Grave Creek to Whisky Creek Cabin, Rogue River Trail - May 3, 2008
Coordinator name, narration by name and pictures by name
I want to hike them all! So many trails, so little lifetime, sigh. That's why I don't like to repeat hikes. The way I figure it, for every hike I redo, that means there is a trail out there that I will never hike on. Having said that, there are a few trails that are so sublime that they get hiked at least once a year, being placed into heavy rotation. Rogue River is one of those hikes. What's not to like? The trail spends a lot of its 45 miles up on cliffs nearly 100' above the green waters of the Rogue. Ducks and geese fly up and down the canyon, honking or quacking loudly as they go. Vultures ride the canyon thermals while ospreys fish the waters. Wildflowers abound along the rocky canyon slopes and one can enjoy spring displays weeks earlier than our waterlogged home base.
On May 3rd, 10 Friends began this hike on a wonderful sunny yet relatively mild day. The wildflowers began right at the trailhead and I must say the display was the best I've ever seen on this trail. The dominant life forms, flower wise, were ookows, red larkspurs, blue larkspurs, golden iris, sea blush, and tarweed. In between there were a myriad of other flowers such as monkeyflowers, alumroot, popcorn flower, phacelia, starflower and so on, We even saw a patch of the unusual ground cone, a brown saprophyte that is a madrone root parasite.
The trail undulated alongside cliffs, open hillsides, and wonderfully cool shaded forests. The forest was your typical Siskiyou mix of bay laurel, madrone, tan oak, and mixed conifers. There even was a lone Brewer's weeping spruce specimen with its mournfully droopy branches.
The club arrived at the historical Whisky Creek Cabin and sat down to wait for me as I was slowed down by my camera. They ate lunch while they waited for me. I think we all enjoyed the hike so much that we hated to go back to the car and end the hike. So 8 of us continue on towards the Tyee Rapids overlook. Only 4 of us did the 10 mile round trip to the rapids but most everyone managed to get at least a 9 mile hike in, At the rapids we watched a couple of rafters negotiate the rapids, they didn't even wave at us...I think they were occupied at the time.
At our return to the trailhead, we were entertained by one last item of interest: a couple of bright yellow goldfinches were flitting wildly in the shrubbery along the river. They were like on bird speed because they would not stay still long enough for me to get a good picture.
All in all, a great hike on a great day.
Roseburg Oregon Hiking Club