Friday, January 25, 2013

The Oregon Coast in January

Finally yesterday Johnny and I made it to the coast, our first trip of the new year. The coast has been having lovely weather lately, while we and points inland have been freezing. But when things are cold on the farm, we farmers must tend animals and their frozen water... plus regular chores and assorted crises. I had suggested we celebrate Johnny's birthday last Monday by going to the coast but he preferred climbing Spirit Mountain. So yesterday was my day... and I took over two hundred photos to prove it. (Most, of course, did not come out well.)

Our first stop, on our way to lunch with friends at Oceanside, was just up Hebo Road near Dolph Junction. Gunaldo Falls is visible from the road only during the winter when leaves are off the trees, and then not very well. The name Gunaldo comes from the first two letters of two prominent county commissioners and a county judge in years gone by: GUnning, ALlan and DOdson.  It flows from a tributary of Sourgrass Creek so I think it should be called Sourgrass Falls. In researching this waterfall's name I came across a website I didn't know existed:
Over one thousand waterfalls are listed. As a waterfall aficionado, I plan to spend more time (when I should be working) researching other nearby waterfalls.

The first coastal site we stopped at, on Cape Lookout, prompted more research.

Dick Gammon did, indeed, launch from the site where Johnny is standing, high above the ocean, looking north toward Netarts Bay and Cape Meares beyond. The popular hang glider was ticketed for landing on the beach at the State Park below, so he petitioned the Tillamook county commissioners to allow hang gliding from that favored spot. Apparently, his petition was successful as my further research found that Cape Lookout is now a popular hang gliding spot from two sites, one of which is "just north of Anderson's Viewpoint", and that would be Gammon Launch. I also found a tribute by a hang gliding friend of ours and Gammon's, Reed Gleason, back in 2009, letting the hang gliding community know when his long-time friend died, not from a hang gliding accident, but by taking his own life before the colon cancer he was dying of did.

But while we stood on Gammon's Launch, we did not know that sad story.

Onward we pressed to Netarts Bay, where lots of waterbirds graciously hung close to shore for my camera. A few even stayed in relative focus... like these Double-crested Cormorants drying their wings, a Common Goldeneye, and a foursome of Surf Scoters.

We rendezvoused with friends John and Barbara at Oceanside and enjoyed a meal with ocean view at Brewin' in the Wind, where we saw an eagle fly past. Doesn't get better than eating good food with good friends while watching an eagle outside the window. The last time we lunched with John and Barbara was on Christmas Day, just before Barbara's unexpected emergency surgery. Happily she is recovering well.

After lunch they headed home and we headed up the mountain above Oceanside to see the view from on high. Three Arch Rocks are pictured below, before we headed up.

 They looked a bit different from on top.

...And so did the sea lions covering a smaller rock... In fact, from shore the sea lions' perch looks to be part of one of the Three Arch Rocks. There are actually six small rocky islands that form, with the three big ones, Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge.

 Unlike the sea lions that were easier to see from on high, the eagles on their customary perch atop Shag Rock were harder to spot not being silhouetted against the sky. (The "arch" rocks are named, west to east, Shag, Middle and Finley.)


 Next we motored a few miles up the road to Cape Meares State Park. It's a lovely site with a rather gaudy and rather new kiosk welcoming visitors..

A viewing platform, also relatively new, gives a good view of the north cove and the rather flat-topped "Pillar Rock" offshore where murres used to nest by the hundreds, until eagles, like this young one enjoying the breeze the day we were there, took to strafing the colony and picking off young ones. There was nothing on the rock this day but a Peregrine Falcon. Peregrines nest on the steep cliff sides of the north cove annually and can often be seen from that viewing platform.

From the south viewing platform, we could see Short Beach, our next destination. It lies between Cape Meares and Oceanside. But first, we hiked to the Octopus Tree and then along a path we had not hiked before that follows the ridge line from the Octopus Tree to the road.

But I'll continue that story another time as this blog is already way too long and I have trees to plant in the arboretum this afternoon. They arrived yesterday while we were enjoying the Oregon coast. Planting trees is almost as much fun for me as hiking in Oregon's beautiful outdoors.

1 comment:

  1. Launching at Gammon Launch means taking a couple of running steps then one big one off an almost vertical cliff with lots of huge rocks down below merging into an impenetrable forest of tall Spruce trees. It doesn't look like you get a second try to do it right!