Lower Rogue - Grave Creek to Whiskey Creek 10-15-18

Photos by Bob, Denise, Jerry and Steve

The hike on the Lower Rogue is always a favorite among Ashland hikers so we weren't totally surprised when 18 enthusiastic members showed Monday morning. We drove up to Merlin under clear skies and blustery winds. But when we arrived at Grave Creek parking the wind had died down considerably although with temps at 38 the wind chill made it close to freezing. So jackets and gloves were downed as we awaited the arrival of our fearless leader.

General Kerr may have been exhausted from the previous day's merriment so he handed off leadership to his able assistant, Corporal Stick. We headed up the canyon trail on the look out for salmon swimming upstream. Although we didn't spot any salmon we were lucky enough to view a family of four otters enjoying the river and frolicking on the rocks.

After a side trip down to the Rogue and out on the rocks we all eventually assembled at Whiskey Creek for lunch and our group photo. After a relaxing lunch we headed back up the trail at 1 pm. By then the sun had started to heat up the canyon walls which overheated our hikers. Thankfully FL had cool water awaiting in the back of his silver Subaru....I mean Toyota.

Rich

We started out from Ashland 18 strong in a driving wind but it was gone by the time we passed Medford. 43 degrees and sunny when we hit the trailhead. Then the un-layering began, first the down jackets and gloves, then the sweatshirts and down to short sleeves. 

We took the normal route but dropped down to Rainie Falls to see if the salmon were jumping, in which case we would have done the other side of the river. There were none. On the way we spotted some otters diving off the rocks below. The last part of the trail down to the river at Rainie Falls was a bit of a mess of blackberries. It confirmed my experience from long ago that it is a bit of a waste of time going to Rainie Falls on that side of the river.

Some hikers tried to continue to Whiskey Creek along the river but failed and had to regain the main trail in an exciting bushwhack. The rest of us retreated up the hill the way we came down and turned left for Whiskey Creek. It is very easy to get off in the wrong direction and wish you had a machete for the blackberries. I admit muttering a few phrases I would not want the grandchildren to hear. 

Eventually we reunited for long lunch in perfect weather on the rocks at Whiskey Creek. The temperature picked up on the way back and it was quite hot in the canyon, but nothing like the hike from hell two years ago. Denise pointed out some Bay trees along the trail and we loaded up on bay leaves. (to be frozen fresh and used as needed). Diane wondered how I arrived home with pockets full of bay leaves. 

Most of us gathered at Baldini's in Merlun for beer, fries and excellent onion ring, plus the odd lemonade. Overall a great day, especially for the newbies seeing the canyon for the first time. 

John

Track download: Lower Rogue River Trail - Grave Creek to Whiskey Creek.gpx

Ashland Hiking Home

A. Ready to hike the Lower Rogue.jpg
A. Ready to hike the Lower Rogue.jpg
B. Most of us along narrow trail.jpg
B. Most of us along narrow trail.jpg
C. John at 1964 high water sigh.jpg
C. John at 1964 high water sigh.jpg
D. Lucky shot of otters down on river.jpg
D. Lucky shot of otters down on river.jpg
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E. Pretty day.jpg
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