A BRIEF HISTORY TO SET THE SCENE:
People started to be drawn into the area in the mid 1800’s for a lure of told stories about gold and pelts in the area. The Native Americans who inhabited the land were friendly at first to fur trappers in the area, until a feud started when fur trappers murdered a couple of lone Indians. This began the Rogue River Wars of 1855-1856, but some say it started as early as 1830. This was a war between the US Army and local militias against the Native Americans. Though many different tribes lived in the area they were grouped together as the Rogue River Indians. Given their name as the “Rogue Indians,” the name River of the Rogues was created, which has been shortened to the Rogue River. The war ended gruesomely and the Tolowa and Takelma people were forced onto reservation lands, where many of them died of disease, lack of local and proper food and water, and lack of their culture more importantly. The Rogue River has a very sad and brutal history, but also one of great importance and interest to many who experience the canyon via raft, foot, or drift boat.
The River is 215 miles long from the Cascade Range to the Pacific Ocean, it begins near Crater Lake and ends at Gold Beach Oregon. The Rogue River is one of the eight original rivers named in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. The Rogue-Klamath-Siskiyou National Forest and the Kalmiopsis Wilderness surround the Rogue on its journey to the Ocean. The Kalmiopsis Wilderness houses the oldest rocks in the canyon coming from the Earths mantle as well as the beautiful yellow Kalmiopsis flower found only there in the world. The Rogue River Basin is among the four most diverse temperate coniferous forests of this kind in the world, which contains 3,500 different plant species!
Flora of the Area
The local flora or the vegetation of the area is quite unique. We have a couple of different sections that we separate in zones depending on the difference in climate and what forest it is in. Starting at the Upper reaches of the Rogue river you will find incense cedar, white fir, and Shasta red fir. These are beautiful large trees. Further downstream we find more of a diverse mix of conifers, broadleaf evergreens, and deciduous trees and shrubs. There are huge ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, madrone, manzanita, Jeffrey pine, and oak throughout the entire canyon. There are also orchards, croplands, and pastureland that have been created due to human movement into the area such as the Rogue River Ranch, and many of the historic lodges in the area as well. Closer to the river in the riparian zones include willows, red alder, white alder, black cottonwood, and Oregon ash. Towards the end of the Rogue River you see oak savanna, prairie vegetation, and seasonal ponds. The lower Rogue passes through the Southern Oregon Coast Range where Douglas-fir, western hemlock, tan oak, Port Orford cedar, mountain laurel bay, western red cedar, alder, and Sitka spruce are found. Coastal forests are “the most productive in the world” also harboring many different ferns, lichens, mosses, and watch out for the pesky poison oak that covers a lot of the area!
Flowers are abundant in the area and are year round in the canyon, though in the spring time they are more populous. White, yellow, and purple iris layer the grounds of the rogue, which at times you can smell around the corner. There are rhododendrons that can be found that have been brought in, fox gloves, evening primrose, elegant lilies, and so many more, remember there are 3,500 different types of species in the whole forest!
Fauna Of the Area
The Rogue River is home to many different fauna, or animals that come in all shapes and sizes. The Rogue River is said to contain “extremely high-quality salmonid habitat and has one of the finest salmonid fisheries in the west” I find this true, though, stocks have become less abundant than historic years past. However, with many of the dams now removed the Rogue is becoming a more prosperous fishing river than many others in the area. Our wild fish habitat is healthy in the Rogue River, and we also have hatchery fish which are taken from “brut” stoke meaning that each year a new wild fish will be chosen to fertilize all of the eggs in the hatchery thus keeping the stock of fish new each year. Our salmonids found in the river include Coho salmon, spring and fall Chinook salmon, and summer and winter steelhead. Our native species of freshwater fish found in the watershed include coastal cutthroat, trout, Pacific lamprey, green sturgeon, white sturgeon, Klamath small scale sucker, prickly sculpin, and riffle sculpin. We also have many nonnative species including goldfish, American shad, pike minnow, carp, yellow perch, brown bullhead, catfish, black crappie, and red side shiner.
We also often see the American black bear, black-tailed deer, bald eagles, ospreys, great blue heron, the green heron, king fishers, water ouzels, red winged blackbirds, wood peckers, Steller jays, Canada geese, mergansers, and mallards. More rare to see are golden eagles, river mink, river otters, Western turtles, and an occasional seal on the lower end of the river. If you are luckily you might even be graced by a beautiful Arctic Blue butterfly. There are also rattlesnakes and ticks to be aware of if you are hiking the Rogue River Trail, or just walking around the river corridor.
Johnny Partner, the Loo, the Dunny, the Office, the Can, the Biffy, the Head, the Comfort Station, the Lavvy, the Privy, and the eThunder Box
The Groover is not as scary as it seems. Let’s get everyone up to speed on how it works!!
When we go on multi-day raft trips, we often think of the fun whitewater, the epic food, the people, the guides, and the star gazing. When we call to book that raft trip and we’re excited about all that fun stuff, it’s easy to overlook a couple of ‘details’ when it comes to camping. Here is a topic that we are going to inform you about.
Being a guide I see many people very apprehensive of the groover. They may try and not use it, hold it, find their own system, or try and avoid the thing entirely. I am here to tell you that it is easy, convenient, and fun!
Picture The Scene :
One late afternoon we arrive at camp, and the awesome gear boater has our camp all set up for us…YES! We find our tents, grab our dunnage bags, and set up for the night. We then play some games, relax, grab some snacks, and talk about the day’s activities.
The guides make this an amazing dinner; a dutch oven enchilada topped with corn bread that you have to get seconds of. While you relax around the campfire, the guides grab your plates, and even wash them for you… awesome. Next, the dessert comes out, a peanut butter bacon crumble cake out of another dutch oven!!
You get up to go to the river, look around at the beauty and all of a sudden,…..you feel a grumble, a gastrointestinal festival in your stomach. You ignore it, but soon it is a pressing issue. Where do you go to the bathroom? How does the groover work? Why is it called the groover? These are all valid questions, so let’ take a look at each one.
What is a groover?
A groover is a very fancy and sophisticated river toilet that your guides provide for you on the river trip. We have these very nice toilet systems, that even look just like your household toilet, aside from the flushing aspect. Think of it as a scenic portable pit toilet. Your guides keep them clean and, at the end of the trip we rate our groover spots, and get a reward for best spot picked!
Why is it called a groover?
About fifty years ago, ammo cans, big 20MM ammo cans, were used as toilets. They still are used today, but they have become quite luxurious. Ammo cans are used river wide in all rafting communities. They can hold dry food, trash, spices, and just general supplies that need to stay dry. People have found many uses for these ammo cans over the years, and even so far as to use them for toilets. People would sit on these ammo cans, with no seat, just bare butt! Once finished the metal ammo can’s walls would leave grooves on your butt, hence the name GROOVER.
How does the groover work?
When you feel the time is right, you first want to know where it is located, and where the key is. Okay, so you sit down and you do your business. Toilet paper goes into the groover, and when you are finished there is a bit of Poopari, or detergent to sprinkle in. This helps break it down faster, and to keep everything smelling better. There is a conveniently placed quick Purell hand sanitizer right by the groover. Then you grab the key, and bring it back for someone else to use afterward. After the key is back in its spot, you head right to the main hand wash pump station and wash up again!
What is the key?
The key is a way of telling whether or not the groover is in use. This is generally a paddle. When you go to use the groover, you will see a paddle in the path leading to the spot. You should grab the paddle and take it with you as you go to do your business. This way, If the other guests see the paddle, the groover is open, if the paddle is gone, the groover is occupied. Please do not forget to put the key back when you are finished.
An important rule is that we DO NOT pee in the groover, it is only for number 2’s. So make sure you pee in the river before you head to the groover. Some companies provide a pee bucket that is placed by the groover. That bucket will be yellow, or labeled as “The Pee Bucket”.
Another important rule is that you have to remember to take the pee bucket to the river when you are finished. If you use the bucket, then you must in a sense flush it, or in this case, toss it in the river.
Always have fun on the river, and if you have questions always ask. Ultimately we want you to be relaxed, stress-free, and happy! See, the groover is not that hard or scary to use after all. If you need additional help or information grab a guide, we are not shy and are willing to help you as much as we can.
The first time Lloyd Morrison saw the land upon which he would eventually build Morrison’s Lodge he knew it was special. Uniquely situated on a peaceful bend of the famous Rogue River, Morrison’s has been hosting anglers, couples, families, and other adventure seekers for more than 70 years. The secluded property feels miles from everywhere but is truly only a 20-minute drive from civilization.
Enjoy the comforts of home in your lodge room, cabin, or private “tuck-away” accommodations. Kitchenettes and full kitchens are available. Or, indulge in the 4-course dinner Morrison’s is known for. Then go for a stroll along 5-acres of riverfront lawn, kick back by the fireplace in the great rooms, or make friends in the bar.
All ages will enjoy a multitude of activities on the Morrison’s grounds. Indulge your athletic side in the outdoor pool, or on the tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts. Maybe, try your luck at Frisbee golf or horseshoes. Bicycles are also available. With so many options Morrison’s is an ideal spot for family reunions, conferences, and other events. Ask us about our special packages.
For additional information, please call (800) 826-1963 or visit: Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge.
We made it! Summer camping season is coming to a close and fall hike and fish season is right around the corner. Two weeks ago we started seeing the first flitter of the Chinook Salmon’s tail at Grave Creek boat launch, and a brief moment of cool fall air blew up the canyon as we launched one of our last camping trips. Fall is coming soon, and with it a whole new set of fun adventures in the Rogue River canyon.
Many people are asking about smoke in our area due to the dry conditions and nearby fires. We have been lucky most days with only light smoke, sometimes getting denser for a few hours in the hot afternoons. The canyon has been hazy, but not altogether smoked in. All in all, we’re considering ourselves quite lucky this year having avoided not only fire, but also dense long lasting smoke.
Another frequent question is our water situation. Although we are indeed in a drought, we are lucky enough here on the Rogue River to have a reservoir upstream that started full at the beginning of our summer. The water was then portioned out to last this summer season and into October, with fish habitat being the top priority. As we are now well into the fall salmon run, we are enjoying higher than average flows for this time of year- which has been a treat for fish and thrill seeking rafters alike.
The temperatures have started cooling down, and the nights are coming sooner, making conditions perfect to start hike season. This season we will be hosting 12 hiking trips, 2 being our famous ‘Wiking’ trips featuring the best of Southern Oregon’s award winning wines. The lodges are ready to serve delicious dinners, offer hot showers, and provide a relaxing place to rest your head after a long day’s hike. Also, the trail is looking great with no major changes or updates since our spring hike season.
Fishing season has been a big hit this year! With our expert team of guides and hungry fish swarming up the river, this season is set to be the best fishing season RWA has seen. The fall Chinook numbers are above normal and the numbers of half pounders are 57% higher than the 10 year average! RWA offers 3 and 4 day trips down the wild and scenic stretch stopping at several lodges including Black Bar, Paradise, and Lucas Lodge.
So far this has been RWAs biggest and best season yet. We’re so thankful for our new friends and great memories. We can’t wait to get into the beauty and cooler temperatures of the fall- we hope you can join us!
UPDATE: Great news! Due to the changing weather patterns and a shift in the winds, the smoke and haze have completely cleared out of the canyon. Blue skies and fresh air are here again!
Spring has sprung, and we are gearing up for another fun filled season on the beautiful Rogue River! We are proud to announce our upcoming award in the June issue of Sunset Magazine for ‘Best of the West- Gourmet Camping’, soon followed by a feature in the July Sunset Magazine issue on our award winning ‘Wiking’ (Wine hiking) and ‘Wafting’ (Wine rafting) trips.
In hiking news, we recently got back from our trail scouting trip, and things are looking great for a successful, exciting hike support season. The volunteers at Northwest Youth Corps have done a great job of maintaining and clearing the trail for us this season. Right now, the trail is a lush spring green covered in blooming Iris and spring wildflowers. The creeks are flowing and waterfalls are booming virtually every half mile down the trail.
New to the river this year, a recent high water event which brought new campsites and beaches throughout the Wild and Scenic section. It’s been fun to see the new spin on our old classic beaches. Most notably, Jenny Creek and Lower Horseshoe have gotten a bit of a facelift, and now have high, flat, beautiful beaches to camp on, relax, and enjoy.
We recently received some great news concerning the water flows in the Rogue this season as well. Because of the rain events in February and March of this year, the reservoir upstream of us is full! We are going to be one of the few lucky rivers in this region that will maintain a steady flow all summer to keep fish healthy and rafters happy. For those of you river junkies out there, here are the projected flows for our season:
May 11-20: 2,000 cfs
May 21-32: 2,300 cfs
June 1-20: 2,500 cfs
June 21-30: 2,300 cfs
July 1-10: 1,650 cfs
July 10- Aug 10: 1,400 cfs
Aug 11-20: 1,800 cfs
Aug. 21-31: 1,750 cfs
Sept 1-10: 1,650 cfs
Sept 11-20: 1,100 cfs
Sept 21-30: 1,000 cfs
Oct. 1-31: inflow
In other news, our guides are starting to come out of hibernation, and are gearing up for a busy, eventful season. We have many returning guides this season, and a few fresh faces from places as far away as Costa Rica and as close as down the road, in Grants Pass. Check out our guide bio section on our website to meet our phenomenal group of guides.
Here at Rogue Wilderness Adventures, a fun filled season is approaching quickly and we can barely contain our excitement to see all of you soon. We encourage you to visit our Trip Advisor site, and see our newest and proudest achievement- the ‘Bravo’ award, for over 250 five star reviews. Come see us this summer and let us show you and your loved ones the time of your life!
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on the raft, so you can have a leg up on your fellow rafters.
1. How deep is the river?
A more complicated question than it seems! The river is not measured in depth, but instead in volume. The depth is ever-changing, not only because of rocks on the bottom, but also how wide it is. We measure river volume with ‘CFS’ or cubic feet per second – best understood by thinking of how many basketballs roll by any given line in the river in one second. The Rogue river runs on average between one and three thousand cfs, but has been recorded at over one hundred thousand cfs in the past!
2. How do we get back?
A frequent variation on this question is: Do we finish where we started? The trip starts near Grants Pass, OR and follows the river in a westerly direction throughout the trip. At the end a RWA shuttle driver is there pick you up in a company vehicle and take you back to our starting point at the company. In the meantime, our parking lot is surrounded by a gate that is locked at night, and has someone at it 24/7, so you car is safe while you are on your adventure.
3. How do you classify rapids?
Rapids are classified on a I-V scale. Each river guide has a slightly different way of explaining the classification system to you. I like to describe the system as being rated on ‘difficulty and consequence’, in other words ‘How hard is it, and what happens if I do it wrong?’ The system starts with Class I, which is a wide open flowing area on the river, and increases exponentially to Class V- extreme difficulty and/or danger.
4. Is the river harder when it is higher or lower?
Well, both. When the river is lower, it flows much slower BUT has many more rocks to maneuver around. It might not be as fast and furious, but it is much harder to make it around all those pesky rocks that can get you stuck. When the river is high however, the rocks disappear creating a larger path for your boat to navigate through. Of course, you have about a third of the time and a bit more water in your eyes when you’re doing it, so it tends to be a bit more adrenaline charged. High water is often perceived as the more challenging of the two types of flow.
5. What if the boat pops?
It won’t. Well, most of it won’t. The boats are made of 8 air chambers. Any one (or two..) could go and the boat would still be fine to finish the trip with a remaining 7 (or 6) chambers to keep it afloat. Also, the boats are made out of a VERY strong rubber or plastic and are very difficult to pierce. A knifes edge or a piece of railroad rebar could do the trick, but would still need quite a bit of force. Overall, popping of boats is very unlikely and unusual and should be at the bottom of the list of concerns on a river trip.