Oregon Coast: A summer vacation hot spot
While vacationing in Oregon with her two cousins, Danielle St. Marie, right, poses next to a life-size statue of Sacagawea in Fort Clatsop National Park.
&widthWhen I hear the words "summer vacation," I instantly think of beach, family trips and, ultimately, no school. Fortunately for me, I experienced all of these on a two-week trip along the coast of Oregon.
Ever since I was young, my grandparents have taken me on some sort of trip for summer. But this summer was different: my two little cousins came along for what would become an incredible experience.
Since we were not on any real time schedule, it took us three days to reach Oregon and stop at our first attraction, Umpqua Museum in Roseburg. The museum showcases artifacts important to the Oregon area, from the process of wine to the pioneer days of the Oregon Trail and even the history of the Umpqua Indians.
Amid a relaxed atmosphere, the museum contains numerous hands-on activities, making the visit enjoyable for all ages. The Umpqua Museum also incorporates live snakes and fish into its displays. This museum is definitely a must-visit for those traveling in Oregon.
When my grandparents plan summer trips, they do their best to entertain everyone and to be educational. In Astoria we visited Fort Clatsop National Park, where Lewis and Clark stayed in the winter. This was Lewis' and Clark's final stop before their journey home.
"Even though I enjoyed the whole trip, the highlight by far was whitewater rafting on the Rogue River. If you ever travel through Oregon, I recommend a stop at all the places I have mentioned, especially the Rogue River." --Danielle St. Marie, '12
While at the park, I learned a tremendous amount about the Lewis and Clark expedition that is normally left out of the history books. The fort also contains information about Sacagawea, her tribe and the local Native Americans. It is always interesting to learn about one significant event in history that is not thoroughly taught in school.
Another stop in Astoria was the Columbia River Maritime Museum. In this museum there are relics, ships, shipwrecks and a history of the local canning industry. This museum was by far the best museum on our trip; it was put together extremely well to captivate both a young audience and the general public.
At the Columbia River Maritime Museum, St. Marie poses in a diver's helmet. The museum also features exhibits with ships, boating equipment and sea stories.
In the maritime museum I learned countless facts about shipping and the dangers of the Columbia River. The transition from the Pacific to the Columbia River is extremely dangerous and requires special pilots to maneuver the boats through the rough waters. Even with these pilots, shipwrecks still occur.
While at the museum, I learned about a shipwreck that occurred 80 years ago. The captain thought there was a buoy ahead, when actually it was metal from a previous shipwreck. When he realized it was not a buoy but metal, he crashed, causing the ship to settle on the shoreline.
Our final destination was Gold Beach. Here my grandparents took all of us grandkids on our first whitewater adventure with Jerry's Jet Boats.
We departed Gold Beach early in the morning to head up river to experience the thrills of whitewater rapids. To keep warm from the frigid air, everyone bundled up in layers, even though it was the middle of summer.
After a few hours' ride upriver, we made it to the rapids at Rogue River. Everyone was ready for an adrenaline rush. The boat traveled at about 50 miles per hour against the current through the rapids, soaking all passengers who carried a smile.
Throughout the journey we saw all types of animals, including deer, harbor seals, osprey, salmon and various kinds of birds. Occasionally, passengers might come across bears and mountain lions. But we did not get to see either one.
Since the river is protected as a wild river of the west, we were only able to travel through part of the rapids before we had to begin our descent back to the coast. To entertain the passengers on the ride back, the pilot did numerous 360-degree turns down the river, splashing everyone. The voyage was breathtaking from beginning to end.
Even though I enjoyed the whole trip, the highlight by far was whitewater rafting on the Rogue River. If you ever travel through Oregon, I recommend a stop at all the places I have mentioned, especially the Rogue River.
For more information on summer trips, read the Aug. 17 article, Crystal Cave attracts Valley tourists.