Sunday, February 14, 2016

Rainie Falls

The Rainie Falls Trail is like Cinderella to the rich stepsister that is the Rogue River Trail. The Rogue River Trail is an epic 39 mile backpack trip from end to end while the Rainie Falls Trail logs in at a paltry 2.4 miles. The Rogue River Trail is fairly well maintained while the Rainie Falls Trail is somewhat on the rough-hewn and rustic side. Despite their differences though, both trails have a lot of similarities: a lot of happy cliff time, grand views of the Rogue, forests comprised of oak, laurel and orange-trunked madrone; and all the poison oak you could ever want to hike through. The one thing that the Rainie Falls Trail does offer that the Rogue River Trail does not, is a nice up close and personal view of Rainie Falls. For all its epicness, the Rogue River Trail only lets you hear but not see the falls. Also on the plus side, the comparitive shortness of the hike makes Rainie Falls a more grandchild-friendly day hike venture, no sense taking  them out on the 39 mile day hike just yet.

Rainy view from the Rainie Falls Trail
It was a rainy day so this would be a rainy Rainie hike for me and grandchildren Aiden and Coral Rae. The trail wasted no time getting high up on the cliffs above the rain-swollen river. The noisy roar of the Rogue coursing through Grave Creek Rapids was an aural backdrop to the steady staccato of raindrops striking fragrant laurel leaves. Moss covered everything except for the trunks of madrone trees whose smooth moss-free trunks glowed orange like someone who spent too much time in the tanning bed. 

Anjuli: do not read this blog

The trail is crudely hacked into the side of the cliffs flanking the river and the tread was fairly rough. The rocks were wet and slippery and just the perfect place to take young children hiking! Aiden was nervous, not about the height or the exposure of the trail, but about his younger sister getting too close to the edge. Since Coral Rae had two nervous companions admonishing and policing her, she had a safe and enjoyable hike and hopefully their mother will not read this blog or see the photos of her precious children on a wet and cliffy trail.

Narrow trail, perfect for taking young kids on!
The trail spent a lot of time underneath laurel trees and the kids were intrigued by the odor of the leaves. I mentioned that you could chew the leaves for a stronger taste of laurel and just a few seconds later, we were all munching on leaves like a herd of herbivores. Aiden spit his out, crying that the leaves burned his lips and he was sure that I had poisoned him. He spent the remainder of the trip assessing his health and checking for symptoms of laurel toxicity. He needs to get outdoors more, I think.

Cloaked in mystery
Periodic "windows" in the forest provided great views of the Rogue River snaking its way through its canyon. From the river to the top of the canyon, it's nearly 3,000 feet of elevation gain but most of the canyon's upper reaches were hidden by misty clouds trailing feathery tendrils of rain. And at just over the two mile mark, we reached Rainie Falls.

Not Niagara Falls
Rainie Falls are not very tall, being only about 10 feet high. In fact a group of hikers arrived after us and they asked me if this was Rainie Falls. When I said "yes", disappointment was etched on their faces. "I guess I was expecting Niagara Falls" opined one male hiker. However, while Rainie Falls are not very tall, the falls are all about volume as the entire Rogue River tumbles over the noisy cascade. I imagine that Rainie Falls might just appear to be Niagara Falls to rafters and kayakers on the precipice of the thundering plunge.

Get away from the edge, you'll
give your brother a heart attack!
The rain abated as we ate lunch next to the falls and we found out Coral Rae does not like sardines as she urped up a wad of chewed up sardine goo onto her hiking boots. Good thing I brought extra crackers. After lunch and boot cleanup, we headed back the way we came. The kids were a little tired and did not scamper as much as they did on the way in. Because of the slower walking, we were all a little more observant as I found some blooming saxifrage and snow queen (spring is coming, yippee-ki-yay!). Coral Rae became quite adept at spotting Roth's forest snails on tree branches. And Aiden still was quite adept at yelling at Coral Rae to get away from the edge, forest snails notwithstanding.

Orange, wet, and smooth, just like me!
A good time was had by all and for more pictures of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

Snow queen

1 comment :

  1. Looks like you all had fun despite the danger -- or maybe danger was part of the fun? We enjoy your posts with the grandkids and are making notes of what to do or not do for hikes with our grandson when he gets old enough. Should take the grandkids back to Rainie Falls when the salmon make their run up river -- they literally jump just a few feet from the rocks where you can sit and watch.