Other Roadside Attractions 24-Oct-2019

Well, my medical issue got fixed with no problems and no drama. Now recovery begins. BUT—no serious hiking for several weeks. 😦 Walking is, however, encouraged as part of the recovery plan. 🙂 I look forward to when walking can again morph into hiking. But, in the interim, just small steps. The weather could cooperate by being miserable and thus give me permission to become one with the couch (if the cat were to agree). But, no, it’s clear and sunny and mild outside and the trees are bursting with Fall colors. I admit to some whimpering and possibly some scratching at the back door. The LovedOne took pity on me (or was just tired of the noise) and drove us to some of the small attractions in our area that we’ve heretofore ignored while in pursuit of grander hikes. Butte Falls, Valley of the Rogue, McKee Bridge – today was their day. With lunch in Grants Pass, these visits made for a nice day out, with a lot of sunshine and a little walking.

Butte Falls on Big Butte Creek

Butte Falls [not to be confused with Butte Falls in the Santiam State Forest] is a 15-foot high waterfall on Big Butte Creek just outside the town of Butte Falls in Jackson County, Oregon. In 1906, the Butte Falls Sugar Pine Company built a water-driven sawmill at the falls and platted a town site nearby; a larger mill soon followed. The Pacific & Eastern Railroad connected Butte Falls to the main line in Medford in 1910. The town’s fortunes have risen (and fallen) with the timber industry ever since.

Butte Falls
Butte Falls
The sawmill at Butte Falls, c1910 (SOHS photo)

Valley of the Rogue State Park

This state park is located alongside I-5 between Medford and Grants Pass and is one we’ve driven past innumerable times. We could only recall stopping when we needed its rest area. However, encouraged by a post by Tablerocktrekker, we thought we could manage a short stroll there among the trees and along a bit of the River’s Edge Interpretive Trail.

Along the paved path
Fall color
A glimpse of the Rogue River from the interpretive trail
Fall continues…

McKee Bridge on the Applegate River

This covered bridge, the 4th oldest in Oregon, sits off of Upper Applegate Road between Ruch and Applegate Lake. It’s another attraction that we’ve driven by repeatedly on the way to hikes around and near the lake. It was built in 1917 and originally served logging and mining traffic, principally that for the Blue Ledge Mine. The bridge closed to vehicular traffic in 1956 but has since, thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteers, been kept open to pedestrians. The Blue Ledge Mine, which operated between 1917 and 1920, and again in 1930, left behind piles of waste rock and became a source of toxic acid mine drainage to nearby Joe Creek. Eighty years later, in 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency spent some 12 million tax-payer dollars dealing with these wastes and discharges. 🙄

The McKee Bridge
Detail at the McKee Bridge structure
The Applegate River from the bridge
Reflections on the river
The Blue Ledge Mine, c1918 (SOHS photo)

We try to keep this site focused on our outdoor adventures and far away from the many controversies currently swirling about in society. But my recent bout with modern medicine couldn’t help but force some perspective. I have been fortunate throughout my life to always have access to medical care paid for either by school, an employer, the government, or in cash. Others – too many others – are not so fortunate. This is not right. A modern, developed economy (which the U.S. presumably is) has a profound moral obligation to provide all of its members – regardless of their social status or ability to pay – with access to quality medical care. We can make whatever mean-spirited and self-serving excuses we’d like for not doing this. But to stand idly by while others suffer and die (or are bankrupted by medical bills) – when we have the ability to help – is simply a moral failure of the highest order. A failure, period. Continuing to accept and excuse such a failure only diminishes us as a people.


4 thoughts on “Other Roadside Attractions 24-Oct-2019

  1. Glad to hear you got to go through Valley of the Rogue SP…..love the picture of the river, sky, and trees. It is a pleasant park and with a free day use area, a nice place for walks, lunches or just relaxing. Thanks for the pictures and hope you continue recovery so we can meet again on the trails.


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