VideoIconNew.pngMeet Bill Sullivan! (16-second video)


100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades . . . 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & SW Washington . . . 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range . . . 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon . . . 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Eastern Oregon . . . Trails of Crater Lake & Oregon Caves . . . Atlas of Oregon Wilderness . . . Oregon Map & Travel Guide . . . Oregon Trips & Trails . . . Oregon Favorites


Hiking Oregon's History . . . Oregon's Greatest Natural Disasters


Cabin Fever . . . Listening for Coyote


The Ship in the Hill . . . The Case of Einstein's Violin . . . A Deeper Wild

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OREGON FAVORITES: Trails and Tales   VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

   From a ski adventure at Crater Lake to a wildflower hike in the Columbia Gorge and a hidden hot springs in the desert, here are 62 favorite stories about places and people in Oregon’s outdoors, by the state’s foremost outdoor author, William L. Sullivan. For armchair travelers and adventurers alike, the book includes boxed inserts with trip details, as well as color-coded headings recommending the best month to visit each of these Oregon favorites.

288 pages, 6"x9", 45 maps,300 color photos, ISBN 098157016X

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The Ship in the Hill   VideoIconNew.png(2-minute video)

   This historical novel is based on the true story of the excavation of a Viking burial ship from a hill in Norway in 1904. The find dumbfounded archeologists because it was the most elaborate Viking grave of all time, yet it contained the bones of a woman. Historians had thought that the Viking world -- and certainly Viking ships -- were ruled by men. Who was this woman? Alternating chapters in The Ship in the Hill follow the archeologists unearthing the ship in 1904 and the Viking queen who sailed the ship a thousand years before.

     "The Ship in the Hill reminds me of Tolkien's writing in the best possible ways: high adventure in the style of the old northern sagas. This super book has everything -- love, kidnapping, betrayal, revenge, adventure, heroic journeys. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it."      -- Book-of-the-Year staff pick, Amanda MacNaughton, Paulina Springs Bookstore

     "A great read! I loved how Mr. Sullivan moved back and forth between the 9th century and the early 20th century with such ease. I hope you'll consider reading this book."      -- Jane Kirkpatrick, author of "An Absence So Great"

     "I teach sagas, so I can tell Sullivan has done his homework. He's a novelist with a great knack for description, character, and dialogue. I liked it a lot, and was quick to recommend it to my students."      -- Jim Earl, medieval studies professor, University of Oregon

352 pages, 5-1/2"x8-1/2", 2 maps, 23 pen-and-ink drawings, ISBN 0981570143

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Trails of Crater Lake National Park & Oregon Caves National Monument   VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

   This complete visitors guide includes everything you need to make the most of a visit to Crater Lake and Oregon Caves -- detailed descriptions of every trail, sightseeing suggestions, and tips on where to stay. Included are color guides to the parks' wildflowers and wildlife, as well as illustrated chapters about the parks' geology and history. Prepared in partnership with the Crater Lake Natural History Association and the Oregon Caves Natural History Association.

112 pages, 5-1/2"x8-1/2", 27 maps,100 b/w photos, 90 color photos, ISBN 0981570151

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100 Hikes in Southern Oregon, 3rd Edition VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

   A complete guide to the trails within a two-hour drive of the spectacular Crater Lake, Rogue River, and Mt. Shasta areas, this book includes paths for kids, backpackers, equestrians, and mountain bikers.

256 pages, 5-1/2"x8-1/2", 107 maps, 216 b/w photos, 90 color photos, ISBN 0981570135

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100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range, 3rd Edition VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

  This complete coastal guide describes hiking trails, campgrounds, museums, towns, and lighthouses from Washington's Long Beach south to California's Redwoods. The revised third edition includes a dozen new hikes and many updates.

256 pages, 5-1/2"x8-1/2", 122 maps, 188 b/w photos, 80 color photos, ISBN 0981570119

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Oregon's Greatest Natural Disasters VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

   Here's the dramatic story of the floods, earthquakes, forest fires, eruptions, and tsunamis that have shaped Oregon and impacted people over the past 13,000 years. Recent events are included too: Do you remember the Columbus Day windstorm of 1962, the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980, or the Flood of 1996 that nearly crested Portland's seawall? Although such disasters occur at irregular intervals, they are in fact part of natural cycles, so it's possible to prepare for their impact. Are we ready for what's coming? A final, fictional chapter jumps into the future to visualize what might happen when geologists' predictions come true, shaking our cities with a massive earthquake and scouring the coast with a deadly tsunami.

264 pages, 6"x9", 46 maps, 160 b/w photos, color foldout, ISBN 978-0981570100

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100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Eastern Oregon, 2nd Edition VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

   Updated with a dozen new hikes, this guide has everything you need to plan a day hike, a weekend tour, or a weeks-long vacation between Bend and Hells Canyon, with tips on where to stay and what to see along the way. Includes the Wallowas and Steens Mountain. The book includes 16 pages of color photos, campground & cabin rental information, a wildflower identification guide, and a guide to hot springs.

256 pages, 5-1/2"x8-1/2", 107 maps, 216 b/w photos, 90 color photos, ISBN 0967783097

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100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington, 3rd Edition VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

   Updated every year, the Portland / Vancouver area's favorite guidebook keeps getting better, with a dozen new or dramatically changed hiking trails in the Mt. St. Helens, Columbia Gorge, and Mt. Hood areas. The book also now includes campground and cabin rental info and a full-color wildflower identification guide!

256 pages, 5-1/2"x8-1/2", 107 maps, 216 b/w photos, 80 color photos. ISBN 0967783070

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100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades: Third Edition VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

   Updated with a dozen new hikes, this classic guide to Oregon's recreational heartland now includes 16 pages of color photos, campground & cabin rental information, a wildflower identification guide, and a guide to hot springs. Revised every year.

256 pages, 5-1/2"x8-1/2", 108 maps, 216 b/w photos, 90 color photos, ISBN 0967783062

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Atlas of Oregon Wilderness VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

   The complete adventurer's guide to Oregon's backwoods, this book by William L. Sullivan covers every Wilderness Area in the state, including those added by Congress in 2009. With 72 detailed shaded-relief maps and hundreds of photographs (many in color), this sumptuous guide describes the state's best 146 backpacking trips as well as 670 hikes, 170 ski/snowshoe routes,  and routes for rock climbers and whitewater rafters. Available April 21, 2009.  

384 pages, 6"x9", 72 maps, 119 b/w photos, 80 color photos, ISBN 0981570127

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Cabin Fever: Notes From a Part-Time Pioneer        VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

   Rich with humor and natural history, this memoir of building a log cabin in the wilds of Oregon's Coast Range takes readers to a warm world of kerosene lamplight, wood stoves, and ghost stories. Written by a finalist for the Oregon Book Award in creative nonfiction, Cabin Fever recounts 25 summers of back-to-the-earth adventure -- and also solves a murder mystery that had haunted the author's roadless homestead. Includes 38 pen-and-ink illustrations by Janell Sorensen.

280 pages, 6"x9", 1 map, 35 b/w illustrations, ISBN 09677830584

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Oregon Trips & Trails        VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

   Lavishly illustrated with more than 800 full-color photographs and maps, this is the easiest to use and most visually compelling Oregon guide ever, featuring 100 star attractions worth a journey, the state's 65 most beautiful trails, and 250 places to stay -- campgrounds, bed & breakfasts, and quaint hotels.

288 pages, 5-1/4"x8-1/2", 100 maps, 700 color photos, ISBN 0967783038

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Hiking Oregon's History VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

   Hang on for a rollicking tour of Oregon's grandest museum -- the great outdoors! Recounted in a fresh style that's fun for armchair travelers and hikers alike, this guidebook tells the stories behind 56 of the state's most scenic historic sites, including Indian battlegrounds, gold mining ghost towns, wagon train routes, and haunted lighthouses. If you get caught up in the stories, boxed inserts tell how you can drive to the site and take a short, easy hike to see the place for yourself.

320 pages, 6"x9", 116 b/w photos, 58 maps, ISBN 0961815272

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The Case of Einstein's Violin VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

   William L. Sullivan's light-hearted mystery novel is just the book to take on vacation. In the story, an Oregon woman inherits Albert Einstein's violin case, sells it on eBay, and suddenly finds herself dodging international spies. A tip that her long-dead father may be alive sends her racing through Europe to discover her family's past -- and a lost formula for quantum gravity. You'll learn a bit about Einstein along the way because the physics concepts in the book have been vetted by Sullivan's son, an astrophysicist at CalTech, You'll also follow the characters on a travel adventure from the Greek islands and the Italian Alps to the small town in Germany where Einstein was born. To learn more about the settings used in  "The Case of Einstein's Violin," you can check out the author's favorite places to go hiking in Europe.

322 pages, 5-1/2"x8-1/2", ISBN 0967783089

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A Deeper Wild VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

   William L. Sullivan's historical novel tracks down one of the frontier West's most controversial characters -- Joaquin Miller, the swashbuckling pony express rider who won international fame as the "Poet of the Sierras." Sullivan tells the tale in a Louis L'Amour style that suits the wild, Western subject, although notes at the back of book reveal that the story is 95 percent true. Miller really did shoot a sheriff, have two wives at once, and rise to fame as the bestselling American poet of the age.

464 pages, 6"x9", 26 illustrations, 1 map, ISBN 0967783003

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Oregon Map & Travel Guide, 2nd Edition VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

   Awarded the nation's highest honor for cartography, master mapmaker David Imus has prepared a completely updated edition of his popular Oregon Map, complete with a full-color travel guide by William L. Sullivan on the flip side featuring 250 of the state's best destinations.  Now printed on water-resistant, rip-resistant paper.

 27"x39.5" flat size, 6.6"x9.3" folded. Shipped folded. 50 color photos, ISBN 0966534535

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Listening for Coyote VideoIconNew.png(1-minute video)

   This classic Oregon adventure is the true story of William L. Sullivan's 1,361-mile solo backpacking trek across Oregon in 1985. Along the way, Sullivan confronts blizzards, a marijuana grower, and the meaning of wilderness. Chosen one of Oregon's "100 Books" by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, the book has been reprinted by the Oregon State University Press.

256 pages, 6"x9", paperback, 1 map, 28 b/w photos, ISBN 0870715267

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About William L. Sullivan

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Samples of the Books

A Deeper Wild

Joaquin Miller in about 1872.

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Table of Contents - A Deeper Wild

Introduction 9


Illustrations 187


Epilogue 453

Notes 455

Acknowledgments 461

Works by Joaquin Miller 462

Biographies of Joaquin Miller 463

About the Author 464

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Introduction - A Deeper Wild

Joaquin Miller, the American West's first world-renowned writer, galloped to fame in the England of 1872 as the swashbuckling 'Poet of the Sierras.'

Miller set the London literary scene on its ear by appearing for poetry readings outfitted with a sombrero and spurs, howling like a coyote. He amazed Browning and Tennyson with tales of dusky Indian maidens and lassoed bears. He was introduced to Queen Victoria as the frontier's greatest writer of all time. His success set the stage for Mark Twain, Bret Harte, and others to try their literary luck abroad -- and inspired Buffalo Bill Cody to capitalize on the public's hunger for flamboyant frontiersmen.

The most astonishing thing about Miller is that he was not lying. He had in fact been an outlaw, pony express rider, gold miner, county judge, Indian fighter, Civil War pacifist, newspaper editor, and horse thief in the frontier West. And while this resume bedazzled audiences in Europe, the West itself was in an uproar over a more serious scandal: Miller had married a popular Oregon poet without admitting he already had an Indian wife and daughter in the California wilderness. When his white wife found out, she joined forces with legendary woman's rights activist Susan B. Anthony and denounced him from the stage -- becoming the first pioneer Oregon woman to lecture in public outside a church.

In writing this historical novel, I have followed the record as closely as possible. Where facts exist, the book is an accurate history. Where gaps in the record cry out for speculation, the book is a novel. The newspaper articles, legal documents, and poems quoted within the book are sometimes shortened, but are otherwise verbatim. Chapter-by-chapter notes in the appendix identify sources and separate historical fact from fiction.

My intent has been neither to write a vilification, as has been done by Miller's more vindictive biographers, nor to compose a glorification, as has been attempted by Miller's apologists. I offer instead the story of a fascinating man and the courageous women who molded his life.

Hiking Oregon's History

The Watchman fire lookout at Crater Lake National Park.

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Table of Contents - Hiking Oregon's History






Chapter VI: GOLD!








Chapter XIV: WAR!


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Hike #10: Cape Disappointment

Far from being disappointed, Lewis and Clark celebrated when they first sighted the Pacific Ocean from Cape Disappointment, a dramatic headland on the Washington side of the Columbia River. Those stalwart explorers had trekked nearly 4000 miles across the continent. Today the trail up Cape Disappointment is still inspiring, but the hike is much shorter. It also features a number of additional historic attractions, including a lighthouse, an artillery bunker, and a museum.

Considering that the Columbia River is seven miles wide at its mouth, explorers to the Oregon Coast had failed to discover this "Great River of the West" for a surprisingly long time. Neither Drake nor Juan de Fuca noticed it on their voyages in the late 1500s. The second flurry of sea explorations in the late 1700s also had bad luck. Juan Perez piloted Spanish ships along the coast here in both 1774 and 1775. The second time, steering Bruno de Heceta's vessel, he reported a bay here that he thought might be a river. But the crew was sick with scurvy and there was no time to investigate. Three years later Cook sailed by without even reporting a bay.

By 1788, freelance fur trading ships were routinely plying the coast. British captain John Meares, sailing under a Portuguese flag of convenience, stumbled into a storm here and desperately sought a harbor. He fled toward the Columbia River opening "with every encouraging expectation" that it would be the great river of legend. But breakers on the river's shallow bar convinced him he must be mistaken. Angrily, he named the river mouth Deception Bay, and the nearby headland Cape Disappointment....

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About William L. Sullivan

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100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades

South Sister from the Green Lakes.

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Table of Contents - 100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades








All-Accessible Hikes in the Area

100 More Hikes in the Area

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Hike #4: Opal Creek

Opal Creek's ancient forest, on the edge of the Bull of the Woods Wilderness, was thrust to fame in the 1980s by controversy over Forest Service logging proposals. National television crews and thousands of visitors hiked to Jawbone Flats' rustic mining camp and scrambled over a rugged "bear trail" to view the endangered old-growth groves towering above this creek's green pools. By the time Opal Creek finally won Wilderness protection in 1996 an improved path had been built to make the area more hiker-friendly. The new trail shortcuts from the Little North Santiam River to Opal Creek, bypassing Jawbone Flats.

Start by driving east from Salem on North Santiam Highway 22 for 23 miles to Mehama's second flashing yellow light....

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100 Hikes / Travel Guide

Eastern Oregon


The Wallowa Mountains of Northeast Oregon from Joseph.

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Table of Contents - 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Eastern Oregon












Barrier-Free Trails

100 More Hikes in Eastern Oregon


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Hike #8: Badlands

The badlands just east of Bend are a lonely desert labyrinth of jumbled rock and sandy openings. Among the surprises in this maze are passageways on fortress-shaped Flatiron Rock and a cave in the dry channel of a prehistoric river.

The fresh-looking lava here erupted 10,000 years ago, puddled up in a prairie, and then buckled into thousands of ten-foot-tall pressure ridges -- in much the same way that paint can wrinkle when it dries. The low spots filled with volcanic ash after Mt. Mazama's cataclysmic eruption powdered the area 7700 years ago.

Start by driving 16 miles east of Bend...

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100 Hikes in Southern Oregon

Lemolo Falls on the North Umpqua River.

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Table of Contents - 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon








Barrier-Free Trails in S Oregon

100 More Hikes in S Oregon                                          

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Hike #81: Illinois River Beaches

When summer heat sears Southern Oregon many people flee here to the sandy beaches, swimmable green pools, and shady trails of the Illinois River. This dramatic canyon has other attractions as well -- weird bogs, whitewater falls, and a spectacular suspension footbridge.

To drive here from Interstate 5 at Grants Pass...


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100 Hikes/Travel Guide

Oregon Coast & Coast Range

Neahkahnie Mountain from Os West State Park.

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Table of Contents - 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range

NORTH COAST & Coast Range

Long Beach, Astoria, Seaside, Tillamook, Neskowin


Lincoln City, Newport, Waldport, Yachats, Florence, Reedsport

SOUTH COAST & Klamaths

Coos Bay, Bandon, Port Orford, Gold Beach, Brookings, Crescent City, Redwoods

All-Accessible Trails

More Hikes                                          

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Hike #7: Tillamook Head

Tillamook Head rises 1000 feet from the ocean, with jagged capes and rocky islands. The Lewis and Clark expedition crossed this formidable headland in 1806 to buy the blubber of a stranded whale from Indians at Cannon Beach. At a viewpoint along the way Clark marveled, "I behold the grandest and most pleasing prospect which my eyes ever surveyed."

Today the Oregon Coast Trail traces Clark's route across the headland from Seaside to Cannon Beach. The headland itself is a tilted remnant of a massive, 15-million-year-old Columbia River basalt flow. Incredibly, the lava welled up near Idaho and flooded down the Columbia River to the seashore here. A mile to sea is Tillamook Rock, a bleak island with a lighthouse that operated from 1881 to 1957. Nicknamed "Terrible Tilly," the light was repeatedly overswept by winter storms that dashed water, rocks, and fish into the lantern room 150 feet above normal sea level. The island was finally bought by funeral entrepreneurs who bring in urns of cremated remains by helicopter.

From Highway 101, take the north exit for Cannon Beach and....

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100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon

Mt. Hood from the Timberline Trail at Elk Cove.

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Barrier-Free Trails in NW Oregon

107 More Hikes in NW Oregon                                          

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Hike #67: Mazama Trail

A diamond in the rough, this spectacular new trail loops around Cape Horn, a landmark bluff towering above the Columbia River on the Washington side of the Gorge. The path visits waterfalls, woodland wildflowers, cliff viewpoints, and even a train tunnel. The Columbia Land Trust, a local non-profit group, bought land and secured rights-of-way to make this public trail possible. Volunteers built the tread, so forgive them if it's a little narrow in spots. Wear boots and long pants.

To drive here from Vancouver take Highway 14 east...

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About William L. Sullivan

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Oregon Trips & Trails

Mt. Hood from Timberline Lodge.

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Table of Contents - Oregon Trips & Trails


How to Use This Book

Oregon's Climate & Geography

Oregon's History











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Sample Chapter - Oregon Trips & Trails


They called it "Polyanna," an "earthly Paradise," and "the land at Eden’s gate." In the 1840s, the fabulous tales that filtered out of the nearly mythical land of Oregon inspired thousands of Americans each year to abandon their old lives and set off in covered wagons on the Oregon Trail—risking everything they had on a two-thousand-mile trek across the wilderness.

For every believer who followed the Oregon dream, a thousand skeptics stayed behind. The doubters scoffed that no land could be as beautiful as the reports of Oregon claimed.

Those who live in Oregon know that the skeptics were wrong. To this day, a tour across Oregon is a journey through unparalleled scenery. The diversity of this beauty makes it all the more inspiring.

To the west, rainforest canyons descend to a wild coast of wave-smashed headlands and hidden beaches. In the Willamette Valley, daffodils and shade oaks surround white clapboard farmhouses amid rolling croplands. In the Cascade Range, glaciers writhe down 10,000-foot volcanoes toward turquoise lakes. And in the cliff-lined canyons of Southeast Oregon’s high desert, forgotten rivers curve past hot springs and ancient petroglyphs.

Let this book be your guide as you chart your own Oregon Trail, exploring the fabled beauty that still inspires Oregonians to love, cherish, and protect their paradise...

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About William L. Sullivan

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Oregon Map & Travel Guide

Hells Canyon.

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Sample - Travel Guide for the Oregon Map

Astoria (B-1) clings like a barnacle to the Oregon shore of the Columbia River. On the town's waterfront, the Columbia River Maritime Museum features a visitable lightship. Also worth a visit are the 4-mile-long, toll-free Astoria-Megler Bridge and the 125-foot Astor Column (painted with scenes of Astoria's history).

Explorers Lewis and Clark spent the rainy winter of 1805-06 in a log stockade at Fort Clatsop (B-1), now a national memorial with exhibits, 7 miles south of Astoria. From the Civil War to World War II, artillery guarded the Columbia's mouth from Fort Stevens (A, B-1), now a state park with a 605-site campground, a military museum, abandoned artillery bunkers, and a beach with the rusting remains of a 1906 shipwreck....

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Atlas of Oregon Wilderness

Backcountry skiing in the Three Sisters Wilderness. Skier: Talbot Bielefeldt.


Sample map of the Mount Thielsen Wilderness.

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Table of Contents: Atlas of Oregon Wilderness


Columbia Gorge, Mount Hood, Silver Falls, Mount Jefferson, Smith Rock, and more


Three Sisters, Crater Lake, Kalmiopsis, Wild Rogue, Oregon Dunes, and more


John Day River, Strawberry Mountain, North Fork John Day, Hells Canyon, Eagle Cap and more


Newberry Crater, Fort Rock, Hart Mountain, Steens Mountain, Owyhee River, and more

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Sample Chapter: Atlas of Oregon Wilderness

Area 1: Columbia Gorge

Several worlds collide in the Columbia Gorge. In the west, moss-covered rain forests cling to misty green cliffs. A few miles east, only scrub oaks dot a semi-arid scabland. And in between, a colonnade of more than 20 major waterfalls separates the alpine meadows of the Cascade Range from the mudflats of the Columbia River, nearly at sea level.

In the midst of these colliding ecosystems is the remarkable Hatfield Wilderness. Although it lies a mere half-hour freeway drive from Portland and overlooks a busy transportation corridor along the Columbia, it remains delightfully wild, protected by a ribbon of breath-taking 3000-foot cliffs....

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Listening for Coyote

William L. Sullivan at Smith Rock State Park.

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Sample Chapter - Listening for Coyote

August 18, near Oregon's westernmost point at Cape Blanco.

I awake at first light. The drizzly fog has left everything damp. While my little butane burner boils a teapot of water for oatmeal I stuff my wet tent. By 6:30, all is ready. It takes two tries to swing my huge backpack into place - I must rest it on my knee to do it at all. Then I walk out through the sleeping campground and follow the road east.

On the silent road, doubts loom up through the fog. Suddenly it seems like someone else - someone very naive - drew the 1,300-mile route in red ink across my maps. That red line blithely wanders cross-country through canyons and mountains I've never seen - perhaps over cliffs or into impossible brush. Hundreds of unanticipated problems could keep me from ever reaching the nine checkpoints laid out for me across Oregon. What if I break my leg, or get shot by a drunken hunter? And I'd told everyone weather would not change my schedule - but, but, but! Maybe I started too late in the year. I had wanted to spend most of the summer with my family, and now as a result, my schedule crowds perilously close to winter. On October 29 my route climbs six thousand feet out of Hells Canyon - past an ominous label Freezeout Saddle - to its finish on Hat Point.

Last week my father insisted on buying a $100,000 life insurance policy for me, with my wife as beneficiary. At seventeen dollars a month, he said it was a deal he couldn't pass up.

A white picket fence appears out of the fog, with a sign: CAPE BLANCO PIONEER CEMETERY. My shoulders are already so sore, I set down my pack to rest. Only five or six thin white tombstones stand crooked in the grass. The first one reads: WILLIAM O'SULLIVAN, BORN IRELAND, DIED 1900, AGE 86."

For a moment I just stare at my name chiseled in the marble. I have found my own tombstone.

Then I smile: At least I lived to old age.

Then I laugh out loud. Suddenly all my doubts and fears seem ridiculous. My only real obstacle has been myself!

I breathe deep the cool, fresh air of the Pacific. Ahead lies some of the most glorious wild country in the world. And by God, I'm going to charge into it whistling "The Happy Wanderer."

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Cabin Fever

Notes From a Part-Time Pioneer

William L. Sullivan's log cabin in the Coast Range.

VideoIconNew.png (2-minute video tour of the log cabin)

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"From bear sightings to finding a beaver in the refrigerator and even solving a local mystery, Sullivan's stories are humorous and heartfelt" -- Beverly Close, The Oregonian

"Using only hand tools, Sullivan and his wife, Janell, built a rough-hewn cabin near the Sahalie River one log at a time. Even if you'll never live this particular dream, Sullivan's book is hard to resist.... Sullivan writes eloquently of the place he would build his modest castle.... Along with the vivid descriptions and the story of the hands-on adventure, Cabin Fever tells the tale of a murder mystery."  -- Jim Witty, the Bend, Oregon Bulletin

"From the minute the reader is allowed in on a conversation between William L. Sullivan and his wife about building a log cabin along a wilderness river in Oregon, the unique memoir Cabin Fever is a rich tale in which the reader will feel part of the adventure." -- Bill Duncan, the Roseburg, Oregon News-Review


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Table of Contents - Cabin Fever

1. A Castle in the Air (June 1977)
2. A Visit to the Niemis (June 1977)
3. Setting Out in Earnest (June 1977)
4. The Butcher (July 1977)
5. The First Log (July 1977)
6. An Ax Waiting to Happen (July 1977)
7. The Bear Trees (August 1977)
8. The Rains Come (September 1977)
9. The Dreadnaught (June 1978)
10. The Spiral Bird (July 1978)
11. The Husicka (August 1978)
12. Raise High the Roof Beam (Sept 1978)
13. The Volcano Blows (May 1980)
14. Baby On Board (July 1981)
15. The Niemi Spruces (August 1981)
16. Great, Grand Parenting (July 1984)
17. A Bird of a Different Feather (August 1984)
18. The Assessor (August 1984)
19. The Wileys (June 1985)
20. The Ghost Story (June 1985)
21. A Different Cabin (July 1985)
22. The Break-In (June 1987)
23. The Mouse Babies (July 1987)
24. Beaver in the Refrigerator (August 1987)
25. To Elsie With Love (June 1991)
26. The Sahalie Spirit (June 1994)
27. Brain-Dead Poker (July 1995)
28. The Flood (February 1996)
29. Open House (August 2002)
30. A Meander Tour (August 2002)

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Trilliums by Janell E. Sorensen


Sample (from the middle of the first chapter) - Cabin Fever

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Our first task was to tangle with the building permit bureaucracy in Seaview, a sleepy coastal burg that serves as the seat of Taylor County. As we drove into town, fog was rolling in from the gray void of the Pacific Ocean, burying the town’s abandoned lighthouse and piling up behind the airy arch of the Harbor Bridge. The edge of the fog hovered over Highway 101, dappling with sun breaks the rust-streaked motel signs and roadside crab stands. We found our way to the courthouse’s cement block basement. A weary-looking woman at an old wooden desk was stamping a stack of papers that read, “Mobile Home Application.” Finally two young men in ill-fitting suits emerged from an office to see what Janell and I might want.

I laid my drawings on a table and explained, “We’d like to build this log cabin on my parent’s property, and we need a permit.”

The men studied my sketch, frowning. “What kind of property?” one asked.

“Half timberland and half pasture.” I pointed it out on a wall map. “Fifty-three acres on the Sahalie River.”

The other man examined the location on the map. “Isn’t that the place where the old man was murdered?”

Janell glared at me. “You told me that was just a rumor.”

“I thought it was. I heard it from one of the farmer’s boys. He made it sound like the homesteader died ages ago.”

The first planner shrugged. “It’s probably been ten or fifteen years. And I think they finally ruled it a suicide, anyway.”

Janell did not look entirely reassured. I wished the incident had been a hundred years in the past, but I wasn’t about to back out now. “What about our log cabin?”

“Well, what you’ve drawn here looks like an accessory building,” the second man said.

“No, the old homestead that used to be there rotted away.”

“Then we’re talking about a new main dwelling.”

“I suppose.” I looked to Janell for help.

“There’s no road or electricity,” she put in. “It’s really just a place to camp in the summer.”

“Yes, while we take care of the place,” I added.

“Ah, a forest or agricultural shed,” the first planner announced.

The other shook his head. “But this drawing shows a stovepipe. It’s clearly a dwelling. That means we’ll need running water, electricity, and a road for emergency vehicle access. What’s the square footage here?”

“It would be just one room, 280 by 380 centimeters inside,” I said, pointing out the dimension on the drawing.

“Centimeters?” The man pronounced the word slowly, as if he were repeating it from a learn-to-speak Swahili tape.

“Well yes, I drew it up in metric. It’s based on a traditional Norwegian design.”

The planners looked at each other. One scratched his head.

“That’s about ten by twelve feet,” I offered.

The second planner humphed. “A hundred and twenty square feet? Minimum size for a dwelling is five hundred.”

I groaned. “You mean it has to be four times larger or we can’t build it at all?”

He wrinkled his brow. “That does sound a bit stringent. But it’s not our job to make the rules.”

I shook my head. “I think you’d have thrown out Lewis and Clark for substandard housing.”

“Probably,” the first planner said. “The pioneers of yesterday are the shiftless hippies of today.”

Janell crossed her arms at this barb. “College students on summer vacation are not shiftless hippies.”

The forcefulness of her response seemed to set the man back. “No?”

“No. We’re—“ she groped for the right word—“We’re part-time pioneers.”

”I see.” He pursed his lips. “Well, hang on and maybe we can find something in the code books that will work.” He pulled several weighty tomes from a shelf and began leafing through them.

Minutes passed. Finally I asked, “Well?”

The second planner scoffed, “He’s just stalling, waiting for a bribe.”

“I am not,” the first retorted. Then he glared at me. “Why did you come in here anyway? This is the sort of thing people build out in the woods without bothering about permits.”

“I wanted to do it right. My father works for the newspaper, and I don’t want to get him in trouble.”

The first planner drummed his fingers on the book. “All right, here we have it.” He read off a code and section number. “We’ll call it a rustic storage facility. Mark, fill out a permit for our pioneers.” He slapped the book shut and stalked off to his office.

Mark pulled out a triplicate form and began filling the blanks. “Frontage direction?” he asked.


He translated. “Which side of the building faces the road?”

“There isn’t a road.”

“Right. Well, then the river.”

“It bends.”

He rolled his eyes. “I’ll put down ‘east’.” Then he asked, “Setback?”

Again I hesitated.

“How many feet is the building set back from the edge of the lot?”

“Oh. Again, that depends. Between an eighth and a quarter mile, I’d say.”

Finally he used a felt pen to fill out a stiff yellow cardboard sign. “This will have to be posted conspicuously on the premises until completion.”

I read the sign’s list of mandatory on-site inspections: Frame. Lath. Wallboard. I asked skeptically, “You do understand that this is a log cabin, and not a frame building?”

Mark shrugged. “We don’t have guidelines for log construction.”

“And so the inspections—?“ I began.

He shook his head. “Don’t call. I don’t like boat rides.”

Janell quickly put in, “Weren’t we supposed to get some kind of sewer permit for an outhouse, too?”

Mark looked at her a little sadly. “I didn’t hear that question. Goodbye and good luck.”


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About William L. Sullivan

Oregon Adventures index

<hr size=2 width="100%" align=center>

The Case of Einstein's Violin

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Could a formula left in a violin case lead to the creation of a gravity bomb? This rollicking mystery caroms from Oregon to a Greek monastery, an Italian cyclotron, the Slovenian Alps, and the German city where Einstein was born.

Sample -- Chapter 1



Now I can say this: Sometimes you need to put yourself in Harm’s way, even if she is the kind of person who sells the skeletons in your closet on eBay.

I might still be a high school German teacher drilling irregular verbs if Harmony hadn’t convinced me to break into my mother’s house.

My old key didn’t fit, and Mom must have switched the hide-a-key when Monty moved in. I just stood there on the dark porch, musing out loud that we’d have to go back to the hospital.

"Ana! Your mother’s in surgery." Harmony put one hand on a hip and tilted her head. "Back in high school, how did you sneak into the house after a late date?"

"But I never did that."

"Come on." She took a pen light from her purse. "The kitchen window usually works."

Soon we were creeping through the bushes like burglars behind the big Victorian house on College Hill. To my surprise, the kitchen window really was unlocked. Harmony clasped her hands as a stirrup to give me a boost.

When I heard a thump inside the house, I called, "Hang on, Einstein!"

"Who’s Einstein?" Harmony asked.

"He’s the real reason we’re here." I squirmed down to the counter, unfolding my legs as stiffly as a butterfly trying to emerge from a cocoon. Finally I swung my feet to the floor. Then I found the kitchen light and unlocked the back door for Harmony. By that time an ancient Siamese cat was tottering up to an empty food dish. He looked at me and emitted a long, weird, demanding meow.

"This is Einstein?" Harmony asked. "We’re spending the night here to take care of a cat?"

"A very special cat. I got him when I turned ten. Now he’s so old he needs a pill three times a day. I hope you’re not mad."

Harmony bent down and petted the old cat gently. "Poor old guy. Medicine’s no fun, is it?"

Up until that moment, I don’t think I entirely trusted Harmony as my friend. After all, we had met only three months before, at a local women’s support group called DANCE. The group’s name stands for Divorced And Now Challenging Everything, but I was still too busy getting my feet on the ground to jump up and challenge everything at once.

Harm had just ditched a manipulative hunk named Leo, and I had just been left, again, by a randy wanderer with the name of (Why didn’t I see this coming?) Randy. Eventually, I supposed Harmony and I would be in the market for upgrades, but after you’ve burned your fingers on one stove, it’s refreshing to take a little breather, and look around for some sisterly friendship, before warming up to the next fire.

Not that Harmony and I are much alike. To be sure, we were both thirty, and we both taught school in Eugene, Oregon. But Harm is a natural beauty, with wide brown eyes, a dimple in her cheek, and a blonde ponytail that cascades casually out the back of a baseball cap. She grew up with hippie parents who make wooden toys on a commune behind Spencer Butte. As a child she was granted all the liberties in the world. The resulting innocent freeness has become a mysterious part of her attraction, from the way she shrugs with one shoulder to the way she chooses impossible combinations for a double-scoop ice cream cone.

Harm is irresistible to men, but she has a dangerous streak. Sure, she teaches kindergarten, but she also has an advanced belt in Aikido.

As for me, I’ve found other ways to turn heads. I’m happy enough with my roundish face, brown eyes, and mid-length brown hair, even though it tends to frizz out on either side. It’s just that I get people’s attention faster by writing freelance articles for Eugene Weekly about library funding or adult literacy or the like. Did I envy Harm’s adventurous style? Yeah, and I’ll admit I was lonely since the divorce. It wasn’t any easier knowing that my only living relative had just checked into McKenzie-Willamette Hospital to remove a lump in her breast. I didn’t want to think it might be cancer.

"Where are the pills?" Harmony asked.

"What?" I blinked, as if awakening from a trance.

"Einstein’s pills. Where does your Mom keep them?"

"Oh. I think she said they’re in the dining room cabinet. Where they keep the wine."

Harmony turned on a chandelier in the next room. "Wow. Where did your mother get all the antiques?"

"The house used to belong to my great aunt Margret. Margret may have been confused about many things, but she understood antiques. When Mom inherited the house she wanted to modernize everything. I convinced her to leave the dining room alone."

Harmony was halfway to the cabinet when she paused beside an oak buffet. "Hey, here’s a letter for you."

"But I haven’t lived here for years." Curious, I picked up the envelope. There, neatly penned in my mother’s looping hand, was the inscription, "For Ana Percey Smyth." I turned it over. Written in large letters across the sealed flap were the words, "TOP SECRET! To be opened by my daughter in the event of my death!"

For a moment I simply stood there, stunned. The formality and the finality of the envelope made me fear for an instant that Mom really might be dying. I sank into one of the nearby plush chairs, hit by a sick feeling in my stomach.

"What is it?" Harmony asked.

I held out the envelope in reply.

She read the words and bit her lip. "Damn. I’m always barging around in other people’s business. This time I’ve gone too far."

"No, it’s not your fault. My mother can be melodramatic. She probably leaves a letter like this every time she goes to the hospital."

Harmony handed back the envelope. "Do you have any idea what’s in it?"

I turned it over in my hands, wondering. Knowing my mother, the most likely message would be a teary farewell. Or some ghastly, detailed funeral instructions. Or perhaps a photograph? The thought tempted me to open it, despite the envelope’s instructions. When Mom had remarried, she had burned our family photo albums. The only pictures I had of my father were memories, and they grew fuzzier every year. . . .

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About William L. Sullivan

Oregon Adventures index

The Ship in the Hill


The Oseberg Ship, discovered in a hill in 1904, held a Viking woman's grave.

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Sample Chapter - The Ship in the Hill

Chapter 1

Summer, 825

Asa was running barefoot in a short white dress.

As she ran through the grass above a gravel beach, a cluster of sheep parted before her, bleating. Then she cut across a headland and ducked through a row of pole racks. Old slave women cutting down dried codfish there threw up their hands.

When she emerged from the last of the pole frames she suddenly stopped. Ahead of her on the beach was a dragon-prowed longship—the ship that was to take her away.

Men at a smoky fire on the beach stirred a cauldron of pitch to caulk the ship’s lapped planks. Other men atop the long boom straightened the rigging of the blue-and-white-striped sail. Still others carried tubs and bundles up the gangplank.

She gave her head a shake to arrange her long blond hair. Then she strode onward at a dignified gait.

Asa!” A red-bearded man called to her impatiently from the row of shields along the ship’s gunwale. “Where have you been?”

What could she tell her father? That she had wanted to make flower chains and ride the brown mare beyond the fields one last time? That she had needed to run barefoot with short dress and loose hair, knowing all these things would be forever forbidden to her after today?

“I was saying goodbye.”

Her father blew out an exasperated breath. “There will be time to tell everyone goodbye at the feast tonight. Don’t you want to see what’s sailing with you?”

“Oh yes,” she said, brightening again. Nordic tradition forbade unmarried women from owning property—even their own clothing. But what treasures would she be given as a bride?

She rounded the ship’s prow, running her hand along the carved dragon’s head as if she were stroking the forehead of a familiar horse. At the gangplank two massive men with axes, swords, and metal caps grunted, “Hail, Princess!” They held out hairy arms as impromptu railings, but she balanced up the narrow ramp on her own.

On the deck her father stopped her at arm’s length and held her chin to examine her. “Asa, Asa. My little troublemaker.” He shook his head, wondering if even as proud a man as Eirik of Horthaland could tame her. The woven belt pulled casually about the waist of her pleated white shift accented her womanly form, but her feet were sandy and a daisy clung to her loose hair.

Asa looked up at her father, realizing this would be the most difficult good-bye of all. As he stood there, shaking his head, Harald Granraude of Agthir seemed everything a Norwegian king should be. A purple cloak, pinned with an inlaid silver clasp, draped his powerful shoulders. His features might have been hewn from oak, with stern, bushy eyebrows, but gentle brown eyes.

In a way she hardly looked his daughter, for her own eyes were blue and her blond hair straight. But she owed him her high, white forehead, her tall frame, and a certain commanding demeanor that—so people said—had won her so many powerful suitors.

“Come and see what I have loaded,” Harald said.

“Do you have the looms?”

“Yes, yes. All your weaving things.” He led her across the cluttered deck to a hunchbacked older man who was assembling a large square structure of carved boards. “You see, Orm has been busy.”

The stooped man stood with some embarrassment. “Princess Asa.”

Asa suppressed a smile, for the old artisan had always been a favorite of hers. “So what have you made now, Orm?”

“Why, since I did the carvings on your ship in honor of your birth, it seemed only fitting that I carve the vessel for your next voyage.”

“But what is it?” The framework seemed too flimsy for a sleigh or a wagon, although it was about the right size.

The old woodcarver fit a post through a chiseled slot and tightened the joint by tapping a wedge. “Why, it’s collapsible. Easier to take along, such as now. Look at these fine horsehead figures.”

Asa rolled her eyes. “But what does one do with it?”

“Do?” Orm chuckled. “Why, Princess, I thought you knew what one does with a bed.”

Asa flushed and the king roared. When Harald’s laughter finally subsided he kicked an oak chest and handed her a heavy key. “Look in there, child. That will lift your spirits.”

She held the bronze key in her hands a moment, admiring its heft. Receiving the key was a rite of passage she had looked forward to for years. Every woman of consequence in Norway’s kingdoms wore a key or two at her waist. A key was a wife’s badge of office, symbolizing her right to possessions of her own. It meant she no longer had to endure the frustration of being as powerless as a thrall, but rather was chieftain of her home.

Asa fit the key into the chest’s slot, turned it, and slid it to one side. Springs creaked inside the chest’s iron rim. When she lifted the heavy lid, metal glinted at her from inside. Handfuls of silver coins lay heaped amidst filigreed gold brooches, a silver chalice, and a massive, twisted gold necklace she guessed might weigh three pounds. Beneath the treasure were rare Arctic fox furs and folds of scarlet Frisian cloth.

She looked at her father, a lump in her throat. “This is wrong, father,” she said.

“Wrong? Why wrong? A princess deserves to take a royal fortune into her marriage.”

“But if you give me gold, it means you are not giving me land.”

The king looked at his daughter blankly. Then he slowly turned away, beginning to growl like a prodded bear. He banged his fist against a cask. “Why must you be so cursed political? I thought I was through with plotting, ambitious women when your mother died.”

He shook a finger under her nose, but she did not flinch. “ What did you imagine, child? That you would be heir to Agthir instead of your brother? He turned away again. “I should change my mind and give you to Guthroth the Viking. Then you could be a cursed king each summer while he’s off pirating.”

At this threat Asa felt a sudden chill. She had gone too far. “I’m sorry, father,” she said, lowering her eyes. “I was ungrateful. You have been very generous.”

Of all her suitors she feared Guthroth most. She had never met the man, just as she had never met her future husband or most of her suitors. But she knew them by their reputations. The court poets, the skalds, invented verses about everyone of consequence.

Guthroth was both the most powerful king in southern Norway and the most brutally unpredictable. He ruled Vestfold from an island in a small but dreaded fjord called the Vik. His red-sailed ships terrorized the Norwegian coast, using the slightest provocation as an excuse to raid and loot. The only season without attacks was summer, when Guthroth’s longships disappeared across the sea. They returned to Norway each fall with strange slaves and unbelievable treasure.

Harald had once ridiculed the pirates from the Vik with the disparaging name “Vikings,” and now, out of sheer defiance, Guthroth’s men used the name themselves with pride. As a result it had seemed unlikely that Asa’s father would accept Guthroth’s marriage offer. On top of everything else Guthroth was an old man of forty-five winters, with a grown son. But she had been relieved when the official messengers had been sent to tell Guthroth no.

“Well, it is a bit late to refuse Eirik,” Harald said, softening his tone. “I suppose you’ll do well enough with him.” In fact, Harald had chosen Eirik partly because he thought Asa’s ambitious nature might thrive in Horthaland. Though Eirik had nowhere near the metal wealth of the Vikings, he stood to inherit his aged father’s huge kingdom in the northern fjords. Harald had decided to give Asa silver only because he knew Eirik’s matching marriage gift could be nothing else but land.

“Is Eirik really as quick-tongued as the verses say?” Asa couldn’t help asking yet again about her husband-to-be. She had been pondering a poem in which the young Eirik gave his best horse to a shepherd when the horse refused to cross an ice-covered stream. She wondered, did that kind of impetuousness mean he might scold a wife with independent ways? Would he find her at all attractive? And would she like him? The poets never said outright if a man was handsome or not. It seemed she couldn’t ask anyone the questions that worried her most.

“A wife should be glad if her tongue isn’t quicker than her husband’s. Then she always has the last word.” To hide his smile, Harald turned to help direct four men carrying a wooden sledge past the mast.

When he looked back and saw his daughter lost in thought, turning the bronze key over in her hand, it suddenly struck him how much he would miss her. Perhaps he shouldn’t have married her off so far from home? Since his wife had died, Asa had been his greatest comfort. He wondered if he had spoiled her, giving her half the honors of a queen, yet allowing her to dress and act with the freedom of a girl. She was fifteen, and still running about in a short linen shift. A mother would have been stricter. The thought made him gruff.

“It’s time you prepared for the feast, Asa. Get a decent long dress and cloak out of the chest. And have one of the thralls tie up your hair. Eirik of Horthaland’s wife will have to bear herself with proper dignity.”

“Yes, Father.” She started to open the chest again, but he stopped her.

Slowly he touched her blond hair, and his lips tightened. “Remember me, Asa.”


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About William L. Sullivan

Oregon Adventures index

Trails of Crater Lake National Park & Oregon Caves National Monument


Crater Lake in winter -- Phantom Ship from Kerr Notch.

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Table of Contents - Trails of Crater Lake & Oregon Caves


Introduction    6

CRATER LAKE National Park     13

Geology of Crater Lake          15

History of Crater Lake            22

A Visit to Crater Lake          33


1. Annie Creek            42       

2. Godfrey Glen          44

3. Lady of the Woods 46

4. Castle Crest 48       

5. Garfield Peak          50       

6. Discovery Point      52

7. Dutton Creek          54

8. Lightning Spring     56

9. The Watchman        58       

10. Cleetwood Cove   60

11. Wizard Island & Fumarole Bay    62

12. Mount Scott          64

13. Plaikni Falls           66

14. The Pinnacles        68

15. Sun Notch 70       

A Visit to Oregon Caves       73

Wildlife Identification Guide           76

Wildflower Identification Guide      77

16. Crater Peak           82

17. Stuart Falls            84       

18. Union Peak           86 

19. Pacific Crest Trail 88       

20. Boundary Springs 90       

OREGON CAVES National Mon’t            92

Geology of Oregon Caves      95

History of Oregon Caves        97


21. Cave Tour & Cliff Nature Trail    100                    

22. Cave Creek & No Name Loop     102     

23. Big Tree    104     

24. Bigelow Lakes & Mount Elijah    106

Index   108     

About theAuthor        111     

About the Natural History Association          112

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Sample Chapter - Trails of Crater Lake & Oregon Caves

Half a million people visit Oregon’s National Park each year. The question visitors most often ask may well be “Why is the lake so blue?” and yes, there is an answer. But first let’s look at other practical questions you may have when planning a visit—”When is the park open?” “How do I get there?” and “Where can I stay?”


Crater Lake National Park never closes, but because an average of 44 feet of snow fall each winter, many facilities and virtually all trails are closed from November to early June or July. The Rim Village viewpoint and the Steel Information Center at Park Headquarters are open all year.

Of the park’s roads, only Highway 62 and the South Entrance Road to Rim Village are kept open in winter. Crews start plowing other roads in mid-April, clearing drifts up to 50 feet deep. West Rim Drive and the North Entrance Road from Diamond Lake typically open to traffic between late May and mid-June. East Rim Drive is the next priority, and usually opens in early July. For more information, call 541-594-3000 or check www.nps.gov/crla.


Klamath Falls, Medford, Bend/Redmond, and Eugene have the nearest commercial airports with rental cars.

If you’re driving here from Interstate 5, take exit 30 in  Medford and follow Crater Lake Highway 62 northeast for 76 miles. A mile beyond the Cascade summit, turn left to the park’s south entrance booth. Expect to pay a $10-per-car fee here. The permits are valid for a week. Beyond the entrance booth, Mazama Village is 0.3 mile, Park Headquarters is 3.8 miles, and Rim Village is 6.4 miles.

If you’re driving here from Klamath Falls, take Highway 97 north 23 miles and turn left on Highway 62 for 30 miles to the park turnoff. If you’re coming from Roseburg, Eugene, or Bend, it’s quickest to take the park North Entrance Road, open from about late May to September.


Mazama Campground is located near the park’s south entrance booth at Mazama Village. Open from mid-June through September, the campground has 200 sites, running water, flush toilets, coin-operated showers, and laundry facilities. Expect to pay about $21 for a tent site and $27 for an RV site with an electric hookup. Half of the sites are reservable in advance at 888-774-2728. The adjacent Mazama Village has gasoline, a general store, and a buffet restaurant.

Lost Creek Campground, the park’s only other campground, is much smaller. The 16 sites are open only to tenters on a first-come-first-served basis. Expect a $10 fee. The camp has running water and flush toilets. From Park Headquarters, take East Rim Drive counter-clockwise around the lake 8.5 miles and turn right on Pinnacles Road for 3 miles.

Crater Lake Lodge is a grandly renovated hotel from the early 1900s overlooking the lake at Rim Village. Usually open from mid-May to mid-October, the lodge has 71 rooms that range from about $151 to $282. Reservations should be made well in advance at 888-774-2728 or www.craterlakelodges.com.

The Cabins at Mazama Village offer 40 rooms in a less dramatic motel setting for about $126.  Call 541-830-8700 for reservations.


Because the water in Crater Lake is so deep and so pure, light with long wavelengths (such as reds and yellows) penetrates deeply and is absorbed. What gets scattered back to the surface is the light with short wavelengths—the blues.


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About William L. Sullivan

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Oregon's Greatest Natural Disasters

The Heppner flash flood of 1903.

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Oregon's Greatest Natural Disasters -- Table of Contents

Introduction    7

I. Ice Age Floods    11

The Controversial Theory of Dr. Bretz    13

Anatomy of a Cataclysm    16

Relics of the Floods    21

II. Tsunamis    25

Stumps on the Beach    25

Clues in Japan    29

The Mechanics of Tsunamis    30

Tales from 1700    33

True Stories from a Dark Night in 1964    35

When the Sea Returns    41

III. Earthquakes    49

The Big Ones    49

The Deep Earthquakes    55

Oregon’s Other Faults    59

Are You Ready to Rock?    67

IV. Volcanoes    73

Mount Mazama    74

Newberry Crater    80

What Causes Oregon Volcanoes?    83

Mount Saint Helens    85

Mount Hood    93

South Sister    97

V. Flash Floods    105

A Dark Day in Heppner    105

Flash Floods in Mitchell    112

VI. River Floods    119

The Flood of 1861    119

Floods of the Late 1800s    123

Dams and the Flood of 1943    128

The Vanport Flood    130

The Christmas Week Flood of 1964    136

More High Water Marks    141

Why All the Floods?    146

Thinking Like a River    148

VII. Wind and Weather    155

The Columbus Day Storm    156

Will the Winds Return?    162

VIII. Landslides    163

Of Lakes, Rapids, and Beach Cliffs    163

The Mountains Are Restless    164

Rainstorms, Roads, and Clearcuts    166

IX. Forest Fires    177

A Brief History of Fire    177

The Tillamook Burn    180

The Biscuit Fire    185

A Firestorm of Controversy    189

The Many Roles of Fire    194

X. Beyond the Cycles    199

Understanding Cycles    199

The Impact of Climate Change    203

XI. A Fictional Epilogue    211

A Week of the Future    211

Acknowledgments    249

Bibliography    251

Glossary    257

Index     259

About the Author    264

Sample Chapter: Introduction

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Oregon has long seemed an eerily safe place to live—an Eden immune to the terrible earthquakes of California, the hurricanes of the Caribbean, the tornadoes of the Great Plains, and the many natural misfortunes of the world outside our gentle garden.

The deadliest natural disaster to befall the state in historic times has traditionally been listed as a flash flood that killed 259 people in the small eastern Oregon town of Heppner in 1903.

But now we learn that gigantic earthquakes and tsunamis have in fact devastated the Oregon Coast every few centuries. The horrific headlines inside the front cover of this book are fictional, intended only to portray one conceivable scenario of the damage that could be caused by the next subduction earthquake.

If you find this fictional scenario shocking, consider that prehistoric Oregonians have seen much worse. In the 13,000 years that people have lived here, unimaginable floods have drowned everyone in the Willamette Valley and volcanic eruptions have killed thousands across the state.

On this larger time scale, we see not only that Oregon is a land of turmoil, but also that these cataclysmic events recur with varying degrees of regularity. What at first appear to be random disasters are in fact part of larger natural cycles. Subduction earthquakes strike Oregon every 300 to 500 years. Rivers flood every ten to 100 years. Forests burn every 20 to 200 years. Even volcanoes erupt in cycles.

Attempting to stop these cycles is hardly an answer. Dousing a forest fire, for example, only makes the next fire bigger. Subduction earthquakes could only be stopped by freezing the liquid core of the Earth itself—not really an option. Some disasters are simply the price we pay for inhabiting a living planet.

By understanding the rhythms, however, we may be able to sidestep tragedies suffered in the past. If no one is standing in the way of a natural cataclysm, is it really a disaster at all?

Because this book focuses on natural phenomena that put lives at risk, I have omitted shipwrecks, city fires, and other man-made disasters. A different book will have to cover the stranding of the New Carissa in 1999, the blaze that destroyed Oregon’s wooden State Capitol building in 1935, and the fertilizer truck explosion that leveled downtown Roseburg in 1959. I’ve also skipped the 15-million-year-old Columbia River lava floods and other cataclysms that preceded human colonization. Nor have I set out to recount every single ice storm and forest fire.

The story I have to tell is a special adventure, a guided tour through time, listening for the heartbeat of the land.

Many of the stories begin in prehistory—for example, when floods roared down the Columbia Gorge 800 feet deep, wiping out the heart of Northwest civilization. In these cases we’ll rely on the geologic record, scientific research, and Indian legends as our vehicle.

Some of the stories recount cataclysms that have become defining moments in the lifetimes of modern Oregonians—the flood of 1996, the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens, or the Columbus Day windstorm of 1962.

In the book’s penultimate chapter, "Beyond the Cycles," we’ll venture forward on an expedition into Oregon’s future, admittedly a perilous landscape of projections and conjecture. If disasters occur in cycles, how reliably can we predict what will happen next? Have we already altered some cycles through development or global warming? What precautions might reasonably limit our risk of damage in the future?

The final chapter of this book is a fictional account of a major earthquake and tsunami on the Oregon Coast, set a dozen years in the future. The story is a companion piece to the fictional newspaper pages at the front of the book. Neither is intended as a specific prediction. No one can foresee the timing or effects of tectonic movement in the Cascadia subduction zone. All of the people and events described in the final chapter and in the foldout are entirely imaginary.

Of course, the other chapters of this book remain non-fiction, backed by a lengthy bibliography of sources. But I’ve found that facts are not always enough. Because we are human, we relate to disasters in human terms.

It’s all too easy to drive past the tsunami warning signs along the Oregon Coast’s Highway 101 without giving them a second thought. They are merely highway signs. Would we react differently if we could actually see how a tsunami might change our lives?

The purpose of this book is not to provide definitive answers about the effects of future disasters. That is not possible. Instead the goal is to understand the past and provoke thought about the future.

We need to ask ourselves: What other warning signs are we driving past?

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Oregon Favorites: Trails and Tales


Sullivan skiing around Crater Lake.

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Oregon Favorites -- Table of Contents

Introduction........................................................ 6

MARCH in Oregon............................................ 8

1. Skiing Crater Lake’s Rim................................ 9

2. Portland’s Aerial Tram.................................. 14

3. Sweet Creek Falls......................................... 18

4. The Modocs’ Stronghold.............................. 20

5. Thompson’s Mills......................................... 24

6. Bewildering Berley Lakes............................. 28

APRIL in Oregon............................................. 34

7. Oneonta Gorge............................................. 35

8. Astoria’s Two Centuries............................... 37

9. Good News for Badlands............................. 40

10. Table Rocks’ Fortress................................. 44

MAY in Oregon................................................ 50

11. Cape Horn Preserved.................................. 51

12. Clark at Tillamook Head............................. 54

13. Zumwalt Prairie.......................................... 58

14. Going Down at Oregon Caves.................... 62

15. Emerging at Tamolitch Pool........................ 66

16. Western Oregon Hot Springs....................... 70

JUNE in Oregon.............................................. 74

17. Scout Camp Trail........................................ 75

18. Dog Mountain............................................. 78

19. Pine Mountain’s Stars................................. 81

20. Floras Lake & Blacklock Point................... 84

21. Horsepasture Mountain............................... 88

22. The Hart of the Desert................................ 90

JULY in Oregon............................................... 96

23. Five Trails to McNeil Point......................... 97

24. Lakeless in McCully Basin....................... 100

25. Mt. St. Helens: Return to Ground Zero..... 104

26. Dangerous Romance at Salishan............... 108

27. Eye of the Storm at Canyon Creek........... 112

28. Eagle Creek: The Wallowas’ Back Door... 116

AUGUST in Oregon....................................... 120

29. Retreat of the Glaciers.............................. 121

30. Carl & Table Lakes................................... 126

31. The Pinnacle Ridge Trail........................... 130

32. Scaling South Sister.................................. 134

33. Plaikni Falls.............................................. 138

34. Diamond Peak.......................................... 140

35. Love of Lava: The Black Wilderness........ 144

SEPTEMBER in Oregon................................ 150

36. Rim With a View at Broken Top............... 151

37. Timberline Lodge..................................... 155

38. Enchanted at Tahkenitch Dunes............... 158

39. The Riddles of Steens Mountain............... 162

40. Huckleberrying at Divide Lake................. 168

41. Memories at Jefferson Park...................... 171

OCTOBER in Oregon.................................... 178

42. Why It’s Whychus.................................... 179

43. Sisters Rocks............................................ 182

44. Hot Springs of the High Desert................. 185

45. Forgotten Irish Mountain.......................... 190

NOVEMBER in Oregon................................. 196

46. Lights at Shore Acres ............................... 197

47. True Grit at Eight Dollar Mountain .......... 204

48. The Treasure of Hayrick Butte ................ 209

DECEMBER in Oregon................................. 214

49. Lookout at Warner Mountain.................... 214

50. Skiing Steens Mountain............................ 218

JANUARY in Oregon..................................... 222

51. Kings Valley............................................. 223

52. Three Fingered Jack ................................  227

FEBRUARY in Oregon . . . . . .232

53. Shadow of Celilo Falls ............................. 233

54. With OPB on Broken Top......................... 238

FARTHER AFIELD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244

55. By Ferry to Alaska.................................... 245

56. A Birthday in Victoria.............................. 250

57. Spirits of Mount Shasta ............................ 256

58. Yosemite for Oregonians.......................... 260

59. Volcano in a Sunny Sea.......................... . 264

60. Hut Hopping in Austria............................. 268

61. The Great Barrier Reef............................. 274

62. Aiming for the Stars................................ . 280

Index . ..........................................................  286

About the Author ..........................................  288



Phantom Ship from the Crater Lake rim.

Sample Chapter: Skiing Crater Lake’s Rim

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Only a few snowshoers and Nordic skiers attempt the spectacular three-day ski tour around Crater Lake each year.

Most of these diehard adventurers are confronting a midlife crisis.

Well, at least some. After talking with several other Eugene skiers who were facing ominous, round-numbered birthdays, we resolved as a group to stop griping about our age. Instead we would do something about it. We would ski around Crater Lake.

The trek cannot be taken lightly. Once you set out around the unplowed, 33-mile Rim Drive , there are no shelters and no shortcuts back. Dizzying thousand-foot cliffs block all access to the lake itself. Cell phones rarely work here. Three areas along the route are prone to avalanches.

Of course you can also sample Crater Lake’s spectacular winter views with a day trip. This is a wise warm-up before tackling the entire rim loop.

Rangers lead free one-mile snowshoe tours to the rim at 1pm every Saturday and Sunday from December through April. The park provides free snowhoes for the 90-minute walk. Participants have to be at least 8 years old, and pets aren’t allowed. The tours are limited to 30 people, so it’s a good idea to reserve a spot by calling ahead at 541-594-3100.

For a day trip on your own, start by driving the plowed road up to Rim Village. Then ski or snowshoe clockwise along the lake’s rim a mile and a half to Discovery Point.

This is the spot where John Hillman and a group of gold prospectors “discovered” the lake in 1853. To be sure, Indians had known about the lake for millennia, but they considered it such a dangerous and spiritual place that they hadn’t told pioneer settlers about it.

These days, Rim Village has a cafe and gift shop that are open all winter. Crater Lake Lodge, however, is closed until mid-May. Unless you’re prepared to snow camp, the only lodgings nearby are at the rustic Union Creek Resort, 20 miles west toward Medford on Highway 62. In snowy woods near the Rogue River, this old-timey hostelry offers a tiny general store, nine rooms, and 23 cabins.

If you’re serious about tackling the 33-mile ski trip around the rim, rangers suggest going in March or early April. By then the worst winter storms have passed and the days are longer.

Heeding that advice, our midlife crisis support team drove to Crater Lake in March. Two miles before Rim Village we stopped at the Steel Visitor Information Center for our free, mandatory backcountry overnight permit.

You’re required to pick up a backcountry permit in person. That gives the rangers a chance to read you a long and frightening list of winter warnings. Avalanches may be rare in Oregon’s Cascade Range, but Crater Lake gets a staggering 44 feet of snowfall, so the risk is real.

Before letting us go the ranger checked that we’d brought avalanche beacons, probe poles, and snow shovels. We’d be ready to dig out anyone who happened to get buried along the way.

Finally we drove up to Rim Village, where six-foot snowbanks surround the parking lot like walls. When we climbed up the wall the lake gaped before us, as astonishing as an ocean lost in the mountains.

We set off, staggering under the weight of 50-pound backpacks. After nine miles, the tracks we had been following suddenly ended. The previous skiers must have turned back.

We pressed on, breaking trail through deep snow. The farther we went, the more arduous this task seemed. We might as well have been wading uphill through wet cement.

Finally, as stars began to twinkle over the lake’s dark eye, we set up our tents on a bare patch of pavement in the middle of the road. Then we collapsed into our sleeping bags, exhausted.

The next morning we were feeling cocky about our progress—not bad for middle-aged guys—when a wiry, white-haired gentleman with a tiny day pack skied up the road. He looked to be at least 70 years old. We hailed him, assuming he must have camped behind us.

The man shook his head. “No, no. Not camping at all. I left the Rim Village at 5:30 this morning. At my pace I’ll make it around the lake by mid-afternoon.” He tipped his beret and glided breezily onward.

We were still staring after him when an elderly woman approached. “Did my husband come through here?” she asked.

All that day we followed this pair’s tracks, in awe. Long herringbone-shaped marks proved they had skated up hills using a high-speed skiing technique that demands Olympian stamina. Where the sun had melted gaps in downhill slopes they had skied across pumice rather than stop to walk.

Trudging behind these superhuman seniors, we felt very young indeed. And for a while I wished we too had left our heavy packs behind.

But I changed my mind the second night. A huge moon lit the snowy forests with an eerie, false dawn. We’d briefly left our camp for a quick midnight jaunt when a skier wearily approached on the trail. He was hardly twenty years old, with a thin jacket and a limp day pack. He wore downhill skis, rigged temporarily for Nordic travel.

He explained that he was a German exchange student at Oregon State University. Familiar with skiing from village to village in the Alps, he had decided to take a quick tour around Crater Lake.

Now he felt as if the wilderness had swallowed him whole. All day he had seen no other skiers and no trace of civilization. He was out of food. His feet were blistered. Each step in his stiff alpine boots had become an agony. Nothing he had seen in the Alps had prepared him for the scale of Oregon’s backcountry.

“How much farther is it to my car?” he asked.

“About six hours,” I told him. “You’d better stay with us.”

The young German student cut me short with a shake of his head. “No. I’m not stopping now.” And he skied grimly on, tracing the moonlit rim above the starry lake.

The next day we saw from his tracks that he had cut across avalanche-prone slopes in the dark. He’d been lucky his immaturity hadn’t cost him his life.

“Perhaps middle age is not so bad after all,” I mused, unlacing my ski boots when we reached the van.

One of the others asked, “Then you’re ready for the surprise party with black balloons and gag gifts of Depends?”

I sighed. “Let’s talk about where we’ll ski next year.”


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Bookstores, Gift Shops & Groups

Bookstores, gift shops, and groups qualify for discounts when purchasing at least 10 copies from the Navillus Press (mixed titles OK). These discounts apply only to bulk purchasers.

Freight is always free from the Navillus Press. Returns from bulk purchasers are accepted without question for full refund by check, credit, or new copies as long as the old stock is shipped back to the Navillus Press at the bulk purchaser's expense.

Discounts for bulk purchasers are: 10-23 copies (mixed titles), 43% net 30 days; 24-39 copies (mixed titles), 45% net 60 days; 40+ copies (mixed titles), 47% net 90 days.

Email orders to sullivan@efn.org ; mail orders to Navillus Press, 1958 Onyx St., Eugene, OR 97403; or telephone orders to 541-683-6837 (if an answering machine responds, leave book quantities, titles, and shipping address). Orders are shipped UPS within a week with an invoice on the box, unless specified otherwise.

Bookstores and gift shops ordering fewer than 10 copies should order instead from one of the following book distributors:

Partners West (Renton, WA), 800-563-2385

Ingram Book Company (Roseburg, OR), 800-937-8000

Baker & Taylor Books (Reno, NV) 800-775-1700

Discover Your Northwest (Seattle, WA) 206-220-4140 (for ranger stations and government agencies)


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Last Revised: 02/14/2011

Copyright © 2011 William L. Sullivan. All rights reserved.
Send comments to: sullivan@efn.org