The Rogue River and the Rogue River Trail are iconic features here in Southwestern Oregon. Our first close contact with the Rogue River was when we hiked to its source at Boundary Springs in 2012. We backpacked the Rogue River Trail from Grave Creek to Foster Bar in 2015 and then rafted the river from Morrison’s Lodge to Foster Bar in 2016. We backpacked the Wild Rogue Loop in 2017 and, by 2018, had hiked all of the hikeable trails adjacent to the Rogue River between Boundary Springs and Lobster Creek [Note: Another trail has since been added between Lobster Creek and Gold Beach.]. We love the Rogue but other hikes beckoned. So we made some plans. Then the Big V threw all our hopes and wants and plans out time’s window. 😥
Long, long story short, we ended-up on a raft supported, lodge-to-lodge hiking trip on the Rogue River Trail offered by Momentum River Expeditions. Although we’d done the Yosemite High Sierra Camps in 2015, staying in lodges seemed a bit luxe for us. But the virus had spoken, so we found ourselves meeting-up at Galice Resort, on a very nice sunny day, with our guides – Glen and Sarah – and six other guests.
After a rapid COVID test (all negative 🙂 ), we were driven to the start of the hike at Grave Creek. The routine was for us to hike the trail unescorted, with Sarah going ahead with our gear and Glen following along in the river (we stayed in touch with Glen via small two-way radios). We would meet the rafts at a designated place along the river each day for lunch and then meet-up again at that day’s lodge.
The trail as far as Whisky Creek is familiar ground for us, as we try to visit Kitty Mack and the old cabin there at least once a year. But after that, we were on portions of the trail that we hadn’t seen in six years. We were very pleased to find it still in good shape, easy to follow, and as scenic as ever. Overall, the trail was a lot drier than it had been just a few weeks ago – testament to the drought that is gripping our area. Despite this, a few not-seen-yet-this-season wildflowers had found the wherewithal to bloom and thus enliven the hike. 🙂
Having just been there, we didn’t stop at the Whisky Creek Cabin but pushed on toward our lunch meet-up below Tyee Rapids.
Not far past Bunker Creek, a side trail descends to the river across from Black Bar Lodge. Glen met us there and ferried us across in his raft. Unless you swim (not advised), this is the only way to reach the lodge from the trail.
At Black Bar, there is a main lodge, several cabins, and a separate kitchen/common room building. Our group occupied the kitchen building and four of the adjacent cabins. Our accommodations at Black Bar were simple but clean and comfortable. After 9.6 miles (15.4 km) on a hot (85°F / 29°C), sweaty day, the hot showers were a big hit!
Glen and Sarah cooked dinner for us with food they’d brought with them and we ate outside on the deck. This was the only time (other than lunch) that our guides would do kitchen duty. The other lodges would provide the food (dinner and breakfast) and also cook it. We were beginning to see the attraction of lodge-to-lodge hiking. Ah, the path to decadence is likely paved with hot water and clean sheets and someone else doing the cooking… 😮RETURN TO FRONT PAGE