Upper Rogue - Woodruff Bridge to Prospect Canal 5-15-19

Photos by Barry M. and Dan S., Video by Barry M.

Hank's Summary

We had 7 hikers who either had not read the weather report or did not believe it. Bev had the good sense to read it and bow out. The forecast was for 100% chance of rain and was accurate for pretty much 100% of the time.

While the rain was not very hard, it was steady and what it did not get wet, the Vine Maples did. They were hanging over the trail for a large part of the way.

Half-way between Woodruff Bridge and Takelma Gorge there was a large section of the trail that had succumbed to the high water of a few weeks ago. By the time that we bush wacked around it we were all soaked. Additionally, there was a lot of deadfall making the hike take longer than it normally would.

The river was running well as you can see from the video and the dogwoods were in full display. The cross on the cliff on the other side of the gorge was new to all of us. (See the article beside.) We could not believe that someone would take a 4 year old through the gorge, but they tried!

Lunch was enjoyed in the dry beneath the River Bridge.

By the time that we were finished, we were all so wet that we forsook any refreshments and headed home for a hot shower and whatever one needed to recover.

Takelma Gorge

The Cross at Takelma Gorge

A Grants Pass boy has died after his family's raft capsized on a narrow section of the Rogue River with dangerous class III and class IV rapids.

Brayden Riley Biggs, 4, was on a rafting trip with his parents and extended family on Saturday August 15, 2015. The family members were divided among three rafts. Everyone was wearing a life jacket, according to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

The boy was two weeks shy of his fifth birthday, officials said.

The family members started downriver from the Woodruff Bridge campground at about 3 p.m., officials said.

The first raft carrying Biggs and five others capsized when it entered Takelma Gorge, officials said. "Everyone was tossed out of the raft," Jackson County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Shawn Richards said.

The gorge is known for producing class III and IV rapids as the river squeezes into a narrow channel through steep, volcanic rock.

After the raft carrying Biggs capsized, kayakers located the boy about 200 yards downstream. He was unresponsive. Cardio pulmonary resuscitation was performed for more than an hour, according to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

The area where the raft capsized is remote and rugged with no cell phone service or facilities nearby. A man hiking in the area heard the rafters' calls for help. He ran two-and-a-half miles back to his vehicle, drove to the Prospect Ranger Station and called 911, officials said.

At 4:17 p.m., Jackson County Sheriff's Office marine patrol deputies were dispatched to the area. Personnel from Jackson County Fire Districts No. 3 and 4, Medford Interagency Fire, sheriff's office search and rescue and U.S. Forest Service law enforcement also responded, officials said.

A helicopter contracted by the Forest Service located the rafters and guided ground personnel to the scene. After hiking into the area, rescuers found the rafters and hiked out with them, officials said.

"Unfortunately it's a very remote area and very difficult to get into even by aircraft," Richards said. "It's an absolute tragedy. Our hearts go out to the family." He said the rafters were a private party and were not rafting the river with a commercial guide service.

by Vickie Aldous
Medford Mail Tribune
Sunday, August 16th 2015

Track download: Woodruff Bridge to Prospect Canal 5-15-19.gpx

Ashland Hiking Home

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