Last Friday I put in an impossibly long day, only possible because I have a deadline, Friday 13 (no less) to get my edit in for my new book—The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED, see the unusual, odd, and quirky.
I got up at 4 a.m. and hit the road by 6:30 a.m., a time I’m usually just getting up. It was still mostly dark, drizzly, and foggy—especially on headlands. Only traffic was in the towns.
The purpose of this trip was to finish up factchecking. Although the edit is due right away, I won’t need the photos until the end of May. But I’m getting them figured out. Some I’ll take, some I’ll obtain from businesses or public entities, some I’ll buy, and some my publisher will take.
First stop, Abe in Lincoln City. I intended to only photograph the plaque at the base of the statue. So it didn’t matter if it was raining. But I noticed that everything around Abe had changed, so I would have to take photos. There was new fencing, new pavers, and new landscaping that wasn’t even complete yet. Because of the rain Old Abe had a slate-colored patina. I may have to come back.
Next stop, Neskowin ghost forest. It’s only possible to see these petrified stumps at minus tides in the winter, but I wanted to get a shot of what the area looks like most of the year. I lucked out, the rainy drizzle had stopped and fog was lifting. And the tide was out just enough for me to skinny around the poiut without getting my feet wet in Slab Creek.
I had concerns also about my legs and if I would be able to get around on beaches. I was able to as long as I watched my step and didn’t try to go too fast. It was beautiful and I got a great shot of the beach where the stumps appear and of Proposal Rock. I felt really good.
On to Hug Point, just south of Cannon Beach. It takes 3 1/2 to four hours to get from Florence to Cannon Beach. When I got there, the fog was still hanging around, but with sun breaks. I was amazed at all the people. Apparently, it was spring break in Washington and they all headed to the Oregon Coast.
I stopped to get photos of the waterfall and stagecoach road that hugs the rocky headland. But my first photos were of the adorable, unafraid black bunnies near the parking area. I wasn’t the only one taking their pictures.
The waterfall was at its best with the rain we’ve had lately. And I got a great shot of the stagecoach road too. I had to walk a bit of a distance and cross large cobble size rocks that could trip up anybody before getting to the hard-packed sand. But I did it. And the weather was so warm, I didn’t need a jacket.
Then I headed back to Tillamook and the Blimp Hangar and Air Museum south of town. I had an appointment with Phyllis Rice, the acquisitions person. We had a great visit. She handed me a copy of my story that I had previously sent. It had been checked over with some changes, which I will make. I based my story on last year’s research and some changes have occurred. She also bought 20 copies of The Crossings Guide.
Then back through Tillamook and east on Hwy 6 to the Tillamook Forest Center. I had never been there, but it is a fabulous place that I wrote about numerous times for Oregon Coast magazine. I chose it for the book because it is a first-class facility deep in the forest—totally UNEXPECTED. And it has an incredible story to tell of the devastation of the Tillamook Burn fires and the amazing recovery effort of replanting an entire forest. I checked with the person who is checking over my story, talked to a docent from a local pioneer family, saw the film “Legacy of Fire,” and toured the whole facility. Definitely worth a visit. The weather there was sunny and warm.
Then I headed through Tillamook over to the Three Capes Loop to Cape Meares. Not easy to get to any more, since the road is closed from Bayocean to Cape Meares since 2017. It’s very round-about and slow and the road the last half mile was terrible.
It had turned into one of those absolutely gorgeous days at the coast. Sunny, no wind and very clear. Perfect for photos. So I got a great one of the short, stubby lighthouse and of the Octopus Tree. I had to walk a distance in one direction to see the lighthouse. And on the opposite side of the parking lot, I found a trail and hiked the nearly half mile to the Octopus Tree. Some branches have broken off, but it is still such an unexpected sight.
On both the walk to the lighthouse and the Octopus Tree, I got winded on the uphill sections, and had to walk very slowly on the downhill sections. The trail was wet and mucky in places. So I walked on the edges. Easy to slip and fall. I made it safely and felt good about that.
I was getting tired, and it was 6 p.m, and I still needed to drive three hours to Florence. I almost skipped Munson Falls, but I’m glad I talked myself into doing it. So back to and through Tillamook and south of town a few miles to the turnoff to the falls. I have never seen a good photograph of this falls, and they are the tallest in the state of Oregon next to Multnomah Falls and very few people know about them. The state park is described as only partially developed and I found that to be true.
I turned off 101 onto a one-lane funkily paved road with scattered homes, which turned into a graveled logging road, which turned into the state park road. It was still single lane with potholes big enough to swallow a car. If I could’ve turned around, I would’ve. The total distance from 101 was probably less than three miles but seemed much longer. The speed limit was 25 mph. Ha! It was more like 2 or 3 mph navigating the potholes.
I was so glad I didn’t meet anyone coming in. There was one car in the parking lot. I took off along the the trail , which was in good shape with only a few mucky spots. On the one steep part, there was a hand rail. So I was good. It was about a quarter mile to the viewpoint. There were steps down to another viewpoint at the base of the falls, but with no handrails, I didn’t even attempt that part.
The falls were full and impressive in their length, even though you can’t see the bottom portion. I got what I think is a better photo than I’ve ever seen of these falls. And the trail follows the creek, which has a number of smaller falls. It was a lovely walk. I met three sets of folks coming up the trail as I was leaving and was able to let them know what a treat they were in for.
Going out on the road was just as hairy as coming in, but I didn’t meet any cars and was very relieved to get back to Hwy 101.
When I got to Lincoln City, I turned into the D River Recreation Area—very crowded. Still warm and lovely. I parked and walked up to the highway to get photos of the sign about D River, World’s Shortest and a photo of the river. I think both will be usable.
Then I headed home. By the time I got there, it was almost totally dark, the fog was coming in, and the drizzle had begun.
As far as I was concerned, the day had been a success. I accomplished everything I wanted to as far as factchecking for my book. And best of all, I could handle the five different times I had to walk a distance whether on beaches or in the forest. Yes, a totally successful day.
Note: I will be visiting family and friends in California for a few weeks, but someone will be here with Groucho while I’m gone. So no more blog posts until mid-May.