WATCH A REAL LIVE VOLCANO
Travel north from Eugene on Interstate 5 for about two and half hours and you can view Mt. St. Helens. Currently the mountain has come back to life after a few years of slumber. At present the lava dome inside the crater is growing and on clear days you can see steam rising from the crater.
About 20 years ago Mt. St. Helens "blew". The whole north side blew into the air and spread ashes and debris for tens of miles. Sixty some people were killed in the erutptions which goes to show: "Don't mess with the mountain."
I remember that day. I was taking a shower, being fairly early in the morning. I remember hearing what I supposed was a truckload of metal ashcans banging along the street in front of the house. Come to find out it was the sound of the eruption, audible some 140 miles from its source. Later, we lived with the anxiety of ashfalls from the mountain. Every once in a while it would burb and throw ash clouds into the air. The ash fell where ever the wind happened to be blowing. We all kept surgical masks in our cars and homes in the event. One time we got caught in an ashfall on I-5 north of Vancouver, Washington. Driving conditions were just dreadful as each car would stir up a cloud of ash thicker than the thickest fog.
Right now we have our eyes on the mountain waiting to see what will happen. Most likely significant events will happen outside our lifetimes as volcanic timelines tend to stretch to hundreds of years if not thousands.
To see a webcam view of Mt. St. Helens, click here: Yahoo
- Family Travel
Hike up Mount Pisgah.
This is a short hike of 4 miles roundtrip. It has a climb of 1000 feet in elevation which makes it of about the same difficulty as Spencer's Butte. All the newbies in Eugenie go to hike Spencers Butte - go instead to Pisgah and see the locals. This is a rounded mountain enclosed in Howard Buford County park that tops at 1516 feet in elevation. Forested on the North slope and covered by grass on the South slope. Admission is free and hours are from Dawn to Dusk. This doesn't mean I didn't sneak to the top at night a couple of times in High School. At the top is a metal monument to the late son of Author Ken Keasey. His son perished in a crash while in High School enroute to a wrestling tournament in Washington. Ken Keasey himself passed away in 2001. Watch for deer in the park - the largest group I ever saw was 17 deer.
The parking fee in the summer months is 2 dollars per vehicle. Unless you want to put yourself in danger of getting a nasty itch see my warning and danger tip on Poison Oak.
- Hiking and Walking
Spectacular loop drive shows off Oregon
Take a day and soak in the glorious forested mountains just outside Eugene. Take Hwy-58 east to Westfir (stop and enjoy the covered bridge there) then Aufderheide National Scenic Byway goes over the mountains to Hwy-126 which takes you back into Eugene. Along the way stop and enjoy the river, many easy hiking trails with parking dot the road, Cougar Reservoir and the dam are enormous, if you want to spend the night there are many campgroungs.
After reaching Hwy-126 and turning left/west you'll come upon Mom's Cafe which has the BEST pie in the area ... do not miss this !
- Hiking and Walking
- Water Sports
Whale Watching on the Oregon Coast
Grey Whales migrate between their Arctic summer homes and their winter breeding grounds in the Gulf of California. Twice a year they can be seen off the Oregon coast as they make their ways to and fro. Grey whales stay close to the shore line and feed as they pass by sometimes spending days in a location. Some whales seems to make their homes in choice locations for most of the year.
Prime whale watchig times are in December and then in the Spring when they begin their return trips to the Arctic. The Oregon Parks Division has established a cadre of volunteers who man 28 "whale watching" stations olong the coast highway (hwy 101). These volunteers can help you spot the whales describe their activities as they meander along the coast.
These whales were brought back form extinction by a consertive effort of governments and now number in the thousands. Come and enjoy these mightly sea animals.
- Whale Watching
- National/State Park
- Family Travel
This is the view of Three Sisters from the top of McKenzie pass. The tallest sister is the South Sister, she is 10,358ft high. From Eugene, take Hwy 126 to Hwy 242(usually closed in winter). Or, from Bend, take Hwy 20 to Hwy 242. This is a must see. The landscape in this area is surreal, and you will not regret your visit. Unless you get mugged by a bear or two, or get caught in the torrential rains. Happy Trails! P.S.( This road is not recommended for larger vehicles such as R.V.s or vehicles with trailers. Windy, narrow roads in parts.)
- Road Trip
- Adventure Travel
Murals Here and There all over Town
The murals of Eugene are not a huge, complex organized community event as has happened in some locations. However, there is an annual bike ride sponsored by the Lane County Arts Council that visits a select group of the murals painted on various walls all over Eugene.
Many of the murals are surrealistic or abstract. Some straddle the line between mural and graffiti. Most are quite unique.
You will not find an official guide to all of the murals in Eugene. At least, nobody seems to publish one just yet. However, the Lane County Arts Council has sponsored two "annual mural bike tours" that visit a select few of these murals, and by visiting their web site you can find a list and map of at least a few of the ones that have been featured on these tours.
A Eugene arts blog attempts to keep track of all the new murals in Eugene as they are created. This has become quite a task, and as there is no official organization that keep track of them the tally listed may not be complete.
The web site listed at the bottom of the tip is for the Lane County Arts Council Mural Bike Tour, as that at least has some of the best murals and maps of their location. The blog dedicated to discovering new murals in Eugene and documenting them is located at
- Arts and Culture
WC Carnes Black Tartarian Cherry Tree
This impressive cherry tree sits at the north end of the Owen Rose Garden. It is approximately 130 years old, and long ago lost the fruit tree ideal of being close to the ground for easy fruit picking. The tree is in fragile condition, and is therefore propped up by supports on all sides. It is prohibited to climb it, as much for the safety of the visitor as it is for the continued safety of the tree.
As of this writing (2015) the tree is thought to be about 170 years old, making it about as old as the city of Eugene itself.
How to Get Here:
The tree is part of the Owen Rose Garden, which is located on the south side of the Willamette River and directly west of Interstate 105. It is a fairly easy walk to get there from most of downtown: walk north on any through road to the trail along the river, then head west a few blocks to where the trail heads under the I-105 bridge. The tree is on the south side of the pathway but on the north side of the rose garden, and close to the restrooms.
- Historical Travel
The Solar System in Miniature
This collection of sculptures spans several miles of trails and parks on both sides of the river. Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are scattered along the bike path on the immediate south side of the river and extending all the way to the northwest of town, while the Sun and Mercury through Mars are in Alton Baker Park.
The model of the solar system is a scale model. The sun is approximately 4 feet across, which places the earth on the opposite side of the park in which the sun sits. Saturn is located approximately half a mile away, and this leaves Pluto over three miles distant.
Each scale model of a planet features basic information about the planet that is shown, plus a map to the location of all the other planets.
The project started around 1990, when a father and son team were learning about the solar system and the vast distances between the planets. They settled on a size that would make earth 1/2 inch in diameter, which leaves Pluto 3.7 miles away. They laid out the first model with small dabs of paint on the Eugene bicycle pathways. The effort attracted a lot of attention from passers by, an was written up in the local newspaper.
In April of 1995 the effort began at creating a more permanent set of planets and sun model, and the effort took about two and a half years to complete.
- Arts and Culture
For many years, the northwest corner of Eugene was a busy gravel pit, and over the years so much material was removed from this site that the course of the Willamette River was significantly altered.
The location was purchased by the city of Eugene in the late 1970s, and now serves as a wildlife habitat. There are several paved trails that pass through the area, and there are also trails local to the wildlife area. None of these trails are particularly steep.
The trail system in the pond area isn't extensive, but it does sort of connect to the Eugene riverfront trail network.
How to Get Here:
By walking or bike from downtown Eugene, it is fairly easy to take any road or the bike path along the south bank of the river to the Greenway Bridge that heads north out of Maurie Jacobs Park. Turn left at the end of the bridge and continue north about 1/4 of a mile and you will find the start of the trails in the Delta Ponds area.
Bus route 66 passes through the area, though there is no bus stop directly at the park entrance. the nearest bus stop is at Goodpasture Island Road and Alexander Loop.
By driving, head north on I-105, then north aon Delta Highway to the first exit, which is Valley River Drive. Then, go west to Goodpasture Island Road. The park will be on your right after about 1/4 of a mile, past the several auto dealerships.
- Hiking and Walking
Peter Defazio Pedestrian/Bike Bridge
Providing a far more pedestrian friendly method of crossing the Willamette River than the parallel highway bridge, the Peter Defazio Pedestrian / Bike bridge connects Alton Baker Park with downtown Eugene. The center of the bridge is slightly widened in order to provide an out of the way place for people to fish from the bridge, or enjoy the river.
- Hiking and Walking
I love to just drive around...
I love to just drive around Eugene and discover new roads and things to see... Although Eugene happens to be directly off of I5 freeway, there are so many beautiful roads to drive on (like McKenzie Highway) and the drive to Florence is beautiful...
Not only is the drive to the...
Not only is the drive to the coast amazing, but there is much to see on the coast as well. North of Florence about 11 miles you will find the famous Sea Lion Caves, home to the largest sea cave in the world. The sea lions all gather there and are amusing to watch... There is also a great view from the caves to Heceta Head Lighthouse, rumoured to be the most photographed lighthouse in the world..
One of my favorite places in...
One of my favorite places in Oregon is Terwilliger Hot Springs (aka Cougar Hot Springs). It's a short drive from Eugene. What we found there is 5 hot springs pools that very in temprature from very hot to luke warm. The hot springs were less than a mile walk into the lush forrest. This is a clothing optional place so be warned if you plan on going here. We went to these springs several times and the day it rained was the best. This is probably one of the most relaxing places on earth. You can find out more and get directions here. http://www.nwhotsprings.net/terwilliger.htm
The fruit stands along River...
The fruit stands along River Road in the summer. Take the exit to Florence and Santa Clara off I-5. Follow until you come to Santa Clara Exit take this exit. When you come to the first stoplight, turn right. You are now on River Road. Follow this out to the country. You will find such farms as Thistle Down and Harwoods. Harwoods give you the best deals, but Thistle Down has the most variety.
Maurie Jacobs Park
Located along the Willamette River to the west of downtown Eugene, this little park is a nice little oasis as there are no busy streets around it. Therefore, the amount of city noise is fairly light. There is a fair amount of people noise, but that is to be expected.
There is a very small beach along the river, and as the park is along the river the Ruth Bascom Path System goes through the park as well.
There are picnic tables, some shade trees, a small outdoor ampitheatre, and a fair amount of open space with shade trees dispersed throughout. A small playground is here as well.