At least that’s what Duane called them. The marine layer behaved itself today and retreated offshore by 10 am. We let the Eagle soar 30 miles north on the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway (US 101) to the coastal town of Yachats (Ya hots). Our goal was to explore the coast from here south to Haceta Head Lighthouse viewpoint.
Yachats boasts a beautiful white sand beach, but we opted to clamber around basalt rocks to see what we could find in the tidal pools.
We found all sorts of critters: snails,
giant green anemones,
these little white thingies with black mussels tucked in among them,
Next on the list was Devils Churn. This is one of the fee areas we encountered but our Senior Parks Pass sufficed since these areas are within the Siuslaw (Si oos la) National Forest which is under the jurisdiction of the US Forest Service.
It was still pretty awesome even though we weren’t here when the tide was coming in.
From the visitors center we could see people at the top of this bluff. This is Cape Perpetua, towering 800 feet over the protected Marine Garden shoreline. It is the highest viewpoint accessible by car on the Oregon Coast. Cape Perpetua Scenic Area encompasses 2700 acres of coastal habitat set aside for unique ecological characteristics found where the temperate spruce rainforest transitions to the sea. The Scenic Area offers 26 miles of trail featuring old-growth forests, Indian shell middens, the Devil’s Churn, tidebools, and stunning views.
Up we went. This was a wonderful bike ride around tight snaky curves. The best part of the ride was the smell. I don’t know what it was, I couldn’t see anything blooming, but the odor of something wonderfully sweet hung in the air.
This is what everyone at the top was seeing: Devils Churn on the right. The wiggly scar is the walkway to the bottom. In the middle is the visitors center where we viewed the people standing where we are now. On the left is the road along the coast.
Don’t know what this is but it smells just like honey.
On clear days, views from here extend 37 miles out to sea, and along 70 miles of coastline. This was clear this morning, but by 3 pm the marine layer was creeping back in. Around that far point is Haceta Head Lighthouse.
Friends Paul and Marsha Weaver said that we had to see the Giant Spruce, so off we went on the 1 mile trail through the forest. There are many trails in the Cape Perpetua area. The trail head for this one is just down the road and on the inland side from the Devils Churn visitors center.
We passed many old, large trees and numerous plants, but the most prolific growers were ferns (left), blackberries(right), and moss.
Sitka Spruce grow from seeds that grow on dead Sitka Spruce. I guess that’s why they have such fantastically shaped roots.
This looked like some kind of monster to us.
This tree was so big that I took it in four frames. I’m just showing the bottom
and the top.
Tooling down the road again we decided to check out this place. It was a nice little find.
It has a beautiful little picnic area,
and a stony beach with lots of different life forms.
All of the rocks look like these, so we’re thinking that maybe Mr. Ponsler had them put here to keep the sand from blowing away.
Our last stop was the Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint. We wished to walk the 1/2 mile trail to the lighthouse, but decided that we were too tired and that it would still be there another day.
The rocky bluffs and sea stacks of the headland are part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. They are a home for many nesting seabirds. Seals and sea lions sometimes “haul out” on the rocks to rest and give birth. In spring and early summer migrating gray whales can be spotted.
The lighthouse is not viewable from the beach, but it can clearly be seen from a pullout viewpoint just down the road.
From this viewpoint we also had a view of these sea lions.
Tomorrow, Coos Bay.
Louise and Duane