On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
This series was created by Alain Chamot (1971-2020) as a place to share our adventures and observations, no matter where we are. 💕
River rafting in Oregon – so beautiful! Part one is today; we’ll have part two in the morning tomorrow. ~WaterGirl
I liked submitting my pictures from a Green River rafting trip, so I went back to the well and found pictures from our first family rafting trip. This one was a 5 day trip on the Rogue River in the south western corner of Oregon (the nearest town of any size is Grants Pass). This is the river where I worked the last couple seasons I did guiding. This particular trip was rather small, three gear boats, three inflatable kayaks and no more than 12 passengers. It was also a bit rainy for the first few days of the trip.
The Rogue River was in the first group of rivers to be designated Wild and Scenic back in the 60s. This means that there can be no development (or hunting) within a (I believe) a half-mile of the high water mark of the river within the Wild and Scenic section. There are a couple lodges that were there before the designation, so they got grandfathered in. The Wild and Scenic section is bounded by two Class IV rapids that are impassable to motor boats: Rainy Falls and Blossom Bar. Above Rainy and below Blossom jet boats are allowed, including giant ones that hold 50 people can can planing along in 18″ of water.
This is a typical view of the river. If you remember the pictures from the Green River trip, this river is much smaller and in a tighter canyon. But it’s also a lot greener and there is more visible wildlife.
These are all the gear boats (and the Trip Leader (or as we called the job in the unenlightened olden days the Head Boatman)). This was probably shot when we pulled over for lunch since she is digging around in a cooler, but none of the gear has been unloaded from the boats.
This is a shot looking downstream from our lunch spot. This river canyon is carved out of volcanic rock, unlike the desert rivers in Utah and Arizona that have cut down through uplifted sedimentary rocks.
Here’s some river running lingo for you: on a river trip the right and left side of the river are always determined by looking downstream. So this shot is taken river left and it still would be river left even if I turned 180 and looked upstream. This makes talking about what’s happening on the river easier (“Just around the turn there’s a rock on river right, don’t hit it.”)
One more shot from lunch time on Day 1. And we have some wildlife! A Great Blue Heron looking for its lunch.
A couple hours after lunch on Day 1 you get to the first Class IV rapid of the trip, Rainy Falls. The drop is around 14 feet. The main part of the falls in the foreground is most definitely not the desired run. It’s hard to see but there is narrow slot to the right just big enough for a raft to squeeze through. Messing up the approach to that slot can cause one to go over the main part of the falls. I only went over the main falls once. It was a bit more exciting than I wanted it to be.
Here’s a video from that day showing a couple boats running the falls. The red boat is some foolish private boater saved from flipping by the fact that his boat is very light. After that doofus we see one of the boats on our trip take the middle run. In the ancient times we used to take passengers over the falls with us, but in these modern times it is deemed too risky and now the passengers walk around (except for the people in the inflatable kayaks who take narrow run way over on the right side).
Another river lingo digression: river flow is measured in cubic feet per second (CFS). Typical summer flow on the Rogue is about 2,000 to 2,500 CFS while the Green is usually somewhere around 10,000 CFS, so as I said the Rogue is a much smaller river.
This a shot looking downstream from Rainy Falls. The boat in the picture is the Trip Leader’s. She has made the run and is now pulled over waiting for the other boats and acting as safety. If somebody flips or gets ejected from a boat she’ll row out and catch them.
More wildlife! I don’t know where mom is, but that’s a baby black bear on the other side of the river from where we made camp on Day 1. Sharp-eyed viewers will also notice a Canada goose.
Finally a picture from later in the trip. This is a shot of camp on the morning of Day 3. The rain-fly over the living room was necessary as it was still quite rainy. I especially liked camping at this spot since it’s a site I remember camping at back when I was working in the 80s.