It's that time of year. Soon we'll be seeing witches, ghouls, Michael Jacksons and Farrah Fawcetts lurking all over the neighborhood. A black cat has already found its way into the crawl space under my house. It's not just crossing my path, but living under my path - which explains the cursed condition of my life right now. Plus, Mercury went retrograde and I have Uranus in my sign, opposite Saturn in Virgo. I don't know exactly what that means, but apparently it's not good. When life feels bedeviling, the only thing to do is have fun with it. So, here are some light-hearted outdoor events to put on your race calendar.
PADDLE A PUMPKIN
Each year, on the last Saturday of October, the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta is held in at the Lake at Tualatin Commons in Tualatin, Oregon. This year, the sixth-annual Regatta will take place on October 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Costumed participants race around the lake in boats carved from 1,000-pound pumpkins. Really. And afterward, since it's an eco-friendly event, the pumpkins are made into compost. The Regatta also features a 5K run, a geocaching demonstration, model speed boat races, kids pumpkin carving, face painting, a costume contest, a HOWLoween dog costume contest, Smokey the Llama, clowns, live music, hot food and drinks and much more. For more information, visit www.ci.tualatin.or.us.
"Wind your way through an elephant's trunk, get lost in a zebra's stripes and make your way carefully through the lion's mane." Every year, the Central Oregon Pumpkin Company in Terrebonne creates a new corn maze. This year's maze is a safari adventure theme. Time is running out, however, the final day for the corn maze is Halloween day. Other activities include horse drawn wagon rides, a zoo train, a petting zoo, a hay fort and best of all, a pumpkin cannon (oooh, that could be fun!). One year, we held an adventure race that began with several checkpoints inside the corn maze (map and compass navigational skills don't really work so well there). A maze diagram is available at www.pumpkinco.org.
VEX A VAMPIRE
The third-annual Vampire-O is an orienteering race in the dark. Checkpoints are spread throughout the COCC campus and are worth a variety of point values. But beware! One or two teams will be randomly selected at the start to be vampires. These teams will be stalking all the others, trying to suck their blood (steal their punch cards). If you get bit (caught), you must surrender your point card to the vampire teams, who then turn into regular participants, and your team membersbecomevampires thirsty for blood (or another point card). Whichever teamhas the card with the most points on it at the finish is the winner. Meet at Cascades Hall at 7pm on Wednesday October 28 with your costume, headlight and $5. If you are competitive, night stalker-wear is beneficial. For more information, contact Cynthia Engel at 541-280-5314 or Lee Perry at 541-390-3214.
If you would rather chase a hare and drink beer than be chased by a vampire, then the Halloween Hash is for you. Meet at Troy Field near McMenamin's at 7pm on Wednesday October 28 with your costume, headlight and $5. For more information, visit www.bendhash.com.
If you see a bunch of people running about madly in black and headlights on Wednesday night, you'll know what's going on. It could be pretty interesting if the hares and hounds get mixed up with the vampires.
Ending on a serious note, this week you have the opportunity to comment on two projects important to the outdoor community.
Bend Metro Park and Recreation District has received a preliminary engineering report and recommendations for safety improvements at the Colorado Dam. Proposed changes include a safe passage channel, whitewater play features and riparian restoration in the area downstream of the bridge. Parks and Rec is hosting an open house for comments on Thursday October 29 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at their office at 799 SW Columbia Street. For questions, contact Bruce at 389-7275.
The Forest Service is collecting public comment on the proposed Sunriver to Benham Falls to Lava Lands paved bike path. The project aims to provide a safe route for bicyclists and pedestrians to travel from the community of Sunriver to Lava Lands Visitor Center and on to Lava River Cave, without ever touching Highway 97. Comments may be sent via email to: email@example.com. Written comments should be sent or delivered to: Shane Jeffries, District Ranger, Bend/Fort Rock Ranger District, 1230 NE 3rd Street, Suite A-262, Bend, Oregon 97701. The deadline is Friday October 30th.