Old Diary

Valley Crawling


Fog over Tahkenitch Lake

Friday was a good day to make it a short day and get out into the Real World.
I was supposed to visit the two terminated hosts and pick up their Forest Service gear.  But considering that they will both be here through the weekend I figured it didn’t need doing right then.  So, I did a little filing, made a few phone calls chatted with Boss’ boss’ boss about our volunteer meeting on Wednesday.  He seemed particularly pleased with the way the meeting went and it’s nice to  have a happy boss.


Waves at the mouth of the Umpqua River!

Peg had stayed home to do the laundry, but as it turned out after a restless night for her she took a nap in the morning and the laundry will get done another day.  So we hoped in the car to get out and see some more of the countryside seeing as the sun had come out and the temps were in the low 50’s.


The Umpqua mouth often seems to be turbulent.

We’ve been looking for a road that would take us to Siltcoos lake.  Recently I saw a road named County Line road, so we thought we’d try that one out. (without having looked it up on Google.

So, a few miles down the road we turned onto the so identified road and after about 50 feet came screeching (well, not literally) to a halt.  It turns out that County Line road after the first bend to the right there is no road:  just a metal gate and what looks like a horse patch.  Ok.  What’d plan B?


A view of Elbow Lake


Another from Elbow Lake. One of the intriguing aspects of this lake is that the water is almost always dead still and beautifully reflective!

We decided to take a ride up Oregon 38 — it runs along the Umpqua River.  We found ourselves in a little fog — you just never know where that will happen.  It can be sunny one minute with little or no clouds in the sky and all of a sudden the sky is gone and there’s fog.


Cows feeding in the valley — and one watching ME!

They (ODOT) are working on a tunnel down the road so it’s closed for four nights each week — Given the sparsity of roads I really wonder how locals plan for some of the road closings around here.  Oregon does have ODOT information venues but I did not notice that closing on any of them.  We weren’t inconvenienced but a vacationing traveler might very well have been.


Such a lovely, lush, green valley! (and it’s only February)

Route 38 runs along the Umpqua River — a much larger river than the Siuslaw which empties into the ocean at Florence.  The Umpqua passes through Reedsport — about 1/4 mile from   the Dunes Area Visitor’s Center.


A pano of the Umpqua Valley

About 4 miles East of Reedsport is an Elk viewing area — we’ve been there before and didn’t stop today.  But we continued along the valley just enjoying the rich farmland and the fog.   I’ve said it a few times already but I just don’t get tired of the fog here.  In Milwaukee when we got fog it always seemed to be SO foggy that you could barely get anything done.  Here there is much more frequent fog but it has thus far rarely been as dense.  The result is more eeriness, and more peekaboo trees, and glimpses into the unknown.

Again we found the sheep to be as numerous as cows, or mores.  Once again — there aren’t a lot of sheep raised in Wisconsin and the change is nice to see:  little white critters grazing in a field instead of big bovines.  I don’t know — it’s just ‘nice.’


Umpqua Reflections

We’ll get out some more as spring takes hold.  There aren’t many roads here but they surely do hug along edge of the valley slope, rarely abrupt walls.  Following the terrain as they do they often twist  and turn their way up in elevation.  With flat bottoms most of these valleys  seem ripe for spring flooding. We saw enough evidence of that today, the valley bottoms were soggy to be sure and most of the cows (there were some dairy and some beef farms) were being kept indoors for their safety and well being.  I’m thinking that cows may not be smart enough to stay out of the mud.

I liked that last shot a lot.  I took it on the way INTO work this morning.  The river was incredibly still.  After the last week and a half of almost constant rain the water had nearly returned to it’s normal blue aspect — rather than the rain muddied brown of recent days.  Another surprising thing to me has been that for all of the high winds that we get — the lakes and rivers often seem to be so calm — almost mirror smooth.

Ok — that’s it for today.  Thanks for stopping by, I’ll talk with you tomorrow.