Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Simply Speechless

Speechless isn't the right word, more like, we have so much to say about our 4th of July trip that we just don't know where to start!! So I guess, lets start from the beginning:

DAY ONE: Friday, July 3rd
NE Portland to Crater Lake ( around 300 miles)

The car is all loaded up and we are ready to go.
Brad and his boxer dawg Mac kept Wickey company while we were gone.

We made it! Our first look at the lake. . .
It was a sight to behold for sure. Words could never do justice in describing that color of blue. . .

We camped both nights at Crater Lake's Mazama camp ground, which was about 8 miles below the rim on the south side of the lake. The site was really nice and we were excited for our first camp out of the summer. For my birthday, my mom had gotten us some new camping gear, including a new air mattress. That was SOME air mattress!

It filled up the whole tent!
I hope no one was watching us as we tried to get that thing into the tent! We had to deflate it part way and reinflate it once we finally got in through the tent door!

The mosquitoes were pretty bad, but Brian was a master at starting the fires and the smoke helped to keep the bugs away. Dirty camping feet! DAY TWO: Saturday, July 4th

Crater Lake

(For some fun quick facts about the lake, you can go here.)

Brian was dead set on catching a fish this trip.

He brought his trusty pole and got it ready for a day of fishing.

We hiked down Cleetwood Cove trail to reach the lake shore.

The trail descends over 700 feet in about a mile. That's pretty steep!

The views on the hike down were amazing!

The yellow "lines" in the water is pollen that has collected on the lake's surface.

At Crater Lake you're allowed to fish without a license. There are no size restrictions on the fish you catch, they're all keepers and you can catch as many as will grab your hook.
Originally, Crater Lake contained no fish. Between 1888 and 1941, however, 6 species were introduced. Today, only 2 types remain: rainbow trout and kokanee salmon.
If you catch a fish, cleaning it at the lake is prohibited. They don't want to introduce anymore non-native organisms into the lake.
Brian had a couple of bites throughout the day, but the big catch wasn't to be had. We got plenty of sun though, the weather was perfect!

Clean feet!

Swimming is also allowed in Cleetwood Cove. But trust me, you don't stay in that water long! The water temperature varies from 32-66 degrees, but I'd say it was closer to the 32 degree side of that range when we were there.

There was still snow around the rim of the lake and even down at the shoreline!
The expression on my face says it all, I dove in and couldn't catch my breath for a few minutes even after I was out of the water!

Brian had to show off and jump in from a rock formation that was about 20 feet up . . .

After the jump, his expression does look a little pained, doesn't it?! Maybe because the water was freezing and the wind was BLOWING when he got out of the
water! BRRR!We were still smiling here, BEFORE the hike back out.
I was too distracted by the vertical hike out of the cove and the mosquitoes that were trying to carry us off to take any pictures on the way out.
The lake was simply amazing and I was so glad we took the time to go.
Brian says once the fish population spikes again, we'll head back out there!

DAY THREE: Sunday, July 5th
Galice, OR
Mile 28 of the Rogue River - Rand Boat Launch

We broke camp at Crater Lake at 5:45 am on Sunday and packed up for the 2 1/2 hour drive to Galice, where we were to meet up with our rafting crew.
When we arrived, the guides from White Water Warehouse were waiting for us. We threw our duffels into the dry bags and everyone's stuff got loaded onto the rafts. Our entourage had 15 people total (including the guides), three rafts, 5 kayaks, and 4 inner-tubes. You could take your pick how you wanted to ride down the river!
We were all loaded up and ready to go by about 10am.
We strapped on our life jackets and headed out! We were so excited!

We had no idea that kayaks or inner-tubes were going to be an option. Brian went down almost all 40 miles of the Wild and Scenic Section of the river in a kayak and I had a blast in the inner-tube.

We would stop for lunch in the middle of the day along various beaches on the side of the river. We were always surrounded by the sound of the water and were able to see tons of wildlife. On our trip we saw loads of deer, bald eagles, fox, osprey, turtles, grouse, herons, many different kinds of ducks, geese, grouse, lizards. . .the one animal that eluded us and the one Brian REALLY wanted to see, was a black bear. We saw plenty of signs that there were bear around, but guess we have to save something for next trip!
The picture below is of Rainey Falls which is located at Mile 34 of the river. Here the river pours over a ridge of bedrock and creates an impressive 10-12 foot drop along the left bank. We DID NOT go straight over these falls. Rather, on the left side of this picture, (the right side of the river as you head downstream), there is a man-made "fish ladder" that tends to be the safer bet to go down, especially when the water is as high as it was for our trip. The rafts and kayaks took the fish ladder down and the rest of us walked to the bottom over a trail next to the falls.

Brian came down the fish ladder like a pro!
We took a break at Howard Creek (at mile 39) and jumped off the rocks into the pool below the waterfall. This spring water was fairly cold, but it was very refreshing in the middle of the day.

We stopped for the night after our first day on the river at Black Bar Lodge (mile 42).
The lodge was built sometime around 1935 and originally catered to the miners and packers who moved up and down the Rogue in the 40's.

It was such a beautiful setting. We were surrounded by deer the whole time we were there.
Brian had to break out the fishing pole again after dinner. He wanted to redeem himself after striking out at the lake. The Rogue holds sturgeon, salmon and steelhead, as well as the northern pike minnow (aka squaw fish).
I hung out on the bank - Brian caught a squaw fish.
The pike minnow can eat a fish three times it's size! It's known as a nuscience, because it eats the salmon and their eggs. Brian was happy he finally caught a fish, but with this one, you just kill it and throw it into the woods for the bears. No fish for breakfast for us!

The Black Bar cabins are rustic to be sure, but they were very comfortable and a bed and a hot shower are heavenly after a day on the water.
DAY FOUR: Monday, July 6th
Second Day on the River

We were all packed up and got the rafts re-loaded by 9:30 and were ready to hit the river for day two!
Here is a shot of the group heading down the river. . .
Mile 47.1 - Sturgeon Rock (aka Suicide Rock)
Once again, Brian just had to jump! That rock was at least 40 feet high!
Brian said he was glad we stopped at the rock BEFORE lunch

We stopped for lunch on a sandy beach just below this cabin. After we were through eating, we were told a story of what had happened here; a story of crazy old recluse miners, murder and mayhem. Our guides did a wonderful job sharing the history and wonder of this wild wilderness with us.

A quick picture before heading out on the river for the afternoon.

Towards the end of day 2 on the river, we pulled off and hiked up to the Rogue River Ranch. BLM has does a wonderful thing by preserving this beautiful property.
Two of our three guides, Bob (the owner) and Guy (the river rat). They were so much fun!

We pulled off the river for the second night and stayed at Marial Lodge (mile 53.7).

The lodge was built by Tom Billings. His daughter, Marial, ran the lodge for many years until she sold it to Ted Camp in the 60's. Ted sold it to his daughter Lori and her husband Pat, who have been running the lodge since 1982.

After a wonderful rib dinner at Marial, Bob took some of us on a scouting hike to check out Mule Creek Canyon, which we would be rafting in the morning.Its hard to tell how high up we are here in the pictures, but we're about 200 feet above the canyon. I'm sitting on a ledge over looking Stair Creek Falls across the way.
The two rocks in the middle left of the picture below are called "The Jaws". They are at the entrance of the canyon and definitely set the mood. We all went to bed filled with nervous excitement!
DAY FIVE: Tuesday, July 7th

Rogue River

The next morning, we were geared up for the mile long trip through the canyon. It was our last day on the river and the canyon rapids were going to be good ones!

My tubing buddy, Robin, loaned me one of her long-sleeve water shirts. My arms were getting chewed up from rubbing agianst the inner-tube. Robin is an amazing lady. She is 69 years old, is from central California and she tries to make it to the Rogue at least twice a year. She starting coming on rafting trip in the 70's with her mother when the river was first opened up to rafters. She went on trips for 12 years with her mother, and now that her mother has passed, she still enjoys trips on the Rogue, now with her own children and grandchildren. She had her son and a grandson with her on this particular trip.

This is how I spent almost the whole trip - TUBING, even through the canyon!

Here is a picture of Bob in action. I think we had the most knowledgable and skilled guides on the river. True story, we actually saw a guide from another outfit reading a river map at the entrance of a rapid to try to figure out how to get through it!

Our guides knew the Rogue like the back of their hand and it was easier for us to have a good time knowing we were being taken care of so well!

We made it through the canyon, Brian in the kayak and me in the inner-tube. We were both breathing hard at the end of the run, it was a tough rapid. Brian got dumped twice but recovered nicely both times!


Blossom Bar (mile 56.1) was the only place where we all had to ride through on the rafts. The last couple of years a few people have gotten caught in some of the more sketchy areas of this rapid and have died. I got some neat video as our guides took us through Blossom.

Beautiful Waterfalls

The DINOSAUR tree!
At the end of the line! Mile 67.8 - Foster Bar Launch
Group Photofront left: Darwin and Kat - Mt. Hood, OR; Bob - guide, Corvallis, OR

front middle: Robin - Bay Area, CA; Darlene - Eugene, OR; Brian & I - Portland, OR

front right: Robin's grandson, Daynon and his dad Bryan - Chico, CA;

Guy - guide, hiding behind Bryan

back left: Johnny, guide

back middle: Julie and Houston - Lake Oswego, OR; James and Lauren - California

We had traveled about 40 miles along the Wild and Scenic Section of the beautiful Rogue River and had lived to smile about it!

A HUGE thank you to White Water Warehouse for an amazing adventure!

We can't wait to do it again!

You can also follow along with the White Water Warehouse crew through their blog, here.


Bethany Raelene said...

YAY! Thanks for sharing Sis. I'm so glad you and Brian had such a good time! I can't wait to do this trip!!!

BryanJoyce said...

WOW! What a great time!

This looks like something we should all do as a family sometime! :)

The Nielson's said...

Looks like that was an amazing trip! The scenery is beautiful!

MSue and BMcD said...

It would be fun to do a Joyce/McDonald Trip. You all would love it!

Nettie said...

Amazing trip, how nice to get out of the city for some nature fun!