Story and images by Larry Turner (
High on Adventure, November 2020


I finally took my first flight during the covid-19 crisis, on a one-way ticket to visit my son Steen in Whitefish, Montana, on September 19, 2020. In March, three of my intended flights were canceled. It felt good to be in the air again, traveling from Medford, Oregon, with a stopover in Seattle, the city that had the first major covid-19 fatalities in the USA. All passengers were required to wear masks during the flight and the only passengers allowed to sit together were couples traveling together. The Seattle airport had noticeably more elbow room compared to pre-covid times with fewer passengers now traveling. That may soon change though as Hawaii just last week (Oct. 15) stopped its 2-week quarantine for incoming travelers.

As I mentioned in my last HighOnAdventure story, my traveling world has not slowed down since I live in a small rural community and have the benefit of slipping out my back gate to some remote and beautiful places. I’ve had some quality home time, too, to catch up on some chores and also to enjoy the deep solace of my property in Malin, Oregon. I’ve also found time to read some books which is always a deep and welcome pleasure.


  Destructive Western fires   Destructive western fires  
  Destructive western fires   Destructive western fires  
  Destructive western fires   Destructive western fire  
  Unfortunately, several of the places that I’ve traveled to recently have been changed forever by the horrific wildfires in my home-state and in California, which lies just a mile from my house. Lava Beds National Monument—just 10 miles from my home—experienced the Caldwell Fire in August, burning 70 percent of the Monument. The fire was still going when I arrived home from a near-month sojourn to Nevada and southeast Oregon. When the Monument reopened, I immediately went down for a day to survey the damage. My year-round camp that I frequent throughout the year (just outside the Monument boundary) was spared. Though the fire burned right up to some of my favorite caves, I was still able to go in and do some spelunking.   New growth after forest fire  

Just before my Montana departure, fires destroyed large pieces of the towns of Talent (where my son and youngest sister once lived) and Phoenix, Oregon, taking out several thousand homes and businesses, including many homes of dear friends of mine. The Two-Four-Two Fire in my home county of Klamath was raging at the same time, destroying a segment of beautiful old pine forests along the famous-for-fishing Williamson River and Spring Creek. But it was the Brattain Fire outside Paisley, Oregon, that destroyed a big piece of my history as it burned up my beloved family camp along the Chewaucan River ... a camp where some of my wife’s ashes are spread. Luckily, I camped there several times in August this year before the fire.

My beloved North Umpqua (Highway 38) River—mainly between Steamboat Lodge and the town of Glide—was largely destroyed by a conflagration that still burns as I write these words. I drove the road three days ago and it tore my heart out to see the devastation. Never again in my lifetime will I see the deep landscape beauty of a large stretch of this hallowed Wild and Scenic River with the dark tall forests framing the emerald green river. Fortunately, the famous Steamboat Lodge was saved. The narrower upper stretches of the fabled river were also spared.


  Montana stream   Montana stream  
  Montana stream   Montana pier  
  Montana barn   Montana lake  
  Boat fishing in Montana lake   Montana dock  
  Montana stream   Montana Weeping Wall  
  Montana mountain and forest   Driving Montana highway  
  Canoe on Montana lake   Walker with dog alongside Montana lake  

While my son wrapped up his summer season as chef de cuisine of the famous Café Kandahar,, I spent days exploring and traveling Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake and Valley and the Eureka country that borders Canada. When he finished his work, he, his dog Bosco and I headed back home to Oregon, traveling through Lolo Pass (where Lewis and Clark passed) in Idaho and then up the Salmon River through Riggins, onward to New Meadows and finally Marsing where we spent an evening with dear friends Pete Smit and his daughter Katy.

I arrived in the waning days of Montana summer and the beginnings of autumn. I caught Glacier National Park at a perfect time as the summer crowds had abated. The Going to the Sun Road was still open and glowed brightly with autumn colors. I went in once on my own and then with a friend and her red convertible, with the top down, of course. I did receive my first no-seat-belt ticket from a pure by-the-book national park ranger who had the personality of a rock. I was ticketed for sitting on the back seat of the convertible as I was photographing. We were driving like a snail but he obviously didn’t care. I’m sure that he had had to deal with a lot of obnoxious folks over the summer as the covid pushed tourists from all over the country to the National Park. Local friends said that their favorite back-country roads and haunts were filled with folks from everywhere. Glacier had bumper to bumper traffic as though it was an LA freeway. I had certainly arrived at the right time!

The Blackfoot Indian Reservation was closed to all traffic into Glacier from the east-side, so everyone had to enter through West Glacier. But we were able to drive to Logan Pass and beyond, driving the entire Going to the Sun Road except for the last five miles. Autumn weather was perfect. Going to the Sun should be on everyone’s bucket list. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling it many times.

One day we took the red convertible to Hungry Horse Dam and Reservoir, driving dirt roads to the edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. There were few other folks on this road and it was a pleasure to see new country. One black bear crossed right in front of us.

After leaving my son’s home one day, I drove to Eureka, Montana, which lies in the picturesque Tobacco Valley, just south of the Canadian border. The drive from Whitefish was filled with trout- and pike-filled lakes on both sides of Highway 93. Eureka is a recreationalist’s dream with ample hunting and fishing, golfing in the milder months, horseback riding, snow-sports, hiking and biking. Famous actor John McIntire, his actress wife Jeanette Nolan and actor son Tim McIntire are buried in the local cemetery. I strolled the charming streets of Eureka and thoroughly enjoyed it on a perfect-weather day. At one time, Eureka was known as the ‘Christmas Tree Capital of the World.’

Another day took me on a driving exploration of Polson, Montana, which lies at the southern end of beautiful Flathead Lake and is on the Flathead Indian Reservation. The citizens of Polson have created many parks and walking and bike paths. I strolled for a couple of miles, mainly on Polson’s beautiful waterfront.


  Tenmile Lake, Oregon   Tenmile Lake, Oregon  
  Tenmile Lake, Oregon   Tenmile Lake, Oregon  
  Tenmile Lake, Oregon   Tenmile Lake, Oregon  
  Tenmile Lake, Oregon   Tenmile Lake, Oregon  
  Tenmile Lake, Oregon   Oregon coast  
  tenmile-lake-oregon-12   Tenmile Lake, Oregon  

Before and after the Montana journey, I participated in two wonderful outings to my dear friend John Paulson’s folks’ cabin on Tenmile Lake along Oregon’s central coast. The first outing was with his 92-year-old mom Bev. The cabin is only accessible by a several mile boat ride, making the adventure extra unique. While there, John and I fished the Pacific (at the mouth of the Umpqua River at Winchester Bay) for salmon and crab. We were successful with crab and went empty catching salmon. At the cabin, we had some delicious dinners of fresh crab and other seafood that we had purchased. It was perfect bluebird late August weather.

The second time we went was in October. My son and his girlfriend Alex joined John and me. The ocean was too rough to pass the bar, so we crabbed successfully in the bay. One day, we drove over to Charleston to purchase fresh oysters at Qualman’s Oyster Farm. During the cabin stay, we also visited the Oregon Sand Dunes and hiked along the long solitary beach south of Winchester Bay.



Steen and Alex departed the coast cabin early (as did John) and took a camping trip to Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in southeast Oregon. I stayed at the cabin a few days longer, photographing from the boat great blue heron and other birds. Then I headed to Lake of the Woods, Oregon, to stay in my brother-in-law Rob’s family cabin—for me a tradition dating back 40 years. I’m writing the final words to this story from the dining room table overlooking this beautiful lake. I just came in from kayaking a bit ago. The cabin is a special place for reading, writing, photographing, hiking, kayaking, biking and sometimes doing nothing more than enjoying the ultimate relaxation of sitting on the deck or dock, enjoying the solace of the moment. During the world of covid and cancerous politics, this is the perfect place to be this moment ... and it is extra-special as I get to listen to the World Series on radio, as I have done for a good share of my life. Game Six is tomorrow.

The simple things in life (especially if you do it with family and friends) are the best.

  Oregon Lakeof the Woods  
  Oregon Lake of the Woods   Oregon Lake of the Woods  

IMPORTANT INFO:,_Oregon,_Oregon



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