Eel Lake: Winchester Bay

I know that many people go to the coast specifically to walk the beach -- and I love the beach too -- but I also like walking through the coastal forests with its salal and rhododendrons filling in the understory. While at the coast a couple weeks ago, we stopped by Eel Lake to explore. Eel Lake is a good-sized, fresh water lake, surrounded by forest.  Located a few miles south of Winchester Bay on Highway 101, the lake is accessed through William M. Tugman State Park. We found a wide, … [Read more...]

From Lake to Ocean: Siltcoos Canoe Trail

We explored the Siltcoos Canoe Trail for the first time two years ago. It was such a memorable trip that I've been trying to get back there ever since. Twice we made plans for the trip, and twice they were cancelled at the last minute. Earlier this month, everything finally came together. The Siltcoos River is about three miles long, flowing from Siltcoos Lake to the Pacific Ocean. In 2014, we put-in mid-way down the river at the Lodgepole Picnic Area/Wayside. This time, we did the whole … [Read more...]

Captivating Darlingtonia

Plants that eat bugs. Just the thought of them and I am instantly transported back to third grade, when our teacher brought several carnivorous plants into our classroom. I’m not sure I ever saw one eat a bug because, of course, the third grade boys liked to poke the plants to make them close. Regardless, as a nine-year-old I was captivated. While I may have been captivated, it took about 40 years before I finally saw my first carnivorous plant in the wild -- the "Darlingtonia Californica" … [Read more...]

Ahoy Matey! Tall Ships in Coos Bay

The sound of cannon fire ricocheted off the building behind us while the smell of gun powder drifted across the bay. The two ships, each at full mast, maneuvered through the water, one taking a tight turn and firing again. Once the boom subsided, I could hear the crew shouting orders and the mateys yelling taunts. This was my introduction to the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain. Each summer, the two tall ships sail up the Oregon coast as they travel from California to their home port in … [Read more...]

Siuslaw Pioneer Museum: Florence

Old Town in Florence is usually abuzz with tourists enjoying the shops, restaurants, and views of the Siuslaw River along Bay Street. For me, part of the charm of Old Town is the sense of history that I get as I walk down the street or dine in one of the restaurants. Located in the heart of Old Town is the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum. I've heard a lot of good things about this museum, so last month I was glad to spend a few hours there with my family. I enjoyed learning more about the history of … [Read more...]