Friday, July 3, 2009

Vacation to NoCal and SoOr

We just returned from a trip up Interstate 5 to southern Oregon where we camped beside the Rogue River. Above is Mt. Shasta -- a dormant volcano with a cool 14,100 elevation. Views of Mt. Shasta (and snow covered Mt. Lassen to the east) dominated much of the trip north of Redding to the border. Shasta is at the southern end of the Cascade mountain range.

We pitched our tent at Valley of the Rogue state campground. The campground was a good jumping off point to experience the river and southern Oregon, but was too close to the freeway for my taste. Our camp neighbors, however, were great. Why are people so friendly when they're camping?

We fished along the river's edge and caught, cleaned, cooked and ate rainbow trout. My son did all the work, but I feel a good bit of satisfaction in helping him along. I took a crash course in fishing at Rogue River Pharmacy which has as its slogan "Guns and Drugs" and sells lots of both. Anyway, the white coated pharmacist and an old guy behind the sporting goods counter patiently schooled me on the right tackle, bait and fishing spots.

Fishing in the river a short walk from our campsite.

Highlights of the trip were Butte Creek Mill, where the owner gave us a tour of the water- powered mill built in 1872, the Rogue Creamery, which has the best free samples I've ever seen (jalapeno curds were incredible), House of Mystery, I'm a sucker for that stuff and the kids love it, Wildlife Safari, which deserves a separate post, and the Hellgate Jet Boat trip. I also became a big fan of Dutch Bros. Coffee , and, of course, no sales tax.

Out of Grants Pass, the jet boats took us westward into Hellgate Canyon. What a great adventure for the family! Our boat pilot sometimes floated along to allow for wildlife viewing and then seemingly floored it at other spots. Egged on by some college guys in our boat, the pilot turned a few 360's. We were all wet by the time it was over.

One of the more interesting shots I got on the jet boat ride was of this vulture who stood guard on top of the river bank. About 20 feet below a trio of vultures ripped away at a salmon carcass laying on the rocks. (I'll spare you the shot of the Salmon carcass.)

We saw two bald eagles. This one was perched in a tree along the river's edge.

We had a great time getting windblown and soaked on the boat. Wet head, big smile. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

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