Thursday, June 25, 2015

DESTINATION: Twilight Eagle Santuary, Oregon

Shamefully we left Astoria and traveled east on the East Columbia Highway (Highway 30) back to Portland to catch the red eye back home.  When we passed the sign, we knew we had found what our trip had been missing so we turned the Blue Devil around and headed to the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary.

The Twilight Eagle Sanctuary is located within Cathlamet Bay, 2.5 miles east of Astoria, Oregon, and just downstream from Settler Point.  This wetland Sanctuary was established in 1992, and along with Columbia Land Trust acquisitions in 2009, now totals over 100 acres of old growth forest, tidal wetlands, and shoreline, and stretches nearly a mile along the Columbia River. The Sanctuary is just off of U.S. Highway 30. A viewing platform overlooks acres of mudflats, tidal marshes, open water, and islands. It is an excellent location to observe birds and other wildlife living on the lower Columbia River estuary. The viewing area has several interpretive panels about the wetlands, bald eagles, and the Lewis and Clark journey.

We were excited that our Pacific Northwest adventure ended with a view of these magnificent birds in the wild.  Sadly, we headed back to Portland to catch that long flight home.

DESTINATION: Astoria, Oregon

Leaving Fort Stevens we continued north east on Highway 101, across Young's Bay, and into Astoria, OR.  Starving, we made our way to Astoria's waterfront and into The Wet Dog CafĂ© and Brewery (Astoria's oldest brewery) where we ate a delicious lunch and enjoyed a local brew.

Astoria's historic waterfront

Old 300 Trolley still takes visitors along
Astoria's riverfront

The red building on the left is Pier 11

Astoria sits on the Columbia River just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean.  The city lines the south banks of the Columbia River, and the north banks of Young's bay.  Surrounded by water and tall evergreen Douglas Fir, Hemlock and Spruce trees, Astoria, is rich in scenic beauty, with a vista of the Pacific Ocean and its endless miles of sandy beaches viewed from a top of Astoria's historic Column.

The Astoria Column, in a wooded park
atop Astoria's highest hill, presents
a spectacular view of the historic city
and its surrounding rivers, bay, forest,
mountains, and ocean. The Column, built
in 1926, is 125 feet high and has 164
steps winding to the top.   We wanted to
take the 164 steps to the top, however,
the Column was closed for renovation
so we roamed the grounds and took in the spectacular views of the city from
the Column's ground level.

Indian Burial Canoe
located at the Astoria Column
         Symbolic Memorial dedicated by
Coboway's (Clatsop Indian Leader) 
descendants April 12, 1961

View of Columbia River and Young River

View of Astoria-Megler Bridge,
connects Oregon to Washington
Who can go to Astoria without visiting The Goonies House?  Not us!  We made our way to the house that sits on the hill at 368 38th St. and was used in 1985 movie about two brothers who go on an adventure to save their house.  Like all the other visitors we took a "selfie" in front of the house just as the home's owner drove up the hill, into the drive and disappeared inside.  Suddenly we felt ashamed of ourselves....a perfect time to head back to Portland.

DESTINATION: Fort Stevens, Oregon

With our Pacific Northwest adventure coming to an end we said goodbye to Cannon Beach and drove north to Fort Stevens State Park near Warrenton, OR, on our way back to Portland.

Fort Stevens, WWII
Fort Stevens was once the primary military defense installation in the three-fort, Harbor Defense System at the mouth of the Columbia River (along with Forts Canby and Columbia in Washington). The fort saw service for 84 years, from the Civil War to World War II.   We roamed through what is left of this important installation.

Fort Stevens, today

Remnants of Fort Stevens

On the beach at Fort Stevens is also what remains of the Peter Iredale.  The Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel bark built in Maryport, England, in 1890 and owned by British shipping firm Iredale & Porter. On September 26, 1906, the Iredale left Salina Cruz, Mexico, bound for Portland, where it was to pick up a cargo of wheat for the United Kingdom. Despite encountering heavy fog, they managed to safely reach the mouth of the Columbia River. Unfortunately strong winds and currents made the vessel run aground and the ship was abandoned without any injuries. 

Remnants of the Peter Iredale on the beach

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

DESTINATION: Seaside, Oregon

From Ecola State Park we drove north to the town of Seaside, OR.  Our trip to Seaside was short lived as our main mission was to see the end of the Lewis & Clark Trail and to pick up groceries for the beachside BBQ we had planned for our last night in Cannon Beach. 

It is a good thing we didn't plan to spend much time in Seaside as we found it to be too "touristy" for our taste.  The main part of downtown is lined with souvenir shops and arcades.  The beaches were crowded and dirty. 

View from back of statue

Lewis & Clark
Commemorative Sculpture
What we did come to see was Seaside’s 1.5-mile oceanfront ­Promenade, built in the 1920s.  It is one of the city's most notable landmarks and also home to the 1990 bronze statue of Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and Seaman(dog).

Seaside promenade with car turn-around

A bonus to TK's Seaside experience was spotting this restaurant named for her favorite obsession!

Bigfoot Steakhouse

Carved Bigfoot statues
outside restaurant

DESTINATION: Ecola State Park, Oregon

Leaving Haystack Rock we headed north through the town of Cannon Beach to the entrance to Ecola State Park.  This park stretches along 9 miles of coastline and wraps around Tillamook Head. 

Near Ecola looking south towards Cannon
Beach.  Haystack rock is in the distance.

View of Tillamook Lighthouse from
near Indian Point

Captain William Clark and 12 members of the Corps of Discovery traveled through what is now the park in 1806 in search of a beached whale near present-day Cannon Beach (we mentioned this in our Cannon Beach post).  After scaling the north slope of Tillamook Head and reaching one of its viewpoints, Clarke described the vista as “… the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed…”

View from near Ecola Point to beach
Submarine Rock from near Ecola Point. 
Can you see the eroded tunnel
through the rock?

Canyon Creek flows down from Ecola
State Park, across
this sandy beach and to the Pacific

The entrance road meanders through a dense Sitka spruce forest, eventually opening up to a grassy bluff offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.   Sea stacks punctuate the long sweep of shoreline south, backed by the town of Cannon Beach and ridge of coastal mountains above.

If these park roads look familiar you may
have seen them in the bicycle
riding scene from the movie Goonies. 
Several scenes from the movie were
filmed here including the Lighting
House Lounge scenes and the
truck rally on Cannon Beach.

Park signs warn of cougars in the area
but this looks pretty "squatchy" to TK

DESTINATION: Haystack Rock Marine Garden, Oregon

After our sightseeing adventure south on Highway 101 we headed back to Cannon Beach and down to Haystack Rock.  To get up close to the rock you have to visit at low tide so the night before we stopped by our hotel's office to ask for a tide chart.  They were happy to give us one so we knew low tide would be around noon. 

Haystack Rock looking south
The Needles, south of Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock is a unique monolith that towers 235 feet over the beach. It is one of the largest "sea stacks" on America's Pacific coast.  The rocky reefs of Haystack Rock and the neighboring Needles have abundant and rich intertidal life. Tidepoolers are drawn to its wonders every day. As many as 200,000 people visit Haystack Rock every year, mostly during the summer months when the tidepools are teeming. 
Patrick from Spongebob Square Pants

The rock is also home to many nesting birds, including tufted puffins, gulls, and cormorants.

Only gulls, no puffins, cormorants are a dime a dozen
Volunteer interpreters and protectors of the rock are at its base to answer your questions or to point out that you are too close to "off-limit" areas.

Volunteers and tourists surround the rock

With Haystack Rock checked off our sight-seeing tour we headed north to Ecoloa State Park to get a better view of the Tillamook Lighthouse.

DESTINATION: South Highway 101, Oregon

After a good night's sleep in Cannon Beach we were well rested and ready for our next adventure.  We decided to spend the morning on a short day trip south on Highway 101. 

Our first stop was Arcadia Beach State Park.  This small state park is just off the highway and consists of a grove of shady trees and trail that leads down to a sandy beach.  We roamed the beach for a few minutes and found our first sand dollar at the base of Lion Rock.  At low tide you can explore the base of the rock and the small marine animals that call it home.

View of Lion Rock from Highway 101 overlook

Lion Rock

Marine garden at the base of Lion Rock

We find a few sanddollars
Our next stop was at Hug Point State Park just south of Arcadia.  A short walk, from the parking lot and down to the beach, reveals a seasonal waterfall, caves carved into sandstone cliffs and tide pools accessible during low tide.   Before Highway 101 was built, the beach was the only way to travel along this stretch of coast.  At low tide you may walk along the original stagecoach road, still harboring the wheel ruts carved into the rock.  Pioneers traveling around this headland had to "hug" this particular point even at low tide and so the point and the park both take the name hug point.

Caves in rock at Hug Point

Not much water flowing at this seasonal waterfall

G-man explores one of the caves at Hug Point

Hug Point, middle right

Closer to Hug Point and now you can see what was once a road

On Hug Point

On Hug Point about to turn the corner
A wagon and team cross Hug Point around the turn of the 20th century. The road, which is still there, was chipped into the rocky headland so wagons, stagecoaches and cars would not have to drive out into the surf to get around the point.

From Hug Point State Park we ventured further south and through the community of Arch Cape to a lookout point with the same name.  This pint was at the north side of Oswald West State Park.

Castle Rock near Arch Cape

Tunnel to enter Oswald West State Park

Everything is beautiful in Oregon!

Scenic viewing area over looking the beach

Historic Highway 101

After exploring south on Highway 101 we headed back to Cannon Beach.  We wanted to be at Haystack Rock during low tide to explore the rock's tide pools, as well.