Low Water Greets Inner Tubers On Rogue River

Last year was an unusually dry one for Southern Oregon, so it is no surprise that the Rogue River is quite low.  This means rocks are poking their heads up at inappropriate places and tree branches are plainly visible.  But the current is not as strong, so if you end up on a rocky bar, you can simply walk to deeper water.  However, a lack of rain, combined with a very warm May, has allowed more moss to grow, so be careful of your footing!  I would recommend sports shoes or boots, not sandals, and, of course, a sturdy flotation device.  The waves are smaller in many rapids, and dodging is more of a requirement, especially in rapids like Rattlesnake or the series of rapids below Casey State Park.  But, on the whole, the river is more forgiving than previous years, and resembles more the pre-Lost Creek Dam years when there was no river control.

For kids, there are more sand bars, beaches, and places where there is no current.  You can simply lie on your back and float.  This is a great time to introduce kids to the fun of being in the river with a minimum of danger.

Whatever age you are, please visit the Rogue River this year and have a great time!

Inner Tubing Season 2012 Comes To A Close

Yes, the inner tubing season of 2012 is coming to a close.  The water level and temperature of the Rogue River have dropped and mornings are decidedly cooler. Leaves are falling and autumn is approaching.  It has been a splendid season with spectacular days.    The only drawbacks have been the smoke due to fires, and an abundance of trees, which the county has tried to remove.  But the steady warm weather has made for wonderful tubing, which is fast becoming a memory.  I hope all tubers on the river had as much fun as I did.  Here’s to another great season!

Tubing The Upper Rogue River, Part 2.

The stretch between Gold Hill Park and Riverside Park in Grants Pass include:  Boiler Riffle(just below Gold Hill Park), Patrick Riffle(below Gold Hill Beach), Twin Bridges Rapid(discussed in the previous post, and Clam Bed Riffle(just below Chinook Park).  Only Twin Bridges Rapid poses a real hazard, although there is a large wave at the bottom right of Boiler Riffle.  Savage Rapid has changed into a milder chute with several rocks.  Some older guide books discuss rapids between Riverside Park and Hog Creek, but as the river has flattened out over the years, the rapids have disappeared or changed into bars or mild drops.  A tuber looking for adventure on this stretch won’t find it.  The area from Hog Creek until Grave Creek Boat Landing includes the swirling eddies of Hellgate Canyon, Dunn Riffle, Argo Rapid and Chair Riffle, among others.  This portion of the Rogue has been meticulously researched and described by Michael L. Walker in his wonderful book, Handbook to the Rogue River’s Hog Creek Float.  Below Grave Creek, you need a commercial permit, and you would be bothered by jet boats and water that is too difficult for inner tubing.  Below are a few photos of Riverside Park.IMG_1316

Tubing The Upper Rogue River, Part 1.

IMG_0574IMG_0573IMG_0417IMG_0379IMG_1186In tubing the Upper Rogue River, the floater has more choices, because of the recent removal of Gold Ray Dam and Savage Rapids Dam.  Basically, you can tube from below Lost Creek Dam to Gold Ray Rapid, and from Gold Hill Park to Graves Creek without too much difficulty.  High water creates some large holes, which should be avoided if possible.  Since the tube can only take a curler of a certain height, anything above that height will result in a swim.  Places to watch out for include the long rapid near the former Obstinate J Ranch, which is full of turbulent eddies, cross currents, minor reversals, and rocks.  This rapid is about 1/2 mile below Casey State Park.  Over the years, many, many people have gotten stranded or have tipped over in this rapid.  Rapids such as the one above Rogue Elk Park acquire considerable force as does Horseshoe Falls just above Rattlesnake Rapid.  Twin Bridges Rapid just above Valley of the Rogue State Park should not be taken on the left, because of sharp, rocky ledges.  It is wise to get out immediately on the left below Gold Ray Rapid since an irregular wave through a broken weir at the right occurs very soon, and Bitterman Falls, Gold Nugget(Hayes, Dowden) Falls, and T’lomikh Falls are definitely not for tubers.  The photos above include one of drop below Casey Rapid,  two of Rogue Elk Rapid; and two of Twin Bridges Rapid.  Photo below is Casey Rapid.IMG_1187

Back To The Rogue River

It’s the end of June, and I’m back to the Rogue River.  Water flow is high, over 3,000 cfs coming from the Dam, and near Tou Velle about 3500 cfs.  The weather has been erratic with a few warm days offset by cooler, rainy ones.  I think tubing season is probably one to two weeks away.  The water is still quite cold, about 51-52 at Takelma Park.  I prefer a flow of 53+, so I don’t feel the stinging sensation that comes from cold water.  I offer a few photos of the river and the surrounding flowers near my home and Dodge Bridge.