There is a bike path that runs through the park and I wanted to explore it. I hopped on the bike and rode up river until the path crossed the bridge at the town of Rogue River and then it continued along old highway 99....on the shoulder of a very busy road. There are much better paths in the area that aren't busy.
The Jet Boat is docked in Grants Pass on the river. For some reason I visioned the jet boat as only being one boat going up river. When got to the dock the line was huge! It turns out there are 5 boats that all leave about the same time. The Jet Boat trip to Hellsgate was a "hell of a ride". Five jet boats full of about 60 plus people each headed up river towards Hellsgate, which is where the river narrows to a gorge. The boats leave promptly at 4:30 and return 8:00ish. The trip includes a stop at Cowboy Camp for dinner.
The river was pretty calm, and the scenery nice, although it was a little cloudy.
About 20 minutes into the boat ride it started to rain, then pour, then pour even harder, then hail, then hail even harder, then wind and hail..big hail. Ouch! Can this get any worse? The camera was put away and all stuff put in our one little plastic bag which I had had enough forethought to bring. I had been told this was not a white water trip and didn't need to worry about getting wet. Yeah, right.
Our boat was the lead Jet Boat and the pilot suggested we could take a vote and skip Hellsgate and go directly to dinner or try Hellsgate and then go to dinner. We all voted to try going to Hellgate, at least for a glimpse before turning back to Cowboy camp. The wind was really picking up and so was the lightening. We made it to the mouth of Hellsgate and up river a little but had to turn back to Cowboy camp because of the wind and lightening....Well we got a glimpse but I don't have photos to show. My head was down trying to avoid getting pelted. It was raining and hailing way to hard.
The Jet Boat docked at Cowboy camp and the tram was waiting to drive us to the top of the hill, but it was raining so hard, most folks didn't wait to be seated on the tram and headed up the hill. The expression of the young man and the far left of the photo shows it all.
We were soaked, so a little more rain didn't hurt. The mist in the photos is hard, hard rain, not mist. It was a little hike to the Cowboy Camp but not bad. The river is in the middle of the photo and barely visible.
The Cowboy Camp structure is a huge covered deck. Thanks goodness for the cover.
The kitchen crew had started a fire to help warm us, but it didn't help much. ..too many people trying to crowd around one tiny little fire. Dry towels would have been more appropriate. I had brought along my Patagonia sweater which was soaked but the fabrics keeps you warm even though wet. Joel and I took turns wearing it during dinner. It's baby blue, so it matches his eyes. Despite the rain the food was really good and included ribs, chicken, salad, veggies, cornbread, dessert and all the wine and beer you could drink (for some that was a plus). What we really needed was hot Irish coffee!
Back to the boat we went...we were still very, very, wet by the way. Some folks bailed and were hiring taxis to go back . The rest of us braved the rain, but by now it had started to let up. The Pilot joked about the rain and did his best to thrill us with spins and antics on the way back. The crowd was surprisingly in good spirits, except for a few...perhaps they should have taken a taxi back with the other folks. The rain had quit by the time we got back to the dock....thank goodness. We were still soaking wet and made a beeline for the truck, turned on the heated seats, cracked up the heater, and headed back to the Beaver in anticipation of hot showers.
Whew..I hope I don't have to go through that again or at least have some warning and be prepared. I remember our Niagara Falls boat trip prepared for you to get wet and gave you rain equipment. Lesson learned.
Tomorrow is another day with cloudy skies so I'll be a little more prepared.