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Friends - The State of Oregon has a warm place in my heart, primarily because my two grandsons live there.  Further, Bob and I are lucky enough to be allowed to visit them and stay for extended periods of time.  In addition to a standard 'visit to the house', we sometimes go with them to the Oregon coast and stay there for a few days.  Boys and beaches are made for each other, and we surely enjoy looking for seashells, wading in the waves as well as building sand castles, fishing, paddle-boating, kite flying, and of course, hiking.

During this last trip, I had a chance to hike up to the top of the St. Perpetua trail of Cape Perpetua National Forest.  This short (1.3 mile) but rather steep trail leads to the highest forested point on the Oregon coast. At 800', it is enough to give you outrageously beautiful views below of tide pools, water spouts, waves churning through slots in volcanic coastline and up to 30 miles of open ocean.  I am also informed that this is an excellent place to be during whale migration season.

Just around the bend from the top of the St. Perpetua trail is the subject of my oil painting.   We followed some trail signs that referred to a 'rock shelter', and were rewarded with this astonishing fortress.   Of course, it has a story. This handsome stone stronghold has been around for quite some time; built during the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) - Franklin D. Roosevelt's 'New Deal' public work relief program put in place to combat the depression.  It was a successful program in more ways than one.

During the time of the CCC, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide and upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas.  The Cape Perpetua Rock Shelter and the trail system, in particular, were meant for recreation. However, being such an excellent sheltered promontory, it proved additionally valuable during World War II as a coastal watch and radar station.

'Stronghold' is a 16x20 oil on canvas painting, and can be traded for your donation to a worthwhile non-profit organization.

Be well.

margie lopez read