July 21, 2007

The Valley of the Rogue

On Wednesday, July 18th, Hannah traveled only 61 miles, up and over the Siskiyous…a trip that would have taken Scratch 4 days to complete.

Crossing into another state was just that…a state of illusion. No boundary lines (just lines of trucks at the weigh station), no fanfare, no second thoughts ... but isn’t that how adventures begin? We have the dream, we create the vision, build the foundation and then make it reality! When it is all said and done…we can then celebrate, share the photos, tell the stories…take that deep breath…and then start planning another adventure anew. And since Oregon leads the way when it comes to stewardship of natural resources and advertises that it “loves dreamers”…this move may be a good fit.

The Valley of the Rogue State Park is situated right on the Rogue River. Campsites are quite large, surrounded by lush green lawns and pine trees, river walking paths, play areas and for the car camping enthusiast…offer flush toilets and free showers. Whoopee! We did notice throughout our stay that the campers were here to experience “true” camping. No generators, no loud music or shouting (yes, kids are kids and we did notice the occasional dog barking), no nonsense…and only friendliness and courtesy demonstrated to your neighbor. To say this is the norm for state parks in Oregon would be a stretch…but for our first experience

of an Oregonian state park…we graded the stay an “A”.

After years of keeping our bikes in storage, we decided to rack them onto the CRV and use them on the wonderful paths featured in Oregon. The park had access to the Green Way Trail which followed the bank of the river northward right into the town of Rogue River. Although a 10 mile bike trip may be a warm-up to some, it proved to be just perfect for these two novices…especially when the entire ride had river views and every new turn provided beautiful murals of the forest and mountain peaks surrounding the park. A late afternoon stroll to pick dessert yielded 4 cups of wild blackberries…a perfect foundation to a thick topping of whipped cream.

A daytrip to the headwaters of the Rogue led us up to Crater Lake…the only National Park in the state of Oregon. How many hues of blue have you ever seen? Now, try to recall how many hues of blue have you seen in a moment? Behold Crater Lake live! It is truly breathtaking…surrounded and guarded by magnificent 1,000 foot cliffs, it is the clearest and deepest lake (over 1,900 feet) in the United State. With a combination of sunshine, as it is able to penetrate to depths of 400 feet…add a little cloud cover, some shallow coves and voila…you will see before you an irridescent and brilliant living sapphire. Quite stunning!
Although the lodge is not a Jackson Lake Lodge or El Tovar, the Crater Lake Lodge is poised right on the rim of this caldera, so views of the entire lake are spectacular….
and lunch wasn’t too bad either.

Following the Rogue downstream, we managed to stop at two beautiful spots, the Farewell Bend Campground and the Rogue River Gorge. Steep rock walls sheltering deep pools and cascading waterfalls highlight this part of the river…quite a contrast to the scenic banks at the state park where we are staying. And all along this byway of forests, rivers, lakes, hiking trails and bike paths are signs…BlaNics, please, please stay.
Next stop…a brief reunion with mom and Pete in Canyonville…

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