A Bevy of Books: Curry Mammals, On the Hoof, Storm Beat, & Cascade Head

Take refuge from winter storms and curl up with one of these recently published books about wild animals on the south coast, adventures on horseback, the life and times of an Oregon Coast reporter, and ecological lessons learned from Cascade Head.


Want to get to know the furry creatures that dwell in Curry County? The Kalmiopsis Audubon Society (KAS) has published a book, Curry County Mammals I Have Known, by backwoodsman and conservationist Jim Rogers.

The book contains stories of more than twenty-seven different mammals that can be found in Curry County, along with illustrations for each animal. Jim’s observations include scientific information and local history with a personal touch as he shares his experiences with wild animals, as well as backwoods life and efforts to protect the Grassy Knob Wilderness. The stories offer invaluable local insight—and the opportunity for a good laugh.

“With observations made across decades, Jim has nurtured deep connections with the natural world,” says Conifer Country author Michael Kauffman. “His stories, weaving personal tales with scientific understandings, give us all a path to better know and connect with the wild mammals of this place.”

Curry County Mammals I Have Known includes an introduction by KAS president Ann Vileisis and was compiled by KAS member Teresa Bird. The book is available for purchase at the Port Orford Food Coop and Gold Beach Books, or can be ordered online from Barnes & Noble for $12.95. All proceeds go to support the work of the Kalmiopsis Audubon Society.


On the Hoof chronicles the arduous and unforgettable 3,800-mile journey of author Jesse McNeil and his horse, Pepper, as they trek from a beach on the Oregon Coast across the country to a beach on the Atlantic Coast.

The book reveals the hardships, friendships, and lessons learned when an inexperienced horseman and an equally inexperienced horse attempt a cross-country journey in a mere 8 months. Author Jesse McNeil had navigated previous coast-to-coast trips by a variety of transportation methods, including solo journeys by moped, bicycle, and small airplane. For this trip, however, he chose a living mode of transportation: a five-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse named Pepper.

Oregon Coast readers will appreciate the first chapter, where McNeil describes a fraught start as soon as they are dropped off at the beach at the Winchuck River near Brookings.

“One main challenge was simply beginning in Oregon,” said McNeil. “The mountains and the snow, then the heat and the desert, were a sobering and difficult start to the journey.”

Beyond Oregon, there is much more to experience, as readers will discover in the remaining 15 chapters of the book that take them from the West across the prairies of the Midwest to the Atlantic shoreline. It’s not an easy journey for man or horse, and the lessons to McNeil quickly become apparent: patience, companionship, and the kindness of strangers go a long ways.

The 60-plus color photographs included within the 416-page book make this travelogue a huge standout. Retail price is $22.95, available at Trafalgar Square Books.


Some might say that a reporter knows a place better than anyone. Certainly, they know the tragedies and unexpected events that happen, both public and personal. Award-winning writer Lori Tobias chronicles those experiences in her latest book, Storm Beat: A Journalist Reports from the Oregon Coast.

In the prologue to Storm Beat, Tobias summarizes her experiences as a reporter for the Oregonian newspaper—a beat that covered the entire Oregon Coast. “Despite my early misgivings, I came quickly to believe that I had been blessed with the best writing gig on Earth—albeit a dark one.” The subject of her stories involved car crashes, falls, drownings, suicide, multiple boat capsizings, and murders.

Tobias’s own story takes the reader through the tribulations of her own life—learning to live on and cover the coast, regular trips back east as her parents age—and the unexpected, often unglamorous experiences of a working reporter.

Tobias chronicles the light-hearted moments as well. “…If many of the mileposts along Highway 101 are defined for me by someone else’s tragedy,” writes Tobias, “so too are they reminders that I am blessed with having the privilege of working in the most amazing setting, a place where life is authentic and the landscape so stunningly beautiful, all these years later, it can still take my breath away.”

Lori Tobias is a veteran journalist who has written for the New York Times, Seattle Times, and the Denver Post. Storm Beat is her first book of nonfiction; her novel Wander won the Best Book of Fiction from the Pacific Northwest Writers Association in 2017. Storm Beat was published by Oregon State University Press and retails for $19.95. It is available in bookstores, online, or at OSU Press. (800-621-2736)


Cascade Head, located between Lincoln City and Neskowin, has stunning ocean views, ample recreational opportunities, supports a multitude of threatened species (including the Oregon silverspot butterfly, spotted owl, and coho salmon), and has a rich history of ecological research and conservation. Cascade Head is also Oregon’s only biosphere reserve, part of the international network of biosphere reserves coordinated by UNESCO.

In his book, The View From Cascade Head, ecologist Bruce Byers writes about the fascinating story of this special place and the people who have worked to protect it. Drawing from his lifelong relationship with the Oregon Coast and recent experience living and working at Cascade Head, Byers weaves together personal observations, ecological science, and the history and philosophy of nature conservation.
The book illustrates three main lessons: the actions and efforts of committed individuals can make a difference; ecological mysteries still abound despite decades of scientific research; and our worldviews—how we think about our place in nature—shape our effect on the ecosystems we inhabit.
Byers has worked in 27 biosphere reserves in 17 countries and was a Howard L. McKee Ecology Resident at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology at Cascade Head. The View From Cascade Head was published by Oregon State University Press and retails for $22.95. It is available in bookstores, online, or at OSU Press. (800-621-2736)