold Hill at 1 p.m., meet at Valley of the Rogue program area; Collier Memorial State Park in Chiloquin, at 9 a.m., meet at Logging Museum parking lot; OC&E Woods State Line Trail in Klamath Falls, at 9 a.m., meet at Switchbacks trailhead.

    First-Wednesday bird walk

    Wednesday, Jan. 2: Rogue Valley Audubon Society holds first-Wednesday bird walks at Denman Wildlife Area. The walks begin at 8:30 a.m. and end before noon. Species observed by walk participants are entered in the Cornell Ornithological Laboratory’s eBird database. Participants will need to purchase an ODFW area parking permit. For more information and directions, see http://roguevalleyaudubon.org/

    Project FeederWatch

    Saturday, Jan. 5: Help experts count birds that visit feeders at North Mountain Park Nature Center, 620 N. Mountain Ave., Ashland, from 9 to 10 a.m. Results will be submitted to Cornell University’s FeederWatch program. Admission is free. Call 541-488-6606.

    20th annual American dipper count

    Saturday, Jan. 5: The annual count of American dippers will be conducted on Ashland Creek. Volunteers should meet at the Plaza in Ashland near the Lithia water fountains at 9 a.m. From there, the group will walk to the start of the count at the bridge on Water Street, then they will walk upstream on both sides and meet at each bridge crossing for 1.7 miles through Lithia Park. If you have never seen a dipper, it can be a treat to observe the behaviors of this unique bird. It is the area’s only aquatic songbird and is completely comfortable living its entire life in or on the creek. The group has averaged five dipper sightings over the last 19 years. They nest on the creek starting in March. For more information, contact Bob Quaccia at bquaccia@hotmail.com or 541-261-6440.

    Crater Lake snowshoe hikes

    Through April 28: Ranger-guided snowshoe hikes will be offered on weekends and holidays through April, and every day through Jan. 6. They start at 1 p.m., last two hours, and cover 1 to 2 miles of moderate-to-strenuous terrain. No previous snowshoeing experience is necessary. Snowshoes are provided free of charge, and there is no cost for the tour (apart from the winter entrance fee of $15 per vehicle). Participants should be at least 8 years old. Pets are not allowed. Advance reservations are required. For more information and to sign up, call 541-594-3100. The visitor center is open daily except Dec. 25.

    Siskiyou Velo

    Every Saturday: Brisk rides are for strong riders who want to ride in a paceline with occasional sprints and brisk climbs. Speeds are above 20 mph on flats and average of 15 to 18 mph overall. The route and starting point will vary — expect some climbing and, in fact, on most days, a lot. Riders should know how to make repairs. Riders are expected to review online and understand the planned route. The Brisk group is not a no-drop group, slower riders are discouraged. For details, call Dennis Cramer at 541-773-5804.

    Every Saturday: Velo Mello meets at various places and rides about 20 miles at 11 to 13 mph on flats with few, if any, pacelines. The routes may include some climbing, but these are usually limited to small rolling hills within the Bear Creek Valley. No one will be dropped. Contact Lisa Brill at lisa4bikes@gmail.com.

    Every Monday: Coffee Ride starts at 10:30 a.m. at Colver Park in Phoenix and covers 25-30 miles at a moderate to brisk pace; flat. Call Dennis Cramer at 541-773-5804.

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