~ The Rogue River and U.S. Route 199 ~

The Rogue River in southwestern Oregon flows about 215 miles (346 km) in a generally westward direction from the Cascade Range on the north side of Crater Lake to the Pacific Ocean near Gold Beach, OR.

Known for its salmon runs, whitewater rafting, and rugged scenery, it was one of the original eight rivers named in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. Beginning near Crater Lake, the river flows through the geologically young High Cascades and the older Western Cascades.

People have lived along the Rogue River and its tributaries for at least 8,500 years. In 1856, the Indians living along the Rogue, then, were removed to reservations outside the Rogus River Basin, while white settlers moved in.

Dam building and removal along the Rogue has generated controversy for more than a century; an early fish-blocking dam (Ament) was dynamited by vigilantes, mostly disgruntled salmon fishermen. By 2009 all but one of the main-stem dams downstream of a huge flood-control structure 157 miles from the river's mouth had been removed. Aside from dams, threats to salmon include high water temperatures.

Rogue River Gorge

Driving down Oregon Route 62 from Crater Lake, I kept catching glimpses of a river on my right.

It was running at a pretty good speed, so I stopped at several places and took some photos.

One of those places it had cut rather deeply into the side of the mountain. This was Rogue River Gorge.
At the outlet of the gorge a tree must be a "rugged individual" to survive the harsh conditions. Here, there is a lack of soil coupled with hot, dry summers. These Douglas firs send their roots deep into the fractured rock in search of water and cling to the gorge walls like rock climbers.

The ancient Rogue River flowed about 650 feet below the current elevation. The original river valley was filled by layer after layer of lava. These lava flows occurred about 1.25 million years ago.
The Rogue River Gorge was likely formed by the collapse of lava tubes and the force of the river as it followed fractures between the layers of lava.

Rogue River Gorge forms a chasm 500 feet long. The Gorge narrows to 25 feet in this place and the drop to the water is 45 feet. Enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool (410,000 gallons) flows by each minute.

On the flat surfaces of the lava flows, away from the gorge walls, trees live as groups rather than as individuals. The roots of different trees grow together, providing each other with nutrients and water.
Before it was cut down, the roots of this tree had grafted onto those of a neighboring tree. Because of this, the stump continues to live.

Natural "Bridge"

Near this spot the Rogue River disappears into an old lava tube. It takes about 35 seconds to travel the 200 feet to the tube's outlet. Most seasons the entire flow of the river is through the tube, however, in periods of high water (when I was there, because of the lasting snow melt) the river overflows the tube.
Natural Bridge is a misnomer. It is more like a natural tunnel.

In the left photo the water exits the lava tube just right of center, while the main flow is at the bottom of the photo.
On the right is a Blocked lava tube, which has formed a cave.

The "cave" is part of a well-defined lava tube. The water flowing into it appears to circulate and then return to the main channel. This indicates that the tube has collapsed at some point beyond the opening.

A beautiful day for traveling

U.S. Route 199

U.S. Route 199 is a U.S. highway in the states of California and Oregon. The highway was established in 1926 as a spur of U.S. Route 99, which has since been replaced by Interstate 5.
US 199 stretches 80 miles (130 km) from U.S. Route 101 near Crescent City, California northeast to Interstate 5 in Grants Pass, Oregon. The highway is the northern portion of the Redwood Highway. In Oregon, US 199 is officially known as Redwood Highway No. 25. The majority of the road in California is the Smith River Scenic Byway, a Forest Service Byway.

Changing states

Looking up

Looking down

Smith River

Enter Redwood Country

It seemed that everywhere there was a pulloff it was at a left hand curve in the road.

Music is "Forest"

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