Rogue River/Backpacking

May 27-30, 1983

This is the fourth time I’ve led this trip, but it’s always a beautiful experience with new things happening. This time it was hot, there were detours, some of the people didn’t complete the hike, and we saw deer, bear, mergansers, turkey vultures, ticks, and a lot of poison oak. Ed Lovegren led “Group A” from Illahe to Grave Creek, and I led “Group B” in the opposite direction.

The first day the temperature was over 100°F when we were hiking in the canyon near Grave Creek. One person almost passed out from heat prostration. (One of the people in “Group A” was also having difficulty.) We camped at Russian Camp, and I saw my first bear on the Rogue River. It was a cub lobbing down the trail toward our camp. It looked at me for awhile, and then took off up the hill. Next time I plan to camp about 1.4 miles further west (in the sand along the river). The second day we met two Obsidians, Lots Morse and Christine Ligneau. Lois was hiking from Marial to Grave Creek with her husband and another couple. Christine was with Ron Letman and the University of Oregon Outdoor Program. One of my group was developing serious blister problems, and another had difficulty due to a painful knee. We also had two detours that day, so my group was not in very good shape when we got to Quail Camp. The third day there was a major landslide just west of camp. We made the mistake of hiking through, rather than taking the detour. It was difficult and dangerous (and it wasn’t always easy finding the trail again). When we got to Marial it was decided that the three people in my group would stay at Tucker Flat Camp, and I’d pick them up the next day. (This meant driving about 100 miles out of the way on hazardous mountain roads.) That Afternoon I hiked with Christine and camped that night with the Oregon Outdoor Program group. We had a good campfire and told a lot of stories. The next day Kent Soule and I got an early start and hiked to the trailhead at Foster Bar (Illahe). I was fortunate in not getting lost in the maze of roads to Marial, and I picked up my group about 1:00 p.m. We drove out by way of Grave Creek and stopped at Rice Hill as usual.

Backpackers on this trip were Debbie Cantrel, David and Kim Chapman, Ed Lovegren, Pete Ruby, Patricia Shanahan, and K. C. Kraft, leader.

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