SALEM, Ore. Oregon has a handful of outdoor junkies who paddle when the water is high, spread wings or hoist sails when the winds howl, surf when the breakers are crashing and catch big air when the powder drifts.
For them, the season is endless.
Then there's the average Joe and Sally, appreciative of nature and the wonders of the state but only occasionally participating.
''We jokingly refer to them as armchair adventurers,'' said Steve Amen, who is entering his 16th season as host and executive producer of ''Oregon Field Guide,'' an award-winning half-hour outdoors production of Oregon Public Broadcasting.
''There are a lot of things we do that the average person can't do, or won't; a lot of places we go that require a significant commitment of time and energy hikes most people aren't going to make so we go there for them,'' Amen said.
The newest season of ''Oregon Field Guide'' kicked off Oct. 7 with kayakers careening down a series of waterfalls and a retired railroad worker cruising his property in the Oregon coast range on a quarter-scale railroad he built from scratch.
''The kayaking is a classic 'Oregon Field Guide' story because it's incredibly scenic, just gorgeous pictures, and it shows you a great place with people who are embracing it on a different level,'' producer Ed Jahn said. ''They're really getting after it.''
The lead story starts at the base of Falls Creek Falls, a spectacular 280-foot waterfall on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge.
At the bottom of the falls are 400 yards of continuous cascades over and between house-sized boulders, then a series of rapids that run into a deep-cut gorge.
''I'm not kidding you. That's where they started,'' said Jahn, his face lighting up, the adrenaline starting to pump all over again.
''In the show you see these guys' eyes the first time they see it, that look of, 'Wow, how are we going to do this?' But they figure it out, and we take you through that process so that when you see the story you understand that they're not as crazy as you might think. They're just loving life.''
Jahn pauses, then adds: ''We're not here to profile people who have absolutely lost their marbles. That's not what we do. There's got to be more to the story than 'This is radical, what an adrenaline rush.' We don't do a story just on that.''
This particular activity is what its participants call exploratory kayaking.
''We've been doing this so many years we think we've done every kind of water activity there is and then all of a sudden there's a new one,'' Amen said. ''What these guys do is try to find an area of river that's never been run, then run it. In this day and age, if a section of a river hasn't been run, there's usually a pretty good reason. It makes for some really wild kayaking.''
There aren't many of Amen's viewers who will head for Falls Creek with a kayak, although the 1.7-mile hike to the falls is easy and highly recommended.
''One of the things we do is provide information to people who may not know about a place,'' Amen said. ''We talk to a lot of people who have lived in Oregon for 30 years and never have been to Joseph, never ridden the Wallowa Lake tram. They've seen Crater lake, but that's it. The Honeycombs, those geologic formations over the Owyhee country, fewer than 1 percent of our viewers will ever go there, but it doesn't mean they aren't interested in them or that they aren't amazed to see them when we show them.''
The coast-range train, while on private property and not open to the public except on rare occasions, is equally amazing as the kayaking but on a more laid-back scale.
''It's absolutely cool what he's built on six acres of property, with amazing trestles and tunnels,'' Amen said.
''This is his life,'' said Jahn, who produced the train segment.
''He's really into nature and into a sense of place, and this is his way of experiencing it. It isn't a hike or a boat trip, it's to build this little piece of paradise in the coast range and ride around. He has a great piece of property and this is a unique way to see it. It's a spectacular thing. You realize the guy is on a mission.''
''Oregon Field Guide'' doesn't divulge the location at the request of the property owner, but inquiries from viewers who contact the station will be forwarded to the train yard, near Mapleton.
Amen and his crew produce 13 half-hour shows and one full-hour show each year. For armchair adventurers, it's time to pop the corn.
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