I spent five relaxing days in Grants Pass on the banks of the Rogue River in October. Just the name itself was intriguing enough to draw me South of Portland and leave me looking towards the California border wanting to continue. The Rogue River begins just North of Crater Lake, flows west until it reaches the coast at Gold Beach. It is one of the original 8 rivers named in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 preserving exceptionally scenic & environmentally significant rivers in free-flowing condition to offset the allowance for construction in other areas.
I stayed at the Motel Del Rogue, a charming rustic motel owned and operated by Constance, Kevin, and Sylvia Marr. It is a place for quietude and respite.
I listened to the fussing and honking of the Canadian geese as they flew in V formation from one end of the river to the other. Back and forth. I watched the resident cats lounge in the sun and stretch on the banks. I followed some deer as they sprung timidly through the thickets slowly making their way towards the apple trees. I applauded the innkeeper Kevin for his efforts to assist the deer in crossing the busy road at the top of the property without incident. I watched the sunsets and the fall foliage reflect upon the river and saw the shadows grow long. I sat silently on the banks and followed a skate with my camera as it glided on the mirror-like surface of the Rogue.
The Motel Del Rogue has personality and plenty of character. Each room is unique in its decor and most rooms come with fully functional kitchens and back decks for river viewing. There is plenty of stillness to fill your day and lots of discovering to be done. The setting is peaceful, the atmosphere comfortable and friendly, and the rooms are self-sufficient and cozy. I didn’t really want to leave.
But the promise of awe inspiring natural wonders were calling and I couldn’t resist taking a slight detour on my way back North to visit the narrowest section of the River and set my eyes on Crater Lake. The river narrows to just 25’ across at the Chasm just past Union Creek outside the National Park. Enough water flows through in one minute to fill an Olympic sized pool. I was leaning out beyond the fence boundary to take a shot when I noticed a sign. A young boy had fallen into the water while taking a picture at this location and his body still had not been found.
Crater Lake exceeded expectations. The size. The vastness. The stillness. I drove along the eastern route in spurts getting out at every viewpoint to hike and try to find the best picture making vantage point. I had a good hike up to the Watchman’s Tower and took in the spectacular view wishing I was there later in the day to watch the sunset over this natural phenomenon. The four hour detour through beautiful forests to see this caldera was worth every minute.