Rafting Oregon’s Illinois River IV 24-Apr-2021

We had gone all out yesterday to get within two, rapidless, miles of the take-out at Oak Flat. Which is also where the Illinois River Trail ends. So we got a somewhat leisurely start and were rowed on out. Momentum’s van and trailer arrived not too long after we did and it didn’t take long for the guides to get everything loaded. The bad news was that the Bear Camp Road was still closed and we’d have to return via Highway 199 – which added about two hours to our drive. The good news was that it was only pouring rain along the coast, not inland. Rebekah got dropped off in Grants Pass, us in Medford, and the rest continued on to Ashland. We were home by 6:00PM, just in time to keep our adorable new cat – Sofie – from trashing another ball of The LovedOne’s yarn stash. She is temporarily my cat when things like this happen. ๐Ÿ™„

Breakfast at Horse Sign Creek
Our campsite just above the creek
Horse Sign Creek
Looking down river from the beach at Horse Sign Creek
Just a little farther
The take-out at Oak Flat
Bringing a raft up
Almost loaded
It was comforting to look back and see that it was raining where we HAD been…

A highly technical river like the Illinois was a completely different experience from the ones we’d had on larger rivers like the Colorado, Snake, and Salmon. This smaller, but highly convoluted, water was more intense and exciting and intimate than bigger waters and it was a privilege to be able to experience it. Running the Green Wall would have been a plus but not doing so didn’t detract in the least from what was, for me at least, exactly the trip I’d anticipated. After hiking the trail, I wanted to see the Illinois up close and that’s exactly what happened. The scenery – although a little scorched – is wonderful. And the startlingly clear water, with its various undulating shades of greens and blues, is absolutely amazing. Despite the drought, the side creeks were running well and almost all were decorated with colorful pink Indian Rhubarb. A bald eagle also made an appearance. It also didn’t hurt that we were a small, experienced group on a river that we had all to ourselves. In sum, it was a truly magical trip.

But we owed the positiveness of this experience to the professionalism, skill, and experience of our four guides. There are also really good, affable people – and good cooks. This is our second trip with Momentum and we remain impressed that this small, local company can attract such skilled and personable people. So much so that we’re scheduled (thanks ๐Ÿ™„ to last year’s virus debacle) to hike the Rogue River with them next month!

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4 comments

  1. You might like the lodge-to-lodge hike of the Rogue we’re doing – all the walking & scenery with no cooking or sleeping on the ground. ๐Ÿ™‚ You’ll be the first to know if we find alligators in the Rogue. ๐Ÿ˜‰ As for our cat, I haven’t heard any crashes or screams recently, so I guess she’s not my cat at the moment. ๐Ÿ™„

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  2. What a great trip! And how cool that you’ll be hiking the Rogue River trail next! We’ve hiked parts of it and always thought we might tackle the whole thing. And yet, here we are in Florida, a mighty long way from the Rogue. But we’re kayaking with alligators, so that counts for something, right?
    Haha, I tell Eric, “YOUR cat did such and such…” when she is being naughty.

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  3. as always a beautiful story, a magnificent adventure! Congratulations.

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