Enjoying the outdoors in October rain
Zach Urness/Daily Courier

Just because there's rain doesn't mean you can't get enjoy the outdoors

When the rainy season sets in, there still are plenty of activities to do in the Southern Oregon outdoors. Here's four suggestions ...

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By Zach Urness of the Daily Courier

You know it's coming, and there's nothing you can do about it.

The rains came pouring in this past weekend, and according to every weather report to be found on television, the Internet or newspapers, there will be precipitation throughout the next 10 days.

The encroachment of rain and fog into our previously sunny valley signals the end of what I call the high outdoors season — the time when a large percentage of the population wants to be out fishing, camping, kayaking and hiking — and the beginning of the select outdoor season, which is definedby those untroubled by the prospect of soggy adventures.

My idea is to lure some members from the former group into the latter, by showing that there's still plenty of activities worth throwing on your rain jacket and waterproof boots as we head into late October and November

CATCH A FISH ON THE ROGUE

This might seem like the an obvious choice for autumn, but it bears repeatingthat there are three spectacular types of fish to be caught in the middle Rogue River this time of the season.

Steelhead fishing has been on fire below the spawning beds of salmon in the Grants Pass area, and there are both chinook and coho to be caught below Hog Creek during the next month.

"This is the time of year when you can catch all three difference species, and that makes it a real good time to fish," said Troy Whitaker, a fishing guide and owner of U-Save Gas and Tackle.

The best time to catch fish is usually a day or two after a strong rain. For those interested going out on guided trips, the cost usually runs $350 to $400 for a full day.

HIKE BIG PINE OR BRIGGS CREEK

Crazy as it sounds, the rain can add a certain flavor to a hike, much like adding Tabasco sauce to a pizza.

My favorite rain-soaked destination always has been Big Pine Campground or Briggs Creek Trail, near Merlin and the Galice area.

The old-growth pine trees along these two hikes produce a wintergreen taste in the air on a rainy, cool day, and are thick enough that you don't get too wet.

Pale white birch limbs with tufts of green moss hang over the silver stream of both Myers and Briggs Creek, and the chances of meeting a fellow traveler on the trail is slim to none.

GRAYBACK MOUNTAIN

One location that is absolutely wonderful this time of the year for an overnight stay is Grayback Meadows, just below Josephine County's highest point.

What makes this destination so great this time of year is the Grayback Snow Survey Cabin, a small 10-by-14 mountain abode at 5,600 feet.

The cabin has a solid waterproof roof, along with a cast iron stove that keeps the coldest nights comfortable. There are two lofted planks for sleeping — not exactly a Sleep Number bed — but comfortable enough.

The main attraction here is the meadows, which are encircled by big stone walls, the climb to the summit and surrounding peaks, and the dusty red sunset out over the Applegate Valley.

GO HUNTING

The hunting steadily improves the more the rain falls in Southern Oregon, and the most popular quarry at the moment is Black Tail Deer.

"The rain really improves the hunting," said Fred Craig, president of the Oregon Hunters Association. "The animalsalways are a lot more active, and the success rate goes way up."

The season is expected to be strong, and as the weather gets colder, deer will begin to migrate to the lower elevations. Waterfowl snipe, bear, cougar and Western Gray Squirrel also are in season.

Craig said anyone interested in getting into hunting can get plenty of helpful information from the OHA, which has a Josephine County chapter meeting every second Thursday at 7 p.m. at J.J. North's Grand Buffet in Grants Pass.

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