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...]

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...]

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...]

Western Snowy Plover: Share the Shore

Last summer, while canoeing the Stiltcoos Trail we floated through Western Snowy Plover habitat.  From our seats in the canoe, we saw several plovers along both banks of the river. The plovers on the north side, which consisted of hard-packed sand, I later identified as the Semipalmated Plover. However, the plovers on the south side, which was banked and dune like, are harder to identify. Until told otherwise, I am going to hope they were Western Snowy Plovers. We floated quietly past so as not … [Read more...]