If travel is a state of mind, Oregon sure makes you wonder how one region can offer so much wide-ranging recreation and scenery–and how you will ever be able in one lifetime to experience it all. Even for the seasoned traveler, an endless supply of secret places is available for exploring.
So, slow down and savor a once-in-a-lifetime experience this summer on a river steeped in legend, lore, and interesting characters and enjoy one of the most breathtaking boat rides into the Rogue River Wilderness.
The Rogue River is world famous and has attracted adventure seekers for decades, some as well known as the river itself, like Zane Grey, the western novelist who came to the canyon to write and even set one of his novels there. Once a lifeline of sorts for folks who lived along the river, boats have been used for over than a century to deliver food, supplies, and news from the outside world into the rugged canyon.
Now, they’re lifelines of laughter and smiles that help folks reconnect with Oregon’s outdoors. Speedy jet boats launch family excursions and recreation into a distant world away from the routines, noise, and general hubbub of city life.
Early morning – when the air is still and nature is waking up Oregon rivers like the Rogue are a marvel. As daylight grows, people come out to play at Jerry’s Rogue Jets and Rogue Mailboats along the Rogue River waterfront at Gold Beach.
The jet boats can reach speeds of 60-mph – but we motored along at less than half that speed in half a foot of water – it was shin deep shallow and amazing. Cliffs and canyons are the rule along the river’s course through the Oregon coast range, where eons of water and wind have eroded the exposed rock into smooth, unworldly sculptures. Along shore, small waterfalls spout across rocky rims, slap a shelf here and there, and plummet into deep, swirling whirlpools. Settlers arrived in the canyon of the Rogue River by the mid-nineteenth century, following the trails left by early trappers and miners.
One of the pleasures of so much isolation is the abundant wildlife–a bald eagle may cruise by overhead; Canada geese may be seen shepherding their young from one shore to the other; an osprey might dive to catch its finny prey in the water. Even black bears are regularly seen strolling the shoreline. It’s fitting that so many critters are more at home in the canyon than any of us ever will be.