Easy Rider

Earlier this summer, we pulled our bikes out of a back corner of our garage, dusted them off, and hauled them down to Rainy Peak Bike Shop for maintenance. With the sun shining beautifully last weekend, we packed a couple PB&J sandwiches and hit the Row River Trail. My goal for this trip was a slow and easy ride to get my body used to being on a bike again. As I enjoyed my PB&J, sitting on my favorite bench and watching bald eagles fish along the lake, I was reminded of two things: … [Read more...]

Bloom Time

Spring is here! Everywhere I go, I see mounds of brilliant yellow daffodils and smell the sweet fragrance of Daphne. After such a drab, gray winter, I am ready for some color. Luckily, we have a number of local parks and gardens where I can easily see flowers in bloom throughout the growing season. If you also enjoy flowers and gardens, here are nine near-by locations to explore. If you plan well, blooms from these gardens and parks should take you through spring and well into summer. All of … [Read more...]

Wigwam Memories: Swisshome

"Daddy, Ed, and I spent an hour or two pulling slab wood off the Erskine sawmill conveyor belt leading  to their wigwam burner," writes Joe Moreland in A Place to Rest My Head, his memoir about growing up in the coast range after WWII. Needing to build a chicken coop, they drove to Swisshome one evening to get scrap wood from the sawmill. Joe writes: "... in those days, every mill had a burner. The whole region was covered with an acrid, blue haze from the burning scrap. Slab wood that Daddy … [Read more...]

Willamette Fish Hatchery: Oakridge

The Willamette Fish Hatchery sits just outside of Oakridge.  I can't tell you how many times I've driven down Highway 58 without noticing the road sign pointing toward the hatchery. Luckily, at some point it captured my attention, and the hatchery ended up on my "things to see" list. When we stopped by the hatchery last fall, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. I knew there would be ponds full of fish, I suspected we'd have the opportunity to feed some, but I didn't know we would be … [Read more...]

Lost Towns: Lane County Historical Museum Exhibit

In the days before log trucks, automation, or heli-logging, sawmills were built closer to the woods. Here in south Lane County, they sprang up along the O&SE Rail line (now the Row River Trail) to take advantage of the railroad. In some instances, whole communities would surround the mill, like the sawmill at Prune Hill. When I think of early sawmills, I usually think of teams of guys working big saws or riding logs in the mill ponds. With those men, though, came families. Women worked in … [Read more...]