Each spring and fall our staff leaves Bend for a couple days of adventure together. This fall, we packed our bags (and kayaks of course!) on November 1st and headed for the coast. As you can never be fully sure with the coast, we didn't know exactly what kind of weather to expect. We located a 6 mile stretch of Drift Creek where we wanted to paddle. We took 5 kayaks and a canoe and gear to keep us warm. It turned out to be the most beautiful afternoon! The weather was good to us and provided blue skies, light winds, and the rain waited until we were off the river. We were greeted at almost every turn with Chinook Salmon swimming upstream as we floated down. Huge Chinook Salmon. They were quite the sight (and smell).
On day two of the trip, we took a hike at the Harris Ranch Trail. *We highly recommend it!* We meandered three miles downhill and made our way to another stretch of the Alsea. The landscape in a lush coastal forest is so very different from our central Oregon mountain trails. We stopped often examining leaves, searching for salamanders, and admiring the many shades of green all around.
While the rain had held off for most of the day, it finally started to downpour on our last mile. But what trip to the coast would be complete without a little rain?
Our next adventure took us to a stunning section of rocky beach covered in every kind of shell, sea anemone, and rock formation. We had so much fun finding crabs and sea stars, marveling at all of the intricate details on each part of the ocean family.
For our last day of the journey we planned to go crabbing! None of us had ever been before and knew almost nothing about it. We rented boats and traps from Dock of the Bay where they gave very brief instructions and sent us out on our way. We used mink (has anyone heard of using mink as bait?!) in our traps and dropped them in various places throughout the bay. They suggested leaving our traps in the water for about 25-30 minutes each. Each time you pulled up a net full of crabs, you had to check their sex and size. Per Oregon law, you are only allowed to keep male crabs that are over 6". After three hours of casting our nets and pulling up bucket-fulls of crabs, we headed back to shore. They are kind enough to cook and clean your crabs on site at Dock of the Bay! Some of our staff even enjoyed eating the hearts (which are star shaped) and learning how to clean the crabs themselves.
We made our way back to Bend to find that winter had finally arrived with snow on the ground and a winter coolness in the air. Thanks for letting us close down the office to enjoy some time exploring Oregon! And because we want you to have a great time when you plan your next trip to the coast, check out the Ames House Airbnb where we stayed!
Photos by our guides Chaney and Danny.