The Other Rogue River Gorge

When people speak of the Rogue River Gorge, they mean usually the Gorge at Union Creek.  The forestry service certainly thinks so, because they have maps and special ramps for vista points.  However, there is another Gorge, which crosses Mill Creek Drive just south of Prospect, that is equally exciting.  Years ago, this Gorge could be explored off of both sides of the road.  But, eventually,  land adjacent to the Gorge on the north side was sold to private owners, so visitors congregate in the inviting woods on the south side.  The bridge, though, remains, and still offers spectacular views of the Gorge and its canyon wall laced with boulders.  It is hard to believe that over 100 years ago, a covered bridge was all that prevented travelers from tumbling into the Gorge.  “Old-timers”  affirm that there were accidents.  But they also affirm the sense of awe travelers felt when crossing this tumultuous chasm.  The brief video below offers a view of the Gorge in 1958 when there was considerable water pouring down the drop.

In Memory Of Paul J. Pearson

“… we don’t have boundaries here.  Prospect is simply a concentration, and, if you go away, it dissipates.”  Paul J. Pearson

On September 21, 2012, the town of Prospect lost one of its most prominent citizens and supporters, Paul J. Pearson.  He was born in 1921 and lived most of his life in Prospect until his recent death at the age of 90.

My last post dealt with Pearsoney Falls and he was one of the discoverers.  He retained a lifelong affection for Mill Creek and the nearby Rogue River.  In fact, when I was Director of Medford Education International, he gave a lecture on the Rogue River and its habitat.

I first met Paul in 1987 when I started interviewing people for my Prospect book.  My friend Evelyn Ditsworth Walls had supplied me with a list of names of people, who she thought would be excellent sources of information for my history.  Paul’s name was the first on the list.  When I drove to his home on Mill Creek Drive, I was accompanied by my friend, Hollywood architect, Michael J. Evans.  When we entered Paul’s driveway, I took out my camera and tape recorder and then I heard a yell:   “You can just put that camera right back in the car.  I don’t allow pictures.”  And there are no pictures of Paul in my Prospect book.  Despite an inauspicious beginning, we had a pleasant conversation about Prospect’s history and its inhabitants.  However, his keen, analytical mind displayed itself from the start.

RW:  But your main interest is engineering?

PP:  Well, you have to categorize that.  If you’re asking in terms of what is my approach to the physical world around me, engineering is a very important part of it.  But if you ask what’s my sense of social values, well, engineering has no place at all.  So, that’s why I say the question has to be categorized to be answerable.”

Wittgenstein would have been pleased.  Paul always chose his words carefully, taking time to present his ideas.  When I turned off the tape recorder, Paul felt more relaxed.  We spoke about our mutual respect for the Rogue River, and the fact that we we both opposed the Lost Creek Dam, which flooded the Laurelhurst area.  We also shared an interest in classical music, and a thirst for knowledge.

I liked Paul and respected him.  He was a main contributor to the growth of Prospect and will be missed.

Pearsoney Falls Provides Peace And Solitude

Pearsoney Falls is located off of Mill Creek Drive in an unnamed state park just above the gorge of the North Fork of the Rogue River near Prospect.  The trail to the falls begins at the upper end of the parking lot.  It is about 1/2 mile to the falls.  Pearsoney Falls was named for the boys who discovered it in the late 1920s:  Paul and Stan Pearson, and Bill Mooney.  The Pearsons are one of the oldest families in Prospect, because the boys’ mother, Frances, was the daughter of Squire Aiken.  Mr. Aiken purchased the Deskins Mill, which was the first mill in Prospect. The falls tumbles over volcanic boulders and forms interesting patterns.  The adventurous can walk out to some rocks for a closer look at the falls.  The area is usually deserted and provides peace and solitude.  Last week I visited Pearsoney Falls  and took a lot of photos.  I include some of them below.

A Spectacular View

The North Fork of the Rogue River presents a spectacular view of the gorge just above Prospect on Mill Creek Drive.  The water has rarely been so full, and the cascade, as it tumbles down a canyon against highlighted rocky walls, is something to see.  River Bridge Campground is also splendid with water pouring over basalt ledges forming sizable waves and a Class 3+ rapid.  I recommend visiting the river now before the flow drops as the current level is at its highest in years.  Some folks in Prospect claim it is the highest flow that they have seen.