Walking the Rogue II: Black Bar Lodge to Marial Lodge 13-May-2021

Our second day on the Rogue River Trail would be our longest: 14.3 miles (22.9 km) from Black Bar, past Zane Grey’s cabin at Winkle Bar, to the lodge at Marial. The weather forecast had indicated a cooling trend but the weather itself hadn’t got the message. So we were looking at another hot (85°F / 29°C), sweaty day. Fortunately, there are several (very welcome) cool, shady stretches along this part of the trail. Most of the small, intermittent, unnamed creeks had already gone dry. But we noticed that many of the named creeks had not – which is probably why they got named in the first place. If you backpack this trail in mid-summer, when it’s really, really hot, these named creeks may be your only (mostly) reliable water sources. Because, while it may be a “river” trail, it doesn’t always take you very close to the cooling waters of the river itself.

After a hearty breakfast at Black Bar, Glen ferried us back across the river and we started downriver on the trail. The breakfast was great but it was way more than The LovedOne and I typically have before starting a hike. We struggled with digestion versus walking for a few miles. 🙄

Morning on the Rogue at Black Bar
Glen ferries part of our group across the river
Ox-Eye Daisy
On the trail above Black Bar
Black Bar Lodge from the trail
Enjoying the coolness at Shady Creek
The vegetation is almost tropical at Francis Creek
Henderson Triteleia
Another cool spot at Copley Creek downstream of Horseshoe Bend
Hooker Indian Pink
Out into the hot sun near Dulog Rapids
Dulog Rapids
The big meadow downstream of excellent campsites at Kelsey Creek
Back into the shady forest near Winkle Bar

At Winkle Bar, a side trail descends to Zane Grey’s cabin on the river. Grey bought the mining claim here from a prospector in 1926, had this cabin built, and then used it for several years as a place to stay while he was fishing and writing. Riders of the Purple Sage (1912) was his best-selling book. I found it readable but wordy (Grey started his writing career getting paid by the word). It made it easier to see why Hemingway’s intensely sparse, but highly evocative prose (e.g., Big Two-Hearted River), published just 13 years later, received such critical acclaim.

Zane Grey’s cabin at Winkle Bar
Cabin detail

We stopped for lunch at Quail Creek. On this trip we had the option of either hiking, riding Glen’s raft (but not through Blossom Bar Rapids), or both. The heat was starting to get to The LovedOne, so she decided to ride down to Marial on the raft, which was an easier and cooler way to get there. I, in the dubious tradition of tough and stupid, continued on afoot for the remaining four miles or so to the lodge. This stretch of the trail climbs above the river, but is mostly in the shade, so there wasn’t too much suffering here.

Sue and Barb, who were running the trail, zoom past me at Quail Creek
The Rodriguez Memorial along the trail near the Rogue River Ranch
Rogue River Ranch

Just upstream of the Rogue River Ranch (accessible by road), the trail joins with a road and I followed that around the ranch to the lodge at Marial. The ranch is currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and, in normal times, would welcome visitors between May 15 and October 15 (the rafting permit season). At this time it was closed to visitors. I pushed on to the lodge, to enjoy a cooling beverage with early arrivals Sue and Barb (we nicknamed them “The Gazelles”) before The LovedOne’s raft arrived. It had been a long, hot day on the trail and more than one cooling beverage became necessary for proper rehydration.

Marial Lodge
Some of the cabins at Marial Lodge
The LovedOne and “The Gazelles” relax on the deck at Marial Lodge

We’d walked past Marial Lodge on two previous occasions but had never stopped to visit it. We found it’s accommodations simple, yet comfortable. There are two decks for sitting and viewing the river – we availed ourselves of both. The lodge also has a resident dog – Maggie – who is very mellow and gets lots of attention from the guests.

Maggie welcomes you to Marial Lodge

The lodge host’s cooked us dinner and breakfast and both were excellent. That, along with another hot shower and more clean sheets, took us yet another step down the path to decadence. 😉 Since a raft would be carrying the extra weight, we even sprung for two Marial Lodge souvenir T-shirts. 🙂

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6 comments

  1. After a 14-mile hike you’re entitled to a hot shower and a comfy place to sleep. 🙂 It looks beautiful.

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  2. Looks like a great adventure- your photos are great ( as always ) Especially liked the Ox-Eye Daisy and the river views

    Have you ever rafted the N. Fork of the Smith River just over the border in N. Cal?

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  3. These photos! You’ve captured EVERYTHING so beautifully. My Dad loved the river and my Mom loves flowers…I love both. Such a sight for homesick eyes.

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