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) 12-Mar-2021

We backpacked the Rogue River Trail in 2015 and have returned almost every year since to make the shorter journey from Grave Creek to Whisky Creek Cabin and back. This is mainly because this is a wonderful low-altitude, early-season hike. We also like to visit the final resting place of Kitty Mack, the beloved cat of the cabin’s last owner. We last did this hike almost exactly a year ago, just as the impacts of the Big V were starting to become clearer. Last year two private raft trips were starting out from Grave Creek (permits are not required until mid-May) but there weren’t many hikers. This year there were no rafts but lots more hikers – hiking have become immensely popular as a counter to the Big V’s depredations. We added something extra to this visit by going up for a quick look at the Reno Mine, which metastasizes a slope above the cabin.

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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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Rogue River Trail (Southern Oregon) 27/30-Apr-2015

Rogue River Trail Oregon Grave Creek Foster Bar

There are numerous good hikes in Southern Oregon but the premier backpack – and probably the best known – is along the Rogue River National Recreation Trail from Grave Creek to Foster Bar. It’s been on our “to do” list for a long time and when we saw four days of mostly good weather in the forecast, we went for it. Descriptions of how to access the trail and what’s along it are numerous – we found the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) detailed trail log to be reasonably accurate and helpful. We arranged with Morrisons Rogue Wilderness Adventures (Merlin, OR) to drop us at the Grave Creek Trailhead, store our truck on their lot, and then shuttle it around to Foster Bar when we came off the trail – they did a great job and it was well worth it to not have to worry about having our car clouted.

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