The Sunday excursion will probably be a trip to the Oregon coast, weather permitting. This involves a fair amount of walking, so bring comfortable shoes. In general, hot weather provides alot of evaporation over the ocean, which leads to cool weather at the coast. So, if the weather is hot in Eugene, it will be overcast and cold at the coast. If the weather is mild in Eugene, it will be warm at the coast. Generally, coastal temperatures range from 65°F to 72°F (18°C to 22°C).
The ocean is cold at northern lattitudes. It is possible to swim in the ocean, but it not advisable, You can only swim when the tide is coming in so you don't get swept out to sea. There are no lifeguards or large crowds or other swimmers, so if you get caught in a rip tide, rip current, or undertow, you are on your own - most people drown when this happens. Past participants who swam in the ocean were refered to with such terms as "intrepid" and "moronic" and "will be missed". At the ocean, Oregonians tend to just wade in the surf no further than to their knees. The state of oregon maintains a list of Safety tips at the Oregon coast. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Never turn your back on the ocean. The ocean is full of drift logs and sneaker waves. If you are within the range of the waves, keep an eye out for flotsome. If you are not within the range of the waves, keep an eye out for sneaker waves.
- Beware of the cold. If you go into the water even up to your knees, you can become hypothermic.
- Keep an eye on the tide. There are sea caves that are inviting to explore, but rising tides can trap you in a cave with no air. So, watch your route of egress to make sure it stays clear.
- Beware of unknown berries. Salal berries, salmonberries and invasive and benign blackberries are all edible. Oregon Grape (our state berry) is only poisonous in sufficiently large quantities, but the black berries of deadly nightshade are quite, well, deadly.
- As in most places in Oregon, smoking is not allowed on public coastal lands. Everywhere we will go is a public land. If we stop at a restaurant or shop, smoking is prohibited because of workplace regulations.
In the afternoon, we will go to a lake where swimming is quite pleasant, warm, and not at all drowny. If you do want to swim, please bring a towel and a change of clothing. It isn't illegal to be naked in Oregon for non-sexual purposes, but it is illegal to be naked in Lane County, except for political purposes. We will be at an Oregon State Park located in Lane County, so it is legally ambigous whether it is legal or not. However, it is clear that the bus company will not allow you to get their seats wet.
There is a reason why Oregonians "go to the coast", but do not "go to the beach". The buffer between the ocean and the land in Oregon is where people hunt for gems and shells, check out the wildlife in the tide pools at low tide, look through binoculars for seals and whales at high tide, and build driftwood fires to roast marshmallows at night. It is illegal in Oregon to "own" a section of the beach. So, there are no beach-front restuarants, no mai tai servers, and no beach umbrellas for hire. Florence Oregon lies on the coast directly West of Eugene. North of Florence, some portions of the coast could be refered to as "the beach," assuming you have suitably low expectations for commercialization. South of Florence, there is no section that could reasonably be called "the beach." From the highway to the ocean, the progression is sand dunes, shallow salt marsh, a few more dunes with stabilization grass, the ocean. It isn't always possible to reach the ocean; however, the sand dunes provide lots of recreational opportunities. We will be going just North and just South of Florence.