Mailboat Trip

May 14-16, 1982

Thirty-two members and two nonmembers took the Mail Boat trip on the Rogue up to Agness and beyond! The usual round trip is 64 miles to Agness; we went further (102 round trip) to Paradise Lodge, a rustic place in a primitive setting: access only by boat or hiking. But first, a trip down the coast, leaving South Eugene High School at 8:00 a.m. on Friday. First stop was the Coos County Historical Society Museum, just across the bridge on the north side of North Bend, where an old logging steam engine is parked outside, with many objects and photographs of early times in Coos County. Next stop was picnic lunch at the Bandon Wayside Park. Beautiful weather and calm sea! Following that, a stop at the Bandon Cheese factory—not anywhere near as exciting as tour at the Tillamook factory. Running late, went by the proposed stop at Cape Blanco, farthest west point in the USA. Arrived at the fancy Tu-Tu-Tun Lodge 6 miles upriver from Gold Beach at 5:00 where some swam in the pool; had a delicious baked salmon dinner with fancy service, and group singing in the evening led by Dorothy Scherer.

Next morning out to the boat dock at 8:15. The trip upriver is certainly spectacular. The pilot pointed out numerous items of wildlife, including deer and two bald eagles, and, my, are they large! Cold at first with the wind, warmed up after stop for coffee and/or spiced hot wine (for a fee). Unique at both stops were the posted signs of flood levels in recent years, including the 1964 flood, 104 above the river. And the river looked like a long way below from the top. Many boats and rafts floating the river before the start of the controlled permits June 1. Paradise Lodge has a precipitous climb from a wavering dock to plain facilities — more like the Obsidians than Tu-Tu-Tun — and multiple bunking for some. Food great, served family style; room filled with curious items such as two pistols cemented into the fireplace. They have their own miniature hydroelectric plant along with two diesel plants. Pleasant hikes were taken by some up river to early community sites where old machinery was lying about in profusion at “Blossom Bar.”

Sunday morning found us taking the Mail boat down to Agness where the bus met us, and we had a big chicken dinner for lunch. Agness has lost some of its charm with the passing of the original Lucas. Then home via Powers, old stamping ground of early professor Ewart Baldwin (missed his expertise). He has described the area as the subject of great upheavals and mixture. We went over the pass and stopped at one special site: the Elk Creek Falls, where Vera Heidenreich had a fall from a log, determined later to have no serious consequences, although a sore nose! South Eugene by 5:45 p.m. Variations included dropping Grace Smith off at Winston to meet her brother from Medford, and picking up, at Gold Beach, Helen Howard, a friend of Grace’s for the trip up river.

Bill Eaton

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