On November 5th, Passport Oregon made it’s way from the Willamette Valley of Portland to the Emerald Valley of Eugene. We encountered an entirely different, and equally wonderful part of the state. We began our day by going to the University of Oregon Outdoor Program.  The visit started with a tour of the University outdoor program gear barn. Students got a chance to test out different outdoor gear, and learn about how it is used. Each student got to sit in a kayak  (not in water – we will save that for a future trip!), put on rock climbing gear, and hear stories about Oregon adventures from the staff. Track town Pizza sponsored our lunch and the kids loved their famous and delicious pizza! 

Next up – Autzen Stadium. You will not find Autzen Stadium featured on any natural wonder lists, however it’s reputation as an epicenter of collegiate chaos has earned it national prominence. Additionally, couched on a corner of the University’s campus and situated near the Willamette River, the stadium does offer a view of Oregon unlike any other. So, when the opportunity to have Passport Oregon explorers venture onto the field, we jumped on or, eh, quacked at it. The Creston Cohort, dressed in ponchos, enjoyed their trip to Duck territory. The youngsters stood wide-eyed from the end zone as they peered around Oregon’s football mecca. A member of the University of Oregon Athletic Department led a tour around the entire stadium. He highlighted the fact that no other stadium features a manmade waterfall and told the students about the diversity of plants and trees at the stadium. All of the species of plants were native to Oregon and represent the flora of the state’s many regions.

There’s a saying that quotes “it never rains at Autzen Stadium”, but our students wisely used their knowledge of outdoor gear and put on ponchos to stay dry.

Our final stop in the Emerald Valley – the Play in the Rain Day, organized by the Willamette National Forest and the NW Youth Corps, at Mt. Pisgah. The students had a blast! They met Snowball the mule, learned frisbee golf, and firefighters taught them how to use a fire hose and ride a fire truck! Students experienced a pastime central to Oregon’s economic and cultural development – cutting a log. The key, apparently, is to never pull, but always push. Channeling this advice, our crew left Mt. Pisgah with a “cookie” they cut from the log. With the sawdust brushed off, the six boarded the bus for the trip back north. Of course, prior to arriving at Creston, we made a critical hot coco pit stop in Albany. Thank you to Allan Bros for excellent service and even better beverages!