Rogue River – July 2020

Several weeks before the 4th of July I missed out on a trip on the upper Deschutes River due to work obligations. Luckily, Linda was able to go and had a great time. I vowed never to let my job get in the way of a cool trip again. A couple of weeks later we received an invitation for a four day trip down the wild and scenic section of the Rogue River over 4th of July weekend. We said yes right away.

Due to a multitude of reasons including a never ending home remodel, managing 11 acres while having full time jobs and sheer laziness we haven’t been in kayaks in a couple of years now. But the thought of spending yet another long weekend at home working on the house vs. being on a boating/camping trip was out of the question.

Late afternoon on July 2nd Alex, Patty and her dog Finn, Linda and I departed Portland towing a trailer with two rafts, 2 kayaks and enough gear and food for an army. Destination – Central Point, OR to meet up with friends who had the permit for the river. We rolled into Jake and MaryAnn’s place around 8:30 PM and received a warm welcome (an air hug and nice to to meet you in the age of COVID-19) from them and their dogs Woodrow and Sawyer.

Loading and rigging boats at the putin.

The next morning after coffee and a glass of MaryAnn’s delicious protein/fruit smoothie we loaded up and headed for the Ranger station a few miles east of Merlin to pick up our permit. The usual putin for the wild and scenic section is Graves Creek but that boat ramp is a zoo on busy weekends so we opted for a putin three miles upstream at Argo. At the putin we picked up another rafter, Dana, rigged and loaded the rafts and set off downriver on our 4 day journey.

Due to the continuous migration of salmon and steel-head water levels on the Rogue are controlled by two upstream dams and there is guaranteed water all year. During the summer months the water level is roughly 1500 cfs – a nice low/medium flow for both rafts and kayaks. The rapids are not very technical yet splashy and fun. There are a good 40-50 named rapids in in the 43 miles between Argo and Foster Bar but only three are typically mentioned – Rainie Falls, Mule Creek Canyon and Blossom Bar. And while these are by far the funnest rapids on the river the entire section is breathtakingly beautiful. I’ve been down this section of river about a half dozen times and every single time I see things that are completely new to me. From the numerous osprey and bald eagles sightings, hikes to cabins that have been standing for 100-200 years and rock formations cut by the river over millions of years kayaking this river is always an amazing experience. Now add great people, incredible river food, sleeping outside under the starts, three dogs willing to protect you by barking at every duck/raft/dog/person they see and last but certainly not least, kayaking with your wife and you have yourself the makings of one damn fine trip.

The majesty of the Rogue Canyon.

And so it was for the next 4 days and 3 nights.

This entry was posted in Kayaking, US Travel.