Paddle and sip

Guides supply cider on a waterway in Tillamook, Oregon

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Hoquarton Slough waterway

A brooding Sitka spruce forest lines the little-known Hoquarton Slough waterway.

Charles Gullung

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It's the best-kept secret in Tillamook County.

"When I get residents back there, it's just, 'I had no idea!'" says outfitter Marc Hinz, whose Kayak Tillamook County now offers trips on Hoquarton Slough and other nearby waterways from Nehalem to Neskowin.

And few people have any idea that the paddling season is still going strong: Hinz's most popular trips are his wintertime Hoquarton Hot Cider Tours. Each boater gets a personal thermos of cider and a rain poncho, if needed, along with a knowledgeable guide and all the gear for a half-day paddle.

Go now, because "in a short time," Hinz predicts, "Tillamook will be the Hood River of kayaking."

INFO: Kayak Tillamook County (tours from $45; or 503/866-4808). Tillamook Bay Community College's WATER program also offers kayaking trips in the area ( or 888/306-8222 ext. 157).

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