Lower water means more rocks and time to maneuver in an inner tube.

The Rogue River continues to drop, and more rocks are appearing, especially in bars.  There is one spot right above Dodge Bridge where any lower water might mean getting out on the left side of the right channel and walking.  The deepest water in the right channel is on the right, and heads into a tree.  The safe way to take this rapid is to pass to the left of a green tuft of island at the top of the right channel, and then make a sharp right turn, catching the eddy of the ensuing bar.  The eddy should hold you, so that you can float down the center, and avoid the bush at the bottom right.  This means going over a rock bar, so lift yourself up in your tube.  What follows are a series of playful, splashy waves, and one more bar before you reach the Dodge Bridge on ramp.  Always wear a flotation device.  Look out for trees and rocks.  And have fun on the river!

2014 Inner Tubing Season Begins Early

The 2014 inner tubing season began in the middle of June, then paused for some cooler weather, resurfacing towards the end of the month.  It is hard to believe that this will mark my 50th summer of inner tubing.  I have been fortunate to enjoy the waters of the Rogue River, an excellent river for inner tubing.  The flow now is about twice what it was before Lost Creek Dam(2200 cfs at TouVelle State Park), and somewhat warmer(53-54 at Casey State Park, instead of 51).  The test for low 50 temps. is to put your hand in the water.  If it begins to burn from cold, temp. is low 50s.  You can do the same thing with your feet.  I usually test the water at TouVelle State Park, and if it’s warm enough, and the outside temp. is in the 70s, time to float.  Incidentally,   when I was a kid, I usually encountered low 50 water, but now, at 61, I’d just as soon avoid it!

Note:  River has pushed to the right at TouVelle State Park, which means less water along the left bank.  The river took out part of the “children’s dam”, and cut a new channel over soft rock to drop into main rapid on the right.  Unfortunately, the two rocky channels below the bridge are still there, forcing tubers to the left, and then requiring them to cross two swift currents to get to shore.  Chances are strong that tubers will be pushed downstream to second put-out among some thick under brush.  My advice would be to get out just before the “children’s dam”.  The wave on the right isn’t worth the ensuing hassle.

Greetings to inner tubers everywhere!  It looks to be a wonderful season on the Rogue River.  People generally tube from Casey State Park to TouVelle State Park.  The run is exciting, but not dangerous, if you avoid strainers.  Mostly Class 1 and 2.  You could tube to below Gold Ray, but there is no easy put-out.  Below that, waves become too large and irregular for inner tubers, and there are a few falls.  However, you can tube from Gold Hill to Hog Creek(watch out for Twin Bridges Rapid Class 3, just before Valley of the Rogue State Park), if you have the desire, but much of the water from Grants Pass to Hog Creek is placid, and without action.  Happy tubing!

A Sad and Brief Note

I learned that Mom is in critical condition, and that it’s only a matter of days.  I have much to reflect on in the coming week, but I try to stay positive.  She has been ailing for some time, so the news is not unexpected.  However, it’s difficult to lose a family member.  I wish my family the best.

The History of the Upper Rogue Schools

In the late 1980s, Thomasine(Tommy) Smith and her husband, Stan, decided to make a video showing the history of the Upper Rogue Schools from 1879-1988.  Tommy had been owner of Central Point restaurant, Mon Desir(which burned to the ground several years ago), and a Shady Cove restaurant, Bel Dis on the Rogue River.  For the project, she and Stan enlisted the help of many citizens, who supplied them with personal photos and memories of the schools.  In keeping with the project, she used music which reflected the times considered.  Tommy deserves our thanks for creating a video that gives an in-depth look at the lives of schoolchildren and their teachers.  Two things become apparent:  a true community spirit permeated all gatherings, and a genuine pride in the schools themselves.  Thanks again, Tommy, for preserving this special part of the history of the Upper Rogue.

“How can Mothers Give Birth to Such Monsters?

It was late at night.  Most of the patients were sleeping, but one was not.  He was tossing and turning, hovering between sanity and insanity.  The pain from the shrapnel wound he had received fighting for the Ukrainian resistance had not subsided, but that was not what was troubling him.  Only a few hours ago, he had learned of the death of his new wife and child.  His wife had been the prettiest girl in the village, and they had looked forward to a long life together.  She, too, had been a fighter for Ukrainian independence, but had been captured by the Germans.  In a narrow prison with grimy walls, she had been tortured, and finally hanged, but not before she saw her baby’s skull shattered at the hands of the Nazis.  One thought tormented Vasya:  “How can mothers give birth to such monsters?”   He continued to moan from pain and despair.  Where was his future happiness now?  He thought back to his first date, and the sparkle in his bride’s eyes.  The Ukrainian steppe, which once seemed a boundless reach of possibilities, was now shrouded in gloom and uncertainty.  The more he thought, the angrier he got, and gripped the bedsheets, clenching his teeth.  Yet those actions assuaged some of his anger, and he thought of his dead child and the many helpless children that are subjected to man’s inhumanity.  A new look shone in his eyes.  This was a confident look, a look of determination.  Vasya had made a decision:  “I will give my heart to children.”

Suddenly, his mind spun out a series of ideas.  He thought of his mentors:  Anton Makarenko and Janusz Korczak.  Makarenko had transformed would-be delinquents into future lawyers, doctors, architects, builders, teachers.  He had written his Pedagogical Poem in three parts after Dante, showing the progression from student hell to student heaven.  However, to achieve his aims, he had to make use of corporal punishment, and sheer intimidation.  Vasya would have none of that.  He would build the pride and confidence of his pupils, but he would do so from trust and love, not from coercion.  Korczak had been a hero to Vasya.  He had marched with his students to the gas chambers at Treblinka,  accompanying them as their teacher and friend to the very end.  The “Old Doctor”  had placed great emphasis on the health of his students.  This was a concept Vasya could embrace, because he believed in beautiful, healthy children.  He could not know that on the other side of the globe, in the despised imperialist U.S., another writer, the children’s writer, L. Frank Baum, had said the same thing many years before:  ” In all this world there is nothing so beautiful as a happy child.”  Vasya would see to it that the children had ample time for exercise, and he would expose them to the elements to strengthen their bodies.

The mind that had been immersed in gloomy thoughts, now spun out more and more positive, expansive thoughts.  Vasya turned once again to his Ukrainian homeland with fruit trees, winding meadows, and the ripening fields of grain.  Yes, he wanted children to experience nature in all its grandeur.  He wanted children to experience the awe and mystery of their natural surroundings.  And the thought came to him:  “I will build a school of joy.  I want students to feel beauty in all its manifestations.  Nature will be a wellspring for reading, writing, and counting.  Already he could see parts of future compositions floating about, lighting up the dreary hospital room:  “The Little Sun has arisen.  The little birds have wakened.  A lark ascends into the sky.  The sunflower has also awakened.”  And I will teach the children fairy tales, and we will listen to the music of the streams…

Vasya had exhausted himself with his thoughts, and he fell asleep.  However, he never lost his concentrated look, and his determination.  From dawn until the evening he would work with students, teachers, parents, and other staff, to create his special school in Pavlysh.  Despite attacks of angina and weakness, he would persevere, and fight for the dignity of children to the end.  When the doctors opened him up at the last, they could not believe he had lived as long as he had, so damaged was his body.  But Vasya had triumphed to become Vasilij Sukhomlinskij, one of the greatest educators of the twentieth century.

The Chi Exercise and Goal Setting

“What is it you really want, Veronica?”  Scooter from The Saddle Club Series 2

 

In the above quote, Scooter confronts Veronica with a fundamental existential question:  “What does one want out of life?”  Veronica has put on a series of masks that enable her to dodge this crucial question.  Her parents have instilled in her their values of wealth, position, and consequent prestige, but are those values what she really wants?  In our commercialized American society we are told how to look , to smell, what to eat what pills to take, what cars to drive, what constitutes romance, what constitutes beauty, and what love is about.  Our parents give us their own values, but what do we really want?  For some people that question remains unanswered and unexplored.  The Chi exercise is a means for approaching this problem.

Rod and Brooks Newton of the Hidden Springs Wellness Center in Ashland Oregon have developed brief morning and evening chi exercises to put the mind in a receptive state for deep thinking.  They begin the exercise by asking you to be ware of your life energy and your heartbeat.  Then you take three deep breaths, and let go of any remaining tension.  This clears the body and mind for concentration.  They then ask you to focus on a candle flame, which grows brighter and brighter until it fills your whole body with light and energy.  The energy takes you to your creating workshop, and you are asked to invite your creating guide, who is a source of intense energy.  Together you try to create the kind of day you want to have.  Two questions arise:  what has your life really been about, and what do you really want out of life?  Not easy questions to answer, but essential if you are to lead the most fulfilling life possible.  By increasing your ability to concentrate and  to intensify your energy level, you are more likely to clarify issues that prevent you from answering these questions.  Once you can truly state what you desire out of life, you can begin setting goals of how to get there.  Remember that a major part of life’s magic is process, and the surprises that may occur when you take that first crucial step towards getting towards your goal.

The Removal of Savage Rapids Dam on the Rogue River

The removal of Savage Rapids Dam had been a topic for years.  Justification was that it would help the salmon get up the river with one less obstacle.  Many landowners opposed it, because it would mean loss of land.  But, finally, a decision was made to remove the dam.  The process took a few years, and was not without its drama.  While removing part of the dam, an enormous wave was created in the center with fierce hydraulics and a boulder beneath the surface.  The video below shows how turbulent the river was at this point of the dam’s demolition.

When the dam was completed, Savage Rapids came into being, while it had been absent for about 100 years.  At first the rapids was Class3 as it rushed over a narrow ledge, capturing one human life in the process.  But later, the river widened its banks, and the one menacing rapid had become a mild Class 2 with a few boulders to dodge.  The river had changed once again.

 

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