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. 😥 And part was due to anger and frustration and ultimately despair about what’s happening in Ukraine. 😪 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.

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Whisky Creek Cabin (Rogue River Trail) 03-May-2018

Whisky Creek Cabin Rogue River Trail Oregon

The plan had been to explore the trail from Hobson Horn toward Silver Peak and the Illinois River. To do so required that the Bear Camp Road – the usual shuttle route for Rogue River backpackers and rafters between Grave Creek and Foster Bar – be open. It wasn’t. It’s still closed by snow (from where?) and may not open until after the Memorial Day holiday. This tidbit of information didn’t surface until after we’d driven to Galice. But it was a beautiful day – one that DEMANDED a hike – so Plan B quickly became an out-and-back hike to visit Kitty Mack at the Whisky Creek Cabin, about 3.6 miles downstream of the put-in at Grave Creek. Yes, Plan B posed some challenges – sunny weather with an artistic hint of clouds; gentle cooling breezes; numerous birds cheeping melodiously; wildflowers blooming; an iconic river flowing; cold, clear side-streams gushing; an obvious tread; no ticks; poison oak well off the trail – but we met these with tightened laces and an extra ration of salmon jerky!

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Whisky Creek Cabin (Rogue River Trail) 13-Jan-2017

Whiskey Creek Cabin Rogue River Trail Oregon

Whisky Creek Cabin is the oldest known still standing mining cabin in the remote lower Rogue River canyon. It sits just above the iconic Rogue River Trail (BLM, USFS, Our Trip) about 3.5 miles downstream of the put-in at Grave Creek. It makes a great goal for a moderate and educational dayhike in all but the summer months, when it can be brutally hot in the canyon. With the remnants of the Great Storm of 2017 (now referred to locally as the “Big Dump”) still stifling access to higher elevations, we figured, based on a previous hike there (post), that the Rogue River Trail, which is south-facing and at an elevation of only 600 feet, would allow us to do a snow-free out-and-back hike to the cabin. The drive over to the trailhead was on roads disconcertingly lined with a foot or more of snow but when we got to Grave Creek, we found it and the trail almost entirely clear of snow! The added bonus for hiking at this time of year was a chance to see the Rogue at high water – it had come down some since being in flood just two days ago but was still impressively high.

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