southern Oregon campers

Do you love historical photos? We do too! Enjoy these old photographs of campers and Rogue River fishermen in southern Oregon. Now that was rough’in it!!

Today, you can camp and fish along the beautiful Rogue River with a few more creature comforts. Check out one Rogue River outfitter’s end of August rafting and kayaking trips–both lodge and camp trips available.

historic photo of oregon camping

historic photos of oregon

rogue river fishing

Special thanks for use of these historic photos of southern Oregon campers and Rogue River fishermen supplied by the Southern Oregon University, Hannon Library Digital Collections.

Geocacher Darrell Potter of Grants Pass, Ore., checks coordinates on his handheld GPS device (AP Photo/The Medford Mail Tribune, Jim Craven)

Geocaching, started in Oregon, marks its 10th year anniversary.

A decade after the first geocache was stashed outside the Oregon community of Beavercreek, enthusiasts of this high-tech scavenger hunt have multiplied the game by more than a million.

Geocaching’s 10th anniversary couldn’t be observed without adding to the 1,049,636 active caches recorded worldwide.

To start geocaching, one needs only a global-positioning system and access to the Internet. Log onto to search caches within several miles of a particular ZIP code or enter a set of coordinates for longitude and latitude. Print out or download the information onto a high-end GPS, palm pilot or iPhone and let the hunt begin.

Geocachers generally hide caches on public land to avoid trespassing on private property, and they attempt to keep clear of “muggles,” or non-geocachers who may take note of the cache and later try to find or dispose of it. Some areas, such as national parks, have banned geocaching in order to keep the land pristine.

While some view geocaching as a form of littering, there is an effort within geocaching circles to improve the pastime’s environmental image and diminish its impact on the natural landscape. However, geocachers aren’t above disguising a cache as trash, such as bottle caps that cover plastic tubes planted in a hole in the ground.

“It’s a real prestige who has the most,” says 56-year-old Debbie Davenport, an avid southern Oregon geocacher.

But anyone with a handheld global-positioning system unit can start racking up finds, often within just a short walk from their own front door. That’s how Davenport got started more than two years ago with her first find near southern Oregon’s Central Point Dollar Tree store, pinpointed by the official geocaching website.

Davenport has since used her GPS unit a Christmas gift intended to help her navigate woodland trails to find and place geocaches all over the region.

“It was a good reason to get outdoors,” she says. “We love to geocache by horseback.”

While rural areas host their fair share of geocaches, the pastime has penetrated urban landscapes. About 200 caches can be found within a 5-mile radius of downtown Medford, according to Many are “nano-caches,” perhaps no more than an inch long and affixed with magnets to common city features, such as light poles and street signs.

“The ones in town are a lot harder to find,” Davenport says. “The ones out in the woods are usually a lot bigger.”

Larger caches commonly contained in plastic containers or metal ammunition boxes usually contain trinkets, along with a logbook. Etiquette dictates that if finders take something out of the cache, they put something back in.

As the Internet’s influence on geocaching has grown over the years, trackable “travel bugs” and “geocoins” have become the most desirable loot. Stamped with unique sequences of numbers, these items can be tracked across the world as geocachers move them from one stash to the next, recording those locations online.

Darrell Potter, 46, of Grants Pass planned to “move along” some geocoins in several stashes he planted this week. But leaving behind real foreign currency is a habit that helps identify him to other local geocachers.

“A lot of the younger kids who geocache with their parents are now collecting these foreign coins,” says Potter.

Potter purchased “a slew” of the virtually worthless coins from a local jeweler for his 15-year-old son, Ethan, who didn’t show much interest in collecting them. But they seemed perfect tokens for the family’s geocaches. Two years after Potter tapped his son and 46-year-old wife Kerri to geocache, foreign coins are the calling card of “Team Trekkerz.”

“Before we knew it, every weekend, we were going out,” Potter says.

“We’ve found almost 600 caches,” he adds. “A thousand is our next target.”

Potter wants to make a pilgrimage to the original geocache a “George of the Jungle” videotape, Ross Perot paperback, cassette recorder and slingshot that Dave Ulmer planted in a bucket on May 3, 2000. The stunt followed President Bill Clinton’s order to cease “selective availability” of GPS satellite coordinates, inaccurately beamed to the public in the interest of military operations. Clinton’s decree instantly improved the accuracy of GPS and spawned the sport that lures millions of geocachers to precise intersections of latitude and longitude.

Beyond pinpointing their position on the globe, geocachers’ 21st-century pursuit often takes them back in time. A recent geocaching trip transported Potter to the Josephine County ghost town of Waldo, with its pioneer cemetery, which he never would have visited otherwise.

“Geocaching’s a great way to learn local history,” Potter says.

Information for this blog was taken from an article written in southern Oregon’s Medford Mail Tribune.

Rogue River Whitewater Rafting

Yippee for Yahoo! Yahoo Travel named the Rogue River as one of the top 10 whitewater rafting locations in the United States.

Here’s part of the Yahoo Travel story that lists the Rogue River as “number 2” on their countdown of the best whitewater rafting river in the US.

“Whitewater Rafting is a thrilling and challenging water sport that can be fun for a wide range of ages and abilities. Be realistic about your skill level before choosing a rafting adventure, challenging rivers should be approached with the utmost of respect and care. Although guides can help lead you down the river, they cannot make up the difference for a beginner on an advanced river trip.

With that said, the following 10 rivers are some of the best the United States has to offer.

2. Rogue River-Oregon. One of the most dramatic rivers in the U.S., this unique location is protected under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of Congress. Expect an uncrowned, pristine environment to enjoy the excitement of the wild Rogue River.”

Haven’t planned your summer vacation yet? There may still be availabilities with quality outfitters on Oregon’s wild & scenic Rogue River. Check out the friendly folks at ROW Adventures for more information on this top ten whitewater rafting river.

It’s no secret. Southern Oregon’s wine country is well-known and well-respected outside the confines of the state of Oregon. And there is one southern Oregon annual event that showcases Oregon’s world-class growers and vintners: World of Wine (WOW).

Jacksonville Oregon hosts 2011 World of Wine Festival

This year WOW’s venue is located in the quaint town of Jacksonville, Oregon. Opening reception is Wednesday night, August 24th and runs through that late August weekend with all kinds of southern Oregon wine related events. 53 southern Oregon wineries will be participating this year and organizers say that for the first time ever, WOW attendees will be able to purchase wine by the bottle or case while at the festival.

Tickets are priced per event so you can go to all of the wine-related events or just one. World of Wine, which always sells out, and is on a fast track to do so again, is co-sponsored by the Rogue Valley Winegrowers Association and the Southern Oregon Winery Association, and the Jacksonville Oregon Business Association.

We encourage you to attend this year’ World of Wine festival. Maybe wrap your Rogue River whitewater rafting trip around this one-of-a-kind event. Get to know all the subtle “flavors” of the Rogue River Valley!

Stunning Crater Lake video. We listed this incredible video by Ben Canales on Whitewater Warehouse’s website and Facebooked about it but wanted to expose it to an even broader audience…so it is showing up in our blog. Just look at this beautiful, time-lapse video of Crater Lake’s night sky…the stars, the snow, the lake…simply stunning. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

We thought we’d written a blog on southern Oregon’s Siskiyou Field Institute–an incredible educational resource–but discovered we had not! So, for those who don’t know about the Institute, get ready to be enlightened….

Siskiyou Field Institute offers adult & youth field classes

Siskiyou Field Institute’s adult field-based natural history courses offer lifelong learning opportunities. Besides the adult courses, the Institute provides youth educational programs.

Whether you’re a weekend birder, a hiker looking for new areas to explore, an artist inspired by the natural world, a hardcore botanist or simply a person who wants to learn a bit more about the natural history of the region; you’re sure to find classes at Siskiyou Field Institute to catch your interest.

Inspiring and informative classes, top-notch instructors, and a wonderful community of people curious about the natural world – you’ll find them all at the Siskiyou Field Institute. You can contact the Siskiyou Field Institute here.

Rogue River Ranch

Although the Rogue River Ranch seems out of the way nowadays, this area by the wild Rogue River saw over 8000 years of human occupation, first by Takelma-speaking natives, and later by Athapaskans. By 1856, after wars and broken treaties, the natives were removed to reservations, and this area was settled by miners who eked gold out of the gravel. The Rogue River Ranch was the economic center of the old Marial mining community,

By 1929, the gold had played out and the original homesteaders sold their claim, and in 1970, the BLM bought the entire complex. Rogue River Ranch is in a remote location. There are no gas stations or other services available. Camping is allowed at Tucker Flat Campground or at the mouth of Mule Creek on the wild Rogue River.

On your Rogue River whitewater rafting trip through the wilderness canyon, you will come upon the Rogue River ranch at the end of your second day on the river. Take some time to tour the “working” museum where you can experience how the early river pioneers lived and worked on a day-to-day basis. There are also many interesting photographs from the early days of settling the area.

Southern Oregon newest destination encourages you to “walk among the butterflies!” It’s the recently opened Butterfly Pavilion located in Cave Junction. The 2011 season justed opened on June 25 and will remain open to visitors until early October. Hours are: Friday – Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Suggested donations are: Adults – $5; Youth (6 – 17) – $3; children (under 5) – Free.

Painted Lady Butterfly

The Butterfly Pavilion, a  project of  Rusk Ranch Nature Center, is focused on kids, families and visitors to the southern Oregon area.

Using native species and the help of volunteers, the Butterfly Pavilion offers an interactive learning environment for area youth.  The Pavilion also helps preserve threatened species such as the Western Monarch.

School age children are offered the opportunity to observe, learn and help with the growth and nurturing of the caterpillars and butterflies.  High school age youth are offered community service experience to act as docents and helpers for butterfly workshops through the Nature Discovery Leaders Program.

The Butterfly Pavilion is available during the visitor season as a destination activity thereby giving southern Oregon visitors a chance to experience this wonder of wonders along with the Rogue River, Oregon Caves National Monument, Kerbyville Museum and Great Cats World Park.

Visit the Butterfly Pavilion and walk with the butterflies!

Contact the Butterfly Pavilion by email or call them at 541-287-2164 for more information.

Click here to view a list of butterflies native to Josephine County, Oregon.
This list is compiled by BAMONA (Butterflies and Moths of North America).

Zach Urness is the outdoor writer for southern Oregon’s Grants Pass Daily Courier. We really like his style and the fact that he digs up interesting southern Oregon outdoor adventures. He  experiences these activities first-hand and then writes about them in his various columns. One of his latest articles entitled, “Discover the Seven Secrets of Southwest Oregon,” was recently published by the Oregonian newspaper.

Another interesting Zach article is “The Rogue River Trail’s Best Hike.”

Rogue River Hikers

We like his style because it comes from actual experience and he gives detailed instructions as to who, what, when, where, and why. We’ll be following Grants Pass Daily Courier writer Zach Urness to the most beautiful outdoor destinations in Southern Oregon and Northern California. His website includes videos, stories and photos, along with everything you need to know about hiking, camping, rafting and fishing in this magnificent section of the West Coast.

Are you planning a trip to southern Oregon but curious about the road conditions? Here’s the website to check with first: Trip Check. Trip Check is run by the Oregon Dept. of Transportation (ODOT). Trip Check’s southern Oregon webcams, that ODOT has positioned along Interstate 5, really help travelers decide if weather, construction or even accidents might delay their journeys. The site also includes written information about road hazards and delays. Efficient and up-to-date…just the way we like things.

Trip Check southern Oregon map