Union Creek – where wilderness and pie collide – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News
Around this time every summer, this woman’s fancy turns to fresh, local fruits, especially those that taste delicious between two layers of flaky crust.
I dreamed of pies, my favorite dessert, and how well one would satisfy. Next, Sarah Lemon of the Mail Tribune, whose very name suggests a favourite, went to load Wednesday’s à la carte section with several selections. It was too much for this pie lover to resist.
However, I resist heating the oven at this time of year. So I thought for about three seconds about where I could find a freshly baked pie to soothe the wild tooth and realized I hadn’t visited the Rogue River Gorge or Natural Bridge in a few years.
The wild shenanigans of our awesome Rogue River in the Union Creek area are conveniently located, like nature’s rushing arms, around the Union Creek Resort and Beckie’s Café, approximately 10 miles north of Prospect on the Highway 62.
Beckie’s offers savory and comforting dishes, and sometimes it lists several pies. I had planned to cut calories, although my calculations for determining the likelihood might have been lower than normal.
We thought first to enjoy lunch, always our motto, as I remembered this particular stretch of the river and how fierce it was. What if I stumbled upon a blue-tongued skink in the sun and took a head in the rapids before reaching pie satisfaction? I would sail with lingering regret.
Since 1926, Beckie’s has rustically satisfied the throats of hungry travelers and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places along with the resort. Business was busy as usual, but we slipped right into a booth. I had their specialty, a French dip with grilled onions, Swiss cheese and fries, and Lane had his usual club sandwich.
They prepare their creations daily and with local fruits. Huckleberries hadn’t quite made an appearance.
Our server, Linda, who had the most beautiful smile, said they would be available in the fall. The strawberries were over, but the peaches landed right on target.
Tempting, but I picked my favorite after the blueberry, a trendy reheated very berry. Lane is a cream pie guy and ate a slice(?) of banana cream the size of Bigfoot’s cross-trainer.
Then we were on our way to eliminate our indulgences and flood our senses with wild and wonderful nature. Natural Bridge is just before Beckie’s on the left as you head north. This is where the snarling Rogue plays hide and seek, traveling underground through a lava tube and reappearing several meters below. There’s an easy and accessible walkway from which to enjoy the spectacle – complete with the satisfying roar of all that fresh water.
It is also the starting point for the 3.5 mile Rogue Gorge Trail. Or if you’re loaded with pie, drive past Beckie and turn left at the sign for Rogue River Gorge, a 500-foot-long sinkhole that narrows to 25 feet, forcing a flow of 410,000 gallons per minute into a foaming ribbon .
This fenced-in viewpoint is impressive in a terrifying way. Giant felled trees, stripped of branches, straddle the river. The pounding stream pinned them against the rocks like pick-up sticks. Following the trail, the Rogue eventually loses some swagger and flattens out to afford an icy foot bath.
A good source of detailed information is the Forest Service website at fs.usda.govthen look for Rogue Gorge Trail.
It’s a comfort to know that places as beautiful as the Upper Rogue exist so close to home. I can still see the river, smell the needle-covered path and hear the torrent. Love and respect to the many brave souls who risk their lives to protect them.
On that note, my thoughts are with the friends and family of Logan Taylor, the dedicated young firefighter who gave his all to protect our wild lands. A public memorial service is scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m. at Harry & David Field.
Peggy Dover is a freelance writer/writer. Contact her at [email protected]