Monday, July 16, 2012

It’s Not Easy Being a Senior Junior Ranger

Interpretive HostsWe’ve been busy here at Humbug Mountain State Park as the kids have arrived for the summer.  Each day from Wednesday through Sunday we cruise the park in our golf cart, announcing the Junior Ranger program for children 6-12  which begins at 10:00.  Crafting the SalamanerWe host a different lesson every day; Marine Mammals, Stream Ecology, Birds of the Park, Animal Tracks & Skins, and the Secret Lives of Salamanders, which features a visit from our park Salamander representative, Samantha.  We start the sessions with enrollment in the program, a safety Catching Creek Critterstip (Watch out for “Sneaker” waves!), then have the lesson, followed by a craft.  We make hummingbird feeders, Harbor Seal Visors, animal track field guides, and beaded Salamanders.  It’s all great fun, and the kids (and parents) really seem to enjoy the program.  Once a child has completed the first New Junior Rangersvisit and activity book tasks, they get to wear the Junior Ranger badge and learn the “secret sign”, a hand signal ONLY to be used between fellow Junior Rangers and park rangers.  The seriousness of the kids when we pin on their badge and show the secret sign is priceless.  It’s great fun!  We’re

generally done by noon, although on some days the restocking of craft supplies takes a bit longer, and in addition we conduct a program on Seals and Sea Lions on Friday nights, and help sell firewood for a few hours twice a week.  All in all, it’s been an enjoyable stay here, and a small price to pay for the beautiful site we’ve been given.



Makin' Tracks

Wearing their Salamander Craft
A few days ago while loading up the golf cart with supplies, I heard a group of Steller Jays raising a fuss in the trees.  They were “mobbing” a Barred Owl, which sat mostly oblivious to the racket.  It’s a magnificent raptor, and they put a significant dent in the rodent population, but the Jays didn’t seem to appreciate it’s presence.  The Barred Owl’s feathers provide amazing camouflage – it’s in the middle of the second picture with the Jays to the left. (Click on the picture to enlarge)Barred Owl
Owl with Jays
We’re continually impressed by the beauty of the coast.  Now that we’re in the summer season, we’ve had mostly sunny days, with temperatures in the mid to high 60s – just perfect weather.  On a ride in our golf cart, we came across this vista of the offshore rocks with the marine layer in the distance.  Every once in a while the layer moves ashore, and the temperature drops and the sun disappears.  Fortunately, the mountain seems to keep it away from the park.
Offshore Rocks
All up and down the coast, we’ve seen the marinas and docks used by commercial and sport fisherman, but in Port Orford, there’s no suitable place for a traditional dock, and so the “dolly dock” was constructed.  It seems like a timePort Orford Dolly Dock consuming and labor-intensive task to launch and recover a boat; each boat is on a home-built trailer or dolly, and is wheeled to a point underneath the large cranes which pick it up and lower it into the water.  The time and expense of using this method is reflected in the number of fishing boats – perhaps two dozen at the most.  It’s surprising that there’s that many, since there’s a harbor at Gold Beach 25 miles south.  Perhaps there’s an area of great fishing nearby that makes the dolly dock worthwhile.
We’ve really enjoyed our site here at the park.  The paver-brick patio, trees, and shrubs make it very comfortable for sitting outside, and our hummingbird feeder has been attracting Anna’s and Rufus Hummingbirds.  Rufus on FeederA male Rufus has decided that it’s his personal feeder and guards it jealously, driving off any other hummingbird that tries to use it.  The airshow with the loud humming and chirping is a treat to watch.  This year I bought a propane gas smoker, and the results have been great!  Smoked ChickenI’ve turned out some tasty smoked trout and a few days ago we dined on smoked chicken and Brenda’s baked candied sweet and regular potatoes.  We enjoy dining out here; it’s virtually bug-free until dusk, when a few mosquitoes come out but quickly disappear as it cools. 
There’s so much beauty in the area – check back to see some of the places we’ve visited!


  1. That Owl photo is amazing. Great shot!

    The kids look like they are having a wonderful time. It sounds like you two have found your nitch!

  2. Love, love your blog! We miss y'all! xxoo, pat & Steve

  3. Looks like you guys have found the perfect volunteer location! Hope to see you both this winter.

  4. Wow! What a great post. You two sound as if you're having a lot of fun. Isn't it great how kids can keep you young and young at heart.