Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Coastal Visit

This was a second trip to showcase some of the interesting sites to visit close to Dallas for Mary Sites and Jaylene Wilson. The focus of this trip was the Lincoln City and Depot Bay areas.  Our first stop was the Alder Island Trail in the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge at the south-end of Lincoln City.
The Alder Island Trail is one of our all-time favorites. A trail of less than a mile circles the island's edge giving good views to the Siletz River and connecting sloughs. Its graveled surface provides good year around access. It has a small parking lot, and no dogs are allowed.  
A quick clinic got Mary and Jaylene up and running in using the Merlin phone app, which is a free app that identifies birds by description, photo, or sound. We had a fun time identifying birds by sound and sight. I was kept busy keeping track of our observation count and attempting some photos.  You can see our Observation List here.

Great Blue Heron

Our next stop was for lunch at the nearby Pelican Brewing Company, a brand-new facility with a fantastic location right on the edge of Siletz Bay. A real treat with great food and top-notch service. They are extremely busy, do not take reservations, and the rest room is gender neutral. 

After lunch, we continued South taking in the sights of Salishan, Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area, Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint, and Depot Bay. 
Black Turnstones
Black Turnstones were a real treat to see on a bay dock.  They have just arrived this month for their winter stay from their summer nesting area in Northern Alaska.


Friday, September 23, 2022

Covered Bridge Tour

 The focus of this trip was bridges rather than birds.  Sister-in-law Mary Claire Sites has recently moved from Pleasanton; California to the Dallas Retirement Village and was interested in showing her guest and friend Jaylene Wilson some interesting sites in the area.  We settled on a tour of historic covered bridges in nearby Linn County. I selected a loop tour of five bridges centered around the town of Scio. We were unable to visit the Shimanek Bridge because the road was closed, but we did get to the other four, with a stop in the middle for lunch at the Covered Bridge Coffee House.    

Hoffman Bridge
Our first stop was the Hoffman Bridge just north of the small town of Crabtree. Built in 1936 over Crabtree Creek, it was one of the two oldest bridges we visited.

Gilkey Bridge
Our second stop was Gilkey Bridge, built in 1939 over Thomas Creek. 

Covered Bridge Coffee House - Scio
Our lunch stop was at the Covered Bridge Coffee House on Main Street.  It was a favorite, and a must stop for anyone that tours the bridges. Open for breakfast and lunch as well a Friday night dinner.  

Hannah Bridge
Our third bridge to visit was Hannah Bridge built in 1936 over Thomas Creek. The surprise feature here was on the far side of the bridge, a brand-new park, Bilyeu Den County Park with creek access via stairs from a parking lot with restrooms. This is a day-use only park.

Bilyeu Den County Park

Larwood Bridge
Our fourth bridge was Larwood Bridge, built in 1939 over Crabtree Creek.

Larwood Wayside Park
Larwood Wayside Park provides parking, and a foot bridge over Roaring River to give you access to picnic tables and restrooms. From the park you can walk up to Larwood Bridge. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Hiking to The Knoll

Yesterday morning we were all set for an all-morning AARP Safe Driving Class here at the Dallas Retirement Village, then we got a call that the class had been cancelled! Our immediate response was to escape to the coast for the day.  We threw together a lunch, day packs, and birding gear and headed out. A destination of The Knoll, a Lincoln City Open Space Park, popped into my mind.  It was one of the Lincoln City Parks that we had not been to yet, and based on the map, it would take some exploration to find. It turned out that my assumption was correct, it did take some searching, perseverance, and luck to find the traihead, and the trail route.

Jim at the Cul De Sac Trailhead
Based on a Google aerial view, I picked out what looked like a parking lot.  Luckily it was the Cul De Sac Trailhead, the primary trailhead. Street signage gave no clue, so I had to go from the "seat of my pants" kind of navigation. Jeanette noticed a bar code at the trailhead sign from which we were able to download a trail map on my phone. We sought advice from a local hiker, and as we had learned from years of bike touring, "never trust directions from a local", turned out to be true once again. The trail we wanted to The Knoll via the other two trailheads, was not from this sign where I am pictured, but from an unmarked trail back by our parked car. 
Jeanette at the Sal La Sea Trailhead
After a circular route that brought us back to our parked car, we took off on the unmarked trail and arrived at our hoped for second trailhead, Sal-La-Sea Trailhead, where Jeannette is pictured.    

Jeanette and Jim at the Port Drive Trailhead
The third trailhead, Port Drive Trailhead, is actually a "Dead End" for car traffic. But is possibly the trailhead you would want to use for the shortest hiking route to The Knoll. 

Jeanette at The Knoll
The Knoll has an open meadow at the summit and provides a spectacular view past Lincoln City to Government Point. Here is the link to the Lincoln City Parks and Recreation page for The Knoll: