Tag Archives: coast

Summer weekend

Pretty good weekend although hot. Twit next door also cut down the neighborhood’s oldest tree (well over 100 year old, and my favorite to look at while eating dinner in the backyard.

Started out with Ground Kontrol

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Did a run and yardwork the next day.
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It is hot in Portland so on Sunday we got up, drove to Otis, and got breakfast.
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Then on to the coast, where we went on a 4 hour hike.

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Note seal break:
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Really sunburnt, but my friend Josh pointed out that it’s rare that the cause of a sunburn isn’t something good.

All in all a good, though sweltering, weekend.

In which Dean and Michele come to Portland; we see more of the coast

View from Ecola Park.

View from Ecola Park.

Michele and Dean came for a visit. They were here for a few days and then drove to Coeur d’Alene to watch the Ironman.

Michele and Dean on Hwy 101, north of Cannon Beach.

Michele and Dean on Hwy 101, north of Cannon Beach.

While they were here, we headed to the northern part of the coast to drop them off for a bike ride. We got a late start, so they ended up only riding for a few hours, but they said it was a completely beautiful ride. They went over the passes on Hwy 101! They took the ride that I always say “wow, these are brave and crazy people to climb this mountain on a bike.”

Dean said the only really scary part was going through the tunnel, despite the fact that you can hit a button as you enter it that causes a light to flash and indicate “Bikes in the tunnel” “Bikes in the tunnel!” This is supposed to tell car drivers to go 30 mph, but I’ll be honest and say that this is the first time I noticed that I was supposed to go 30 when the light flashes, so someone might want to make that a little clearer. I wonder if I will ever be a person on a bike who sees a hill and says “Oh neat!” instead of “oh shit!”?

We picked them up just south of Tillamook and drove into Lincoln City just before sunset. We ended up eating at Fathoms and watching the sunset.

Lookign toward Cape Foulweather from our room at Inn at Otter Crest.

Lookign toward Cape Foulweather from our room at Inn at Otter Crest.

We stayed at Inn at Otter Crest again, which was alright. The restaurant is closed now, and it sounds like the hotel is undergoing a change of management. We stayed on the headland side, right up front. Very beautiful, and we had a few colonies of harbor seals in front of us, which were great to watch and listen to the next morning. We also watched the fog roll in and out as we waited for low tide.

Michele tidepooling.

Michele tidepooling.

Wandered down to the Devil’s Punchbowl tidepools, where we saw more hermit crabs than I’ve ever seen in a tidepool, and some spider crabs, and a ton of anemone. No urchins this time, although we did find bits of their tests. Given that urchins are often signs of an unhealthy tidal pool, that was great.

Michele, Brian and Dean inside the Devil's Punchbowl.

Michele, Brian and Dean inside the Devil's Punchbowl.

We wandered into the punchbowl during low tide (I’m so overly cautious about this due a number of people getting trapped there) and then up to Mo’s for some clam chowder, the reward of tidepoolers in Oregon. We saw some whales too – but I didn’t get a good enough look to identify. I’ll say greys, but I think they were smaller than that.

Finished up the day by going to the Oregon Aquarium and watching all the fish. They’ve raised the rates to $15/person, ouch! Maybe buying a membership again makes sense. We’ll see. I told Brian that maybe some marine biology or oceanography classes would be a nice birthday or Christmas present for me. I also think I should go volunteer at the Aquarium, it’d make me pretty happy. We’ll see, I’d have to pay for a hotel or camp, so that will have to wait until I have a job, and if I have a job, I’ll not have too much time to do it.

Then, off to Coeur d’Alene to watch the Ironman – I’ll post some pictures of that later. It was strange to be there without saying hello to Wilma, but fun to wander downtown.

More walking

View from the Cascade Head trail.

View from the Cascade Head trail.

It was a pretty good weekend.

Friday night, we walked down to Moon and Sixpence in Hollywood for a beer or two. The bartender there that night was super nice – I really have to make myself sit at the bar more rather than at a table because I like talking to people. After we were there, we decided to walk back on Broadway. Which meant that we needed to stop off for a snack. One plate of nachos, jalepeno poppers and a jalepeno-infused blood orange margarita later, and we continued our walk. Nice that we can walk to so many neighborhood from our house, depending on mood. All in all, we walked for about an hour and a half.

Saturday was pretty mellow – Brian had some work to wrap up and I wandered over to the Hollywood farmers’ market. Not so much my thing, I’ll head back to the PSU one next week. We cooked out, and that’s about that.

Sunday we got up and went to a hike on the coast. I had a few planned out, but the first made it difficult to determine how to get the day pass, so I’m going to do more research before we try it.

The next one we wanted to do – Harts Cover – turned out to be difficult to find (unmarked road to the trail off of Hwy 101). We eventually found the turn-off, but it’s not open for the season yet.

Brian just past some tree hazards on Cascade Head trail.

Brian just past some tree hazards on Cascade Head trail.

While we were looking for Forest Road 1861, we found a different trail – Cascade Head, and that ended up being the trail we took. Afterwards, we found out that it was closed due to tree hazards, but someone had torn the sign down and tossed it off the trail. We walked along a stream which provided a great background to a nice forest hike. Eventually, we came to the tree hazard – there were a lot of trees down, probably from the huge windstorm we had last year. There were a good number over the trail, and we limbo’d under them or jumped over them when possible.

Trail interuption.

Trail interuption.

Evenually, after a few switchbacks, the trail was gone, eaten by a tree. We could see the tree down the slope, and after carefully finding some footing, we navigated our way across the gaping hole left in its wake. It was pretty slippery, and with a good drop to the left of us, it was definitely dangerous. We continued climbing for a bit, and then came upon another gaping hole – the one was probably four or five times the size of the last. We could see a not-too-easy way for us to get across it, but at this point, it sounded like a good time to turn around and head back to the car so we’d have some time to play on the beach.

There had been a car parked by mine when we started up the trail, and we didn’t pass anyone so I was surprised to see it gone when we got back to the trailhead. Brian was not surprised, as he noticed the underwear they left behind, which lead us to a spirited conversation about why you always see that people leave their underwear behind. I don’t get that at all – I can’t imagine hiking in remote areas with nothing particularly protecting my more delicate bits.

After noticing where a car had driven off the road down the mountain slope toward the stream (a long time ago), we hit the road. It’s eery seeing a detached bench carseat snugged up against a stand of trees, and when Brian pointed out the bits of the hood that were still left in one of the trees, I vowed to drive even more carefully than normal. Yikes.

We didn’t do a lot more on the coast. We drove down towards Newport, and pulled over at Beverly Beach. We saw two whales closer to the shore than I’ve ever seen them before – they were right on the line where the waves start to break, and they looked big enough to be greys, so I’m not sure what that’s about – have any of you read about that behavior before? They were there long enough for us to see three or so bursts of air, maybe 10 minutes. Very strange, and it didn’t look like the water would be deep enough for them there, but maybe there was a drop-off we couldn’t see.

So all in all a good weekend – an urban hike, a coastal forest one, and whales.

Shipwrecks

Peter Iredale
My sister and I at the Peter Iredale shipwreck.

If you are interested in shipwrecks, here’s a great PDF of a brochure from Oregon State Parks called “Graveyards of the Pacific” that I found today. I’ve been reading that a number of shipwrecks have been exposed due to the winter storms – mostly in southern Oregon. I’ll be tempted to go see what I can see, it’d be fun to explore a part of the coast I haven’t been to much since I was a kid.

Avoiding cleaning

I don’t have anything particularly miraculous to say, but I’m trying to avoid cleaning. I will get up and do it in a few minutes, but heh, don’t feel like it.

Snowing in Madison, today and tomorrow. Here, I am going to go into our backyard to cut some flowers for a small dinner party we are throwing tonight. I’m pretty gleeful about it too. And Mt Hood is snow covered again, so should I want snow? I can get to it really fast, hit Brian with a snowball and be home again to smell flowers. I’m pretty pleased by that.

Talked to some people at my local grocery store, New Seasons, and the woman packing my bags and one of the managers were telling me about the trip they were taking next week to the coast. One of the women mentioned they were taking a friend who had never seen the Oregon coast. She looked completely happy and full of anticipation, really excited to show the coast to someone who hadn’t seen it.

I sympathize with her entirely – when people come to visit us out here, I can hardly wait to show them the coast. When I was an angst-filled teenager, I’d stay up very late (o, two, three in the morning) stressing about things and reading. The only consistent way I could get to sleep was to close my eyes and focus on the Oregon coast. I’d picture the waves and the sand, and the wind. I could always tell how angry or stressed I was by how torn up the sand was – if it was pretty smooth, I’d go straight to sleep. If it was jumbled about, I’d picture storm waves crash and smoothing it out. It’s nice to be around people who understand how important the wild parts of the Oregon coast are.

Tomorrow night, we are having a birthday party for my friend Katie. It’ll be our first party in our new house (yeah, I know there’s some of you out there that are surprised it’s taken so long, heh). It’s making me think of all the birthday parties I’ve thrown for myself and for other people. Ellen, remember the cocktail party we had that went until 5 a.m., where the party broke into a dance party, and we danced the light out of our downstairs apartment? Or the birthday party in Madison where we had Mo’s Clam Chowder flown in from Oregon to surprise Brian for his 30th? Still the only surprise that’s been successful for that man.

Alright, I’ll go find a broom….

The coast with my family

Great time at the coast with Gretchen and the kids. We stayed at Inn at Otter Crest again, and while we really think with the exception of the bellhop and one other guy, the service is completely lousy (making me think twice about buying a unit), the room was quite nice and I love being able to walk down to the Devil’s Punchbowl.

We played frisby on the beach. I tried to do cartwheels and discovered I am no longer able (I think I’m a bit more top-heavy than the last time I tried. I know. I’m working on it.) so I will stretch much more and watch my diet closer and hopefully be able to do it this time next year.

We went swimming, even Brian. I don’t remember the last time he went swimming with me, it was sooooo much fun. Maggie ask him to throw her, and she went sailing halfway across the pool, it was soooooo awesome!! Matt asked for the same, but I think Brian realized his strength at that point, so he didn’t throw as far. I hope I can continue to talk him into at least occasionally swimming with me / us, it was really neat to see him swimming again. Even if he could standing in the deepend unlike the rest of us.

We ate at the Flying Dutchman, which was good. The next day we ate Mo’s (of course) and then went to Rogue for pizza and beer (root beer in the case of Maggie and Matt). Mmmmm. Otherwise we really just read, listened to the ocean, wrote in journals, swam and walked on the beach.

O! We did make it to some terrific tidepools on Devil’s Punchbowl’s beach (the marine garden side, not the surfer side). It was a negative tide and even though we were a little late to it, we got waaay out. The highlights were seeing a new anenome (pictured above, I usually see the light green ones on the coast, and the pink tipped ones just in aquariums) and an octopus!! I was so excited by the latter, I haven’t seen an octopus in a tidepool since I was a kid.

It was also nice to see these tidepools recover – the last time we had done any serious tidepooling there, they had been overcome by urchins, which is usually a sign of an unhealthy tidepool. Also saw two new crabs, which I took pictures of for my flickr pool so that I could identify them.

That’s the coast update. Maggie and Matt realized that other than family, I love the Oregon coast best.

A long post, or the last five days.

Alright – I know I’ve been quiet again, I will probably be online a little less for a few weeks while my sister and her kids visit. I’ll try to at least post a picture or two occasionally.

We took Carrie to Seattle yesterday to go to the bachelorette party that was technically the reason for her visit. Carrie is one of my best friends, and she was visiting us for the first time from Madison.

We never had enough downtime to actually write, so here’s kind of the overview of what we did.

Saturday, we got up and went to the coast. We took her to Burgerville on the way to get a strawberry milkshake (I got the strawberry lemonade, it’s soooo yummy). Stopped at Mo’s to eat some clam chowder and have a Rogue’s Mo’s Ale. We walked on the beach and looked at the harbor seals, but the beach was pretty crowded so we didn’t stay very long.

We stopped at Boiler Bay – it’s a tradition now, I think.

After that, we went to Yaquina Head lighthouse. I always forget how incredibly windy it is there, moreso than anywhere else on the coast. I have a great picture of Carrie where she looks like she is being blown away, but she didn’t like it so I won’t put it up here. We waited to go to the top of the lighthouse (217 stairs) and found out that there are more lighthouses in Michigan than in anywhere else in the U.S. Hmm.

Yaquina Head has some nice tidepooling, so we did that for a while. It’s nice because you are almost guaranteeded to see something interesting at low tide, so it’s a pretty good place to bring a new person. Tidepooling, if you don’t know what that is, is going to the pools on the rocks that are formed when the tide goes out. All sorts of interesting creatures live there, and like many things in Oregon, the more patient you are, the more you are rewarded. We saw sea stars, mussels, crabs, anemone, barnacles, limpets, snails, a mossy chiton, purple urchin, and probably a lot of other things I’m not remembering now.

We followed that up by going to Seal Rock and then to Newport to get a beer or two at the Rogue Public House. Not too many sea lions in Newport that day, kinda odd.

The following day I drove Carrie around Portland showing her the neighborhoods. We went to the Rose Test Gardens to admire all the sweet smelling roses (lovely), and then we went shopping on Hawthorn. Ate lunch at Por Que No, which is still my favorite place in Portland to eat. I found out they are opening a second restaurant on SE Hawthorn, I’m so excited. Also started a taco card – I would have filled it a few times by now if I had known about it.

We grabbed Brian when he was done working for the day, and went to take the tram for the first time. Completely worth the $4, we will add that to our list of things we like to show people visiting us. There’s some gorgeous views of the city that I don’t think I’ve seen before, including a great one of Mt St Helen’s and Mt Hood. It’s perhaps not the best thing for someone who has a fear of heights though.

We did the Kennedy School for dinner and sat outside to drink beer. Headed to the Green Dragon to have a beer there too, yum. So much for giving up beer, huh?

The next day, Carrie and I headed up the Gorge. We stopped at Multnomah Falls (well, it *is* traditional), and continued on to the Bonneville Dam. The fish ladder was hopping, and we hung out underneath it trying to get a good picture of a fish swimming by, but we just got some of the little ones. I had fun telling tourists about the fish counter and how that works. We also wandered down to the fish hatchery to oggle Herman the Sturgeon who is 9 or 10 feet long (very prehistoric looking).

On the way back to the house, we stopped at the Vista House, which was finally open when I was there (they are open every day of the year, including holidays, but I seem to get there just as they are closing for the day). I discovered that they have a gift shop there and a cafe, who knew? And of course a pretty spectacular view of the Gorge.

We had an hour to kill before Brian was done with work for the day, so we stopped off in Troutdale at Edgefield to have a beer and an appetizer. Carrie hadn’t known that the phrase “poor farm” came about from a real place, so she was pretty startled to be at a former one and at how large it was. It turns out she’s a fan of the McMenamins’ Ruby beer, so everytime we ended up at one, that’s what she drank. Although she did do a tasters’ tray at the Kennedy School so she got to try quite a few.

My neighbor Mary was a complete sweetheart and had bought us a gift certificate for Jake’s Famous Crawfish so we went there for dinner and had a completely overwhelmingly fabulous meal. We walked around in the Pearl until we felt slightly less full and wandered over to the Pix on N. Williams for yet more food. Carrie had said she was going to be okay if she only gained 10 pounds on this trip, and by God, I wanted to make sure we at least approached it.

Feeling mellow the next day, we walked up and down NW 23rd – Carrie had a present she needed to get, and I had lost an earring I was hoping to replace. Ate at a Chinese restaurant that was blah, won’t be back there anytime soon. I wanted to show Carrie NE Alberta too, since that’s the neighborhood I spend a lot of time in so we did that before going to get our farm share and stuff for dinner.

We grilled seafood that night – eating out every night of the week is apparently expensive and unhealthy. After some fresh strawberry shortcake, we went to Doug Fir to see Per Se, Sophe Lux, and Rachel Taylor Brown. Carrie was not fond of any of them. I liked Per Se a lot, and Sophe Lux had stuff I really liked too – I’d go back to see them, I think. I kept running into Per Se when I’d go to the ladies’ or go get a drink or whatever.

So there. That was the whirlwind tour that I remember, minus some drinks and at least one visit to Por Que No (we went twice, mmmmmmmm). Hopefully enough of a taste that Carrie comes back for another visit.

Whale tale

Whale tail

Whale tail

Whale watching was awesome. The people who work at Island Adventures are really nice, I can see why my cousin Scott has repeatedly gone on tours with them. I’m going to go back in the summer to do their orca tour.

We saw three gray whales, all of which the naturalist Katie identified. #49 or Patches, #531 and #56. It was amazing to be so close to these animals. I learned that gray whales are left- or right-baleened, just like we are left- or right-handed. I also learned that you smell their breath when they come up. I didn’t go into the heated part of the boat for four hours so I am glad I wore as much clothing as I did. We also saw some harbor seals, sea lions and bald eagles. I am definitely someone who is happier around the ocean, I wonder what my life would have been if I had signed up for the Coast Guard (one thing I was super super close to doing before college) or going to school for Marine Biology (something I have looked into every few years since I was 15).

It was great to see my cousins too – they are both married with children now, but in some ways it felt like the vacation we took as teenagers to Carmel-By-The-Sea in California. Except with not enough Gretchen.

It was one of our neighbors’ birthdays last night so we went over for wine, cake, and ice cream. I can’t even imagine being able to do that in my old neighborhood. I had high hopes when we bought the house in Madison of settling down a bit and getting to know the neighbors, but it didn’t really happen that way. We already know most of this neighborhood a million times better than we knew the Johnson St place, which is cool, but sad since we are “only renters.”

The people at Timothy’s party were interesting – everyone is so over-educated here, which makes for interesting conversation. No one is lazy here it seems. I was listening to a U of O professor talk with a Union rep about unionization as a means of enforcing equality, which was a fascinating conversation. One of our neighbors across the street pulled up his lawn this year and planted native grasses and plants, and we talked about how long it would be until it matured. He’s already given away his lawn mower – something I entirely approve of doing. I dislike lawns and lawn care, and will definitely do an alternate solution when we finally get a house here (Please God soon!).

Good walk

Brian in the sand

Brian in the sand

This was probably my favorite walk that I remember in a very long time. We walked down to Nye beach by the stairs outside Sylvia Beach Hotel.

The temperatures had dropped enough during the night that the cars in the parking lot were encrusted in frost. Brian took the time to write “Defrost Me” on my trunk. It was completely sunny out, and brisk enough that I was happy to have a hoody and windbreaker on but also happy that my cheeks were getting cold.

We walked from Nye Beach to the jetty. Not sure how far of a distance that is as the crow flies, but there and back was about a two hour walk. We were really just heading to the nearby rocks to see if there were any interesting tidepools (not really).

Once we explored the nearby rocks, we decided to keep walking. After a while, we came upon some small sand dunes, and I realized you could see Newport’s bridge off in the distance between the trees. So we had to take pictures from various vantages.

Climbing sand dunes is usually pretty hard work, but it had been cold enough the night before that the sand was slightly frozen, making it very easy. Strange to see the frost on the sand.

After getting a few pictures there, we walked to the jetty. We could see that there was a gate and fence on it shortly before it met the ocean. It doesn’t surprise me that they want to keep people off it – on one side is a long drop to the bay (and cold winter waters) and eventually on the other is the ocean, with high crashing waves just looking to tear you from the jetty.

The chainlink gate was covered with things people had found on the beach, netting, small weights, rope, styrofoam, and a few dried flowers. Very interesting and artistic. I took a few pictures of that too, but none of them really turned out – I’ll have to go again to get a good shot or two.

We found a great little deli after we got back – I want to try it next time (we stopped in only to get some water).

We of course followed this walk by a short drive and more walking – we went tidepooling next.

Jellyfish tank at the Oregon Aquarium

Jellyfish tank at the Oregon Aquarium

Jellyfish tank at the Oregon Aquarium

While we were on the coast, we bought a membership to the Oregon Aquarium. It means that we can go to it for the next year any time we fancy.

I’m pretty excited about it, I love going and learning about all the animals, and each time Brian and I go tidepooling, I know a little more about what I am looking at and what they are doing.

Tidepooling, if you haven’t done it or looked at my flickr pictures, is climbing around on rocks that are exposed by low tide and looking at the creatures who are in the remaining pools of water, or attached to the rocks. It’s a hobby that rewards patience, the longer and deeper you stare at a pool, the more likely you will see something interesting. A chiton, a sea star, octopus, fish, all sorts of things to find.

You do it carefully too, with an eye on the ocean so that you don’t end up being torn off the rocks by a rogue wave, and an eye on the time so that you leave before the tide starts coming back (and potentially trapping you).

It’s one of my favorite things to do. I am going to get an underwater casing for my camera at some point so that I can try to capture on film some of the more interesting things I see out there.