Munson and Niagara Falls, Siuslaw National Forest

A beautiful sunny day, of course, I got a late start after sleeping in. Only got to two of my 3 planned trails: Munson and Niagara Falls, both short about 2 miles total, maybe a trifle more. Then in the car, my cell phone started overheating, hot to the touch, turned off google maps and that seemed to solve the problem. Fried the charging cord though.

Still a small variety of flowers, but trillium galore, more than I have ever seen anywhere else.


Meares Lighthouse, the Octopus Tree, and Three Capes Scenic Highway

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARain coming, a good day to explore, shop and be a tourist. Into Tillamook, where I visited two of the cheese companies: the Blue Heron focusing on French Cheeses, the French roosters were a clue, and the Tillamook Coop. Purchased a variety of cheeses: blue, bread cheese – something new to me, and a block of white cheddar, yummm, also a bottle of an excellent blue cheese salad dressing and a beer hot mustard. I’ll have to pick up another bottle or two of both the salad dressing and mustard before leaving the area.

Next, I drove out to the Meares Lighthouse at one end of the Three Capes Scenic Highway, technically beyond the end of 131, up the mountain. The lighthouse is the shortest lighthouse on the coast, because it sits atop a mountain. From the top the nesting places of some 250,000 birds on the cliffs can be seen. They were not in residence in force, but some remained in the area. Nearby is the Octopus Tree. Down below the Lighthouse is the town of Oceanside, Oregon. I went out on the beach at low tide and through a tunnel roughly cut into the mountain allowing access to the next beach over. Cool.

The drive down the Three Capes Scenic Highway was a pleasant drive. I could see people fishing, oyster or clam, and crabbing in the light rain. Back before the rain came in. Rained again all night long. Oregon is wet!

What we all “know”

Occasionally, I will post comments about topics other than travel and hiking. Today, I post about believing in “what we all know.” As I have aged, I have learned to not express opinions until I go examine the facts myself: “what we all ‘know’ is often wrong or inaccurate. What ticked me of was a quick succession of people citing Galileo as an illustration of the folly of believing in faith over fact, when Galileo was convicted for being unscientific, that is, for failing to prove the theory of heliocentrism.

When in college, a professor cited Galileo to caution that one should not accept what is “known.” I wondered, what was “known” about Galileo? Most commonly, people believe that Galileo proved that the earth revolved around the sun (heliocentrism) rather than the sun revolving around the Earth (geocentricism), when, in fact, a critical observation failed to support heliocentrism and thereby discredit geocentricism for the next two hundred years.

Unlike geocentricism, heliocentrism predicts parallax of the stars, that is, the position of the stars should change when observed from the earth at opposite sides of its circuit around the sun. Failure to observe parallax was more than inconvenient: its absence was fatal to the theory of heliocentrism. Thus, at the time, the evidence held against heliocentrism and Galileo. Parallax was observed about two centuries later when instruments and technology had improved. Galileo and others were scientific visionaries, ahead of their time.

Galileo could teach the heliocentric model as a more accurate method of predicting the movement of the planets, critical for guiding the extensive navigation going on by then. However, when Galileo continued teaching his model as truth, moreover insulting his critics, church and university authorities, a trial ensued. Absent proof, he was found guilty and placed under house arrest. Galileo was not convicted of violating church doctrine, because geocentricism had never been declared an article of faith, which is required of believers. Thus he was not executed (he would have been handed over to public authorities for this). Nor was he tortured. The Church kept very good records of punishment and torture, when it was used.

Ironically, citing Galileo as an example of science over faith is to get the case backwards, because Galileo was convicted for ignoring the facts that, as of his time, failed to support heliocentrism. Galileo was convicted for his faith in a mathematical model over the observable facts.



The drive from Silverton over to the Oregon Coast along 22 was the most twisting, turning road yet, along a stream, gradually growing into a river by the coast. Don’t think I ever exceeded 45MPH and was often around 20. It was a fun drive, except for the most dangerous moment since leaving Michigan.

The drive confirmed one growing judgment re driving abilities. Most drivers are good, safe drivers. That said, professional truck drivers are the best. Moreover, the larger the truck, the heavier the load, the better. The only incidents involving semis were those occasional trucks pulling into the passing lane trying to pass a slow-moving truck going uphill then slowing down to a crawl, traffic backup behind them. Automobile drivers are the most varied, some being extra cautious around me, some cutting me off or stopping short. Motorcycle drivers are careful, except those fools who decide to pass me on the right when I slow down to turn right. Fifth wheels and travel trailers have been consistently safe but not driving as crisply as the professionals. RV drivers, probably because they are larger, weigh more and are more powerful, tend to go too fast on tight turns. Several times, an oncoming RV has wandered into my lane by as much by the driver’s wheel. This happened on 22. With no place to go on my right, I slammed on my brakes. Thankfully, he steered hard right, and somehow, we missed each other. I would much rather see a truck loaded with logs than another RV coming around a bend.

As for my own abilities, adding a back up camera to the trailer had an unexpected benefit. While driving, I can see how my trailer is tracking on the screen. There are two bars showing how the trailer is pointed, keep those bars in my lane and I’m doing fine. This feedback has improved my performance, stop paying attention or go too fast and I wander, there it is on screen. Gradually, I am learning to keep my truck and trailer centered.

There are fewer flowers along the coast. The spring bloom is running behind. The skunk cabbage is in bloom, yellow candle like flowers rising from a bed of large green leaves, one bush with white rising flowers, and some trees. It has been cool and wet. I spoke with a woman who said there has been 30 inches of rain here in the last two months. The year-to-date totals are running 20-30 inches ahead of normal. The road crews are out fixing crumbling roads and slides.

Driving across Oregon is a series of rises and falls, like a roller coaster. Oregon was formed by a series of lave flows running down to the coast. Due to the northward movement of the North American plates and the subduction from the Pacific plates pushing inland, Oregon is slowly rotating clockwise, with wedges lagging, opening cracks, which water exploits to create ravines and valleys.

As predicted, rain started around 1 when I arrived near Tillamook. It continued all night, taking a break in the morning, and expected to pick up again. Wednesday and Thursday will be nice, then rain again. Oregon is wet.

The picture was my welcoming committee at the campground. There are numerous fat rabbits, and at night, other critters roaming the campground.


Oregon Gardens

April has been a wonderful month: Death Valley, Yosemite, Napa Valley Redwoods, and Oregon: Grants Pass and Silverton. Today, Sunday 4/30, I visited Oregon Gardens, 80 acres and 5 miles of horticultural treasures, many in bloom. My expectations were low, because the wild flowers are two or three weeks away, but the civilized plants are in spring mode. In fact, a few were finished or nearing the end of

their run, while a few more were getting ready. All in all, I can’t imagine a more complete show than was provided today.

Once again it rained all night and was cloudy until around noon, then gradually turned into a beautifully sunny day, cloudy tomorrow for the drive to the coast of Oregon, where I will spend the next week.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

After the mud bath yesterday, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival sounded like an attractive way to spend the morning. It was. The pics tell the story. Also, the Mount Angel Sausage Company was serving their brats. Hi, Elizabeth, thanks for the coffee.

As a bonus, the sky cleared and Mount Hood was visible for the first time this week.

Buck Mountain Trail

Friday, the weather cleared, so I headed out hiking. Two days of rain would leave the already wet lowlands water-logged. Knowing that mountain trails drain quickly, I headed up Buck Mountain, 8 miles and 1,200 feet. True, but my pants were coated in mud up to my knees by return. Somehow, my pants kept water out of my hiking shoes; lighter than boots; heavier, but drier and providing more protection than trail runners. I was the only one on this back country trail. Side trails were still closed due to mud slides, fallen trees and debris. Ordinarily debris, sticks, branches, and leafy sections are an annoyance, but on a wet trail, debris provides a mat to cross water or sticky, squishy, smacking, shoe-sucking taffy-like mud and sometimes thin like beach sand washing away under waves.

Despite the shortage of flowers promised on-line, it was a good hike. Just me and the spiders sending threads across the trail, and a few bees down below. And, some large creature making a low sound like a lion, humpf, humpf, humpf, humpf, of to one side. Elk? Cougar? Bear? All have been seen in the area. I wish I knew my animal sounds. I made noise to let it know I was here and shortened my hiking poles to fencing length. More humpfs. Soon from behind me. Then a commotion of birds behind and to the other side. Birds warn each other, perhaps a bear or cougar then.

Pics are from the hike.

Mount Angel, Oregon and Redwoods

Rain Wednesday and Thursday, all day. Things to do on a rainy day while living in a trailer: write, exercise, clean, do laundry, get the oil changed and tires rotated, back-blog, and go to cool places where you can stay dry, like the Mount Angel Sausage Company. To add a bit of spice to my travel, I started going to restaurants that have been on TV. The Mount Angel Sausage Company was on the Food Channel back in 2011. I remembered their Fire Haus Brats, so I tried their Level 2 Fire Brat on a bun topped with sautéed onions. It was very good, might have step it up to level 3 before I leave the area.

Mount Angel is a delightful little town. I drove past the Sausage Company and had to circle around through side streets, which worked out because there was parking across the street out back of the restaurant. Off the highway, the houses and yards were neat and trim. With the flowers blooming in front, I thought, for the first time since leaving Michigan that this would be a nice place to live. Once I stepped inside the Sausage Company, I understood, call it, the “lage-geist,” by which I mean the spirit of the place, because the Mount Angel Sausage Company specializes in German cuisine, offering schnitzels, spaetzle, and other mainstays of German foods. German music plays in the background and, of course, a selection of German beers.

As for back-blogging I mean writing about some earlier event. In this case, the Redwood Highway, Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park, and Crescent City. The Redwood Highway, CA 101, runs inland from the coast, through the Redwood Forests, and at last along the coast before turning inland towards Grants Pass. The coastal portion is relatively mild driving compared to other sections, although there were sections where the ocean-side lane had collapsed. At the top of a rise, a spectacular view of sea stacks dotting a bay shortly south of Crescent City is laid out in front of you.

The Redwood Highway (CA 101) runs through the land of Sasquatch and Ewoks, of which I saw none. The trees are tall and dense enough that road signs order to turn on the headlights. At several points, the Highway twists and turns through giant trees, passing so closely that divots have been taken out of trees by those not paying attention.

Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park is the state counterpart to the National Redwood Forest south of Crescent City. It has several differing sections. The Howland Hill Road runs along the Smith River before turning to follow Mill Creek. The Stout Memorial Grove of old growth redwood trees is the highlight, although there are several other trails to explore, such as the Mckerson Ranch Trail, which peters out above Mill Creek to which one can descend on a slippery mud path down through tramped down green plants. Back across the River and lower down is a redwood rainforest.

Leaving Jedidiah Smith Park, one reaches the 101. Proceed straight across to enter Enderts Beach Road and the Crescent Beach Overlook, which provides an excellent view of the Crescent Bay. Unfortunately, the trail south to the bay with the sea stacks was closed, I imagine due to the same slide that had taken out the western lane of the 101 above.

Crescent City is a working harbor town with many hotels, motels and RV parks near the water. At the harbor in town, I ate fish and chips and a local beer, 5 pieces of fresh fish, mid-west portions mid-west prices. After eating I walked out to the end which was capped by a rise of rock. Along the way, I stopped to watch the numerous sea lions on floating docks they had taken over, or were they planted to divert the sea lions from other locations? I climbed the rock for the view. Across the way, a jetty was topped by what, at first, I took to be sea lions – the largest motionless sea lions I had ever seen, but from the rise, I could see they were constructions of some sort. Later, I learned that they were wave breakers intended to undercut tsunami and other large waves, thereby disrupting the energy driving their unified orderly assault on the town by injecting chaos beneath.

The pics are of breakwater, the beach next one south of Crescent Beach Bay, and redwoods. Look closely, one is the trail, one the roadway, and the third has two kids stretching out their arms to provide scale for the breadth of the tree.

Ten Falls Trail

Rain most of the drive Monday from Grants Pass to the Willamette Valley and Salem, Oregon, 200 miles crossing a series of mountains and valleys running west towards the coast. The rain let up when I arrived. I Have been lucky with the weather lately with rain on travel days that paused for set-up.

I have developed a method to my stays in an area. I stop in at the office, to ask about places to go, restaurants, sites, and such, not only locally but ahead. Thus, I decide my next destinations. Yesterday, I learned the most-do hike was the Ten Falls Trail at the nearby Silver Falls State Park.

Heavy rain was predicted starting at 2 for Tuesday, then thunderstorms into Wednesday ending Thursday morning. I had a window Tuesday morning for hiking. I started from the trailhead for the Ten Falls Trail, 7.2 miles, 400 feet, twice. The easy Canyon Trail leads down to and then along the rivers to eight of the falls, behind four falls. The Middle North Falls was a wide sheet of falling water draped from above like a curtain, whereas other falls fell like they had been poured from tea pots, thin strips of thundering water, crashing into rocks below, and other falls were like buckets tipped over, torrents plunging. I could hear the falls before seeing them. In the caves behind the falls, the sound reverberated sounding, I expected to hear a train, not a jet plane. The rain started as I entered the parking lot finishing my hike in four hours, including a stop at the store to buy a souvenir pin for my collection.

The weather is cooler here north of the mountains I crossed, spring has fallen behind. Alas, my allergies returned. The daffodils are blooming, once they go away, so will my allergies.

The pics are from behind Middle North Falls, South Fall, and the walk.

Crater Lake

Going to Upper Table Rock with the sky clear rather than Crater Lake proved to be the correct decision. Crater Lake was snowed in, but I could not imagine what that meant. Drive two hours, at first imperceptibly rising but for the engine RPM rising from 1500 to 1800, passing Table Rocks, a large lake, noticeably rising through canyons, turning on the headlights upon entering a dark pine forest, notice snow under the trees, now on the roadside, the snow level rising to the hubcaps, fenders, eye level, roof, above your roof, until twice the height of a pickup. There might be a creek behind the snowbank, I see guardrails, and a lack of trees behind the snowbank. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAArriving at Crater National Park, pass through the unmanned entrance, stop at the visitor center, where is it? Oh, there are windows above the snowbanks. Walk around to find an entrance, through the doors, completely dark and cold inside, are there windows? No, snow might break them. Up the stairs, to the information desk, shop and restaurant. Climb the stairs to the third story. If you stand, look out a window, you can see a bit of Crater Lake. 144 feet of snow a year on average. Much if it still there.

Leave the visitor center, walk to the end of the parking lot, climb up a snowbank on steps cut into the snowbank by the feet of previous visitors. Reach the top, there is Crater Lake. Walk a hundred feet closer. You are standing on a hard-packed snowbank which runs down to the lake, steeply down. Step too close and slide, no stopping, well maybe a tree, but miss the trees and where do you land? Do you fall into the lake or onto a shore line? Walk around a bit, and you’re done. Two hours there and two hours back for a half hour above the lake.

And yet, it is beautiful.

It was Earth Day when I visited Crater Lake and yes, protestors were present, protesting the privatization of the National Parks and other federal lands. I asked what that meant. One explained there was a proposal to sell the National Parks and Forests to private companies and the states. I said in principal I supported the idea of turning over federal lands to the states, but not all, especially the National Parks and not to entirely to private companies, but needed to learn more about the issue. I was told to look on the internet. I said I would and wished them good luck.

There are several things going on, and not understanding the issues entirely, I have no single opinion, only concerns. One question concerns the role of private companies providing services at the national parks. For instance, should the companies maintain the infrastructure of the parks, such as the and power, some of the infrastructure, when they’re making money off the parks? However, wouldn’t the Park Service have to provide the infrastructure anyways? How to divide responsibility? There are other issues to be negotiated.

As for turning over federal land to the states, the feds hold more than half the land in several western states, unlike the rest of the country where the lands were already largely in private hands or turned over by land grants. After spending many months over the last several years in rural America, I am deeply concerned about the well-being of people living there, in terms of health and income. Urban America seems not to understand or care about the people living there. For instance, driving across California, I saw signs, such as “Growing food is not wasting water.” City voters get their water; farmers sometimes. I also saw poverty in the rural areas, along the Appalachia Trail, and in Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and now Oregon, poverty that rivals that of inner cities.

Why shouldn’t the states take over some of those federal lands for the benefits of the local population? Shouldn’t the locals have a larger voice in the lands near them? True, the lands are not worthless, perhaps the states should pay something, how much…. And, where would the state get the money, but from private companies…. And so, it goes.

As an avid hiker, the preservation of the wilderness is important to me personally. So, I sympathize with the protestors. On the other hand, I think we need to do a better job of factoring the well-being of the local population into the decisions we make about the use of federal land. Simply telling these people, “No,” isn’t working for them.