Farewell, Kitty Mack (Rogue River) 10-Mar-2022

Aside from a few exercise walks up Roxy Ann, it’s been 10 days since our last hike. Part of this gap was due to some anxiety-provoking personal business. Part was due to bad weather – which didn’t turn out to be bad enough (in a good way) to pummel us with much needed rain and snow. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ And part was due to anger and frustration and ultimately despair about what’s happening in Ukraine. ๐Ÿ˜ช Seems we’re all getting a harsh lesson in the realpolitik that happens when a delusional dictator is willing to go nuclear if thwarted. So although hiking has always provided us with some respite from the cares of the world, it just seemed somewhat irrelevant.

But we finally rallied and decided that a hike would only help our mental state. So we did the easy out-and-back hike (7 miles (11 km) round-trip; 300 feet (91 m) of elevation gain) to Whisky Creek Cabin on the Rogue River Trail – one of our favorites for early Spring. We were there last year almost to the day. It was easy to see that things were much, much drier now than they were then. Only China Gulch and Whisky Creek had surface water flowing and even the Rogue River seemed lower and slower.

Looking back toward Grave Creek
Going west
Early on, the trail works its way along a cliff

In wetter times, a small waterfall crosses the trail not far in from the trailhead and this wall of water can make for some tricky hiking. This year it was just a wet spot on the trail.

In wet years, there’s a waterfall where The LovedOne is standing
The same spot during the wet winter of 2016-17
It was warm in the sun and cold in the shade

We’re always a little surprised by the number of wildflowers that bloom early along this stretch of the trail. There were fewer this year than in a wet one, but still enough blooms to carpet (in a small way) some of the slopes along the trail.

Menzies Larkspur
Crossing a slide area
Surface water still flowed in China Gulch
It was perfect weather for a hike
Approaching Whisky Creek
Whisky Creek today
Whisky Creek in full flood in 2017

Last year we arrived at the beach where Whisky Creek joins the Rogue to find an abandoned campfire blazing away! ๐Ÿคฌ Then, up at the cabin, we found drug paraphernalia littering one of the rooms. We reported all this to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This year we were pleased to find no open fires on the beach and that the cabin had been cleaned-up. ๐Ÿ™‚

Arriving at the cabin
On the porch
The relics inside the cabin had been neatened-up a bit
Kitty Mack was the beloved, salmon-eating cat kept by Lou Martin, the cabin’s last occupant
Saying good-bye to Kitty Mack one last time

From the cabin, we went down to the beach, had a snack, and then started back. Here the Rogue River was skimmed with foam and very languid. It’s flow is controlled by upstream dams but, in the drought we’re in, it’s very hard to balance the competing demands of water for fish and water for other uses.

The Rogue River at Whisky Creek
Starting back
The trail passes Sanderson’s Island
The trailhead at Grave Creek comes into view

16 thoughts on “Farewell, Kitty Mack (Rogue River) 10-Mar-2022

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  1. Beautiful photos! I’ve been meaning to hike this trail for years, especially when I lived in Ashland. Perhaps I’ll do it later this spring or spring of 2023.


  2. It will most likely be March. I’m hoping with our early spring I’ll find some blooms knowing it won’t be peak but happy to take what I can. Just need to get out for a long walk and see some new scenery.


  3. We’ve hiked the Rogue River Trail in April, May, and June. Both April and May were good, but more flowers in April. June was a bit warm. If you get a weather window in April, I’d take it.


  4. We sure have been thrown some crap in these 2020s. Hiking and being outside is my best coping strategy. Your post is timely as I’m tentatively planning a full out and back. I hiked the first 20 miles in 2014 and I loved the flowers. Just watching weather to see if I can find a nice window.


  5. There’s still not much at Agness except a post office and some private dwellings – and a resort down the road. A couple tried to re-open the Old Agness Store a few years ago but there wasn’t enough business to keep them going. Lots of rafters during the summer but they typically by-pass Agness on the way back to Grants Pass.


  6. Loved the pictures as usual! Back in the 70s I rafted the Rogue River. I remember that the take out point was Agnes Oregon – just a single wooden building with the sign, “Agnes, Oregon, this is it!”


  7. That trail was always one of our favorite early spring hikes. You are not alone in your feelings of despair about the situation in the Ukraine. I just wrote a post about it, too. In these challenging times, we need to find joy in this moment and do what good we can do.


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