Lightweight Backpacking After 60 in the Rogue Valley

Upper Rogue River Dayhike – Oct. 20, 2012

Beginning point: Natural Bridge End point: River Bridge Total Miles: 8.1
Hikers: Steve W., Maria G., Mary E., Suzanne M., Dianne K., Chiyemi D., Terry D., Jack R., Lynn R., Connie, Mary K.; Dogs: Bailey and Chiloquin

This trip was originally going to be a three day backpack. This was shortened to a day hike because the campgrounds where we were going to camp (Natural Bridge and River Bridge) closed early and people also expressed concern over the long hours of fall darkness.
We gathered at Mary K.’s house in Ashland at 8:30 AM and carpooled up to River Bridge on Highway 62 north of Prospect, where we again carpooled to Natural Bridge to facilitate a shuttle. Thanks to all who shared their vehicles to make the shuttle happen. After a short trip across the Rogue River to look at Natural Bridge, we re-crossed the river and hiked south on the Upper Rogue River Trail, which closely follows the east bank of the river. Fall colors were at their height—red and yellow splashes of color lined the river.

The trail passed through canopies of bright yellow trees that seemed to light up the trail. Takelma Gorge was spectacular. Jack and Lynn looked for mushrooms and found one chanterelle. It was a little early for the mushroom harvest—which maybe better after the next storm. Our starting elevation was just over 3200 feet . Cumulative elevation loss for the trip was 400 feet over 8.1 miles—although the distance seemed shorter. The grade of the trail was nearly level with a few steep uphill pitches and rocky sections. We started hiking down the trail at about 10:45 AM and finished by approximately 3:45 PM. We had a short lunch break at the Woodruff Bridge picnic area which was about 3.5 miles from the start of our hike. The weather was unsettled and cool—it was lightly raining as we drove through Medford on our way to the trailhead in the morning, but stopped before we got to River Bridge. The weather remained unsettled but the sun came out sporadically in the afternoon, which heightened landscape photography interest.
—-submitted by Mary K.

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