Upper Rogue River - March 20, 2010
Coordinator Richard O'Neill, narration and pictures by Richard O'Neill

The hiking club had a pretty good turnout last weekend; 27 hikers showed up to enjoy a beautiful spring day alongside Lost Creek Lake.  The funny thing is, once they were turned loose on the trail, I hardly saw any of them again.  It almost felt like a solo hike.

Part of the reason...well, it's the only reason, to be honest...that I walked solo is because I hadn't bathed in a month.  Just kidding!  It's the camera, so many things to take pictures of.

The first part of the hike ambled alongside the aqua-green waters of Lost Creek Lake.  Lizards scuttled right and left of the trail and we could see an osprey nest atop a snag across the lake.  The forest was carpeted with the diminutive lavender blooms of Snow Queen. 

A couple of miles into the hike, we wound up on some bubble-gum pink cliffs at spectacular Cascade Gorge.  I pointed out some manroot blooms which led to some off-color heckling which was ironic considering the on-color pink sea blush and bright yellow goldfields adorning the cliffs.  A large waterfall cascaded through the dense but leafless undergrowth at Middle Creek; the roar of the creek could be heard nearly a mile away.  Much photography ensued.

The four mile mark  brought us to the mouth of the South Fork Rogue River; the South Fork joins with the Middle Fork to form the Rogue River proper at this point.  Many of our group went down to a sandy beach to eat lunch.  On the beach, there were small willows, crowned with a halo of new branches.  The new growth was colored bright red, giving the shrubs a spiky rainbow effect just like my hair back in the day when I had hair.

Just upstream from the beach, the lake impound terminated and the Rogue behaved more as a river, tumbling noisily over and around the boulders in its bed.  A handfull of us ate lunch next to the river.  Jane and Bill get the Iron Boot award as they continued another mile or so to where the trail petered out.

It seemed like we had hiked nearly 5 miles in no time at all, but the return leg seemed more like 8 or 9 miles back.  On almost every hike, I have observed the phenomenon of the return leg being longer than the incoming leg.  Evil wizards are to blame.

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