Berry picking season in the forest

Oregon has the best berries in the world. Everyone knows our about blueberry farms, marionberry syrup, sweet local strawberries and the ubiquitous Himalayan blackberry. But dive into the forest and you can find native berries that have been part of Oregon’s bounty for much, much longer. One of our family’s favorite hiking spots is theContinue reading “Berry picking season in the forest”

The ancient dam that powered Vernonia

As the crow flies we were half-a-mile southwest of Keasey Road when we discovered the relics of a forgotten dam in Rock Creek. Too bad we can’t fly like crows. It took a LOT more work to get there, especially since we didn’t know there was a “there” to find. So here’s how we foundContinue reading “The ancient dam that powered Vernonia”

Camp Wilkerson’s quiet forests

When I was a boy scout Camp Wilkerson was a decent jamboree and camping site. After scouting I didn’t think about it much until Matt and I began our Columbia County Reptiles and Amphibians project. Now that I’ve been back to visit 30 years later it’s turned into a gorgeous family hiking destination with beautifulContinue reading “Camp Wilkerson’s quiet forests”

The old tunnel through Nehalem Divide

The Nehalem Divide stands west of Scappoose, separating streams that flow to the Columbia River from streams that flow to the Nehalem River. In 1920 a logging company tunneled its railroad straight through this barrier. This massive railway-and-logging operation pulled trees from Vernonia and across the Nehalem Valley out to the Columbia River, moving aContinue reading “The old tunnel through Nehalem Divide”

Finding a Hidden Unknown Waterfall

Hiking off-trail brings challenges and unexpected rewards. While working on our Columbia County Reptiles and Amphibians research project Jon and I routinely jump off the logging roads in order to access more remote habitat. Last month we were in search of some of our rarer amphibians and identified a steep stream near the Clatskanie River.Continue reading “Finding a Hidden Unknown Waterfall”

Rosey, Lucas, Matt, and Jon year in review

To add some fun to this freezing New Year, I asked our main blog participants to give their 2021 highlights. What was your favorite trail, favorite reptile, favorite moment? Here are their replies and photos – share your own answers in the comments! Hike of the Year Rosey: In June I did an 11-mile hikeContinue reading “Rosey, Lucas, Matt, and Jon year in review”

Failing to find Mist’s Big Spring

The journey can be better than the destination, and not finding what you were looking for doesn’t mean you didn’t find everything you needed. Our friend Lucas is a budding herpetologist who has been assisting Matt and I in our Columbia County Reptiles and Amphibians project for several months. Last week we made a tripContinue reading “Failing to find Mist’s Big Spring”

The Final Stretch of the CZ Trail

Matt and I got around to hiking the recently completed Holce-Wilark leg of the Crown Z Trail, now that the route negotiation is complete and active logging near the Holce end has finished. The terminal trailhead is signed and connects through to Banks-Vernonia Trail via city streets. It is a beautiful conclusion to a greatContinue reading “The Final Stretch of the CZ Trail”

A pleasant little trail in the corner of the county

A few weeks ago I learned about a short trail that commemorates “Four County Point” – the only place in Oregon where four counties meet in a single location. While the trail is a bit out of the way, it goes through some beautiful forest. Last week I finished a survey in Vernonia early andContinue reading “A pleasant little trail in the corner of the county”

The Hidden Carcus Creek Falls

Oregon is a state laden with beautiful waterfalls and Columbia County is no exception. While some of our county waterfalls are Instagram-famous roadside attractions like Bonnie and Beaver Creek, others take quite a trek and are known online as little more than approximate GPS points. Jon and I have decided to search out and documentContinue reading “The Hidden Carcus Creek Falls”