Monthly Archives: September 2015

Western Trip 2015 – River Trip – Rogue River, Oregon

Now for the river trip segment of our travels. Dave White and I had been camped at Bill Sedivy’s home for almost two weeks. A self-supported river trip entails a lot of time prepping and packing, so we were able to do it at a leisurely pace. Mike Keas arrived from Ohio the day prior to leaving. Our fifth crew member was Bruce Johnstone, a Boise friend of Bill’s. After a morning of packing, all our gear fit in the back of a truck and in two rafts and a cataraft on the trailer. We all piled into Bruce’s extended cab and left town by 11 am on September 7.

Then we packed in a lot of Oregon touring on our our two-day drive to the Rogue River. Our first dinner was at the Deschutes Brewery Pub in Bend, Oregon. We found a great Forest Service campground on Little Lava Lake.  At 6000 feet elevation, it was a chilly night.

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The second day’s route took us to Crater Lake National Park. On the way, we drove through lava fields, not what I expected. Bruce, aka Sleepy after a West Virginia shuttle driver, graciously drove us on a tour of most of the park. We popped out at viewpoints like good tourists. The lake was formed 7,700 years ago by the eruption of Mount Mazama, when the top 5,000 feet of the volcano collapsed. It is the basis of many Native American legends and is the seventh deepest lake in the world at 1,943 feet. I was happy to score another stamp in my National Park passbook!

We also stopped at the headwaters of the Rogue. And for ice cream in Grant’s Pass.

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We launched our six day trip from Alameda Park on September 9. Most boaters do this in three days, but in true Burned Out (canoe club) style, we took the leisurely option. Short days on the river with plenty of time in camps. Hot sunny days in the 90’s and comfortable nights. Water temperature warm enough to dip and float. We even got in two rounds of Burned Out Horse Shoes. The winner: CEO of Sedivy Expeditions, Bill Sedivy.

The river was new to everyone, which upped the adventure ante. Camps were plentiful and so were bears. Fortunately we didn’t encounter any, but were extra vigilant about clean-up and keeping our Luci solar lanterns lit all night to deter bears on the rafts and in camp. Some camps came with electrified fence bear proof enclosures for food boxes and coolers. We joked about pitching our tents in them instead. Other than herons, osprey, ravens and some other birds plus one one otter and a few squirrels, we saw no wildlife.

The Rogue flows through the Klamath Mountains, where gold was discovered in the 1850’s. It is a popular place to paddle because of easy road access points.  The mountains meet the river’s edge, creating canyons and really cool diverse rock formations. The river is mostly Class 2 and 3 white water, with pools, riffles and gravel bars. Two rapids are the exception: Rainey Falls and Blossom Bar are both Class 4.

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Blossom Bar was our nemesis because the raft flipped and wedged on some rocks. I swam downstream first, then Mike, after a valiant attempt to free the raft. Fortunately, a bachelorette party of raft guides happened by, dislodged the raft, escorted it down river and righted it before we got to them.  River karma does work – Mike has rescued many boaters over the years, and now it was our turn. We were grateful. Here is the go pro video on YouTube and photos of our benefactors

After another great river trip, we were happy paddlers on September 14, our take-out day. Total trip mileage was 38, with a take-out at Foster Bar, 40 miles from the Pacific Ocean.


We camped at Gold Beach, Oregon and celebrated with a seafood dinner in town. The next day we drove up the coast and east to Eugene to make the trip back to Boise. Stops included the beach, Oregon Sand Dunes, Coos Bay (to see Steve Prefontaine memorial) and MacKenzie Pass.

Western Trip 2015 – Boise, Idaho Phase

Departure from Zion
We escaped the Zion heat to a forest service campsite at 8400 feet elevation. More great scenery and it felt great! Forest Service campsites are basic and inexpensive, our preferred style of camping.

Destination: Boise first, then Stanley
An 11 hour drive day got us to Boise, Idaho, and our friend Bill’s house. This will be our home base for a few weeks, while we prepare for and clean up after a river trip. I find Boise to be a very comfortable, ‘small big city’ of about 220,000 people. Two days after our arrival, we headed up to Stanley, Idaho for a two night camping trip. A campsite on Stanley Lake, dinner with local friends, a day hike and my and Eddy’s polar bear swim highlighted the trip. A cumulus cloud with a smoke plume foretold the forest fire smoke we would wake up to Friday morning. Time to head back to Boise. Several large forest fires are burning in northern Idaho in addition to others in Washington, Oregon and California. Fire crews from all over the country are fighting these fires.

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Back in Boise
“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (Revised)” is a crazy play that works in all of Shakespeare’s writings in one bawdy evening of humorous entertainment. I highly recommend it if you like to laugh out loud.

Peg Kern’s Birthday celebration at Joe’s Crab Shack
Peg's birthday

Boise Greenbelt
Boise is a very bicycle-friendly city with many parks and the Greenbelt along the Boise River. It’s very popular and busy during the weekdays. I can get a 14 mile ride downtown and back home, mostly on the trail. The Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial and the Rose Garden are must-see stops along the way.

Forest fires and smoke changed our original plans to float the Salmon River, so we created Plan B. Fortunately, there are lots of rivers in this part of the country to choose from, so we are headed to Oregon. We got a permit to do a six day trip on the Rogue River in the southeast part of the state. It is one of the original Wild and Scenic Rivers and a protected area. It’s pretty exciting as it is new for all five people on the trip. Plans are to stop at Crater Lake National Park on the drive out there. Another stamp in my National Park Passport Book! Our take-out is within 45 minutes of the Pacific Ocean, so a seafood dinner out is the menu for takeout day.

Next post: the river trip.