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.

Ashland’s Lithia Park

IMG_1410 ASituated beneath the Siskiyou Mountains is a 93 acre refuge called Lithia Park.  The park was built in 1915 by John McLaren and retains some of its original features.  It is in the town of Ashland Oregon and meanders along the sparkling Ashland Creek.  In recent years, crowds have become a major problem, so weekdays are best.  The lower part of Lithia Park features a pond of floating swans that marks the entrance to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  The upper part offers a waterfall, a pond of ducks, a band shell, used for concerts and a series of intriguing steps and bridges.  Lithia Park is a favorite spot for hikers, actors, who want to rehearse in the shade of trees and families seeking a beautiful picnic spot.  Children love to play in the shallow, clear water of Ashland Creek, and are heard often, laughing and cavorting.  I offer some photos of the upper part of Lithia Park.

An aside:  For visitors that are new to Southern Oregon, one must realize that the towns of Medford and Ashland are like different countries, so great are the differences.  Ashland has had a teacher’s college for years(Southern Oregon College).  It recently became Southern Oregon University.  However, it is a university in name only.  It offers no doctoral programs.  That was the agreement reached with other Oregon universities to avoid competition for students.  In general, Oregon has been a state of ecological awareness, but poor education.  At one time, it ranked 49th out of all the states, outranking only lowly Louisiana.  But the Oregon Shakespeare Festival brought in many people from the arts, and Ashland offers more educational opportunities than any other Southern Oregon town.  People throng daily to walk the streets and investigate the many shops the town offers.  By contrast, Medford is not a town of walkers, and does not attract many visitors.  West Medford is notorious for crime, poverty and drug use.  Type 2 diabetes is the illness of choice for women, since obesity is rampant.  Alcoholism is the illness of choice for men.  The youth prefer pot or meth, because of its availability and relative cheap cost.  Medford abounds in single mothers with multiple fathers, while Ashland has the region’s largest gay community.  The poverty is so bad in Medford, that during a recent teachers’ strike, the Medford Superintendent, Long, stated that more than half of the children were either receiving free lunches or were getting them at a discount.  This does not mean there are no poor people in Ashland.  Just that they are less visible among the teeming citizens.  Ashland is the most liberal community in Southern Oregon.  Medford, and all other communities in the region are far more conservative.  A friend of mine, when he arrived from the Bay Area, told me he thought of Medford as a different country.  And, in a way, he’s right.IMG_1235IMG_1243IMG_1248IMG_1249IMG_1306IMG_1269IMG_1341IMG_1285IMG_1355IMG_1408IMG_1234

Introducing TouVelle State Park

TouVelle State Park on the upper Rogue River is one of the most scenic parks in Southern Oregon.  It presents a riparian environment rife with wildflowers, blackberry bushes, trees, and many kinds of birds.  As to the latter, the park is a favorite of birdwatchers, who are seen often wearing their binoculars.  Tou Velle Park has expanded to include a nature trail which hooks up with the Denman Wildlife Refuge.  Before the flood of 1955, a military bridge connected the two parts of the Tou Velle Road, which remain as isolated segments in different parts of the valley.  One of my photos shows what’s left of the bridge, a mere pylon.  At the lower end of the park,  Bybee Bridge, a double cantilever bridge, once ruled supreme, but was removed for a cement bridge that created numerous obstacles for boaters, and detracted greatly from the beauty along the shore.  The lowest ramp is recommended as easier and safer, and many boats take advantage of it.  Fishing is plentiful, but no famous holes for summer steelhead.  The park’s inhabitants also include frolicsome children, for whom a special rock dam was built so they could play in the river without danger, and dogs chasing sticks.  Below I have posted photos from Summers 2011-2012, which give a feel of the park’s activities and pleasures.