Last week we had the great pleasure of having our friends Lee and Tracy come and visit us for a couple days. As I mentioned before Jim and Diana (other hosts here at the lighthouse) that they and I have mutual friends of Lee and Tracy. When I got here I did not know Jim and Diane (find their blog here), but came to find out that we had friends in common Lee and Tracy (you can find their blog here) who are staying up near Portland this summer. So Lee and Tracy planned a trip to come visit us on their days off. I did not take too many pictures. But here’s a selfies that Jim (Thanks for the photo Jim) took of us out down at the beach. And Tracy also highlighted our visit on her journal and you can find lots more on her post here.They arrive Monday evening and we got together at my site for a campfire to catch up on old times. They brought a tent along and this was the first time they set it up, so it was a good test run. On Tuesday Jim and Diana were working at the lighthouse, and after breakfast they headed off to work and we went out exploring. The first place I took them with Strawberry Hill a day use area along the coast with great tide pools and lots of harbor seals. I got some great pictures of the starfish and other critters living in the tide pools here are a bunch of photos.But the highlight was all the harbor seals on the rocks and in the water.Here they are keeping a close eye and Maxine.From there we headed up to the lighthouse to show off our beautiful lighthouse to them, and spend more time with Jim and Diana. And Jim took them on a tour and shared all his abundant knowledge. I strongly recommend going to Tracy’s blog and check out her story about the time they were here. They took me out for lunch and then we hit the Sea Lion Caves before going up the coast some more. On that day there were quite a few sea lions in the cave, unlike when I was there the last time. Here’s a couple photos down in the cave.Then we went up towards Cape Perpetua to check out the Spouting Horn.We hit it just right at high tide and they were doing a pretty good job of spouting.Tracy and Lee had a great time and got great photos and some wonderful video that you can find here on their site. Here’s a photo of Tracy’s back and Lee off in the distance.We all got together that evening for a great meal of a bunch of the fish that I caught earlier this month. And another great time was had that evening, sitting around the campfire sharing stories. After dark we did make a trip up to the lighthouse, do taking its beauty at night. It’s so spectacular at night, I didn’t take any photos this time. But once again Lee and Tracy got some great shots, so check them out at their website here. You know one of nice thing about this lifestyle is you can slow down and enjoy the moments. I got this great little shot of this snail doing just that slowing down. So I thought I would share with you here.Also Cary one of the campground hosts here at Carl Washburn State Park, just gave me this photo that was taken at the potluck we had about a month ago. Before all the hosts that were here the month of May, took off to other destinations. And as you can tell from this photo we all had a great time then also. (Thanks for the photo Cary)On my days off I’ve been doing some exploring of some other very interesting spots throughout Oregon. I’m going to highlight them here with a series of photos and some short captions. On one of my days off I headed up the coast to take in another lighthouse. This time it was Cape Meares Lighthouse, it’s located 10 miles west of the city of Tillamook Oregon several hours north of my present location. The lighthouse sits high on a bluff 217 feet above sea level. But it is the shortest lighthouse on the Oregon coast at only 38 feet tall. It was decommissioned in 1963 when an automated light was installed a short distance away.Although no longer in service it still contains the original first order Fresnel lens. This lens also has read panels on part of the lens to reflect red beams out to sea.Also at this location known as “Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint”, is a unique Spruce tree referred to as the Octopus Tree.No one is exactly sure what forces shaped this unique Sitka Spruce. But the tree measures more than 46 foot in circumference and has no central trunk. Instead, limbs extend horizontally from the base as much as 16 feet before turning upward. It is about 105 feet tall and is quite impressive.Also from high on the bluffs you get a very good view of the “Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge”.These rock islands along with hundreds more up and down the Oregon coast are wildlife sanctuaries for seabirds and marine mammals and are close to the public. These in particular the waters are closed within 500 feet of the refuge to all watercraft from May 1 through September 15 every year, and the refuge rocks themselves are close to the public year-round. In this photo you can see the archways cut through two of the rocks but all three have naturally made arches.Another stop on this day trip was to do a little hiking. Just east of Lincoln City, we made a stop in the Siuslaw National Forest to take a hike on Drift Creek Falls Trail. This trail is a 3 mile round-trip hike through some beautiful woodlands. But the reward is well worth it, as you get to cross this wonderful suspension bridge high above the creek below.Here Maxine is checking out the make sure it’s safe for me.She says come on, it’s plenty strong let’s hurry up.As you cross it you get these beautiful views of the waterfall below.Here’s a view looking back at it from the other side before heading down to the creek bed.Here Maxine is checking out the creek below the falls.Here is the bridge high in the background from where we just came.On our way home as I passed through the town of Waldport. Waldport is small port community about 30 miles north of the town of Florence. I found another one of Florence’s Sea Lion Statues, where it has found its new home at the visitor center. This one’s also brightly painted and is quite eye-catching. So I had to stop and get some photos of it. That makes twelve I found so far, eight more to go.This past Sunday I grab my tent and a sleeping bag and Maxine and I headed out on another road trip. Our destination in mine was Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake is a good 4 ½ to 5 Hour trip from my present location. But I knew the way I explore it would be much longer (it took me about seven hours to get there). I headed south and got on the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway, heading east making my way through the river valleys. There are lots of places to pull over and explore the river and falls along the way. I only stopped a few times to take short breaks and taken some of the scenery. At one spot along the road there were a bunch of cars pulled off so I stopped to check it out. There were a bunch of elk bedded down in the tall grass, getting people’s attention. Could not get great shots but here’s one, and you can see all their antlers sticking up still in full velvet.Then further down the road, another stop. Here’s a bridge that connects you to a number of trails right off the highway. Here’s the view looking downstream from the middle of the bridge. And as he looked up stream I spotted a rubber raft coming my way. Here it gets closer and starts to enter the rapids. Looks like it would be fun to ride the small rapids on this beautiful sunny day. As we got closer to Crater Lake we got our first glimpses of snowcapped peaks near Diamond Lake.
I knew there was still quite a bit of snow up at Crater Lake from reports of people that came to visit the lighthouse, who had been there in the past few days. As I drove along and went higher in elevation this is what we started to see. Once entering the park I headed the 7 miles from the entrance up to Rim Village. And these are the views you were treated to from the parking lot. But after walking a short distance in the snow you get the spectacular views. Maxine breaking the trail through the snow banks.The skies were sunny and bright and the lake was like a mirror, what a deep in blue.
Here’s a panoramic shot I took but it just doesn’t do it honors, because it’s more spectacular than any photo I could take.
From there I drove through the campground, where there were still several feet of snow. They had just dug out small openings for trailers and tents. I decided that I did not want to stay at this high of an elevation and be cold all night. So I headed to nearby Collier Memorial State Park, to see if I could find a spot there. The campground was all full but just down the road was a US Forest Service campground. About half of the 20 sites there were available. So I picked one out set up my tent to settle in for the night. The campground is nothing fancy which just pit toilets, but at five dollars a night with my senior discount it was a heck of a deal. Well that covers the highlights of the past couple weeks. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. This coming weekend my daughter Crystal and her husband and my granddaughter will be coming in for a nice long stay. So I will have more to come after their visit, with more highlights of this beautiful part of the country.
Take Care, Rick