Rogue River! Highlight video - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-28-2018   #1
My name isn't Will
 
Will Amette's Avatar
 
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 129
Rogue River! Highlight video

Four of us just got back from a really GREAT Rogue River trip that almost wasn't.

Aside from some planning challenges, it was a great trip. One of the best. The biggest planning challenge was that the PH had to cancel due to a medical issue less than five days before launch. The group had already been undergoing some personnel changes, but this was a BIG one. The four of us left who still wanted to try to go started calling at 7:57 the next morning. I personally made 122 unsuccessful attempts. One of our people got through; Ryan said she could have the four permits, and he asked if he could call her back (it was busy). She said no problem to wait on hold. We had two days to plan the trip and pack meals.

We had two kayaks (Gus and Jive) and Black Pearl Honeybee (NRS E-150). We also had a Tower paddle board that got brought out for about a quarter of the river miles or so. Flow was about 1900 CFS at Agness; about the same as our trip a couple weeks earlier. Weather was great. Smiles all day long. No smoke!

The only complaint was a clueless private group that insisted on crashing our camp with a group of 16 including a bunch of wild boys. There was another LARGE camp less than a half-mile downstream, but they insisted that they HAD to stop. That's fine, but then they set up their kitchen and a large tarp right in front of where we had set up our chairs under some shade trees to look at the river. We moved and found a tiny spot of shade in a bunch of willows. It was a nice way to get some of our privacy back. Then their boys kept coming through our part of the camp to fish and swim. Clueless! I ran into a commercial guide a couple days later who recognized us. He told us this group had just tried to camp with them at lower Kelsey; he said no. They were looking for upper Kelsey. He told them they came too far. They set up right across from the commercial group and made lots of noise all evening and all morning. Clueless! The commercial guide told us he thinks most private groups are pretty clueless, but he said our group gave him hope.

Enjoy our highlights. I tried to embed the video here, but I must be doing something wrong.

While you're at it, check out one of our group who just couldn't stop surfing. I didn't want to include so much in the main video, but he can't stop smiling.

Big shout out to Orange Torpedo Trips/Whitewater Cowboys. As part of our planning, our group was, at one point, going to need to rent a third raft (or second depending on when during the planning we're talking). Whitewater Cowboys let us use our deposit towards our shuttles even though we were just a few days from launch. Thanks guys!

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Old 07-29-2018   #2
My name isn't Will
 
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Willamette Valley, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 129
The last detail:


The original permit holder refused to accept any repayment for the permits he had obtained and had to cancel. We paid for them a second time, but wanted to pay our share of the original trip. No go. He said he'd return any check we sent.


So, we figured a way. We took the cash and made a donation to American Whitewater in his honor. Just heard word that he's happy about that.


Yay!
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Old 07-29-2018   #3
 
Portland, Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 70
I have my doubts about which was the clueless party based on this description alone.

Here is some relevant text from the Rogue River Info & Ethics page


Quote:
Be prepared to share!
o Large sites that can accommodate groups of 10-20 people are limited.
o If you are a smaller group using a large site, please use one side of the site so you are
prepared to share.
o Remain flexible in your choice of sites, and try not to unnecessarily impose your group
on an already occupied site when other sites may be available.
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Old 07-29-2018   #4
My name isn't Will
 
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Willamette Valley, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbomb View Post
I have my doubts about which was the clueless party based on this description alone.

Here is some relevant text from the Rogue River Info & Ethics page


Be prepared to share!
o Large sites that can accommodate groups of 10-20 people are limited.
o If you are a smaller group using a large site, please use one side of the site so you are
prepared to share.
o Remain flexible in your choice of sites, and try not to unnecessarily impose your group
on an already occupied site when other sites may be available.

Thanks for your perspective/speculation. Had you been there, you would have no doubt. I'll provide a few more details to better inform your opinion.

Not only were we prepared to share, we actually tried to chase down a group that stopped and looked like they wanted to stay there. They left and when we ran into them a couple days later, they found a great camp just downstream. It was one of the HUGE ones, and they were the only folks there. Also, we did only take up a small portion of the site for this very reason; we knew it was a bigger site than our group.

When we arrived at the site, it was already late in the afternoon. It wasn't occupied, so while it wasn't a site we had been thinking about taking, we took it anyway. Our plan was to camp in places that aren't on the map, and we generally did very well with this plan. The camp in question was Tyee. There's a sand bar that has formed just off the beach making it a bit difficult to access the site. As I understand, that's why commercials don't use it anymore. This group passed up Whiskey Creek which can accommodate several groups. They also passed up Sanderson, presumably to go ahead and get below Rainey the first day. They must have launched really late, and Sanderson might have been a great idea for them.

The last bullet in your list says: try not to unnecessarily impose your group on an already occupied site when other sites may be available. It was definitely getting late when they rolled up, but making the next half mile to Wildcat would have been really easy. Wildcat accommodates two large groups. This group had other options. There was one group of two people at Wildcat. Not only did this group insist incorrectly that this was their "last chance," they imposed on the small area we were taking up in the camp. They had camped at Almeda the night before launch. Two of our group were there, too. The large group's wild boys ran around screaming all evening there. They impacted everyone camping at Almeda.

This same group later came up to lower Kelsey and asked a commercial guide about upper Kelsey. He told them they had passed it by a mile or so. According to the guide, they really had no idea where they were. The place they chose to camp that night wasn't really a camp. Their wild kids impacted two other groups with their loud behavior all evening and again in the morning. The group either was clueless that their behavior affected other folks or they just didn't care.

But we had a really great trip anyway.

For what it's worth, this same group camped at Marial near some other friends of ours who launched the day after we did. They reported that the group was clueless, loud, and left litter around camp. So that's two private and one commercial group that was there and agrees this group was a negative impact on other users.

I do appreciate you pointing out how Rogue River camps work. It's absolutely true that if you're a small group and occupy a larger camp, you should be prepared to share. I've been on both sides. I also was down there a couple weeks before and passed several occupied sites that we could have asked to share but didn't. It was a crazy windy day, and we ended up rowing 19 miles that day. It sucked. We ended up camping on a little tiny beach covered with goose poop that was 27' x 70' in total. We made do. We tried not to impact other people's experience. This other group did no such thing.

Thanks again. Let's get on the river some time!
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Old 07-31-2018   #5
 
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 1
Hey Will,

Nice trip videos, and I’m glad your group had a good time on the Rogue!

I rarely read MountainBuzz, haven’t posted before, and I’m posting against my better judgment now. I was part of the group that apparently ruined your evening at Tyee. (Our group’s lone kayaker, orange Pyranha, blue helmet.)

I respect your desire to have the river experience you planned. Everybody spends time, money, and effort to make a trip happen—us too—and we’re all hoping for the best time possible. I’m genuinely sorry that we gave you reason to feel we weren’t sharing the Tyee site respectfully or otherwise sharing the river.

You’ve thrown around some labels and gossip here, and confused us with at least one other group. It seems fair to respond. I’m not interested in tit-for-tat and it’s not useful to the forum, but this thread has already touched on campsite etiquette and river ethics, so I’ll keep it relevant.

1. You certainly have a valid point about our group being noisy. We tried harder than it probably seemed to limit kid voices to daylight hours and respect the river corridor, wildlife, and other groups. We had 8 adults and 8 children between 5 and 17 years old. Like other kids on the river (including commercial trips), they had water fights, swam, ran around, and did outdoors kid stuff. We supervised for safety, not always for decorum. Most of the kids and some of the parents were new to river trips, and their learning experience was sometimes loud. It was ambitious trying to run a safe trip with so many children, and we would probably plan it differently in future. “Other people’s kids” are always the worst, right? But they deserved to be on the Rogue as much as anybody else. I hope we can all remember being excited to be outdoors as children.

2. I guess we “insisted” on staying when we arrived at Tyee, in the sense that we didn’t meekly disappear downstream. FWIW, I approached your group politely, noted your “first come, first served” dibs on the shade and tent sites, thanked you for sharing, and specifically asked you for ideas about dividing the area so we could both have a little space and privacy. You proposed a boundary that you said you could live with. Our group stuck to it. One of your guys thanked us for honoring the arrangement the next morning.

3. Campsite planning is tough in July, as you point out. We did not merely blow by Whiskey Creek. It was fully occupied by several groups larger than yours—as were the other large sites on down. Although we could have continued down to Wildcat, we thought we’d find at least one group there as well, maybe larger than yours. You say you were prepared to share, but also say we should have gone somewhere else. Put it this way: if it’d been Horseshoe or the Kelseys or any of the big popular sites, wouldn’t you expect to share at the height of permit season? I have done so, on prior trips, and met some good folks.

4. People conflicts aside, I really value the Wild and Scenic section and care about protecting it. We were NOT the group you describe who camped near Marial, nor do we litter. We ran from opposite lower Kelsey (your group was camped downstream of the play wave) to Paradise Lodge that day and did not camp. As for litter, those “wild boys” scoured several sites for trash to pack out with us—including Tyee. Teachable moment.

5. The commercial guide at Lower Kelsey who was annoyed at seeing us across the river had run a “rabbit” gear boat ahead of his group to snag a popular site for paying clients. Opinion varies on etiquette for commercial operations using a public resource. I personally dislike the growing trend of guide services creating a caste system around limited-access backcountry areas and parks in the PNW and California, but that’s another discussion. The site in question has two large beaches that accommodate 20+ people easily. I saw 7 clients.

If by “clueless” you mean “incompetent” or “ignorant about the river,” no. Lots of rowing, kayaking, SWR, and Rogue experience in our group, despite many newbies. If you mean “inconsiderate”—not intentionally. Amazing as it is, the Rogue in mid-July can seem more like popular frontcountry than backcountry. One is simply going to encounter lots of other users. And on this trip, it sounds like we were the other users you deplored. Not what we meant.

I’m not trying to change your mind about your own experience. Most of my own trips on the Rogue have been small and so low-key that I rarely encounter other boaters except at lodges. But please don’t assume that we don’t care about other river users because of third-hand info.

Finally, I want to thank two guys in your group, particularly your friend Bob in the Jive. He offered help with a flat tire on my truck at Almeda and was gracious at Tyee and downstream. I really appreciated that. He should come north and boat the Sky drainage or the Green Gorge with (some of) us when the rain starts again!
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Old 07-31-2018   #6
My name isn't Will
 
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Willamette Valley, Oregon
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Posts: 129
Nick,

Thanks for posting this. I was kind of hoping someone from your group might respond. I sort of thought the previous response might have been from someone in your group, but probably not.

Your message clarifies some things about your group, and it shows an error of mine. I didn't see your group camped at Marial; that was a report from a friend who was hiking and walked past your camp before seeing us across the river just downstream. Mea culpa. Their group wouldn't have been camped at Marial if they weren't supporting hikers. I presumed she recognized that you were the same group they camped near. I am also glad that y'all weren't blasting music like that group was when you were near us.

I didn't speak to you directly when you came up to our camp. I don't think you were too excited to be designated messenger, and I wouldn't have wanted to do it either. Yes, you were polite. The person who initially talked to you pointed out the area we would be using and pointed out that the area downstream didn't look great for 16. He had been camped at Almeda the night before. When I did interact with your group, one of the things that was said by one of the adults in your group was, "Nobody wants another Almeda." So there was some recogniation within your group that you were impacting others.

Another thing that was said by your group was not to worry about our part of camp being overrun, but kids stomped through our sleeping area and started fishing right out in front of the one little spot we had sequestered ourselves to for some privacy. He caught a minnow and started yelling, "GET MY DAD; I GOT A FISH! GET MY DAD; I GOT A FISH!" One of our group later asked that kid about whether he would be trapsing through our camp in the morning, and he said, no he wouldn't do that. Then they had a brief conversation about if they had a good dinner. All of this didn't "ruin" our evening, but it did impact it.

It was not my intent to include all the details about your group, and I didn't in my initial post. Another poster suggested our group might have been clueless, so I did. As it turns out, you read it and clarified some things, so now I'm glad that I did. And I really am glad you responded. I was more clueless than I realized, but not really clueless.

We really did have a great trip. It was easily one of the best if not the very best. We just barely missed the smoke that surely is down there now with the Taylor fire. I hope the smoke abates by the time we go back in October.

Commercials pretty much all run rabbit boats on the Rogue. Privates can too. Many do. That's why we don't ever plan to get large sites, and why we try to only go with smaller groups even though sometimes there's several other folks we'd like to travel with. We don't want to play the rabbit game. The BLM gives the PH two copies of the permit. As long as the rabbit boat has one copy (and a groover), they can go on ahead and set up. It's why we were suprised Tyee was even open, especially as late in the day as it was when we arrived. Next time we'll probably pass up named sites entierely no matter how late it is, and we'll just stay "off the map." It usually works out for everyone that way. I never saw the commercial passengers; they arrived after we passed. We left before they rolled out of camp.

Thanks for packing out trash. I think we hauled out more trash that we found than trash we generated inlcuding shoes, parts of shoes, shirts, and other nastier stuff. It's kind of sad. I'm still looking for the previous owner of a wayward oar I dragged out, but that's not really trash. On another trip a few weeks ago (week of July 4), the BLM ranger that stopped by our camp at Horseshoe said he had found a FIRE RING at Doe Creek that was still warm. Holy cats; some folks really ARE cluless.

Bob is great. He told us about the broken tire. He actually LIVES up north. Send me a PM and I can put you in touch with him. He's paddling glacial melt this time of the year, and he likes to take that jive out and surf the ocean. Somewhere I have a picture of him at La Push a dozen years ago or so with HUGE surf.

Again; my apologies for mistaking the group our friends encountered at Marial with your group. I hope that next time we see each other on the river, it will be a more pleasant experience for everyone.
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Old 07-31-2018   #7
 
Portland, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Amette View Post
I sort of thought the previous response might have been from someone in your group, but probably not.
Haven't been down the Rogue since May. Looks like mixing up completely separate groups is a habit for you.
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