Grants Pass

On a recent trip to Sequoia National Park I got off the I-5 and made a stop in Grants Pass to visit some friends. It had been many years since I had been there and my only recollections were of the 40-mile backpacking trek I had taken with two girlfriends on the Rogue River Trail in the early 70s. I know we had stopped in the town to get supplies and see the last of civilization for the next two weeks but the details escaped me. Things change anyway, so I’m sure very little of it would appear the same.


Grants Pass had its beginnings in the 1880s with the introduction of the railways and became a bustling frontier town. It really began to thrive when gold was discovered. Then the timber industry took hold, farming and today tourism.

Its main claim to fame has always been the Rogue River and the back drop of mountains, ancient forests and surrounding valleys plus great climate.  It has drawn everyone from the early Hudson Bay hunters and trappers to world-wide celebrities. Movies have been made here.

River attractions include: jet boat tours, rafting, fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing.  Other favorite pastimes:  wine tours, a visit to the historic part of town which has been designated a National Historic District, and yearly festivals including a Native American Pow Wow.

From Grants Pass I took the scenic drive along Highway 199 to Cave Junction where I spent the night with friends. I had to leave early the next morning but managed to enjoy some of the beauty of this part of Oregon. Someday I want to visit the Oregon Caves National Monument. For me, at this time,  Grants pass was a pit stop on a larger journey.

I visit places frequently and think how much I would like to come back and really explore every nook and cranny. Grants Pass and Cave Junction were two such places.

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Wild Oregon

Near Grants Pass

Driving from Portland to the Southern Oregon border I realize again the unbridled beauty contained in this state. Even sticking to the I-5 on a mad dash to get somewhere fast (but going the speed limit) I’m reminded how wild and tangled huge expanses of this great state can be. I mean there are still whole regions remote enough for the Sasquatch to remain hidden in for all this time – I drove through some of that country with signs reminding me I was in Sasquatch Country.

There’s something profoundly thrilling about gazing over untended fields of wildflowers and witnessing nature’s landscaping techniques. There’s still defined borders – field turns into shrubs turns into wooded landscapes turns into hills and mountains turns into sky (which is usually an interesting palette in Oregon). I like seeing nature as it has always been, uninterrupted by the hand of humanity for as far as I can see.

When I recently took a road trip across the U.S. I realized every state had their own pristine wonderlands which could make me burst into the remembered verses of America the Beautiful on occasion – and its not always the parks or preserved sites. No, the areas I point to are unmarred by markers or even visible trails. I can gaze over them and imagine what life was like here thousands of years ago – even while I’m cruising by at 65-miles-an-hour.

Please, may these always remain…

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