Exploring the Detroit Wilderness

Back in the 50’s, the Army Corps of Engineers dammed Oregon’s North Santiam River to create a reservoir. The dam still stands tall and proud today, providing Salem’s drinking water supply and generating electricity while protecting the Willamette Valley from seasonal flooding– though arguably the best part of the deal is the recreation it’s created for outdoor enthusiasts.

The Detroit Lake wilderness area boasts some of the easiest access to camping, fishing, hiking, boating, kayaking, birding, and swimming for locals looking to get out in nature and escape the heat of the valley floor. Though mine has a somber family history with the lake, this summer it’s become our go-to for adventuring with the kids. (Our very favorite, very remote, secluded hideaway hike is even in the area!)

I’ll never tire of this mossy fern gully. 

Blowout Bridge is a new highlight for our crew, a swaying suspension bridge that local teens are known to jump from– to the delight of Indiana Jones & Short-Round loving Little Man. 

I just adore this brand of homeschooling: Adventure-schooling; nature-schooling… In one outing we can tick off nature study [ecology, ornithology, botany, zoology], bridge & dam engineering, history, language arts ’round the campfire, and plenty of Physical Education.

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” – John Muir