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.

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The Creation Station strikes again

When I take a job, I’ve always enjoyed going the extra mile. Here at the KOA when I saw that the primary bulletin board had gotten rather tired, I asked permission to redo it on my off time. The previous focus had been tidbits about many different area attractions but always being marketing minded I saw other opportunity. (Plus that need is already being met with many handouts in the lobby area ) This bulletin board is located right between the men’s and women’s bathrooms. I asked the owners what additional business would they like to attract and they said off-season especially in the fall and spring. I did some research visiting the local Visitors Bureau and speaking to someone from the local Chamber of Commerce and discovered this very innovative promotion that Lincoln City has called “Finders Keepers”. I made that the primary message of the bulletin board and then used novelty and 3-D effects to draw additional attention. The bulletin board encourages current visitors to make reservations for a return trip later on. It was a lot of fun. Everything I used came out of my “Creation Station, our little pull a long trailer. The crabshell is one of several that have been in my art supplies since the late 90s when I picked them up on the beach in Maine. The orange kite was made from a bit of fabric that was a scrap from circus costumes that my girlfriend Heidi Herriott gave me a few years ago. I painted on the back of round glass craft pieces to simulate the floating glass orbs that they hide on the beach here. The owners haven’t seen it yet but I hope that they are happy with it.
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the Central Oregon Coast: a photo safari

Our Lincoln City KOA summer work gig allows us considerable free time to explore this beautiful area.  The dramatic cliffs, strong winds and great natural beauty will take your breath away.  Even at the peak of summer it’s jacket weather here; a very different reality for this Florida girl.

Hope you enjoy a glimpse of this quaint and charming coastal region.

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