Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rogue Rats

Last month, friend and former fellow wilderness ranger Kelly Tjaden suggested that we raft down the Rogue River in southern Oregon.

As I considered his proposal, I realized that although I had lived in Oregon for most of my life, I had never been down the Rogue. That cinched it; I called Rogue River Journeys, an outfitter based in Bayside, California, and booked a rafting trip.

The waterway known for its salmon runs, whitewater rafting and rugged wilderness was one of the original eight rivers named in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. Beginning at Boundary Springs in Crater Lake National Park, the Rogue River flows 215 miles from its headwaters through the young (geologically-speaking) High Cascades and the older Western Cascades, another volcanic province.

Continuing in a westerly direction, the Rogue River passes through the more ancient Klamath Mountains in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area before flowing into the Pacific Ocean at Gold Beach.

So on Tuesday, August 10, I departed Eugene -- along with Kelly and friend Frank Czubiak (top) -- for the three-hour drive to Galice, west of Grants Pass, on the Rogue River.

It would eventually become -- as they say -- the trip of a lifetime.

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