Rogue River Mail Boat

August 1-2, 2002

This trip was a spectacular trip down memory lane for some and a dream come true for others. We traveled I-5, turning west through Drain and Elkton. Our morning break was at the Scottsburg Park. There is a nice myrtlewood grove down by the river. The elk were too far away from the highway for good viewing.

Our next stop was the Oregon Dunes Visitor Center at the north end of Reedsport. We viewed a very good video of the history and evolution of the dunes. There is a network of trails on the dunes for future investigation. We stopped at Shore Acres for lunch and a stroll through the gardens, and were reminded how windy and cold it can be at the coast.

Then on to the West Coast Game Park, seven miles south of Bandon. I got to hold a Siberian Tiger kitten, while others strolled through the park midst all the free roaming deer and goats. They brought out the other kittens just as our bus was loading.

Upon arrival at the mouth of the Rogue River, we went up to the boat docks and shopping center, then back across the highway to Jot’s Resort, our accommodations for the night. Most reboarded the bus and went to Gold Beach for dinner. Our rooms had balconies facing the mouth of the river, so we sat out and watched the river activity until sunset. I especially enjoyed the brown pelicans.

We awoke to a beautiful, clear, calm day loading the jet boat right at the resort. John Carl was our captain for the cruise; he was very good at spotting wildlife and gave a good historical narrative, too. We must have passed 50 fishermen right after going under the bridge. We watched a couple reel in big fish right beside us. A list of birds sighted along the trip will follow. A harbor seal surfaced as did a sea lion, a couple of deer appeared, also a four-year-old black bear ate blackberries as we watched. The Florence Fire (later re-named part of the Biscuit Fire) was visible as a very large cloud (estimate of eight miles away). Many of us followed the progress of that fire. We stopped to watch Dept. of Fish & Game men pulling in their nets, and they showed us their findings. The fish were weighed, measured, tagged and released. There was another boat where the men were measuring river depth. Rafters were encountered along the river in several locations.

Coats came off by our rest stop at Agness, as the sun was quite warm. We reboarded the boat and went another 12 miles up river before turning round and going back to Agness for lunch at Singing Springs Resort.

At 1:00 p.m. we again boarded the boat for the return trip. We stopped to look at a creek coming out at the river’s edge and were much more interested in the four mink that performed for us. The only casualties were a coat sucked right off the seat and a 75th Anniversary hat that the wind picked off Bette’s head.

A good time was had by all; several have returned later this summer reporting that nearly all the wildlife were visible. Captain Carl did a fantastic job maneuvering the rapids, a few thrills and sprays. We floated for a few minutes while questions were answered and we returned to the dock by 3:00. We had our rest stop then boarded our bus for home, stopping in North Bend for a fast-food dinner. We were home by 8:30. Birds sighted were: Brown Pelican, Seagulls, Fish Ducks, King Fishers, Cormorants, Turkey Vultures, Bald Eagles, Osprey, Egrets, Killdeer, Great Blue Herons, Ouzel, Mule Swans, Canada Geese, Wood Ducks and Turkeys.

Riders were: Ethel Allen, Marian & John Borchardt, Mary Lee Cheadle, Kent Christoferson, Florence Douglas, Margaret Fea, Bea Fontana, Jeannette Forsman, Bette Hack, Dora Harris, Yuan Hopkins, Pat Jeffries, Janet & Jennifer Jeffries, Dody Leppmann, Cleora Mersdorf, Frances Newsom, Ruth Nelson, Helen Paulsen, Virginia Prouty, Ruth Saunders, Sarah Saunders, June Smith, Janet & Richard Speelman, Carol Stroud, Gene Thaxton, Millard Thomas, Cristy White and leaders Liz Reanier & Ben Jeffries.

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