Valley of the Rogue St Pk, Oct 11-12-13
We didn’t have a particular destination when we left the Valley River Mall on Tuesday… just south to get out of Oregon’s famous rain. We passed by several cities, and a few miles south of Grant’s Pass we found the above C/G and pulled in. The park lies along the old Applegate Trail and the 1857 Oregon Gold Rush. It’s a lovely place, and our very spacious site beside the lively Rogue River is brilliant with tree color. We signed up for two nites and then added a third. Best of All: Sunny weather! As usual – lots of neat things to do! The C/G has a viewing platform overlooking the Rogue where we saw spawning salmon agitating the shallows (still wish I could scoop one up). We climbed on our bikes Wed morning and rode the river’s edge trail to the town of Rogue River for a look-see and then pedaled for a time on the opposite bank. Very pleasant ride on a trail lined with blackberry bushes DRIPPING with berries (ho-hum, we passed ‘em by).
Jimmy on his bike @ the new arched Rogue River bridge.
Leaf color and a totem @ the library.
After lunch we drove to the historic town of Jacksonville… but first we came up on 7 Oaks Farm with produce and pumpkin signs out front, so we wheeled Smartie in. This is a true family farm whose history goes back many generations. We eyeballed every sort of gourd oddity and the pun’kins, but Jonagold apples and a lb of dried anazasi beans were all we bought. Sure enjoyed looking at everything. Surprising to us that the area is home to such fertile farmland, but this must be part of the “crop” corridor that stretches from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley south to California’s Central Valley. Give it water and watch good stuff grow!
Jacksonville was a former gold mining boom town, and now its streets are lined with historic bldgs and attractive shops. (Tourists are the new gold mine.) We parked Smartie and strolled. The townsfolk decorated the main street with comical autumn-inspired creatures and pretty autumn flowers in large planters… quaint touch. After hoofing it for a while, we parked our butts outside a coffee shop and drank a cuppa coffee. Nice town; nice day… nice full day.
I took lots of farm fotos - here are two.
Gourds and Pumpkins at the farm. Jimmy jollyin' in Jacksonville!
This guy looks kinda scary! New Smart car, Jimmy? Nah, just a "bumble bee" near ours.
Thursday we set an alarm so we’d have plenty of time to drive approx 85 miles to world-famous Crater Lake. Neither of us had ever been and we were excited. The drive itself (in Smartie) via Hwy 62 was spectacular and took a couple hours. (Campgrounds up here are already closed for the season.) This lake is amazing – it is the deepest lake in the US, created when a 12,000 ft volcano called Mount Mazama blew AND then collapsed around 7,700 yrs ago, leaving a land-locked crater surrounded by a “wall” that’s 1,000 ft high in most places. Springs, snow and rain eventually filled the crater and since no stream runs into or out of it, it’s considered a closed ecological system. The result? A very clear, very amazing blue lake. Standing high on the rim overlooking the lake, there’s no real sense of how big it is. We got the idea it was large, ok, but then we read it was six miles across at its maximum – me and Jimmy and my sister, Nannie, used to RUN that in 10k road races, so we know about a six-mile distance! – that’s when we KNEW it was big!
Following the rip-roarin' Rogue River toward Crater Lake.
Wizard Island in Crater Lake. Looking down a realllly steep slide toward the water. Long way down!
We ate our packed lunch at a picnic table outside the Visitor Center,
and watched clouds overtake the sun.
A chill wind blew. We zipped up our jackets and set out on a rim hike. The deep blue lake soon reflected the cloud color and took on a grayer tone. I got cold – (the rim elevation is around 7000 ft for heaven’s sake!) We came. We saw. We conquered. We left happy, and drove two hours back down to Rogue River where the sun was shining happily and the temp was 70°. Ah, warmth! Another great day!