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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2021 ~ Adventures with The LovedOne

Well, 2021 started out bleak, then got happier, then got sad again. This was thanks to the two V’s – variants and vaccinations. Too much of one, not enough of the other. But we survived (yet again), with The LovedOne remaining as elusively photogenic as ever. But, thanks to being vaccinated, we were able to have a few big adventures without expiring.


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Walking the Rogue IV: Paradise Lodge to Big Bend Trailhead 15-May-2021

We had to cover 11.4 miles (18.2 km) on this last day of our trip and we had to do it by a certain time. We had hoped to return to the Galice Resort via the Bear Camp Road but that wasn’t open yet. So we’d have to make the two-hour longer return via Brookings and Highway 199. To get back to our cars at a sorta reasonable hour, we had to be at the trailhead no later than 1330. Because the heat and overly full stomachs had been an issue, The LovedOne and I elected to skip breakfast and start our hike at 0730, right after coffee was served. No one, least of all us, was going to hike uncaffinated! This way we could hike in the cool of the morning and not have to overly hurry to reach the trailhead. Another option was to raft the last few miles to the trailhead. This is faster than walking and half our group availed themselves of this option.

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Walking the Rogue III: Marial Lodge to Paradise Lodge 14-May-2021

This, our third day on the Rogue River Trail, would be our easiest, as only 4.2 miles (6.7 km) of level trail separates the two lodges. The cooling trend had yet to arrive so it was another hot (85°F / 29°C) day. We lounged around Marial Lodge for most of the morning (paying catch with Maggie), then pulled ourselves together and headed out after lunch. Management of the trail passes from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the U.S. Forest Service at Marial. So soon after leaving the lodge, we passed an historic Forest Service station – which has suffered some damage since we first saw it in 2015.

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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.

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Walking the Rogue I: Grave Creek to Black Bar Lodge 12-May-2021

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. 😥

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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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Fawn Butte Loop II (Southern Oregon) 14-Oct-2020

Back in February, when “normal” was still normal, I constructed a loop hike around Fawn Butte on the north side of Lost Creek Lake. It proved to be a good hike that traverses a variety of habitats, all on an easy to follow old road. The LovedOne was gardening then and passed on joining me. But I wanted to show it to her and today was the day for that. The only difference was that this time we’d explore to the end of the old road, rather than go cross-country down to the Blue Grotto (which is bone dry this time of year).

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A Visit to Kitty Mack (Rogue River) 19-Mar-2020

Today was the first day of Spring here in the Northern Hemisphere; the earliest arrival of the spring equinox in 124 years. Spring, with its feelings of rejuvenation, renewal, and regrowth, is, across many cultures, generally a happy time. While absolutely acknowledging the challenge that Big V poses to our health and our economy, we were not going to let it diminish the positive feelings that come with Spring. So we decided to celebrate its arrival with a seven-mile (round-trip) walk on the iconic Rogue River Trail to the Whisky Creek Cabin, a National Historic Place and the former home of Lou Martin and Kitty Mac.

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Trails of Oregon’s Rogue River (October 2018)

Rogue River Trails Oregon

Southern Oregon’s Wild and Scenic Rogue River flows, from its headwaters at Boundary Springs within Crater Lake National Park westward for some 215 miles to pour into the Pacific Ocean near Gold Beach, Oregon. Hiking trails – some loved a lot, others almost unknown – follow the main river and its tributaries for over 100 miles. This post highlights nine such trails across the Rogue’s entire watershed. Links to day hikes or backpacks on each are provided so you can go out and experience the Rogue – in whole or in part – for yourself.  Go outside, go Rogue!

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Lower Rogue River Trail (Agness, Oregon) 10-Oct-2018

Lower Rogue River Trail Agness Oregon

Hiking trails follow Southern Oregon’s Rogue River for approximately 100 of the 215 miles it runs between its source at Boundary Springs (near Crater Lake National Park) and the Pacific Ocean at Gold Beach, Oregon. Some of these trails are much hiked, others are almost unknown. We’d hiked all of them except for the Lower Rogue River Trail (USFS #1168) which follows the river for 12 miles from Agness, Oregon to near Gold Beach.

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