Looking out our window this morning, marine clouds top the forested ridge across the river which is a short walk past the swimming pool, the green lawn, and the river rock at water’s edge. At times, the river is 10 or 20 feet higher. Today, it is a very peaceful. A few birds paddle now, and the kayaks await our paddles later.
Ecosystems amaze me, and scientists learn more each year. Nutrients from the forests wash down toward the ocean, forming estuaries rich with diverse plant and animal life. Sea nutrients go upriver, too. Salmon nutrients upstream fed not only bears, who then distributed the nutrients in the forest soil, but also bugs and other invertebrates that fed off the dead salmon that completed their life’s journey. The birds eat the bugs, and scientists have identified salmon nutrients in them, too. (Typically, I get my salmon nutrients from Trader Joe’s and restaurants.)
Unlike within other wilderness areas, the government permits lodging along the Rogue up to a point, when there are only grandfathered houses. Motorboats may continue upstream. We took Jerry’s Jet Boats upriver 32 miles to the little town of Agnes, population about 75 people. Agnes used to have a little school for K – 6, but no more. When they got down to 5 students about a decade ago, it closed.
At Gold Beach, tourists stop along Highway 101 where river meets ocean. Not much there other than Jerry’s, gas stations, and a couple of places for food. A general hospital and the county seat provide for other employment, too.
Jerry’s Jet Boats is not a wilderness experience. It’s more like splash mountain. However, it provides tourists a quick look at the contours of the lower 32 miles of the Rogue River. We saw recreational vehicles, osprey, eagles, tents, blue heron, egrets, geese, mergansers, river otters, and other critters.
Jerry’s can load about 50 people per boat. Using three car engines to power us past depth as shallow as 10 inches, Jerry’s’s multiple boats roar up and down the river several times per day. The boats bring tourist dollars upstream where we deposit them with the two restaurants and servers, who distribute them further in the woods.