Saturday, August 10, 2013

New River

About 150 years ago it rained in Oregon. Not an especially rare event but on this particular occasion it rained enough to fill up the rivers. In other parts of the world, this is referred to as "flooding" but as "just another storm" in our little waterlogged corner of the sandbox. So, you can imagine the surprise farmers and ranchers residing in the Langlois area felt when they found a river coursing through their pastures, no doubt causing cow's milk to sour while still in the udder. The obvious observation to be made in this case was something along the lines of "Hey, that's a new river!" And that, roughly, is how the New River came to be.

If not the New, then it's good as New
The New River is a work in progress as its mouth has migrated quite a bit north over the years. In fact, the mouth of the river is about 5 miles further north than the current maps show, answering the question of where does a river go: anywhere it wants to. The New River parallels the Oregon coast directly behind the beach foredunes and I've bumped into the New a time or two on various hikes, but this would be the first time I'd ever visited the New River Natural Area.

Manzanita trunk after the morning rain
The trails in the New River are too short for my standards but since 5-year old Coral Rae was spending a weekend with Grandpa, the New River was just right for both new and old hikers.  Beginning at the nature center, we grabbed a sandy track through coastal woods bursting with the green growth of madrones, manzanita, salal, rhododendrons, and huckleberries.

Hey, we have a hike to finish!

Ah yes, the huckleberries. Intent on imparting my formidable fount of knowledge to the young, I showed Coral Rae how to distinguish the huckleberries from all the other greenery. Of course, the berries kind of helped with the plant identification. Once Coral Rae sampled a single berry, she grazed with the best of them. It was slow going because she apparently wanted to eat every berry she saw.

That's my girl!
We took a berry break and ate lunch at boat ramp next to the New River.  The River was shallow but fairly wide and neither one of us wanted to wade across to the beach, particularly as the weather was threatening rain.  Coral Rae found a small garter snake and just like a true descendant of mine, she touched the slithering reptile on its back.  My heart nearly burst with pride!

Slug aerodynamics
This was definitely a tactile hike as Coral Rae had to touch everything from soft moss to slimy slugs.  There were a number of large slugs on the trail and she carefully transported several of them to safety off trail.  On one occasion, the slug rescue was rewarded with a discovery of a thicket of ripe blackberries.

When I grow up I want to be a purple poop pooper

Speaking of ripe berries, we came across some bear poop, stained purple from the berries.  Coral voiced her ambition to eat enough berries to turn her poop purple. It's nice to have goals.

Insect social on a Queen Anne's Lace
After visiting Mud Lake, which was not muddy, we returned back to the nature center, closing out this three mile hike. Inside the center, animal skulls were arrayed on a table and much skull touching ensued from a delighted 5-year old before we headed back to Roseburg.

For more pictures of this short hike on the coast, please visit the Flickr album.

1 comment :

  1. Sounds likes great hike with your granddaughter. I can't wait for the day when I can hike with grandkids!! Love the last picture of her walking along the trail.