Originally published in Foris Vintinarium, 2000 by Tom Carlisle
Grayback Campground – US Forest Service
When visitors to the winery ask where to hike or camp in the area, they usually hear something about Grayback Campground. Located only a few minutes from Foris in the Siskiyou National Forest, it offers an authentic taste of Southern Oregon folklore and history.
Stop by the Information Bureau in Cave Junction for detailed local information, and then take State Highway46 east toward the Oregon Caves. The road winds through beautiful pastureland originally settled in the1850’s and then begins a gradual ascent up into the mountains. The entrance is to the right, just after the 11-mile marker.
A few hundred feet south of the campground, across a quaint wooden bridge and at the end of an interpretive trail bordering Sucker Creek, lays the site of a CivilianConservation Corps camp dating back to the 1930’s.Crews assigned here helped with the construction of walls in the Historic District of the Oregon Caves and also worked on the trails that tours follow through the cave itself.
Several abandoned hard rock mines, including the oldBoswell Mine, can be reached by following a Forest Service road just above the campground. Ask the camp host for directions and, for the more curious, find out about the road that climbs ten miles into the backwoods and comes out at the Holland Loop Store, a fascinating old-fashioned general store only a short distance from the Foris tasting room.
One interesting bit of Foris history took place near Grayback Campground. Back in 1975 when Ted was planting his first vines, he bought ten Port Orford cedar logs from the Forest Service. The heartwood of these now rare trees is renowned for its resistance to rot. Ted paid$10 for them, a bargain even at the time. Each log was three to four feet in diameter. They became fence posts and grape row trellising end posts at Gerber Vineyards.Ted split the posts himself, hauling them out in twelve days at seventy-five posts per trip aboard a 1947 Chevy.