Those travels have now fueled his third book “Grant’s Getaways: 101 Oregon Adventures.” Just released on April 20 and published by Westwinds Press, the book catalogs trips around the state by month — starting with January adventures like Belknap Hot Springs and ending with such December outings as snowshoeing in the Deschutes National Forest.
McOmie says the book is intended to acquaint Oregonians with Oregon. “The goal is to bring you the state’s people, places and outdoor activities so you get to know the place you call home.” Some stories focus on back roads and byways, while others treat well-known landmarks like Crater Lake, always with discovery as the mission. “Let’s start exploring where we live,” he says.
Nobody knows Oregon quite like Grant McOmie does. The author and outdoor reporter has covered the state of Oregon for more than 25 years. In gathering material for two guidebooks, a weekly half hour news show on KGW, and a weekly video story on the Travel Oregon website, he’s traveled to the far corners of the state and back again.
With video as his traditional medium, McOmie wrote the book hoping to reflect his voice, which fans recognize for its warm, engaging quality. The value of good storytelling was impressed upon him by CBS legend Charles Kuralt, who McOmie had the chance to interview as a young reporter. “He was a guy who instilled in me that it is really critical that you follow your heart as well as your head,” he says. “Very few of us know how to tell good people stories.”
After decades of exploring, McOmie still has a wish list of unvisited spots. One of those is the Hinsdale Estate on Spruce Reach Island near Reedsport, a BLM-owned seven-acre property that includes an azalea and rhododendron garden, which he plans to visit soon. “When I find some jewel like this place that I have never heard of, I have to do it.” McOmie is also excited to return to Hells Canyon this year to visit some of the people who live in the remote region, many of them ranchers.
His favorite trips in the new book lean toward Oregon’s quiet places — the Nestucca River Back Country Byway (a 48-mile stretch between Carlton and Beaver through the Coast Range) and the hike up Saddle Mountain (east of Cannon Beach with a 3,823-foot summit). “You absolutely have to slow down. You don’t have a choice,” he says.
At just over 300 pages, 101 Oregon Adventures still didn’t have room for everything, so readers can expect another book from McOmie soon. Luckily, he’s as ready as ever to keep exploring. “My passion for travel hasn’t let up. I am as enthusiastic as I was 30 years ago.”