Western Oregon is known for its "liquid sunshine", bringing moisture that turns the countryside an emerald green in the spring. Residents perpetuate that image in the hopes that people are disuaded from moving here. Their hopes continue to be dashed as Oregon continues to have one of the largest annual in-migrations of new residents in the country. Those newcomers discover that it doesn't rain nearly as much as they were told and there are plenty of things to do that don't cost any money. Here are a few suggestions:
1) Walk, jog, or hike the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System. The cover photo shows a stretch of a wide concrete path that lines both banks of the Willamette River near downtown Eugene. You'll see all ages of people walking, jogging, biking, skateboarding, dog walking, and stroller walking almost any time of day. They'll occasionally have to yield to squirrels, ducks, and geese.
2) Take pictures at a local park. Eugene has four mild, but distinct, seasons. Spring and fall especially can provide some colorful opportunities for outdoor photography. This picture shows a section of the Owen Memorial Rose Garden beside the Willamette River. Professional and amateur photographers have plenty of subjects to photograph in Lane County, Oregon.
3) Have a picnic with family and friends at a local park. The Eugene Parks and Open Space Division provides many opportunities to enjoy a picnic in pleasant surroundings. When the weather is nice, I'll spend my lunch hour visiting a local food cart and then eating lunch at a nearby park like this one at the Owen Memorial Rose Garden which is close to downtown and my office. I'll eat with co-workers or alone while watching people pass by jogging or bicycling.
4) Hike a trail without leaving the city limits. Eugene has many miles of trails to walk on during any season. Spring and fall are great times to get some exercise and explore the diverse landscapes available within the city's boundaries. The Ridgeline Trail System in south Eugene is a special place to commune with nature for a few hours. This picture shows a trail in Hendricks Park, Eugene's oldest city park. It's not unusual to see people walking their dogs, squirrels scampering across the path, or even wild turkeys passing by while Stellar jays screech nearby. Why leave town to experience nature? Mountain lions have been seen in these woods, attracted by the chickens that local residents raised in their backyards.
5) Find a book at a Little Free Library. Stop by a Little Free Library in your neighborhood and take a book to read. While you're there, leave a book or two that you've read for someone else to enjoy. Don't know where they are? This map should help you find one. Take the book and then find a serene location to escape into a world beyond your current environment.
5+) Can't find what you want at a Little Free Library? Visit the Eugene Public Library instead. The Eugene Public Library near downtown Eugene has plenty of free entertainment to offer - books, videos, music, and more. When it's raining, you can curl up with a good book and immerse yourself in the eloquent words. Why spend your hard-earned money when there are so many ways to be entertained for free?