Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Trees, Seas & Lighthouses

Beachfront RV Park
Tsunami warning sign and a mark over Nanc's head showing the height of the 1964 Crescent City tsunami.
Nanc hiking down to Whaleshead Beach.
The Oregon Coast
Humbug Mountain, the highest point on the coast.
Port Orford in the foreground and Cape Blanco above from atop Humbug Mountain.
Cape Blanco & Battery Point Lighthouses
Paul, Babe and the Sky Trail gondola among the tall trees.

We are now at the Beachfront RV Park in the Port of Brookings, Oregon overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is great to sit in the motorhome and be able to see boats coming and going and watch the waves breaking on the beach. A new thing we have encountered traveling the coast is tsunami warning zones in all areas near the coast. Crescent City in Northern California was heavily damaged in 1964 by a big wave from an Alaskan earthquake. We sure do hope we don't hear that siren. I did buy a fishing license but they are dredging the harbor channel and dumping it right off the beach, turning the water into a muddy mess. Hopefully, the fishing will get better as we travel up the coast. Last Friday we had a great time watching the Penguins defeat the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup final. With this and the Steelers' Super Bowl win Pittsburgh is once again the "City of Champions."

We plan to take the next month to enjoy the coast while slowly traveling the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway. Oregon offers wonderful access to the ocean which includes many state parks and a law guaranteeing the public the right to use all beaches. There is a beautiful vista at every turn with rocks thrusting out of the water, crashing waves, isolated beaches, streams flowing into the ocean and tree covered mountains. It is so different from any other seashore we have visited and, as usual, pictures do not do it justice. The weather has been cool with at least part of every day being overcast with low clouds and fog on the hilltops. It has been ideal for hiking so we took advantage of two great hikes. One started at House Rock Viewpoint and traveled down through the forest and meadow and then along the ocean to Whaleshead Beach. Another was a hike through old growth forest up to the highest point on the Oregon coast Humbug Mountain. This hike had only occasional glimpses of the water but at several points we could see Cape Blanco, the westernmost point of Oregon. There were many beautiful flowers along the trail and we saw a Bald Eagle soaring above the trees. Both of these hikes allow for wonderful views and are highly recommended.

We visited the sites of two more lighthouses. The Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City is a Cape Cod design with the keepers house built as part of the lighthouse. The access to this lighthouse is under water at high tide. We also went to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse but could not get an up close look because it was closed the day we were there. We are looking forward to seeing many more as we travel north.

The day we went to Crescent City we drove to Klamath, California to the Trees of Mystery and Sky Trail. At this tourist attraction you are greeted by a huge Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe. The trail winds through the woods with a number of narrated stops about the Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir and Coastal Redwood trees. The Trail of Tall Tales uses redwood carvings done with a chainsaw to tell the folklore of Paul and his lumberjack friends. The high point (literally) here is the Sky Trail, a gondola ride to Ted's Ridge. It was neat traveling through the tops of the big trees. The observation deck at the top offers a view of the Pacific on one side and the back country forest on the other where we could see a couple osprey nests with one holding baby chicks. The End of the Trail Museum has a large collection of Native American artifacts from several tribes. Clothing, pottery, baskets and weapons are some of the items on display.

Allan and Sharon Frey, who we met in Rockport and visited with in Apache Junction, are traveling the same route along the coast. As it turns out, our stays are overlapping in a few places along the way. On our last day here, they pulled in and we spent the afternoon visiting and having dinner. We have the same plan for next week in Charleston. It is always great to see friends on the road to catch up on travels and find out what interesting things they have experienced.

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