I thought I would kick off my first post about my visit to Kilchis Point in Bay City, Oregon. I was on the Oregon coast working on research for the next novel in the Sweetwater series, Cornerstone, and wanted to get a feel for the life around Tillamook Bay.
I was fortunate – the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum was open. As a child, I’d passed the museum during the summers when my family would camp at Cape Lookout but never had the time to visit.
The museum was a good place for a writer to explore – there are portraits of original settlers, Native American tools and weavings, a collection of Abraham Lincoln items and a surprise … a large taxidermy exhibit.
When I mentioned to the docent that I was interested in learning about life on the Northern Oregon Coast in the 1850 to 1855 period, she gave me a map for Kilchis Point, the site of a Native American village and the place where the area’s first pioneer, Joe Champion, carved a temporary home out of a stump. Here is a link to the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum’s website for the Point as well as a link to a blog with pictures of the trails and some of the foliage.
I pulled into the parking lot at Kilchis Point Reserve after lunch. My brother and his dog, McDuff, were with me. We walked the paver trail and stopped to read each of the historical information signs. But it was the rough cut trails marked by pink plastic flags and the single plank bridge across Doty Creek that took us away from 2013 and we could imagine what it was like walk the game trails between land claims in 1855, the year that Cornerstone is set in.
I brought back to my writing desk the smell of skunk cabbage bordering a creek, ferns in the rain, and the sounds the wind made in the tree tops … sort of like waves on a beach. I can’t wait to blend these details into Cornerstone, which will center on Cade Braedon and his lost love, Silver St. Ives, as well as continue with the story of Rye and Felicity Jones.