More Oregon Walks: Dunes, Lakes and Darlingtonia

North and south of Florence, Oregon are huge dunes and several lakes – which seem like an odd mix, but there you are.

Sutton Creek Overlook

About 6 miles north of Florence at the end of Vista Rd off Hwy 101 is the Sutton Creek Overlook. Here, I can appreciate the vastness of the dunes. And the water that makes its way to the coast.

Sutton Creek overlook

There was the boardwalk to the overlook, a fairly short walk from the parking lot. Nearby are campgrounds and Lake Sutton with more trails. Visit the USDA Forest Service website for more information on the Sutton area trails.


Back across Hwy 101 is the Darlingtonia State Natural Site, an 18 acre botanical preserve. It’s a short walk to some amazing carnivorous plants.

Darlingtonia path

Darlingtonia californica is a plant with hollow tubes. Inside is a hairy nectar feast that traps insects. Bacteria finishes processing the ‘nutrients’ for the plant.Darlingtonia closeup

A boardwalk around the deepest part of the fen allowed us to see the plants up close. The plants seem to love the wet sand environment. I was mesmerized by the translucent leaves – good thing I’m not an insect.

Darlingtonia meadow l

Honeyman Memorial State Park

Our first stop at the big dunes south of Florence was very popular with ATV riders. The USDA/Forest Service manages much of the Oregon dunes and provide places for dune riders.

Since that’s not our style of enjoying dunes, we made a U-turn and went to Jessie M Honeyman Memorial State Park .

Honeyman Lake

At Clearwox Lake only a faint hint of roaring engines was audible. Plenty of people enjoyed themselves around the lake. We had a picnic lunch before exploring further.

Near us was a cove on the small lake, with a swimming beach and platform.

Honeyman Lake swimming

Boat rentals and information are available at the stylish park building (from the 1930s of course).

Honeyman Park building

There’s a short path between the building and some of the picnic spots (including group picnic areas.) This is a true family place with all kinds of fun. On the far side of the lake, people were boarding and sliding down the dune to the lake. They were having fun without gasoline engines.

Honeyman Path

Oregon Dune Day Use

It may sound like a boring utilitarian name, but that’s what it’s called and I loved it best. Oregon Dune Day Use has a wheelchair accessible ramp Oregon Dune boardwalk

to achieve a fine view of the Oregon Dunes.

Oregon Dunes day use

One can also hike a loop over dune and along the beach, with restriction March 15 to September 15 to protect the nesting snowy plover. (For trail and park info, click Oregon Dunes.)

Oregon Dune trailhead

For more information on the area, click Oregon Dune Siuslaw National Forest.

Woahink or Siltcoos Lakes

On the other side of Hwy 101 are two lakes. We could drive around Woahink Lake and stopped to look at a peaceful spot with some fun.

Woahink Lake

A couple of women were fishing on the bridge and welcomed us to their lake. They chatted with the kayakers paddling under the bridge.

Woahink kayakers

Siltcoos Lake is larger but we could only drive to part of it. Access from the other side would be long drive on a winding road.

Siltcoos marshy lake

While it was more developed in terms of public space (picnic and marina), it did look a little silt-y with a marsh appearance in this part of the lake.

Siltcoos marina

Houses clustered near the marina. This is the largest lake behind the dunes of Oregon.

Siltcoos marina

What is it about a dock into water that looks so beautiful and inviting?

Siltcoos dock

Guess we’ll decide the next time, which lake is more fun for us. If you can’t wait for us to decide, please visit Dune City.

See you on the lake!

Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Mike and Lynn Millar

Apologies for the delay in posting about our trip, but we’ve had a few technical ‘issues.’ I think one more in Eugene and one in Eureka, Ca should complete the trip.



Weekend Fun: Art, SE Greenway & Vintage

Don’t forget Coastal Cleanup day tomorrow – Coastwalk.

Registration is closed – but you can stop in at Bodega Dunes Day Use. Saturday 9am.


Headsburg Arts Festival

Saturday, September 20 & Sunday, September 21, 10AM-5PM

Healdsburg Arts Festival is presented by Healdsburg Center for the Arts. Healdsburg Center for the Arts is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating, inspiring, and promoting the arts through community education programs, events and exhibitions. For more information about Healdsburg Center for the Arts’ programs, visit

A Community based non-profit arts center


Not quite the weekend, but you shouldn’t miss.

Stroll the Greenway in the Autumn Light!

The weather should still be lovely for a walk along the edge of the Southeast Greenway! While the hillsides have turned a golden hue and the setting sun casts a glow on the land, it’s a great time to envision how restoration could bring life to this long neglected property. You may be surprised that this land hosts three creeks, old oak and walnut trees, and wide swaths of open space that provide great views of Taylor and Bennett Mountains.

Driving by the property on Summerfield or Yulupa does no justice to the vistas offered or magnitude of this 52-acre parcel. The walk is an opportunity to “Imagine… A Greenway to Spring Lake and Beyond.”

Hope you can join us!Greenway Stroll

Please register by calling Thea Hensel at 707-545-5281, or email

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Thursday, October 23, 2014


Because some of this festival involves ticket purcase, I thought I’d let you know now.

Valley of Moon Vintage Festival – September 26-28

The Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival has been celebrating the Sonoma Valley’s bounty, community, and local culture since 1897. California’s oldest festival takes place September 26-28 in downtown Sonoma’s Historic Plaza.


Thursday’s Song: Take a Little Walk with Me

This is what I always say to people – maybe not quite the way he means it.

Robert Lockwood Jr. singing the blues: Take a Little Walk with Me

Do you have a favorite version of this tune?

If you are getting this via email or phone, you might need to click on post heading to access the video.


Wednesday Walking News: Cellphones, Beer & your Imagination

As usual, click on headings for more information. If you’re walking, put your cellphone away and starting looking around you.

No Cellphones! Chinese Walking Lane Separates Phone Addicts

Distracted driving laws have sprung up around the world to cut down on drivers who text behind the wheel. That was not enough for one Chinese property manager with a sense of humor. Last week, pedestrians in the city of Chongqing discovered a designated cellphone lane to walk in while they played Candy Crush or talked on WeChat. “Cellphones, walk in this lane at your own risk,” read the lettering on the ground. The lane next to it explicitly banned cellphones. It was not the work of overzealous government officials; instead they were painted by the property manager, who told the Associated Press they were ironic and were meant to remind people of the dangers of walking while fiddling with their phones.



Try walking to learn about beer and the places they’re made. Beer makers get inspiration by walkig and you can take the walks too.

Beers Made by Walking

Beers Made By Walking is a program that invites brewers to make beer inspired by nature hikes and urban walks. Each walk is different, each beer is a portrait of that landscape. The program happens in multiple cities each year.

Crane Creek walk with the Y

This Saturday, September 20th, is my next walk for the Sonoma County Family YMCA. We’ll meet in the Crane Creek Regional Park parking lot at 5000 Pressley Rd. at 10am. We should be done by noon.

The buckeyes are done blooming and the leaves have fallen. The creek is dry, but maybe it will be cool enough to climb the hill for a grand view of the Santa Rosa plain – and see the hawks.

The walk is 2-3 miles. We’ll stick to the flat route unless we all vote for a hill climb.

Parking cost $7 or use your park pass. No fee for walk and it’s open to non-members

First part of walk will be wheelchair accessible. It’s up to you if you would like to join us.

Sorry, no dogs. Service animals okay.

Please wear a hat and sunscreen. Bring water. There is no water at the park. Pit toilets.

Buckeye Crane Creek

I’d give you a map, but I’m not happy with where Google and Mapquest think the park is. Take Roberts Ranch Rd off of Petaluma Hill Rd. north of Sonoma State. Go uphill. Roberts Ranch becomes Pressley.

For my last post on Crane Creek, click this whole darn sentence.

Thursday’s Song: I Walk the Line

I walk the line, because you’re mine. Oh yea. Johnny Cash:

If you receive this via email or phone you may need to click on post heading to get to You Tube link.

Anyone with a “Walk” or “Walking” in a song title? Leave a comment and let me know. Thanks!

Wednesday’s Walking News: Fat Dogs, Tolay Lake & James Joyce

I know, it’s an odd collection this week. But they come as I find them, which is not necessarily as they find the light of the Internet. I won’t even hold it against you if you go to one of these events the same day, I’m at Ragle Ranch.

For more information, click on the headings.

Walk Events Combat Pet Obesity (and Overweight Owners)

Walking to the Heceta Head (Calendar-Icon) Lighthouse

Last year we zipped down the coast of Washington and Oregon, hardly having time to look. This year we decided to spend two days in Florence, a small town on the Siuslaw River at the ocean. North of town (13 mi.) is a gem of a lighthouse, that the fog prevented us from seeing in the long view. This is last year’s picture.

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse 2013

This year we made the short climb up.

Heceta lighthouse closeup

We easily found it off the Oregon Coast Hwy. With a small beach and parking lot below the bridge over Cape Creek, the lighthouse keeper’s place shone bright on this intermittent foggy morning.

8-14 Heceta Lighthouse keeper m Oregon 082

Past the bathrooms is the trailhead up to the lighthouse. It offered a wide even path. Not too steep.

Heceta Head trailA fascinating rail

Heceta Head Lighthouse railInteresting tree roots

Heceta Head tree webAnd gorgeous views of the ocean

Heceta trail ocean viewAnd the bridge over Cape Creek.

Cape Creek bridge

From the lighthouse keeper’s building (available for events and bed & breakfast rentals) the fog cleared enough to see the lighthouse. Built in 1893. Electrified in 1940. Fully automated in 1963. And the brightest light on the Oregon Coast.

 Heceta Head lighthouse

Actually it’s the assistant lightkeeper’s house that remains – but looks beautiful. Imagine the family life in this setting.

Heceta lighthouse keeper

The bridge across Cape Creek opened in 1932 (another thing to imagine about the lightkeeper’s life – this was some independent living) and resembles a Roman aqueduct.

Cape Creek bridge

I’m ready to visit again. You?

Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Lynn & Mike Millar, available upon request.

Minimal Trail info: Near the lighthouse was a sign warning of bears and showing a trail map. It’s only a half mile up to the lighthouse – but other trails leave from here. 1.25 mi gets you to a trail with a connection down to Washburne Beach which is 2 miles long. The main trail continues through the hills to two more connections to the beach. I’m going to assume it’s a bit of a hike to get up and over the head and a couple of miles north. Lighthouse is 250′ above the ocean.

Oregon State Park: Day use is $5/vehicle or state pass, tours are 11-3 when weather and staffing permit, picnic tables, pit toilet and no water.

Directions Map

Roses at Heceta Head


Wednesday Walking News: Epic Trails

I had one friend walk the Camino de Santiago last year and another about to start it – here are some more challenges – (click the heading for more information)

Seven epic walking trails around the world


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