Meet our New Registrar, Janelle!

Janelle Hammerstrom joined the Opal Creek team at the beginning of 2015 and we’re so excited to have her on the Portland staff. A recent arrival to Portland, she comes to us from Tri-Cities, Washington, where she grew up camping and hanging out at the river.   

Little “Littles” in the Big Woods

I recently sat down with Big Brothers Big Sisters “little” and Opal Creek Expeditions veteran Tanna to talk with her about her experience in our partnership program last year and what it is that

‘Tis the Season

“Opal Creek means an awakening to nature. A special place where people have fallen in love with the environment, so in love they want to save it.”—Alexa, Reynolds Learning Academy student

Wilderness Calls Us Back to Ourselves

When I tell people I work for Opal Creek, I see an envious glimmer enter their eyes.  Perhaps they imagine me and my coworkers, hiking off-trail in the Opal Creek Wilderness to a mossy rock ledge, where we pull out our laptops and write grants, make staff schedules, and do double-entry bookkeeping to the sounds of wind and birdsong.

The Women of Jawbone Flats

Author’s note: This was all inspired by Keeley’s mom, Bonnie McAnnis, who is an amazing woman. She drove me back to Portland from Jawbone and we talked all about this. 

Father’s Day 2013

I am at the company store explaining to a family about our backpacking trips for teenagers. Their young daughter looks up for an acknowledging sign; this is the summer adventure she’s been looking for. The parents tell her with a smile that they will talk about it at dinner and dog ear the Expeditions page in our catalog. Opal pool is their next destination, a family giving dad his day in the woods. 

The Wilderness Has Made Me Squirrely

My grandchildren tell their friends that their Oma lives on a mountain, in a cabin, in the woods.

I am living a story book life.

My morning alarm is a robin’s trill followed by a choir of chirps and croaks and rustling of trees.

I hear the sun rise.

Wilderness = Knowledge

There was a snowy silence when I arrived in Jawbone Flats. Now the audible hum of spring has set in as school groups, cabin renters, and hikers filter through camp. Everything is new; the season, the staff, the creek have all shifted to a new rhythm and I am no exception. My mind is constantly racing as I absorb everything around me. From the scientific name of the Pacific Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) to the difference between mosses and liverworts,