Written by Jerrica
We left Idaho after running into van trouble and headed to Oregon with plans to hit up Mount Hood and do the Oregon coast thing. Unfortunately the area near Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge were on fire, so we detoured to Bend to stay with Kevin's friend, Sam. We were going to head to the coast from there but after looking at the weather for the coast vs the Rogue River, I changed plans quickly. The Rogue River looked like it had near perfect weather for the next 5 days, then after that things looked chilly. I knew if we were going to run this river, we should do it right away. I picked up a permit to put on the river in 2 days and we headed out.
The Rouge was only 34 miles long so we thought we'd do it in a day or two. Surprisingly the river was slow moving and it took us 3 nights and 4 days to do the trip. We took out right when the weather started to get cloudy and cold. Perfect timing.
The first major rapid we hit was Raine Falls on the first day, Class V. We scouted the falls and watched the salmon jump up the falls. We stayed there for about 15-20 minutes. We didn't run the falls but took the shallow "Fish Ladder" route to the side.
There were a few different groups that left the same day as us. We ended up bumping into a group of cat boaters several times and camped next to them 2 nights in a row. They called themselves "5 Cats and a Dog". They were all over 50; 7 boaters total on 5 catarafts and 1 dog. This was a crew of pretty serious boaters and from the sound of it they have run some pretty gnarly rivers. They recommended some rivers to us but I honestly don't think we could handle the stuff they run. They were awesome company and had great stories to share.
The Rogue was awesome. We had amazing weather the whole time. One of the [many] highlight was a natural waterslide at Tate Creek. Another boater (a guide on the river) gave us the tip to hike Tate Creek. It wasn't in the boater's guide we bought from the Forest Service so we would have missed it had it not been for him. Like always, I was scared to go off the slide. It was steep and narrow. But Kev, like always, persuaded me to go for it. (See the video at the bottom for Tate Creek highlights).
On the hike out from the waterslide, Kev saw a little fish in one of the pools leading out from the slide. It took about a dozen tries but he finally caught it with his bare heads. Kevin's infatuation with catching fish with his bare hands cracks me up... it must be the Wyoming blood running through his veins.
Speaking of bare... our last night on the river a black bear walked through our camp. It was dark and Kev and I were camped under the stars without our tent watching a movie on my phone. We heard rustling and got up quick to see a bear about 30 yards away. Kev yelled at it and shined a flashlight on him, but he didn't seem to be bothered one bit. He continued to casually walk through our camp and eventually left. By some miracle I was calm and I was even able to sleep after. I'm not sure how that happened considering how freaked out I have been of bears in Alaska and Canada.
The next morning I woke up before Kevin and decided to start breakfast. Soon I heard a splashing noise at the shore line in our camp and I got freaked out because I thought it was a bear again. I turned to the shoreline and I was looking at what I thought was a baby seal (I know... I'm an idiot). I quickly realized it couldn't be a seal and figured out it was a huge fish half-way in the water and half-way on shore.
I started running towards it, but quickly decided to turn back and get Kevin. What was I going to do anyway? I don't dare touch 3" fish with my bare hands... I would be useless.
I shook Kev awake, grabbed the camera, and followed him to the fish. Within 60 seconds of being awake, Kevin had [sort of] caught a another fish with his bare hands. He was on a roll. The fish had a gash in his head so instead of throwing him back we decided to keep him. After we got off the river we found a fish washing station at a campsite and the fish fed us very well for an entire week.
Our last minute decision to hit the Rogue was well worth the detour. I love spending time on amazing rivers with my best pal. Enjoy our highlight video.