January 27, 2013
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It’s been a tough year to have much enthusiasm about going outside. For us that seldom happens, but this winter the skiing has been awful. On top of that, most days at lower elevations were nothing but dreary and the bald eagles were pretty much a no-show. Last Monday we hit the wall; we had to get out of the house or we would go nuts.
Spectacular views await at new park Everything about Cottonwood Canyon State Park is impressive. At 252 miles, the John Day River is the second-longest undammed river in the lower 48 states. It is also one of the most productive steelhead fisheries in Oregon. The canyon is home to the largest California bighorn sheep herds in Oregon. The basalt flows came from Idaho and Nevada 15 million years ago and are 4.5 miles deep.
It looks like summer has finally arrived and for many of us that means it’s time to go camping. If you are like me I head to the mountains and the shade of the deep forest. Toss in a babbling brook and I’m in heaven. That also means that I have moved in to Mr. Black Bear’s living room. Over 25,000 black bear call Oregon Home and most of them live in my perfect camping spots.
It looks like we have fairly nice weather for Memorial Day for a change. The weatherman is calling for a partly sunny day with a high near 70 degrees. In the past it seems like every Memorial Day was wet, windy and more or less miserable to be outside. With that nice thought in mind here are three of my favorite family hikes that also feature fine places to have a picnic lunch.
It seems like Catherine Creek has become my go-to place for spring wildflowers. It has a lot going for it: Four thousand acres of public land packed with 90 species of wildflowers that begin blooming in February with the first appearance of grass widows. The show isn’t over until the last of the western ladies tresses fade away in early July.