If there’s one thing we’re learning about this trip it’s that it truly is all about winding roads. What secrets or adventures we’ll come upon around the next bend is what makes our days worthwhile.
The gem that greeted us after we left Crater National Park and headed for Joseph Stewart State Park was the Rogue River Gorge.
Along side Route 62 we spotted a number of pullouts. We were ready for lunch and figured a perch along the river would be nice. We found a spot and pulled over.
What we noticed first were the obvious signs that the river was flanked by a lava flow (see photos). Not unusual for the area considering Crater Lake. We sat down, had our lunch, and then decided to explore the river bank a bit more.
The river it turns out, swiftly courses into a gorge. Not a few hundred feet down the road we would have been met be a visitors’ sign announcing a footpath that follows the deepening, raging course of the river.
The most fascinating discovery on the walk were the lava tubes. Lava tubes were created when, in some cases, the lava flow hardened on the outside and created a “tunnel” for the lava to flow through. When the lava finished its coursing, the outer crust remained steadfast as the remaining lava emptied out. Later, as the river began finding its own way, the gorge and lava tubes played a part in charting its course.
Along the footpath you could see where the river “disappeared” and then “reappeared” 50 feet downstream. The second photo is the top of a lava tube and you can see the water reappear downstream. The tubes also serve as a kind of bridge that allows access to both sides of the river. This occurred in at least two sections of the gorge.
I have to say it was very cool to watch such a force being swallowed up, only to resurface down river.
You learn something new every day.