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Trinity County
Gold Beach, Oregon fly-in report

By George Loegering

Here we are in the middle of a great summer 2003 flying season. Most recently, we redid a special place that's always relaxing and just good fun--Gold Beach, Oregon.

Gold Beach is less than an hour by Bonanza from Trinity Center. Gold Beach is famous for the art deco multi arch bridge across the mouth of the Rogue River and, of course, many ways to enjoy the coast and the river.

Our objective was to ride the Mail Boat 102 miles round trip to the end of navigable water. The drill is to fly to the Gold Beach Airport the evening before to avoid the prevalent morning coastal fog, call Jot's Resort to pick up, refuel and get settled in to enjoy the pre boat late afternoon activities.

After checking out the fresh salmon being cleaned at the hotel dock below our river/ocean view room, we partook in the indoor pool and a soak in the spa. The more hardy can swim in the unheated outdoor pool. Great exercise to keen the appetite for a fabulous dinner across the road at the Rod and Reel Restaurant.

Rod and Reel has three dining areas of varying price and formality to suit anyone's budget. I opted for fish, but not salmon as our very friendly room neighbors had given us enough wild fresh salmon for eight--and I wasn't sure if we wanted to share!

Dinner with a little wine is an excellent start to pleasant evening. The temperature on this occasion was a balmy 75F in the evening, which combined with no fog, was the frosting on the cake of a very unique visit.

My buddy Bruce and I were joined by Julie and Ellen who were to experience this trip for the first time-it's always more fun to share favorite places with those who can appreciate the ease of private aircraft travel, the natural setting, the resort ambiance and the excitement of the river trip.

The excitement started at 8am the next morning when we boarded the 30-passenger jet boat and the skipper released the power from the three 340hp V-8 engines.

We proceeded up river with welcome stops to observe bridges, waterfowl, river otters, deer, and large eagle nests in trees near the waters edge. We used the blanket provided to cover our short pants legs and to fend off splashing water. Our winter ski jackets, sweaters, and flannel shirts became seat cushions as the day warmed and we got further inland.

For the most fun, the outside seats front and rear of the open boat are the best. We sat at the middle so 360 spins, often done for "better viewing" are not as severe as the screaming seats on the outside edges. Sometimes the spins are executed to retaliate against "water pirates" who hide behind rocks to douse the uninitiated with a bucket of water or a load from an 8 ft water bazooka. All in good fun.

We watch several anglers fight large salmon, sometimes we just got a shrug/nothing caught. The skipper was careful to minimize the boat wake in the fishing areas. Sometimes the water seemed so shallow that it was amazing we could keep going.

We took a break at Agnes, a small community short of our ultimate destination. From Agnes, we explored the upriver rapids, deep-water gorges, unique historical sites, and some scenes of extreme high water. There were many groups in large rubber rafts paddling down stream. Back at Agnes there was a huge buffet lunch and time for a little nap on the nearby lawn. We were lucky to see more wildlife returning downriver, including a small herd of Red Elk. These have been successfully reintroduced to Trinity County.

Our river adventure ended back at the hotel dock and we were driven to the airport. The scattered coastal clouds seem to accent the mountain coastal beauty. We relaxed at the high altitude necessary to clear the ridges, viewing some of the many isolated alpine lakes we missed going the opposite direction What a wonderful trip-join us for other TCPA fly-ins.