Monday, March 26, 2007

Takelma Gorge: Hiking the Upper Rogue River

After breaking camp Friday morning, KP and I drove east up highway 62 toward the Upper Rogue to hike River Bridge Campground to Takelma Gorge. At the higher elevation there wasn't much to see in the way of spring plants -- not like the Coast Range, which is exploding with flowers and bugs. Instead, the southern Cascades are full of elk and deer -- presumably bear and cougar as well.

From MattStansberry

At the beginning of the trail I donned my Osprey Atmos 65 pack and new Montrail Torre boots in order to keep the gear test going. I can say that the boots felt a lot better on this trip and I really appreciated the support around the ankles. I felt more in control of my feet too -- getting used to the extra weight. The pack felt about the same -- like it wasn't even there. I did feel a shift in the pack weight when I put myself into some weird positions and that worried me a little.

From MattStansberry

There was a lot of snow on the trail, but no other human footprints. It seemed like no one had been there in weeks. We did find some otter tracks along the riverbank. Elk and deer scat were everywhere, I mean you couldn't even avoid stepping in it. We also jumped a grouse and I instinctively pulled my walking stick up like a shotgun.

From MattStansberry

I was thinking a lot about bears coming out of hibernation on this trip -- lumbering hungry boars coming out of hibernation and willing to fight for red meat, or worse a mama with cubs. We were walking through these marshy patches of whippy shrubs that seemed like the perfect bear maze. I thought of Timothy Treadwell. Some big mammals were milling around in the shadows outside of our range of vision, but they could have been anything. There was enough elk shit to build a house out of the stuff -- so it almost had to be an elk. But we never heard or felt the tell-tale elk stomp.

From MattStansberry

We stopped at Takelma Gorge for lunch and worried a little more about bears and the smell of our trail mix. We busted ass back to the car, and I actually broke my trusty walking stick whacking on trees on the way back to make noise through the bear maze. Funny, they say you're supposed to talk loudly so you don't startle a big predator. But we just clammed up, so I started hitting stuff. All we managed to spook, as far as I could tell, was a group of four wood ducks which I would have liked to have had a better look at.


Double Haul said...

do you work?

Here It Comes Again said...

Thanks for posting. Would love to see more pix if you are willing to put them up.

Bells are good for bears. Sure the macho make fun of them, but who cares.

Radikelsey said...

Scary! Remember what Katie said, if you encounter a grizzly, play dead and then keep playing dead for a long time after the bear's gone. I say just try to hug it though, they're so darn cute!

wyldthang said...

Hi! love your trail journals! Can you add how many miles you go?