Saturday, August 17, 2019
The Rogue River has long been a source of food and water for indigenous people and emigrants. Today it is also a recreational paradise. Fishing for salmon, steelhead and trout is popular as is rafting, canoeing/kayaking, and birding. In the lake below Grants Pass all kinds of water sports are available. One can ride one of the Hellgate jet boats for a super fast thrill ride.
Rafting on the Rogue River
We arrived at Valley of the Rogue State Park shortly after the check out time of 1300 hrs and was promptly informed by the ranger at the entrance station that we weren’t guaranteed that our site was yet available. I said we’d chance it…… Our site, F14 is in the back loop of the park. It has great access to the path that parallels the Rogue River that’s not more than 100 yards from our back door. The sites are wide and deep….. and lush.
We find our site vacant and back in, set the brakes-pshhhhh, activate the leveling jacks- wrrrrrr, plug in the power cord and we are set. Looking around all the “lush” has turned yellow.
Normally the mowed grass between and behind the campsites is green- but not this time. Our site has a large field behind that separates us from the river. It’s full of needle like one inch long stickers that are not mutzo friendly. Our normal access to the river is cut off and we are limited to taking a paved path that adds quite a distance to river access. It’s not nearly as pleasurable as walking on a dirt path through that big field.
Out of curiosity I ask one of the camp host volunteers why the grass is yellowed out- is there a drought here in Oregon? The reply- no drought, the water source for the park is that big ol’ Rogue River that flows on the western border of the park. The answer was the Head Ranger didn’t want to get the RV’s wet. Lordie! Heaven forbid that my RV should get wet…… They said that they could only water when a site was vacant and only with permission from the Head Ranger. The Head Ranger is off on weekends so the volunteers can never water on Saturdays and Sundays even if the entire campground is empty….. gads…. The kicker is a mile long access road that joins the entrance to all the camping/picnic loops and the amphitheater. Along that road is a greenbelt consisting of lawn a conifers- and it is irrigated and is greener than green.
We drove over to Gold Hill (1200 souls) just to browse. As the name implies gold was discovered on a nearby hill around 1851. As usual not there’s not much going on in town except that a couple of farmers appear to be growing CBD oil based plants-hemp maybe?The Oregon Vortex House of Mystery located a few miles outside of town sports gravity defying illusions, and may be enhanced by that CBD oil. Del Rio Vineyards is also in the area.
It is said that the town of Rogue River (2100 souls) was established in 1831 by French fur traders. We drove through the tiny downtown and spent some time at Palmerton Park walking the pretty grounds with Doyle and Megan. We also enjoyed the wall art.
Grants Pass (35,000 souls) is the seat of Josephine County. The city has beautifully maintained parks along the banks of the Rogue River. The clean downtown is bustling with foot and vehicular traffic.
Flower pots hanging from light standards are everywhere. Just a ways ways from the scenic downtown are your typical big box stores such as Lowe’s, and Fred Myers. Freddie’s is like Walmart in that it sells practically anything one wishes to purchase for the home including a huge grocery department. We shopped at Freddie’s for a few needed items and went back to camp.
Valley of the Rogue was somewhat of a disappointment for us. Apparently water is available to irrigate. It’s a shame that the beautifully manicured lawns in the campground are all but gone in the summertime. I blame that on the Head Ranger who doesn’t want to get my rig wet.