Rogue River Trail West - Marial to Paradise Lodge - June 8th, 2013
Coordinator Edwin Case, narration by Lois Soulia and pictures by Kevin Bernhardt

Ten people met under very cloudy skies and joined Edwin Case at the Tri City exit off I- 5. Then the party caravanned through Riddle and up into the coast range to the Mule Creek Canyon to arrive at Marial after many a dusty mile (about 66). It’s an easy 3.3 miles to Paradise Lodge but “easy” applies more to cool days. On Saturday, the heat was a definite factor. Although most of the wildflowers had disappeared except for the Brodiaea and some Clarkia, the river gorge delivered on the scenery, with views of Stair Creek Falls across the river with its deep emerald pool and the Coffepot maelstrom which shoots river rafts around on a pinball trajectory. Some hikers watched as one of the rafters jumped ship to be fished out later. Other rafters got hung up on the rocks.

Lunch on the new deck of the Paradise Lodge was cool and comfortable and the hikers enjoyed the jet boat maneuvers as the jet boats delivered the mail and made their splashy turns to cool off their riders. Popsicles and fudge bars prepared some hikers for their 3.3 miles return to the cars. Cathy took advantage of the hammock and deserved it; she brought croissant ham and cheese sandwiches for the whole group.

The hike had its wildlife moments also. Edwin had two encounters with a rattlesnake one time only hearing it and later with some others, getting to see a small angry rattlesnake shake- shaking its booty. Later on the long dusty road heading for home, Edwin’s carload and the following car got to see a rather large, shiny black bear rearing up and then galloping down the road for some distance before plunging down the bank.

On the way home, the group stopped at the Rogue River Ranch museum supervised by the BLM. It has an old red two storey house full of old logging, mining, farming and survival equipment with pictures of some of the people who lived and worked in that remote area. There were several outbuildings and a large grassy area which is an oasis for backpackers.

It was a good hike as a substitute for the planned Kentucky Falls hike where the trail is blocked by a slide. Kudos to Edwin who made two long dusty trips to check out the hike and plan the rest stops.


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