Opal Creek Pools

PHOTO: Travel photography by Erik Gauger

Umpqua Dunes Genesis

Continuing the Owyhee Puzzle story, I travel to the Umpqua Dunes in pursuit of the answers of a mysterious stone tool.

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Umpqua Dunes

My camping stove just blew up, and it’s spraying fire all over the campsite.  I’ve hauled Jane back down to the Central Oregon Coast…And I’m supposed to be cooking her a Native Oregon meal.

This is not the first time.  With shovels and permits and low tide, we’ve scoured the coast. Each time, we try harder, we face further disappointment.  But giving up is not an option.

In the early summer of 2006, my brother and I found an old Native American hunting site in Oregon’s desert, and we asked ourselves questions about the people who might have made the stone tools we found there.  When those answers proved missing in bookstores and libraries, I realized I needed to unfold Oregon’s native prehistory myself. 

It makes sense to start everything here on the Oregon coast – since the first Americans came to the hemisphere along these very shores. It could be said that the Northwest coast is the one American place from which this hemisphere’s natives came.