Lower Takelma Rapid Packs A Wallop For Inner Tubers

Lower Takelma Rapid, just below Takelma Park, packs a real wallop for inner tubers.  The rapid begins with an innocuous rock bar that occurs to the right of an island.  Tubers need to pull to the left as they pass over the bar, because the right current will take them into a tree and an overhanging bush that are close to the right bank.  Nevertheless,  tubers will find themselves on the right.  Now they must pull hard to the left to dodge a waterfall over a ledge on the right, and, in particular, avoid a nasty boulder at the left end of the ledge.  Then they will drop a few feet into some truly large waves.(At high water the waves converge to form a huge hole, which must be dodged to avoid a swim.)  Tubers will need to balance themselves as they climb the steep waves until they encounter calmer water downstream.

The rapid has an interesting history, and the current rapid is a relative newcomer, having been formed by high spring water just a few years before.  As long as I can remember, the river always split into different channels and some of them were so shallow that a child could ford them easily.  As this was one of Dad’s favorite steelhead holes, I often did just that.  An hour to a restless child is a long time and I recall wading the shallow bars around me in search of a shiny jasper or multicolored agate.  Often I was more fortunate than Dad, and the bottom of the raft was littered with shiny minerals.  Over the years the river continued to push the bars down, culminating finally in the threatening Lower Takelma Rapid.  The imprints of children’s feet on the sand bars have become a mere memory.

Remembering Jackson Falls On The Upper Rogue River

Jackson Falls posed a considerable problem for boaters before it was erased by the 1964 flood.  Below Dodge Bridge the river went straight for about 3/4 mi. before making a sharp right angle turn, which created the falls(The river now turns right much earlier.)  The river flowed over a bar and moved slowly along some reeds. The mood was almost idyllic in its serenity.  Then the river was quite still as it flowed along a rock island.  It was here that Dad used to stop to pump up our rubber boat.  Towards the end of the island you could hear the roar of the river announcing the approaching falls.  At that point the river divided into different channels, which flowed over bars.  One of the channels flowed into a group of bushes.  All channels dropped over sharp ledges, which formed falls.  My Dad took the center channel, which was the largest one.  We navigated a rocky drop Dad called First Falls before pulling to the right bank to avoid Jackson Falls, a 5-6 ft. drop.  There was another small drop further on when the river made a quick left turn.  Although small, it was full of jagged rocks, which meant another portage.  When the river made its left turn it was one rapid above what is called Horseshoe Falls.

I remember walking along the bank with Grandpa Johnny, and being glad to be out of the water, especially when I looked back, and saw the falls we had avoided!  It is sad that there appears to be no pictures of this splendid falls, but, hopefully, some will be found in the not distant future.