Sunday, October 7, 2007

Rogue River in October

This last weekend Rogue River Journeys was kind enough to invite us on a rafting trip on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River in Southwestern Oregon. The trip was a huge success thanks to the cooperation of RRJ, Team Kettle, the SOU Whitewater Club, and Rockstar energy drinks.

The trip roster wasn't finalized until Thursday morning, then Thursday evening I met up with Angela, Johnny, and Tanner. The four of us loaded up in the All-Trac and rallied down to Selma, OR for our rendezvous with Travis, Will, Leland, and Julia. We got the gear ready and tried to get some sleep before hitting the water. Travis snores pretty loudly,

Travis snores unless he uses Rockstar to stay awake

but after beaning him with six shoes, two life jackets, and a tent, he finally quieted down and the rest of us could sleep too.

We drove to Graves Creek Boat Launch, loaded up the gear raft, and hit the water. Loaded up with a cooler full of food, three gallons of drinking water, and 48 cans of Rockstar (yes, we actually had twice as much Rockstar as water),

Enjoying the (de)hydrating effects of Rockstar Juiced, Guava flavor

we made good time downstream and were extremely energetic. The Rogue doesn't have much big whitewater, and we skirted the biggest rapid (Rainie Falls) down the fish ladder on the right. Nonetheless, we found plenty of good waves to hit and even a couple surf spots.

We didn't see many rafters, but each pool was littered with driftboats full of steelhead fishermen. Everyone was friendly and thanks to a suggestion from one fishing guide, we found ourselves a nice camp for the evening just below Mule Creek. The weather kept clearing up all day and that night we got to eat a delicious dinner with fresh-baked cake for dessert under the stars. We spent several hours around the big campfire that evening enjoying good company and solitude.

Drying out around the fire

The next day we had a hearty breakfast and got back on the water early. Our wake-up call was the squirrely water of Mule Creek Canyon and Blossom Bar Rapid.

Me rowing through Blossom Bar

We made it downriver without incidence other that me pinballing the raft off the canyon walls a few times.

Many a bear wanted our food

At Tate Creek, we pulled over and some of the more adventurous sorts went up to the natural waterslide despite the cold water. Tanner, Johnny, Leland, and Julia each did a lap on the slide. Our sympathy goes out to Johnny, who had to do it without a wetsuit.

Johnny on the natural waterslide au natural

After our delicious lunch of leftover pasta, bagels, and bleu cheese dressing, we encountered a black bear cub as we were getting ready to depart. Knowing mama bear must not be far, I ushered everyone onto the raft hastily and got out into the river. The cub was particularly curious and followed us, probably hoping we'd feed him. In spite of how outrageously cute the little guy was, we resisted the urge to take him home and continued downstream, ultimately reaching the take out around 3:30. By this time we were all outrageously dehydrated and Rockstars just weren't cutting it. We barely managed to get into dry clothes, load up the rigs, and get to the Agness Store before crashing. When we got to the store we were treated to water, ice cream, cold beer, and the other necessity Travis and I both forgot: Kettle Chips. We cleaned them out on the Kettle Chip selection and devoured them as we drove off on our way. It was a long drive back to Corvallis, but we took shifts behind the wheel and rolled in around 10.

Aside from having no kettle chips and substituting water with Rockstar, this was a great trip. The Rogue is a beautiful river and is a great place to relax and get away on a weekend. After spending my summer running commercial trips and having to do everything, it felt great to lie back and let Travis row the raft for me. I'm blessed to be able to see these kinds of places as often as I do, and it's always rewarding to share the river with other people and make some new friends.

Celebrating warm clothes at the take-out

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