Moby Goes to the Rogue River

July 2015

The Rogue River begins in the Oregon Cascades near Crater Lake and flows roughly 215 miles west until it meets the Pacific Ocean at Gold Beach, Oregon. It was one of the eight original rivers named in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. The Rogue has strong Chinook salmon and steelhead runs, beautiful canyon scenery, and plenty of whitewater. Larry and I floated the river with pals Marty and Susie, then picked up a cancellation and ran it again by ourselves. These photos are from our second trip.

Our first camp just above Grave Creek. Note the shrubbery on the bank opposite camp: blackberries. On the Rogue, ripe blackberries mean bears. As soon as night fell, two bears arrived for the feast. Their crashing and thrashing in the berries kept me worried and awake all night. My observations and updates about the bears kept Larry awake. Nobody slept.
Rainie Falls, a class V rapid, on the right. The man-made fish ladder cheat route on the left. We took the fish ladder. With barely enough water to get a raft through, this route takes some pushing and pulling.
Our second camp, just below Rainie Falls. We liked this spot so much that we holed up here for three nights. Much reading and napping ensued.
Our view from camp. At night we heard loud (large) splashes in this deep pool. Bears jumping in and swimming the river? Sturgeon? Beavers?
Camp site #3, a tiny gravel bar in the canyon above Blossom Bar rapids. No bears to worry about here, just fear of rising water and floods. Frequent water level checks kept me awake all night. My updates kept Larry awake.
Blossom Bar: the most difficult whitewater on the Rogue. We floated at about 1500 cfs, a low-water float. This presented a challenge with exposed rocks and narrow channels. Most rafters scout the rapid from a high vantage point on river right before attempting the run. We hung out at the scout for an hour or so and watched the carnage before making the run ourselves. Larry took our boat, the Hail Mary, through without a hitch.
Rafting pal Marty O’Brien calls this “Motel 6 Rock” because you can check in and stay awhile. Marty will be happy to know that almost everybody hit Motel 6 today.
Hold onto your dog when stuck on a rock!
Another boat checks in at Motel 6.
Another boat checks in at Motel 6.
Even professional guides get stuck on rocks.
Check-in anytime. Check-out if you’re lucky.
After all the fun at Blossom Bar, we relax at our final camp.
After all the fun at Blossom Bar, we relaxed at our final camp.
Above camp we find one of the strangest rock formations I've ever seen.
Above camp we found one of the strangest rock formations I’ve ever seen. This is one solid piece of rock with square erosion lines.

What a great trip, what a great river. Until next time . . .

10 thoughts

    1. We carry bear spray when hiking in grizzly country, but I never considered taking it on a raft trip. I think the black bears on the Rogue are more interested in berries and perhaps your garbage than in eating you.

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