Posts Tagged With: Oregon

What lies Beyond the Bog?

Author MP Devlin knows the answer, but she’s not telling!

This photo caught my eye yesterday as we strolled along the streets of downtown Grants Pass in Oregon. Pictures like these always stir happy memories of time spent exploring Scotland, so I stopped to take a closer look.

Reg and I soon found ourselves engaged in a lively conversation with MP Devlin herself! We heard a little bit more about her novel (a mystery set in Northern Ireland) and learned that Beyond the Bog is her first published book. Pretty exciting!

Reg had lots of questions about her experience with the publishing process, filing her answers away for future reference because…you never know. I love a mystery and was too intrigued to leave without my own signed copy!

Wishing you all the best MP!

If you’re curious to find out what lies Beyond the Bog, it’s available online at lulu.com

Categories: Ashland life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Whale of a Good Time at Yaquina Head

When smoke continued to choke the Rogue Valley last week, we decided it was time to live dangerously. We hitched up our trailer and headed to the Oregon Coast…without reservations! Spontaneous and risky! And successful. Arriving early on the last day of a three-day holiday weekend allowed us to easily find a full hookup spot at a first come – first served campground.

Our favorite outing of the week was a trip to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse with friends and fellow campers, Lan and Jeff. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the lighthouse has the distinction of being the tallest (at 93 feet) on the Oregon Coast. Free tours of the lighthouse are available most days. Space is limited, so check in at the Interpretive Center to get your tickets.

As great as the lighthouse tour was, the stars of the day were the resident gray whales that linger off the coast near Newport from May through October or November. They swim surprisingly close to shore and put on quite a show for us throughout the afternoon.

Scanning the water, we were continually rewarded with a glimpses of a water spouts, followed by gracefully arched backs of the diving whales. The sight of a fluke (when the tail sticks straight up) never failed to raise a cheer from spectators.

Although the whales were swimming just beyond the rocks, capturing them with my camera lens was impossible…so, while we have no photos, we do have many memories of a beautiful afternoon spent at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and surrounding Natural Area.

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Goodnight From Harris Beach State Park in Oregon

We are enjoying a four-day escape from home where work has begun on a new roof for our town home. Longtime friends, Kathy and Doug, drove their trailer up from California, joining us to camp and explore Oregon's beautiful Coast. We finished dinner just in time to rush down to the beach and catch the setting sun.

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Lewis and Clark and two Oregon forts

 

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We are camped at Fort Stevens State Park and have enjoyed exploring an area known for being at the mouth of the Columbia River and the turnaround point for the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The campground is the largest Oregon state park with more than 500 campsites. Before you wince at that number, we must tell you that the loops are arranged such that we felt like we were in quiet, small campground most of the time. We were joined by many resident mosquitoes, however, who enjoyed the swampy surroundings and lush vegetation. A dense, tall forest keeps it comfortable for them. Our campfire and a ring of defense chemicals (including Bounce sheets) kept them at bay.)

Speaking of defense, Fort Stevens was a military installation from the Civil War through World War II, with many batteries, such as the one pictured, standing by to protect the Columbia entrance.

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Our son Andrew drove from his Portland home to join our expedition that included a walk to the ocean to see the 1906 wreck of the Peter Iredale, which ran aground while looking for the Columbia River mouth.

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To find where Lewis and Clark first saw the Pacific in 1805, we crossed the Columbia River on a three-mile bridge from Astoria and found the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse in Washington. Our 11-mile roundtrip trek from Cape Disappointment took us through forest where William Clark and his men camped.

The cape got its name in 1788 from an English captain who could not find the Columbia River mouth. Disappointing. I’ll say!

Some nice ocean views and Waikiki Beach (east!) marked our walk. Our destination was the North Head Lighthouse, which was shrouded with scaffolding while undergoing restoration.

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While looking for a place to spend the winter, Lewis and Clark canoed across the river to what is now Oregon and quickly built Fort Clatsop, part of Lewis and Clark National Park. We decided to go back by car.

We found that the Park Service had rebuilt the fort and we covered our ears while  a ranger demonstrated an early 19th-century rifle firing. During her talk, she told us that a misfire was called a “flash in the pan” and the gun’s parts gave us the expression, “lock, stock, and barrel.”

The fort is also the site of some family history. We brought Andrew here when he was one year old. Actually, younger sons Brad and Chris were here too, in a much more confined state.

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Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. We’ve been there…

…or have we?  When Reg reserved our “one night stand” at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park on the coast of Oregon, we both had a pretty clear memory of our prior visit and a mental picture of where we’d be staying as we headed up the Oregon Coast.

When Reg pulled into the campground I commented that it was much more forested than I remembered.  Without another thought we checked in, quickly set up camp and headed out to explore the ‘hood.

Following a one mile trail that looped around Lake Marie, Reg marveled at our surprise discovery.  “I never would have guessed this lake was here,” he said as we watched children splashing in the swimming area.  

When the camp host told us the Lighthouse was just a short quarter mile walk from our campground, we began to have reservations about our reservation!  Perhaps we were not where we thought we were…

Slightly disoriented, we arrived at the Lighthouse and realized why everything felt so unfamiliar.  As it turns out, we’ve never been to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park before…until today that is!  A chat with a crusty old sea captain type who was selling admissions to the Lighthouse Museum cleared up our confusion, reassuring us that we weren’t completely losing our minds.  It seems our memories (and where we thought we had a reservation) are from (we think) Heceta Head Lighthouse, just north of here…where there is no lake and the campsites are not quite so forested!

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A Pleasant Hike on Humbug Mountain


It’s been awhile since we’ve given our hiking shoes a real workout, so today we put them (and ourselves) to the test along the 5 1/2 mile Humbug Mountain trail.  We hoped the promised ocean views would help distract us from the 1,748 foot climb.


The trail immediately began to rise, eventually leading us through a dense forest of amazing old-growth Douglas Fir, wildflowers and ferns.  As switchbacks led us back and forth up the mountain, Reg began to wonder just when we would see those Pacific Ocean views.  

At last we arrived at a break in the trees and were rewarded with a view north, up the Oregon Coast toward Port Orford.  We snuck several more peeks before trees grew dense and the trail took a turn, continuing up, up, up.  Surely, we thought, the view from the summit would be spectacular!

This little bench marked the end of the trail.  While I rested my feet, Reg documented our achievement with a quick photo.  Unfortunately, as the last picture shows, trees have blocked most of the views from the top.  Still, it was hard to be disappointed.  The hike was beautiful, we had made it to the top…and back down again…with plenty of energy to spare!

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Portland…after the storm

Portland got dumped on Tuesday and Wednesday. The expected 3-4 inches of snow piled up into a good foot of the white stuff, sending the city to a screeching halt for the rest of the week.
We stubbornly refused to postpone our scheduled trip, and arrived yesterday (Friday) to icy roads and slippery sidewalks…but beautiful blue skies Saturday morning. Cold, but otherwise perfect weather for a little urban hiking.

A beautiful, but cold day along the Portland waterfront.

I spot the telltale signs of past benchwarmers.

This woman has the right idea!

Enjoying the brilliant sunshine on a cold winter day.

 

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How we found Lost Creek Bridge

 

The Marina Grill at Lake of the Woods is open on weekends during winter.

Our Thanksgiving weekend was drawing to a close, but we had time for one more outing before my dad and brother made the long drive home to Southern California.

Because the predicted rain had not yet arrived, Reg and I suggested a drive into the mountains to grab a bite to eat at one of our favorite spots – Lake of the Woods.

Once refueled, we continued onward, choosing not to backtrack, but to continue forward, returning home along a different route.

Our summer memories faded quickly as we watched the storm clouds roll over the lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a small sign along the highway that caught Reg's attention. “Historical Bridge next left” it said and before we knew it we were bouncing along a narrow country road in search of a piece of Oregon history.

The official construction date of the Lost Creek Bridge is listed as 1919, although many locals claim the bridge was built as early as 1879 – 1881, which would make it the oldest standing covered bridge in Oregon. It was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1979.

If you want to document your visit, there is a registry to sign on the bridge…but be sure to bring along a pen. If one was ever provided, it is long gone. You will also find a picturesque little park adjacent to the bridge which is just perfect for a picnic lunch.

At just 39 feet long, Lost Creek Bridge has the distinction of being the shortest of all Oregon covered bridges.

Facts about the construction date of the bridge are a little fuzzy.

Lost Creek Bridge has been closed to traffic since 1979.

Just across the road a herd of curious cattle keep an eye on us.

 

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A Wild River and the Wild West

The Klamath River flows 263 miles, from Oregon into California, before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. Early in the 20th century, construction began on a series of dams along the river. Today, those dams have become a source of major controversy, primarily because they block historical salmon spawning grounds, and are facing removal.

Taking advantage of a break in our gloomy weather, we packed a picnic lunch and headed south into California, where we drove up the Klamath River to explore the Iron Gate Reservoir, a lake created by the lowermost of the above mentioned dams.

We were surprised to see Pilot Rock, a Southern Oregon landmark, rising in the distance from the bank of Iron Gate Reservoir.

We had the road mostly to ourselves with the exception of an occasional car or truck.

Fishing, boating, swimming, camping and hiking are popular activities.

Not quite ready to return home, we backtracked along the reservoir and Klamath River until we came upon the turnoff to the California town of Montague. In hopes of finding afternoon coffee and a piece of pie, we were pleasantly surprised to discover a cute little town, big on historical charm.

The town of Montague was founded in 1887

Bits of the old west are seen everywhere.

This short poem expresses the spirit of Montague.

 

A downtown sculpture celebrates Cowboys of yesterday and today.

 

At The Dutchman Cafe a fresh pot of coffee filled our cups...

 

...and vanilla ice cream topped our dessert!

 

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Gold Hill stage stop serves history and fine wine

The Del Rio vineyards cover about 400 acres.

The tasting room, a former stage coach stop, features picnic grounds with a small stage and large shade trees.

The building's interior retains its historic features.

Del Rio grows 11 varietals offering an array of fall colors.

After a walk around the gold mining town of Jacksonville, Oregon, we found an old stage coach road through the foothills of Jackson County northwest of Medford. It delivered us to a stage stop in Gold Hill, home to one of more than 80 wineries in the area.

We sampled three white and three red varietals accompanied by conversation with the friendly staff in the tasting room at Del Rio Vineyards. Our favorite? The 2015 Viognier. It went well with the sense of history oozing from the old hotel.

 

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