Speaking of Dungeness……

This post is reprinted through the gracious permission of the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve at Charleston, Oregon. It was posted on their Facebook page awhile back. Also contributing were the Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife and the Dungeness Crab commission. Check them out at the bottom of the article. Thanks, South Slough Estuary!

Field Note Friday, Did you Know……..

That the Dungeness crab was named after a small fishing village on the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington state?
That Dungeness crabs have been harvested commercially along the Pacific Coast since the late 1880’s?

Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) are crustaceans, with an exoskeleton or shell. They have eight walking legs and two claws. Their lifecycle begins when a sexually-mature male crab mates with a newly-molted, soft-shelled female crab in the late spring/early summer months. The eggs are fertilized when they are fully developed and ready to hatch in the late fall/early winter. A female crab can carry up to 2.5 million eggs in the protected area under her abdomen

Life Stages of Cancer Crabs

Planktonic Zoea larva, Late Stage Megalops, Recently Settled Juvenile Crab in Algae Bed,
Recently Settled Megalopae & Early Juveniles, Adult Cancer productus

How a Crab Molts…
When the crab is ready to molt, it swells with water and splits, the SUTURE LINE on its back. The new shell forms under the old one. Once this happens, the crab is ready to molt.
After breaking open the suture line, the crab backs out its shell. After the crab molts,
the new cuticle (or shell) is very soft. The newly molted crab takes up water to fill the new soft shell and get larger. The new shell takes 2-4 days to harden.

The Dungeness Crab: Cancer Magister
Carapace width can reach up to ~22cm
They live up to ~10 years!

Crabs are sexually mature and active breeders after their second year and grow to the legal harvest size (6 ¼” across the shell back) in roughly four years. By not harvesting sexually mature but undersized male crabs so that they can breed with female crabs (which are never harvested), the reproductive capacity of the population is protected. Dungeness crab can live in excess of 8 years and reach a size of 9-plus inches.

To learn more go to:

Crabbing is a year around adventure on the Oregon Coast and great eating! It’s so much fun to catch your own!


Re-Visiting Windy Bay

We’re going to re-visit this post from April, 2015, about Winchester Bay. It is one of our favorite places but mostly we wanted to visit a family crabbing expedition. It’s always fun to catch your own Dungeness and they are yummy. Crabbing is a year around activity on the Oregon Coast. Be sure to partake when you visit here!

There is much activity in Winchester Bay with a wide variety of things to do and see. The bay is home to the US Coast Guard that has a base facility here and housing up by the lighthouse. Search and Rescue is much of what they do.


There is no mistaking these…..


 Windy Bay has a good sized and very active commercial fishing fleet.  Our friend, Mark, helped repair the Ossian you see on the left which was originally from Russia. The fresh caught tuna can’t be beat and you’ll find it for sale at Sportsman’s Cannery and Smokehouse. Ask for Michael and tell her the folks at Umpqua River Haven sent you!


Hiking in the bay is more fun exercise than the gym when you can hike among the pleasure craft and sailboats that are moored in the harbor.


Watching the ducks is a plus along with the varied personalities of the resident seagulls. Do you know why the pier posts are pointed and painted white???

 Copy of MVC-028S

Crabbing for Oregon’s famous Dungeness red crab is popular in the bay. There is a long public pier popular for bait jiggin’, fishing and crabbing.


We like the public docks for all of that and have spent fun family times mostly crabbing there.

Pullin’ in the catch.


Inspecting what’s there.


Gloved hands don’t get pinched!


Making certain it is the right size and gender and not a throwback!  When you turn them upside down they go to sleep so there’s no danger of being pinched!


One of the nice things about these docks is that they are often deserted except for you when you are there. And it is easier to see the resident visitor who cruises the waters trying to steal your bait.


Okay….it’s a sea lion!

There is a dry dock and boat repair facility in the bay also, Reedsport Machine and Fabrication. A second facility is located in Reedsport. Be sure and tell them you learned about them from URH!


It is not called Salmon Harbor for nothing! Salmon are plentiful in the bay during salmon fishing season from early May through early September. Salmon can be seen under the surface, on fishing lines, flipping out of the water and pretty much everywhere in the bay at the right times of year. It’s great sport, great eating and fun to just watch! Check locally for licensing, regulations and restrictions. More about salmon fishing in future posts.


Don’t forget all the great places to eat in the bay and the gift and antique shops we’ve talked about before! Be sure and tell them we sent you!


We’re not certain where this was taken other that it was in the bay.


Such a variety of visitors to Windy Bay.  At the end of the day when the sun sets out over the ocean, the view is peaceful, calm and relaxing and spectacular. There will be more sunsets in future posts.


The Road to Freedom

This is literally the road to Freedom, Wyoming….er…Idaho…er…..roadtofreedoma

Freedom, Wyoming lies on the Wyoming/Idaho border and exists in both states. Mormon pioneers established residency here in 1879 to escape prosecution for polygamy. If the Idaho police approached them for arrest, they simply walked across the street into Wyoming and vice versa. It is the oldest settlement in Star Valley and was named for the freedom it gave these religious settlers.


At one time this was a thriving community. Having a billiard hall, gas station, general store and more, it was for awhile the largest settlement in Star Valley.

Those buildings are still there but most are not in use. The baseball park, post office and original church built in 1889 are still in use. Freedom is home to a gun factory, Freedom Arms, that makes the 454 Casull handgun.

Freedom is located in God’s Country, one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is 56 miles from Soda Springs, Idaho and 51 miles from Jackson, Wyoming and is literally in the middle of nowhere. But…the scenery is spectacular and photos do not do it justice. The view from Freedom:


I travel through Freedom at least once a year on my cross-country trek. About my favorite part of the trip is driving through the Caribou National Forest. This is the road from Freedom into the Caribou.


Winter travel here isn’t recommended due to the high snow levels. But, in the summer if you are this way, take the time to travel through Freedom into the Caribou. You’ll be glad you did. (Photos compliments of a family member)


Joe Trio – Heavenly Music


Cameron Wilson, violin, Allan Stiles, piano, Charles Inkman, cello

Following an introduction by Seacoast Entertainment Association’s concert producers, Pat McArdel and Steve Dennis, three gentlemen dressed in concert black took to the stage at the Florence Events Center on Saturday, January 21. Cameron Wilson, violinist, Charles Inkman, cellist, and Allen Stiles, pianist, began what was to be a unique, eclectic and very humorous evening of music.

The fun began with the familiar “Sweet Georgia Brown,” written by Casey Pinkard. The arrangement by Wilson was, indeed, sweet with rhythm variations that must be precise and together because otherwise a real train wreck could ensue. There was no train wreck. As one audience member noted, they were in perfect sync with each other. The audience loved it but that could be said about each and every piece played.

The Joe Trio was formed in 1989 by Inkman and Wilson with Stiles being a more recent addition. However, they have all known each other since their music education/training days at the University of British Columbia in Canada. All are classically trained and play in other groups/symphonies and teach. Wilson’s background is a bit different in that he grew up fiddling with his father playing by ear. They are all very encouraging of young people who want to become musicians and Wilson’s six year old son now plays his dad’s original violin.

The name Joe Trio was inspired by the Peanuts Snoopy character, Joe Cool. It is a salute to the average “Joe.” Although, there is nothing average about these excellent musicians who continue learning new music venues, the latest of which is jazz. They are working toward play-by-ear improvisation.

The trio performed so much great music that it is impossible to describe it all. From Brian Wilson’s Beach Boys hits to Joseph Haydn’s after dinner selection from one of his many quartet trios. Neither is easy to play. The Haydn Quartets are intricate and difficult. Wilson’s music is smoother but no less complex. And beautiful. Whoever thought Beach Boy’s music could be beautiful?

An audience test began the second half. Several 1970’s television show theme songs were played in the style of…..The audience was tasked to guess the right show and the right classical composer’s style. The audience received a passing grade and lots of mint pattys. It was all done with great humor.

Cellist Inkman has a varied career in music with symphony participation, teaching, recording for movies and television and playing in Broadway musicals. It appears, though, when watching him play with the trio that he thoroughly enjoys every minute. His face beams as he plays with superior precision drawing out elegant tones from his instrument, a feat not so easy to accomplish.

The piano in a trio is the main accompanying instrument. Stiles did his job more than well. If the strings do not have that superior piano anchor, it is also potential for a train wreck. There were no blips or mistakes. Stiles shone when needed and was the background music when required. A piano can easily drown out two string instruments but that never happened. His crescendos and decrescendos were right on.

Wilson is a fiddler gone classical rogue. His skill is obvious, as is his enjoyment in playing the music. One audience member noted that these three musicians clearly enjoy each other and playing together. Wilson’s joy was written all over his face. This was a very demanding program for the violin and Wilson never faltered or showed signs of fatigue. Harmonic technique on the violin can be ear-splitting. Often during the evening, Wilson displayed the perfection of his harmonic technique as it lay softly on the ear.

The second half of the evening began with Felix Mendelssohn’s “Trio in C minor Op. 66” which takes 30 minutes to perform. It seemed like less. The only thing that can be said about this performance is “flawlessly divine.”

One highlight of the second half was their exquisite rendition of “Da Slockit Light” written by Tom Anderson and arranged by Wilson. The Moorhens of Berlin Heights, Ohio, would have loved hearing/watching this. It is one of their favorites. It is heavenly:


The California Redwoods

High up at the top of the trees on a hiking trail with no companions except the birds, the most awesome feeling surrounds you. The ground is soft, the air is quiet, though occasionally you can hear the song of a bird. This is where peace lives. It seems as though you are at the top of the world.

You are not at the top of the world, but you are near the tops of some very tall California Redwoods in the Prairie Creek Redwoods National and State Park. Located remotely in Northern California not far from the Oregon border, this “home of giants” is just off of the Coast Highway 101 a ways. The road cuts off of 101 between Trinidad and Orick and travels toward the ocean. It is about 42 miles north of Arcata but expect travel time to be longer than usual. This is a beautiful, scenic drive with winding roads that follow the ocean shoreline. Slow down and enjoy the scenery.

The upper trail eventually winds down to the Prairie Creek Trail at highway level. For those that don’t want to do a lot of climbing or are in a hurry, this trail is a good choice. You can hike a short distance or a longer one on mostly level ground.

The visitor’s center is a very helpful place to start your journey. You can tour the informative display room and visit with a ranger. They have maps of the trails well worth the price if you are going to hike. There are trails that will take you to the ocean as well as the hikes mentioned. Do stop in at the center before you venture out.

There is also a campground but check to see if you need a reservation. It’s a very popular place.

There are sights to see on the Prairie Creek Trail like Big Tree on the Big Tree Loop Trail that is part of the Prairie Creek Trail as it wanders back and forth across the road. There are trees that are open at the bottom and are similar to a cave. During the Great Depression, whole families lived inside these tree caves.

Oxalis abounds in the forest here along with forest ferns. The small flower of the Oxalis can be several different colors with white and pink being the most prevalent.


 Seasonally there are Trillium and other wildflowers. Look for colorful mushrooms.

The fallen trees are full of life with plants and tiny critters. Larger critters often shelter in the hollowed out ones.

The creek is visible most of the trek on the ocean side of the highway.

There is a lot more to the Redwoods both north and south of Prairie Creek and we have enjoyed the Avenue of the Giants several times. There are 3 drive through trees. Sadly, one caved and fell during the massive California rain storms early in January. This one is actually owned by an individual and there is a small fee to visit it. We weren’t able to drive through this one at the time but you can now. It’s worth the fee. This is the only one created by nature.


Leaving Prairie Creek going north is a spectacular drive through this unique state and national forest. It’s slow go for me so I can enjoy the beauty, peace and serenity of the tall trees. You will never regret a visit here.


Picture Of The Day

When you are in Northern Ohio along the Shores of Lake Erie and you say you are from Oregon, Ohioans think you live “next door.” Because….there is an Oregon, Ohio just east of Toledo. With all of the wintry Oregon Coast pictures out there recently, we thought this one at Oregon, Ohio, would be of interest. Ohio has had a somewhat mild winter so far, but it has been very cold at times. Ice forms and creates swirls of color from the reflections of the sky in this beautiful photo by Instagramer@amyonthebay. I was fascinated by the colors. Enjoy!


Southern Oregon Coast Scenic Drive

I try annually to visit family in Northern California and when I am able to do that, the return trip is up the coast from Arcata, CA back to Scottsburg and Umpqua River Haven (www.umpquahaven.com).  The Southern Oregon Coast holds many scenic turnouts that are all part of the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor.

This 12 mile, scenic corridor was named after the first Oregon Parks Supervisor, Samuel H. Boardman. He and his contemporaries had the good sense to see the need to preserve this unique and beautiful stretch of the Oregon Coast. There are also 27 miles of Oregon Coast Trail that meanders through the park including beach, dunes and 300-year-old Sitka spruce trees.

I’m never in a hurry and allow myself plenty of time. I often set out just to drive and not stop but I know I will. There are just too many beautiful turnouts along this route. The scenic sites start a short ways north of Brookings, Oregon. There are 14 scenic places to visit. Some you can see from the turnouts and some are a short hike to the view point. They include places like Whaleshead Beach where you can watch for water spouts from Whaleshead Rock off shore. Oregon’s tallest bridge is also along this route, the Thomas Creek Bridge, which is 345 feet up in the air. The bridge is part of the scenic Highway 101. Another turn off is Arch Rock which is a favorite stop. It is the northern most scenic turnout. You can get out and walk around without really hiking. There are three sides to this park area with awesome ocean sights on all three sides.

I will leave you here to explore some of my favorite shots along this scenic route. Do come stay with us and travel it for yourself.





Arch Rock


North Side at Arch Rock Scenic Overlook


Holiday Lights – 5

We visited several neighborhoods in the Phoenix area this holiday season, including our own. At night. To see the lights! We want to share them with you.  This is the neighborhood known as Moon Valley in North Phoenix. The original neighborhood was built in the 60s around the golf course. Mostly one story, ranch style homes. The area has expanded adding newer, bigger homes to the mix. A very nice neighborhood and a fun one to explore at night discovering all the lights. It was probably our favorite ‘hood for lights.

Every holiday season Moon Valley has a holiday lighting contest among the houses. You can recognize the several winners by the signs in the yard, and, of course, the beautifully lighted houses and yards. Enjoy the lights! 

Someone must have used one of those bucket lifts to get the lights strung up so high on this palm tree!


We weren’t sure if the covered bushes were due to a possibility of frost or if they were designed to look like snow. Because they did look like snow.


Some were just desert elegance like this all white ice cycles and spotlights house.





We loved the owl in the Saguaro below. There were more owls but it was hard to catch everything.



In Native and Mexican cultures, it is traditional to put out Luminarias on Christmas Eve to light the way to the Manger. Traditional Luminarias are brown bags filled part way with sand and then a candle inserted into the sand inside the bag. When the candles are lighted, they glow through the bags lining the path. We’ve done these in the past and it’s fun to do, if time-consuming. In modern times the bags are often plastic with electric lights inside as these are. Easier but still very pretty and meaningful.




More palm tree lighting. Each one is unique wherever you go.
This is a lighted Ocotillo. They grow to be quite beautiful but are very delicate and often just fall over at the base. They produce pretty, small red flowers all up and down their branches in the spring.



More high lighting in palm trees. This one has a star suspended between the trees.


The lighted green tree in the next few was spectacular. It was hard to capture that sight. The entire house/yard was rather spectacular.





There were many creative displays and the face on this palm tree was one of the better ones. He (or she) is quite the character.





The desert has been blessed with, what for it is much rain this holiday season. The rain greatly enhanced many of the light displays with reflections in the water.


We have enjoyed cruising Phoenix for holiday lights this year and will have one more, brief holiday lights post to come.

Holiday Lights – 4

We visited several neighborhoods in the Phoenix area this holiday season, including our own. At night. To see the lights! We want to share them with you. Here is the second neighborhood we visited. It’s way north and a development unto itself out in the desert. Enjoy the lights!







The flower of the Saguaro Cactus is the State flower of Arizona. It is illegal to take one from the desert but you can purchase them from greenhouses to plant in your yard. Many Arizonians have them and at this time of year, some are very brightly lit up with spotlights like this one.


Some residents wrap their Saguaros with holiday lights. Everyone is unique.


It was impossible to get this house in one shot or even the two you will see here.




This buckboard was unique. But it might have been the brainchild of a holiday light designer. I didn’t realize that many people hire designers to create light displays in their yards for the holidays.north-wagon

Palm trees are also prevalent on the desert and are often lit up or wrapped in lights. This one has a moving lazer light beamed on it. It’s a bit difficult to see but if you look closely you will see the small, pinpoints of lights up in the tree.



This is the final one and I thought it just about perfect. Keep watching for more holiday lights to come! Have a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Whale Watching Season

The Oregon Coast is famous for its Grey Whales. When visitors from all over the world are here and learn about the whales, well, everyone wants to see one. There are expeditions you can take to see the whales and Depot Bay is famous for their boats out into the ocean to view the whales that hang not far off shore. But a good, fun time can be had from shore where they have the Whale Watching Spoken Here Programs.

Trained volunteers are posted in various places along the Oregon Coast to help guide visitors in watching the Grey Whale migrations. Right now is prime whale watching season as 20,000 Grey Whales are traveling south to the warmth of the waters at Baja, Mexico. In March they’ll travel back again, but for now our favorite place to watch is on the platform looking out over the dunes at Winchester Bay with the Umpqua River Lighthouse behind us.

View from the platform to the south.


View from the platform to the north


The extremely endangered Grey Whale is a migrating baleen whale. They can be as big a 40 tons and live from 55 to 70 years. The gray patches and white mottling on dark skin give them the name of Gray Whale. These are the whales that migrate from their winter breeding grounds off the coast of Mexico to their summer feeding grounds in Alaska and back again. They have been seen popping up around the globe in small numbers possibly repopulating long lost breeding grounds not used for centuries. Worldwide protection of the species is what is bringing them back. One lady Grey Whale has made a 22,000-kilometer migration across the Pacific Ocean. Scientists believe this demonstrates how endangered species are making major changes in their lifestyles. They are amazing creatures.

whalewatching-greywhalebreaching-2Whale Watching at the Umpqua River Lighthouse State Park is just a short 20-minute drive from Umpqua River Haven (www.umpquahaven.com) Stop in and say hello on your way or stay with us for a bit while you visit the coast to see the whales! And visit our favorite lighthouse.