Friday, January 25, 2013

From the Octopus Tree to Short Beach

 A tenth of a mile from the parking lot at Cape Meares stands this amazing Sitka Spruce. It is not possible to photograph the entire 105 foot height. The Octopus Tree is, according to the sign, "more than 46 feet in circumference".

We followed a path south leading from the Octopus Tree through the temperate rainforest filled with ferns and Sitka Spruce.  From every break in the trees was a lovely view toward Short Beach and Three Arch Rocks at Oceanside.

A soft mist fell as we strolled through tall ferns and taller, much taller, trees. Mist is usual in a rainforest that averages over 100 inches of rain a year.

Some of these Sitkas were huge. Johnny measured his spread against this one.

Fallen giants had giant root wads.

This one lying for many feet along the path had almost returned to the soil.

And always the view of Three Arch Rocks... here with two arches showing.

 Where the canopy opened and sunlight reached the ground, salal grew thick.

From this angle, zoomed up, we could see the arch well in one of the Three Arch Rocks, "Finley".

Eventually we came to the road and hiked back to our car, then drove south to Short Beach, one of my favorite spots for finding Black Oystercatchers. Although we had passed Short Beach on our way to Cape Meares, I wanted to save this spot for last so I could dawdle as long as I wanted.

The Staircase of 1,000 Steps, as it is known, is a rustic and steep stairway with many benches for resting along the way. The staircase was created by locals to reach the beach, formerly accessible only by a slippery trail that had been the ruin of many hikers. Some of the locals may regret the improved access as this formerly secluded beach has become quite popular, especially with fisher folk.

A waterfall tumbles to the beach.

But it is man made, directing rainwater. Impressive nonetheless.

I don't know what's in that rainwater, but gulls and oystercatchers love to bathe in it just before it reaches the sea. This day it was populated by gulls only.

Elsewhere on Short Beach, we found at least six Black Oystercatchers, pretty distant for photographs.

Most did not pose nicely like the one above. Instead they flew over the surf screaming and chasing one another. But wherever they were, they made my day at the coast complete. I love these noisy, red-billed, flamboyant birds of the Pacific coast.

1 comment:

  1. You found the trail! It's not as close to Short Beach as I thought, but looks like a wonderful hike - love those huge trees! Glad you were able to get over and enjoy some BLOYS!