Are you planning to “#OptOutside” this weekend?
When most of us hear the term “Black Friday” we probably think of shopping at the mall and long lines to get great “bargains.” I have never been much of a shopper and if you have read this blog much, you know that I happen to love being outside. So it was great news to me — though a shock to many in the corporate world — when retailer REI announced this fall that it was going to #OptOutside. Not only will they be closed on Black Friday, but they are paying their employees for this day off.
Other organizations have jumped on board, like Oregon State Parks which is waving parking fees at all 26 State Parks that charge them…. another incentive to get outside and enjoy.
In that spirit, I’m sharing some of my favorite places, both within Cottage Grove and within an easy drive, to #OptOutside. I hope you’ll join me, REI, and many others in embracing the beauty of our surroundings. Pack a turkey sandwich, grab some friends or family, and get outside this Black Friday.
Located within the town of Cottage Grove, Row River Nature Park is super easy to access, yet I see more wild animals and birds there than anywhere else.
What’s not to love about the Row River Trail? Just over 15 miles long, it is great for a bike ride. At the same time, the easy-to-access trail heads make it perfect for a simple stroll. The trail is also flat, fully paved, and — with a couple exceptions — car-free, meaning it is a good option for people of all ages and abilities.
Located in Rujada Campground (just 21 miles from Cottage Grove), Swordfern Trail is a 2 mile loop that is named for the large sword ferns which line the trail and cascade down the hill sides. When you walk the trail, look for the many large, old, tree stumps that are the remains from early 1900s logging.
Brice Creek Trail is popular for a reason. Only 25 miles from Cottage Grove, the 5.7 mile Brice Creek Trail follows a rocky canyon along the beautiful Brice Creek. If you are feeling energetic, or have a lot of pumpkin pie to work off, try the four mile loop to Upper Trestle Creek Falls, where the trail passes underneath the waterfall.
When we visited Parker Creek Falls last January, snow lined the trail in many areas. Located just 2 miles beyond the trail head to Upper Trestle Creek Falls, the trail to Parker Creek Falls get much less traffic and is well worth the extra travel time.
Beyond South Lane County
Of course, any opportunity to get out and enjoy is a good one. Perhaps instead of a walk or hike, you’ll want to drive our back country roads to sample local wine, take a spin along the Covered Bridge Scenic Bikeway, or put your kayak in for a quiet paddle. Whatever you do, leave a comment below and let me know how you spent your Black Friday.