Last Saturday afternoon, during our recent camping trip, we went on a hike along the river to see the Gorge! It was absolutely breathtaking and the pictures don't do it justice.
In this area the river cascades through a constricted channel of basalt lava and the gorge was formed over many years by the erosive action of the river.
I still can't believe that I've lived here since I was a teen and this was the first time I had seen the Gorge. I have driven by in the past, but never stopped to walk the trail... I guess it took me over 20 years to visit Crater Lake for the first time too!
.: The Gorge Inlet :.
.: Lava Tubes :.
Here the opposite wall of the Gorge exposes two lava tubes. One, partially collapsed, looks like a cave. The other tube was plugged by a later lava flow.
The lava tubes were formed by the rapid cooling of the outer surface of a basalt flow, while the hot lava continued to flow underneath. As the molten lava drained out, it left behind a hollow tube.
.: The Chasm :.
The Gorge forms a chasm 500 feet long. The Gorge narrows to 25 feet from the platform's edge to the opposite wall, and it drops 45 feet to the River.
Look down at River: enough water (410,000 gallons) flows beneath your feet each minute to fill an Olympic-size pool . . . but with an average temperature of 44˚F would you want to swim in it? Because of the upper Rogue's very cold water, native fish do not grow to a large size.
.: The Living Stump :.
Here on the flat surface of the lava flow, away from the Gorge wall, the trees live as a group rather than as individuals. The roots of these Douglas-firs have grown together, providing each other with nutrients and water.
Before it was cut, the roots of this tree had grafted onto those of a neighbor. Because of this, the stump continues to live.
.: Nature's Rock Garden :.
Here at the outlet of the Gorge, a tree must be a "rugged individual" to survive the harsh conditions - the lack of soil, hot and dry summers. The Douglas-firs across the River - by sending their roots deep into the fractured rock in search of water - cling to the wall like climbers on a cliff.
.: The Gorge Outlet :.