Robber’s Roost

Robber’s Roost near Casey State Park, acquired its name from a policeman with a sense of humor.  He was Sprat Well’s son-in-law.  Sprat was an old-timer who once owned river property from Eastin’s Rogue Haven to the Obstinate J Ranch.  The Roost was a well-known steelhead hole and nearby Pat’s Fly and Tackle provided fishermen with licenses and the required accessories.  The rapid opposite the Roost had one of the largest whirlpools on the upper Rogue.  A boat might spin around for half a minute before the river relinquished its grasp and the vessel could move on.  I knew the rapid as the Cottage Kitchen riffle, because there was a small restaurant above the Roost that I liked to frequent.  This restaurant and its co-owners, Mrs. Caroline Kelsey and Miss Allyn Goss, will be the subject of a future post.  In the meantime, please enjoy the video clip below of Robber’s Roost Rapid. The 1964 flood took the rapid away and replaced it by a mild chute.

The Obstinate J Rogue River Float 1962

We stayed at the Obstinate J Ranch from 1961-1979.  Our cabin was called Steelhead Point, and abounded in mosquitoes, and yellow jackets, which entered whenever we opened our hinged door.  Below us, the Rogue River flowed through a wonderful trout spot, and below that, there was an interesting rapid, which ended in a large hole and several steep waves.  The rapid disappeared after the 1964 flood, and I remember Obstinate J co-owner, George Pearson, driving his tractor in the middle of the river in a vain effort to bring the rapid back.  But the memories remain:  cooking barbecues along the river, finding my first calcite crystals lodged in a basalt boulder, watching numerous eddies twirl struggling leaves, starry, clear nights, Saturn Rock, beyond which you dared not go, and the many floats down the lower rapid.  In the video below, Dad rowed Grandpa Johnny, my sister Nancy and me through the rapid.

Eastin’s Rogue Haven

From 1953 until 1960, we spent our summer vacation at Eastin’s Rogue Haven.  The mere seven years appear to be so much more, since those were my early childhood years.  Eastin’s consisted of seven modest cabins and we stayed in cabin 7 at the upper end.  Eastin’s also offered a 76 gas station, a small grocery store and served meals.  In the evenings,  polished maple tables shook from the jukebox tunes, and I remember saving dimes so I could watch the jukebox in action.  Salacious post cards with double entendres were on sale to loggers that came into Eastin’s on their daily route along Highway 62.  There were also scenic postcards for tourists.  Rick Eastin, a pipe-smoking, jocular man, operated the cash register together with his mother, Minnie Eastin.  His wife, Aileen Eastin and daughter, Susie, worked in the coffee shop.  As a child, I recall trying to balance on a log outside the store and not having much success.

To go into cabin 7 is to go into a world when my senses were keenly tuned and each impression had an impact.  It was a world of wanton discovery and excitement.  Outside of the cabin was a small rocky island where my father showed me a “rock” that could float(it was pumice).  My grandma had the best view of the river, and I loved to sit in her bedroom and watch the current flow as it approached the first riffle.  We floated the Rogue River from Eastin’s to Casey’s State Park many times.  There was one spot where the river flowed over a shallow bar into a log jam.  I remember hearing my first radio announcement:  ” Yesterday a group of boy scouts were drowned when their canoe overturned and they were swept under a log jam below Eastin’s Rogue Haven.”

Our Path To The River

After building our home in 1980, we had to clear out some brush and poison oak to create a path to the river.  Technically speaking, we are on one of the branches of the Rogue River.  However, this was not always the case.  A flood in the 1970s took the main river away from our property and destroyed one of Dad’s best steelhead holes, which included a whirlpool, and a small falls below it.  But we planted a few redwood trees that blended in well with the oak and ponderosa pine to form our special path.  We, and countless visitors have walked to the river, admiring the surrounding beauty as we headed for the water.  Indeed, our path to the river will always be a special place for us.sc0001a584  sc000086fdsc0000df2fsc000167bbsc0001cdf4OP 1IMG_4847IMG_4851IMG_5129sc000037c9

Scenes From The North Umpqua

NU 5*NU 4The North Umpqua, which arises near Diamond Lake, is one of the most beautiful rivers in America.  Its blue-green water splashing over boulders is a must see for river enthusiasts.  An agreement was made with the Power Commission that if the extensive power plant was built there would be no further dams on the river.  That agreement, and the abundance of forestry-owned land has protected the North Umpqua from further human obstructions.  To top it off, the North Umpqua is world-renowned for its wonderful steelhead fishing.  It is not an easy river to fish, since it offers many ledge rocks that a careless angler could slip off of into turbulent water.  However, that situation deters few.  In fact, during the summer, the Steamboat area is strictly regulated by fishermen to ensure the best fishing.  Should you wish to stay the night, the Steamboat Lodge offers a sumptuous feast known as the Fisherman’s Dinner served at dusk.  From Boulder Creek Campground to Steamboat, the gradient and sharp rocks keep inner tubers and casual tahiti rafters off the river.  Famous rapids include Pinball(Class 4), which swirls around a series of boulders, and Boulder Hole(Class 3), a long rapid that ends in an abrupt drop around a corner.  The river flows through magnificent forest and is highlighted by awe-inspiring spires and rock formations.  The photos  include:   Approaching Boulder Hole, The last drop of Boulder Hole, Happy Rock, Rapid below Headknocker’s 3 .  If you get the chance, do visit!NU 1   NU 3