Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rogue River Trail

I received an email from friend Aaron who said "O Great One, please take me hiking so I can bask in your magnificence" He may dispute the veracity of that last statement but hey, it's my blog and I can write what I want to. The original itinerary was a hike to the summit of Devils Peak in the Seven Lakes basin but when lightning was added to the forecast, we changed the destination to the safer Rogue River Trail. We didn't want Aaron to get shocked (literally!) on his first Richard Hike. 

Aaron, on the Rogue River Trail
The Rogue River Trail is an old friend of mine and my boots seem to hit that particular trail at least once a year and it's a great place to introduce a newbie to the wonderful avocation that is hiking. Aaron, unlike past newbies, was in pretty decent shape and we made good progress as we quickly got up to the cliffs from the Graves Creek trailhead.

Deer, drinking in the entire Rogue River

One of the reasons I like this trail so much is that it spends so much time on the cliffs with the green waters of the Rogue River a hundred-ish feet below. As we approached Sanderson Island we observed a deer on the island's shore drinking water from the river. The deer drank and drank and drank for at least 30 minutes, or so it seemed. Impressed by the capacity of deer bladders, we continued on.

Let's get ready to ruuuuumble!

There was also an airborne commotion as an osprey and a buzzard were having quite the tussle. It was a mismatch as the osprey was all beak and talons and the buzzard could only taunt the osprey with a heartfelt but ineffective "I'll eat you when you are dead!"  The feathered imbroglio continued downstream in a whirl of feathers and avian shrieking, we have no idea what the outcome of the spat was but my money is on the osprey.

Graves Creek Rapids
The trail continued up and down alongside the river and we observed a multitude of rafts plying the currents. Poison oak nodded over the trail and we made sure to avoid touching the accursed plant. Hikers on the other side of the river made ant-like progress on the Rainie Falls Trail. And speaking of Rainie Falls, we could hear the waterfall's roar but not really get a good look at the falls from this side of the river.  

Mining equipment parts
After a little over 3 miles, we took the side trail to the historic Whiskey Creek Cabin and toured the old structure, taking in the mining equipment rusting in the grass, the old cans on the pantry wall, and the flume ditch running from Whisky Creek to Rogue River. Returning to the Rogue River, we walked another half-mile and lunched at park-like Big Slide Camp.

Aaron and Richard are going to get wet

On the way back, dark clouds came scudding over and the rain started. Aaron started to cry and once again, it's my blog and I can write what I want to. Thunder was rumbling nearby and we perhaps walked back a little bit quicker than we would have normally walked. Just as I was about to dig in my pack for rain gear, the rain let up and we were only mildly wet when we arrived at the trailhead.

Ancient petroglyphs
Fritillary frolic
For more pictures of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

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