Fall Futures – An Introduction to Fall 2016

Fall is coming! Check out the forecast below as we roll into this colorful season from our resident fall specialist Gabrielle Lent, and plan your fall adventures in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region here.

Oregon’s seasons are so true. Now that we’ve reached mid-August, summer is in full swing and just about everything under the sun is feeling the heat. Warmth hangs in the air from late morning to late night as we covet swimming holes and savor sunsets, share outdoor picnics with friends and experience all the activities that make this time of year so very dreamy.

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Cottage Grove’s Currin Covered Bridge in late summer

Though we’re living in the summer moment here at Eugene, Cascades and Coast, we will begin to turn our focus toward fall futures. Where will this year’s colors be most resplendent? When will they first appear? If you’re leaf hunters like we are, you may have noticed that some trees are already in transition. We spoke with KEZI 9 Chief Meteorologist Marisa Woloszyn and asked her to weigh in with an overview forecast for the season.

This year, warmer summer temperatures are expected to cause leaves to start changing a bit earlier than they normally do with colors peaking around their normal time. Leaves begin to change across the United State in August, with peaks between late September and early November. Leaves in the Northeast, Rocky Mountains and the Upper Midwest will peak first, followed by the Pacific Northwest and then the Southeast. 

Color will peak in mid October in the higher elevations of Oregon, where it gets cooler more quickly. This includes the Cascades, Siskiyou Mountains and Coastal Mountains. By late October  foliage peaks across the rest of the state, including the Willamette Valley, Umpqua Basin, Rogue Valley and Cascade foothills.”

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One of the 7 Waterfall Wonders from Instagrammer Stavi89

Follow along with this blog as we review the progress of our foliage metamorphose, here in Lane County and across the state. Tell us your favorite places, send pictures of what you see and learn more about Oregon with each week that passes. We’ll tell you where to go, what you can do once you get there and explore the land in new ways then we have in past years. Get ready for bounty, get ready for adventure and get going on plans for your fall season vacations!

Farewell to Fall, for Now!

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A nice late-fall day by the Willamette River from Instagrammer technomonk 47

Jack Frost is nipping at Eugene, Cascades & Coast and it’s beginning to look a lot like winter! Willamette Pass is already cold and white, an excitingly different scene than we had here this time last year, inspiring locals and visitors to acquire their Sno-Park Permits not just for one day but for the season.

Toward the Cascade Mountains, one can see a christening snow has gently nestled atop their rocky peaks.

Drivers are encouraged to carry chains or traction tires and use their headlights if traveling out this way. Safety first in this icy new wonderland!

In town, there’s still some nice color on our trees! Folks are swigging eggnog and carving turkeys, lighting trees and getting a jump on finding those perfect holiday gifts.

SBS Facebook Header - Blue (2).jpgNovember 28 is Small Business Saturday, so this weekend, get out and Shop Small in support of independent store owners.

If you find yourself near Oakway Center, stick around for the annual Tree Lighting which offers spectators free hot chocolate and cookies, visits from Winter Willy the Snowman and a chance to see real reindeer! And don’t miss what the 5th Street Market has in store for the holiday. From the weekly snow sessions at Let it Snow to their lit-up display at Night of a Thousand stars, there’s a lot to see here!

For those still seeking the last turning leaves of our elegantly exiting autumn season, take yourself outdoors and stroll through a local park.

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Another excellent fall scene in Eugene from Instagrammer technomonk 47

Views of the Willamette River’s banks from the Peter DeFazio Footbridge still glow warm with yellow and chocolate color, a select handful of bordering maples still ablaze in orange and red.

Leaves that have fallen offer a hearty ground coat to the grass and pathways of Alton Baker Park. Spend some time, bring a loaf of bread and feed the ducks that swim and make their home in the reflecting pond.

In Springfield, have a wander around Armitage Park. Explore the land and venture upon the short and sweet Crilly Nature Trail. See licorice ferns in vibrant, youthful glory, nursed by fresh rains and sprouting out from the carcasses of old growth trees.

Breathe deeply the crispness of the air, returning home with rosy cheeks and hands that need warming. The Clearwater Trail extending from Dorris Ranch is another space in which to find tranquility and a pretty picture. Bring a journal and get situated on a river facing bench as you log your encounter with nature or just gather your thoughts.

Thank you for sharing the season with us. We’ve had a lovely time documenting areas of attraction across the state and look forward to next year. Winter is coming, and we’re ready for our next set of seasonal adventures in Oregon.  See you next year!

A Recount of a Fall Day in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

Follow along with Fall Foliage expert Gabrielle Lent explores a Fall day in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast.

Colors in nature are looking great. Something about the rain and bleakness of knowing that winter is coming really makes their lingering visual truly potent. The multifaceted gradients of maples in this town are defying the rain and bleakness and in a dying effort, demand your eyes! They got me and they got mine. I found myself with a surprise day off and a friend with a car, looking for adventure. We decided to seize the day by embarking on a hunt for fall color.

Driving out of Eugene, we took River Road past the suburbs and into farm land. It is now late morning, nearly 10:30 a.m. after coffee at Noisette, and the clouds are still rising off the earth. As they elevate, they float past sheep and cows grazing peacefully together at home in their field. The beautiful green and golden fields are neatly bordered by trees. Most have lost their leaves for the season though a spectacular few still peek through red, dulled slightly by the fog. We take a right on Love Lake Road, and continue on to Noraton.

The sun begins to rise behind the trees. Sure enough, a rainbow is beginning to form in the mist. Vibrant barns appear poetic in the fields they live. It is hard to believe its mid November though that’s exactly how it feels. To the right in a field with a purple sky geese flock by the seemingly hundreds. I’m reminded of the movie Take Shelter with Michael Shannon, when it starts to rain. We pass under low-clearance graffiti-crowned bridges that mark where roads occasionally flood in the winter. In the mist, the rainbow is still there and everything is so pretty from the passenger seat.

We follow country switchbacks to Old River Road, where every sheep in the field looks to have its own bird on its back. It’s cute. Soon we reach

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William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge

William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge. We are welcomed by gravel
road, light rain and a nice stand of yellow, beyond which horizons remain a dangerous shade of periwinkle.  Twisted, dark wood tree trunks lay as elegantly in swamp land as a chaise lounge. We pass signs for Turtle Flats and Homer Campbell Trail, each offering a unique viewpoint.

We continue along this stunning road to Woodpecker Loop Trail where there’s a porta-potty the same electric blue as my raincoat. Its backdrop is dew dripped and alive for the season.

This is an oak savanna, and though many leaves now cover the path, many left on trees pop in enthusiastic fits amidst the lush and thriving greenery of a forest in late fall. We reach a lookout point and even through the last waning haze of a frosty morning, everything about the landscape seems in color. Not in a flashy way, but in the unassuming, muted sense of a beauty wisely aged. Birds chirp and we try to match them by color to the trail’s interpretive signs.

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Start of Woodpecker Loop

We step over newts that strut forward and hear rain hit leaves before splashing to the ground. We reach a crossroads drawn like a page from a whimsical story and pick up the trail for Mill Hill. Here, we are walking through the kind of forest that makes you feel you’re the first to discover it. Everything is so fresh, yet so mature; a perfect harmony of lifespan within the season.

We pass Gray Creek, a beaver pond but spot none. As the sun shines its afternoon light on the butterscotch of maples, we make our way back to the car. The rain has stopped. Over two hours have passed, and we’ve trekked a thoughtful six miles.

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A newt underfoot along the hike

We stop for lunch in Corvallis at an Asian Fusion and Italian Gelato restaurant called Koriander. It came recommended was quite good. Afterwards we head along the river path on 1st Street, a scenic footpath being utilized today by bicyclists, joggers and some who stop just to gaze upon the Willamette. I spy a statue of sea otters before we turn the corner. We drink hot chocolates with whipped cream and caramel at Allan Brothers and say goodbye to Corvallis.

For a change of scene, we take Peoria Road back to Eugene. We pass orchards and hundreds of blueberry bushes blazing in red chartreuse. I see five scarecrows in a field, staggered in their placement, each wearing a helmet and cape with arms outspread.

They look like superheroes taking on the wind. We roll through Harrisburg and down Coburg Road, gently easing back into the traffic of downtown’s rush hour.

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A Fork in the Path

The day has come full circle. I’m left feeling so happy to have had this time outdoors, this pleasant country drive and this wonderful company. I had a surprise day off and I spent I hunting for fall color. This has been a perfect autumn day in Eugene, Cascades & Coast.