Rogue Gorge and Natural Bridge, Upper Rogue River Trail - October 17, 2009
Coordinator Jane Flewelling, narration and pictures by Diane Rannow

We were six undaunted hikers traveling to the Upper Rogue River with our backpacks full of rain gear because an 80% chance of rain had been predicted. At the trailhead, we were greeted by a crisp, sunshiny, autumn day.

First , we went upstream to four observation points of the Rogue’s tumbling and careening water as it catapulted through the 100 foot deep gorge. Those of us with cameras had a field day! Then we headed downstream along the wooded riverbank. At first, the fall colors were subtle, but soon, with every turn of the trail we were treated to a crescendo of varying shades of red, orange and yellow.

By noon, we had reached the middle of the footbridge over the Rogue River. Here we all decided to continue downstream to reach the Natural Bridge. We stopped for lunch at a campground table.

About one-half a mile before the Natural Bridge, we strayed off the trail to stay nearer to the river. SERENDIPITY! We reached the Natural Bridge by working our way down to a special spot. For about ten feet, the Rogue River was completely covered by the roof of a lava tube. Most of us crossed over that rocky roof and climbed up the opposite bank to a fenced-off observation point. We each got creative on how to breach the 4 ½ foot fence which had a one foot gap and then more fencing above it. I made a limbo-like backward bend, another one of us slithered sideways, the third one was tall enough to straddle it and bend forward. Oh well, you get the picture  - not pretty!  We enjoyed the interpretive viewpoints that featured a large cave, the river reappearing underground out of a rock, and the river’s raging passage through a ripped open cave’s roof. What a great climax!

Crossing over a man-made bridge, we returned back up the trail we had come down on. “Second verse, same as the first, “ beautiful fall colors sparkling water and shimmering light. But one more treat… for a stretch, a Belted Kingfisher was patrolling up and down over the middle of the river. It made a loud, dry rattling, territorial cry as it sped by. 

Back at the cars, we felt tired but invigorated by the wonders seen on this special 8 mile hike.

Hikers, Jane Susan, Carol, Jackie, Dania and Lois.

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