Ask the locals where to go

I learned many years ago that when traveling, the most sure fire way to find the best adventures is to talk to locals.

We’ve been here on the coast of Oregon now, working a short-term gig at the Lincoln City KOA, for about a month and a half. We have not seen as much as I thought that we would have. As it turns out, working 30 hours a week at the campground leaves me feeling like using my time off to just relax more than to seek adventure.

But yesterday, I did feel the urge to explore and decided to take the advice of several area locals that I’ve spoken to. They recommended that we take a hike to see Drift Creek Falls. After about the fourth mention of this, I knew it would be worth the bit of effort it took to find it.

As is often the case, natural wonders in our national forests are in areas that are completely off the grid meaning our smart phone’s GPS positioning didn’t even work out there.

It’s times like these when it pays off to be patient and listen closely and ask plenty of questions. Locals will often be very familiar with how to get somewhere so much so that they don’t necessarily remember details like street names.

It took a little bit of doing and a couple of wrong turns but we did eventually find the beautiful heavily forested road that led up to our adventure.

The road is paved, a bit bumpy and narrow. It’s not terribly steep but does go up and occasionally offers a glimpse out to the ocean.

We meandered our way through magical woodland scenes with soaring trees, shaggy green moss, and lush fern beds until abruptly we were at a parking lot with several cars gathered pretty much out in the middle of nowhere.

Summer weather here is amazing, actually just about perfect with moderate temperatures and sunny skies nearly every day.

From what I’m told, the other seasons have considerable rainfall and the wind really likes to blow but it doesn’t get much snow.

The hike to drift Creek Falls is fairly short (1-1.5 mi) and just hilly enough to get you breathing a bit. It winds through the forest and it’s easy to imagine that you could stumble upon a family of elves or leprechauns. As in many areas where we’ve been along the West Coast, the tree stumps are often gargantuan and mind-boggling. You begin to see places where the trail opens up along little rocky . Rather suddenly it opens up to an expansion bridge some 200 feet in the air where you have a nice vista of Drift Creek Falls.

For those who are afraid of heights and unwilling to go out on the bridge, you can see the waterfall before crossing. It’s very sturdy and well supported but quite scary nonetheless.

All waterfalls are beautiful as is this one. I imagine it’s significantly more spectacular other times of the year when there’s greater water flow. You can hike on an additional half mile down to the base of the falls. Which of course we did. If you come to the Central Oregon coast, you will certainly enjoy the dramatic coastline itself but don’t miss a side trip like this up into the surrounding forest. Logging is still the primary industry around here and you’ll see why. Definitely a worthwhile adventure.

















Seeing some amazing sights in Ojai CA

Ever heard of Ojai CA?  I must confess that until very recently it was totally unfamiliar and I was calling it “ojay”  but it’s pronounced “ohiii”.  Like Ohio, lose the last O.

Evidently there are a lot of others who have heard of it and like to come here.  The commerce section of town runs mostly along a main strip that’s quite easy the walk the length of.  But none the less, there’s a cute shiny trolley running back and forth down the length of it all day.  I’m not sure if they are telling the passengers anything as they ride along but you bet I’ll know before I leave.

Today I experienced three great visual treats.

  • a partial exploring of the grounds of the Blue Iguana Inn, it’s charming front office and pieces of local art for sale (they also feature the works of local talents in the hotel rooms and do occasionally sell pieces- these artists are not “giving their art away”  these gourd pieces ran around $200- very fun and whimsical- I loved them
  • a tour of the personal home of a friend of my friend, Stephanie (whom I met randomly earlier this year while on a different adventure)  This lady has a great passion for horses like Stephanie does. They are close friends who enjoy the outdoors a lot together hiking about in the beautiful surrounding hillsides and riding their horses wildly and free.  Her husband is an architect and mother in-law an artist who works in vivid gorgeous colors (you’ll see her work in the form of paintings in these pics)  This house knocked my socks off.  These rooms are not staged.  This is how they live.  The views, the oneness with the nature around it, the outdoor living spaces.  It was just really really breathtaking.  Oh, and the workmanship, the creative and extremely unique architectural details, the colors, the textures.  Oh oh oh and the art, the art the art and the wood.  The wood that you had to run your hand along.  Truly a remarkable and warm home. Very special.
  • a jeep drive about through the stunning Ojai Botanical Gardens by the gentleman who is its caretaker and its proponent (and also Stephanie’s friend’s dad).  His quest?  To ensure its accessibility to the public.  Who do you think that statement lit up?

It was another wonderful day of discovery.  I hope you enjoy the view.  I sure did.