Tag Archives: Oregon Coast

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.

Thursday Coast visit

We had a great day at the coast this week. Brian wanted to see large expanses of water, and we decided the best way to do that on a Thursday was to drive to Seaside. Mostly because I have spent almost no time there since I was a child (we tend to hang out in the Central Coast or if we are in this area it tends to be either Cannon Beach or Astoria).

The drive up was really pretty, and there was much less snow this year on the side of the road (we were on Hwy 26 out this way last year with Tim). No elk this time though. We saw the rubble left by the arsonist who burnt down Oney’s – it had been there since the 1920s, so it’s horrible that someone would do that. I don’t remember if I’ve eaten there or not. Here’s the fireplace, still standing:

Oney\'s fireplace
Oney’s fireplace on Hwy 26.

Here’s their sign, which was untouched by fire. Two things I noticed after I took the picture, one of which makes me feel like a jerk: first, the sign said “New Owners” at one point but was painted over; second, taken from this angle, doesn’t it look like the lumberjack peed out the lake? Sigh. I’m a jerk. I know it.

Oney sign
Oney’s Lumberjack sign on Hwy 26.

Seaside was fun. We were mostly there to drink in the ocean, which calms and invigorates both of us. And to check out the aquarium which has been there for over 70 years. It was small and nice – they were the first aquarium to successfully breed harbor seals. They have a nice sized herd (? I’ll have to check on that collective noun) of captive-bred harbor seals that you can buy fish to feed.

Seaside Aquarium sign
Seaside Aquarium sign on the promenade in Seaside.

They also had a nice collection of local PNW fish and animals. The showstopper for me was the big open tank they had in the middle. It was covered with lots of paper signs saying “caution, freshly painted” so I briefly peeked into it and seeing nothing, moved on. Later, I realized there was a full grown Giant Pacific Octopus in it, which is one of my all time favorite animals. You don’t want to get me going on octopi, they are so beautiful and graceful and intelligent. I’ve read that their intelligence is pretty close to ours, and only their short lifespans (3-4 years) prevent them from having civilization. I can watch them for hours.

Giant Pacific Octopus
Giant Pacific Octopus at Seaside Aquarium.

He was so amazing once I realized where he had camouflaged himself. He woke up and noticed me watching him and we studied each other for a bit. Then he went for a swim around his tank, gracefully unfurling his tentacles as he went, occasionally sticking a tentacle out of the water, or even most of his head. I took a video of him swimming at this point, which I’ll post on here later after I upload it to vimeo or youtube.

They had a nearby tank that had fish in it, and a huge sign talking about octopi, so I turned around to read it. Lots of interesting information, not all of which I had known. One of the sixth sense sort of things happened, and I turned around quickly to notice that the octopus in the tank was behind me, and good way out the water reaching for me. !!! I am sure he was bored, there wasn’t anything in the tank for him to interact with or any toys, so given that we had been interacting for a half hour or so, it’s not surprising he was trying to figure out what I was doing. This room was cool – everyone at the aquarium was in the room with the seals, so there were large points of time when it was only Brian and I in with all the fish tanks and this octopus.

Still, having an octopus whose head is bigger than yours reach for you is a bit unnerving, so I wandered over to Brian to tell him about some of the interesting facts I had learned. He went over to read the sign, and sure enough, our friend in the tank started swimming again. I stood next to the tank and watched him, and Brian finally got concerned enough about how much of the octopus was out of the water that he told me to back up a little. Octopi move fast! In or out of the water. As soon as I backed away, the octopus went back into the water and back to his little cave in the corner and that was that.

It was so amazing though to be that close to an octopus of that size, and watch one watching me.

After that, we went for a walk on the beach, collect sand dollars and watching people digging for clams (it’s high season right now). A beautiful calming walk.

Sands at Seaside
Sands at Seaside.

After that we decided to head into Cannon Beach for dinner. We ate at the Wayfarer, which has a beautiful view of one of Oregon’s more famous Haystack Rock, and super delicious food. I will have to go back there even though we’ve vowed to only eat at new places on the coast since we fall into a bit of a rut. I had wild salmon topped with dungeness crab, with a rice pilaf & wild rice mix, squash and green beans, yummmmmm. We finished with chocolate souffle and peppermint ice cream, which may be one of the most perfect combination of taste for me. Service was great too. Brian pointed out that they had won one of Wine Spectator’s 2008 awards for having one of the best wine lists in the world. Cool.

All in all a completely lovely day. We hardly ever head to this part of the coast, and it’s the closest to us. And in winter, it’s not crazy-crowded as it is in summer, so perfect for us.