Tuesday, April 9, 2013

PROSPECT ADVENTURE

                                                                           
Michael Drevenstedt and Ed Cunningham in Prospect, Or.
  Prospect Oregon is home to one of my favorite water systems and it's just 28 miles from Crater Lake state Park. Here in Prospect the Rogue river is joined by Mill creek and also Red Blanket Creek among others. The river has created a giant canyon filled with boulders some are as big as houses. This canyon is known as the Avenue of the Boulders. There are several waterfalls in the area and some of the most amazing white water around.  This adventure would be Ed Cunningham, Michael Drevenstedt and myself, Corley Watling. Leaving Cave Junction around 9:30 am we arrived in Prospect around noon. While we were in town we made a quick stop at the visitor information center for some maps and we headed to the parking area for the avenue of the boulders.
The view of the Bridge.
    We were about a mile down the trail from the parking area when Ed said, "there's the bridge". When I got through the brush and into the clearing a giant canyon was in front of me spanned by an artistic concrete bridge. This canyon has been carved out over the years by the raging water of the rogue river. Steep faces drop down over a hundred feet on both sides of the river. After hiking a bit further along the trail it intersects the main road and the bridge. This bridge has been restored in the last few years and now looks stellar and historic. Walking out on it and looking over the side railing gave me a bit of a head rush. The water under the bridge some 60' or more below carves a narrow and violent path through the giant boulders. The enormous rocks look like they were just tossed here and there. What a scene from the bridge its just spectacular and truly one of a kind.
    Moving along to the other side if the canyon Ed and I led the way down a narrow path toward the river bottom. Michael was filming as we moved along the way down to the river. About 20 minutes later we emerged at a sandy area with the river rushing only a few feet away. The noise of the river down there is heavy like a train and you can feel the power vibrating through your body. All around there is a thick mist in the air smelling clean and organic. At the "shore" a large boulder has been eroded away and now the whole face is scoured smooth. This rock face runs down about 14' to the sand making a cool natural slide. Plus you have to duck down to clear an old log only adding to the fun. We took several runs down the slide and laughed at each other the whole time. 
Michael in a beautiful location.
This is a natural rock slide.
The sun was bright overhead and a few clouds were threatening some rain or snow. Our scenes were peaking on the natural strength and raw beauty of this location. Soon adventure took over our minds and the three of us were climbing, jumping and just playing around all over.
We filmed each other jumping to distant locations with the water rushing below or climbing up and around  balancing on a log jam. It took several hours to tire our enthusiasm and we filled the time with video and photo inspired "stunts". Scampering down a slick log to jump across a wide gap in the rocks. Then cling to a rock face above the deep water only to walk along the slippery rocks in the rapids. Finally leaping back and climbing up to the safety of the area you started from. With the place fully explored we met up at a sandy
Ed at the old bridge foundation.
location along the shore and had a little snack.
 This picture of Ed shows the power of the water.
  Just down river from this spot is an old foundation
for a bridge. The old foundation still clinging to the canyon wall and some bits of structural steel are the only remains. It seems at one point the water was so high that even the old bridge could not hold up to the mighty rogue river and was washed away forever leaving only the concrete foundation. It is a super cool photo opportunity and
we took advantage of it. The sun was beginning to pass behind the mountains so it was time to head out and continue our adventure. At another spot we found a large falls, the water here was divided by two islands making three separate water falls. Lush vegetation drooped with clinging water from the air. A loud crushing sound from the water cleared my head and I took this time to enjoy a natural water feature with my friends. We took lots of pictures and then we headed back to the car.
This is a series of the same falls.
An island divides this from the first shot.
The far left of the falls.
    About 10 miles north from Prospect on Hwy. 62 is the Rogue River, Natural Bridge area. This view point is closed for winter and we would have to leave the car on Hwy.62 and hike into the park. I visited this park a few years ago but that was much earlier in the year. When we got to the turnoff the snow was not plowed so we had to park just off the road. The snow on the way down to the natural bridge was two or three feet deep. Most of the time the hard crust would hold us up on top of the snow pack but when our feet would break through the snow was up to your thigh. Another mile or so closer to the river the wind picked up and started blowing cold in our faces. My legs were getting tired from hiking through the deep snow, but I knew this location was well worth the suffering. Several miles later Ed, Michael and I arrived at the trail head that marks the beginning of the natural bridges area. The park has information boards all around that contain valuable knowledge about the formation of the natural bridge. This "natural bridge" is actually an old lava tube formed from volcanic activity in the past. As time went by the lava tube collapsed but a section still remains and  formed a large underground tunnel that captured the river. An opening on one side of the river funnels the water and sends over 300,000 gallons of water a minute through this tube underground. The water is carried underground for over 200 feet and it takes no time at all for it to cover this distance. We spent an hour or so enjoying the scene and documenting the natural beauty. Then, with the sun down, our feet hit the trail and headed for the car. Around an hour or so later we loaded up in the car and started the drive home. As we drove away my mind was reeling from the day and all we had seen. This adventure was pure joy and I know that our adventures will lead us back to the Rogue River and the outstanding wonder it creates on it's own adventure down to the ocean. Until next time the adventure is yours.

Corley Watling
Michael Drevenstedt
and Featuring: Ed Cunningham