Going Rogue! The Rogue National Wild and Scenic

Day 1 – October 19

I headed to southern Oregon this past October not only to see family again but to experience a thrilling river adventure, this time as a photographer, to shoot a brochure for RAM Offset Lithographers.  Joanne and Peter Dale, the owners (but more importantly, my sister and brother-in-law), asked me to shoot photos for “A Guide to the Rogue River Water Trail”.  This rather quick 3-day/2-night journey would cover about 35 miles through a section of the river known as the “Rogue National Wild and Scenic“.

Hm-m-m-m!!  October weather winding through the Cascade mountains of Oregon?? Weighing options was a no brainer – a hired photo job, camping and hiking, shooting wildlife and landscape photos (my calling), hanging out with 13 dearly close family members and their wonderful friends, and Ruby, the goldie – color me there!

The Dale’s partnered with Brad, the owner of Rogue River Wilderness outfitters, who supplied us with two rafts and additional required river-rafting accessories (fire pit, extra waterproof day bags, large and small dry boxes, life jackets, etc.).  Add to this 2 more rafts from Regan and Brody, and we had a regular flotilla of not quite yet wide-eyed  happy campers putting in on a chilly morning and looking at 60-degree temperatures during the day and 30’s/40’s at night with good chances for rain.

Regardless of how many days one plans for a river trip, the same amount of preparation and packing goes into it.  All those dry bags you see contain personal clothing and items – each person usually has two on hand – one small one for immediate, easy access to change out wet clothing or get something within easy reach, the other larger one for warm, dry stuff for the evenings as well as the following days; tents, sleeping bags and mats, large dry boxes which contained planned meals enought for 14 throughout each day; the oars, fishing gear, camera stuff (wrapped several times over in it’s own box); have enough fresh water in large, heavy containers to hold us for 3 days, and of course the life jackets.  Most of it gets loaded and unloaded for each meal stop as well as when we put in for the night.

Jacob, Callie, Brody, Nancy, James, Jo, Peter, Marley

Regan, Marley, Ruby dog, Patrick (I think), Peter with assistance from the outfitter.

A big necessity – life preservers

We put-in at Almeda Park boat ramp, and finally enjoy a nice, slow meander down river.  All thoughts about the work that made many of us cuss and moan and wonder what in the heck we were thinking are now completely washed away.  The preparations, cooking, packing, driving, and loading up is over – now for some peace, quiet, and we are cell-phone free at last!!

Regan, Ote, Nancy, Brody, Callie, James, nephew Ryan in the Tahiti

Ry, John, Regan

time for morning reflection

oooh-h-h, some ripples!!

Floating under what I believe is Route 260, Robertson Bridge.

In order to get through these tricky, oftentimes deceiving rapids, it’s recommended boaters and rafters scout out the terrain first.   However, we weren’t worried; about a third of our group are professional and accomplished river guides and/or trip leaders, 3 of whom have run the Colorado River for over 25 years, 1 who is particularly familiar with the Rogue and another who recently became a certified river guide.  Needless to say, we’re in good hands.

The nasty thing about low water levels is, of course, the rocks which can be just as dangerous as high waters – in this situation, it’s known as a “boney” river.  At this section called Rainey Falls, in case you didn’t notice, most of us opted for the short hike to the end (our excuse was to watch the salmon run, and we did see some) while the experts maneuvered the rafts through this section.  The gang in the first raft had to bounce it up and down to get it over some large boulders, and then a helpful push came from behind!

Entering Rainey Falls rapids

Scouting out best route through the falls.

Getting bounced and bumped around the “bones”.

Brody, James, Callie, Peter

Regan Dale

Looking downstream from the falls. Piece of cake!

Ryan Dale shows off – as he should – he’s a recently-certified river guide.

Time for a much needed lunch break; even though the food trunks were awkward to load and unload, we were most definitely thankful for the bounty of food and drink on hand.  We’re laughing now, but some of what we came through rocked the world for a couple of us for just a few tense minutes.

Safe, sound, relaxed and filling our faces!

Do I have to get on that raft again?

Chief food buyers, cooks and meal preparers – Nancy and Jo – it’s not that it’s their job; they simply know how to handle and feed the masses and they do it better than anyone else.

I know, I should have taken more photos of the obscene amounts of food on the table, but these colors caught me.

Pushing on…  herons looking for what might be left of some salmon or other fish (unfortunately, the big seasonal upriver run had already passed)…  Ruby enjoys a calmer moment on her first trip down a river.

Regan, Ruby, Ote, Nancy

Huge rock walls and water lines…

Taking in more scenery…

waterfalls along the way

other boats along the way

A great run, but time to call it a day – now!  The rain was coming in fast – get off the rafts and locate a place to set up our tents first, then unload the rest of the gear.  The downpour came while setting up and getting the fires stoked, but luckily, by chow time, it subsided.  Bottom line though – we were all a couple of tired and wired (if that’s possible), soaked wet pups in much need of the warm fire, warm clothes, warm chili, warm cocktails, warm company and campfire stories.  (Sorry – this night, the photographer was a bit whipped!  Time out!)

John, Peter, Jo


About Laurie Merritt Photography

Owner: Laurie Merritt Photography
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One Response to Going Rogue! The Rogue National Wild and Scenic

  1. Lisa Bankston says:

    WOW WOW WOW – Fantastic and looks like so much fun – no work – no fun – no REALLY FUN!!!!! Glad you got to go, I’m so jealous. Hope to see you sometime, somewhere, someplace soon. xoxoxox

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