Yesterday I was in Oregon, hiking the mountains along the Rogue River. The experience for me was overwhelming. As a country child, I of course had my share of nature experiences trudging through the woods and river near my home, battling off the bugs, collecting river shells and avoiding quicksand, but those experiences just can’t compare to my time spent on the Rogue.
My family and I arrived in Galice, Oregon at about 3:30pm on Monday. Before checking into our cabin we parked along the river, grabbed our straw mats and guitar and walked to a beautiful secluded location. On one side of the river we were, sitting on a stone beach dipping our feet in the water. On the other side were mountains, covered with red wood, pine and fir trees. The river was not completely peaceful; about every 45 minutes a rafter or speedboat would pass by, but those events were perceived as entertainment rather than interruption. We spent about three hours on the river, time that passed by without notice.
Eventually we made our way to our cabin, located on the mountain side, within hearing distance of the river. After unloading the car and checking for bed bugs, my aunt and I walked down the road to a rustic diner located on the river, bought a deck of cards and ordered homemade strawberry shortcake. We played rummy as we ate our desert on the deck of the restaurant. The next morning we took to the mountain trails.
Initially, three aspects of the location made me a bit nervous. 1) The bears. Upon entering the trails a covered bulletin board showed a map of the trails, a list of rules and a chart of bear sightings. The chart was full. 2) Trails. A genuine trail is not wide or safe. One wrong step and one could be rolling down the mountain to a stony or watery death. 3) Poison plants. At a few points during the trail, the poison oak was impossible to avoid contact with.
So, the way down was a bit nerve wracking, but after I blew my nose on poison oak, ran along the narrow trail and put bears out of my mind, I was in heaven. The beauty of the river and trees was simply overwhelming. I certainly will return to Galice and the Rogue one day, either on a romantic outing with my love or to raft the Rogue with my friends or family.