Category Archives: camping

Cape Perpetua Scenic Overlook

The added benefit to friends visiting is you get to renew your amateur Interpretive license.

We took our friends to the highest point on the Oregon Coast – Cape Perpetua Scenic Overlook.

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
Beautiful sky accentuates the overlook

Even if you can’t walk very far there’s a beautiful area to see from a bench; just 30 feet from the parking lot.  Parking requires a fee or day use pass.  Seniors can use your America the Beautiful or Golden pass by displaying it on your dashboard.

Overlooking Devils Churn
Overlooking Devils Churn

The more mobile patrons reported stunning views around the corner at the old stone shelter.  But from here you can look straight down to the Devil’s Churn area.  Yes, that zig-zag trail is a steep one.  (If you can’t stand the height you get your interpretive guide to take a photo to look at from your couch afterwards.)  🙂

Cape Perpetua Scenic Overlook
Looking south from 800′

From here you can see the Visitor’s Center and Cook’s Chasm south of Devil’s Churn.

Read more about Cape Perpetua Campground and tidepools here:

What’s to see when it’s foggy on the Central Oregon Coast?

It is always cooler on the coast than it is in the Willamette Valley (I-5 corridor from Portland to Eugene).  Many times, when it’s hot in the “valley”, it will be foggy on the coast.

Although it’s not the best time for whale watching there’s plenty to see on the Central Oregon Coast when it’s foggy; as long as you don’t focus on the fog.

Bray's Point on Hwy 101 - Overlooking Bob Creek Wayside
Bray’s Point on Hwy 101 – Overlooking Bob Creek Wayside

If I am standing in the fog, I like to get my “head out of the clouds” and go for a drive on Hwy 101.

Bray's Point - Hwy 101 - looking south
Bray’s Point – Hwy 101 – looking south

Most of the time, the fog is patchy along the Oregon coast.  As the highway rises, we climb out of the fog to enjoy azure blue skies and the warmth of the sun.  Hiking in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is a great option – but today we’re going to Florence for groceries and fuel (the cheapest fuel in Oregon).

Cormorants and Common Murre Nests
Cormorants and Common Murre Nests

We stopped at the overlook of the Heceta Head Lighthouse, just north of Sea Lion Caves, on this foggy morning.  We could not see the lighthouse until we drove back by later in the afternoon.  But I enjoy seeing how the cormorant chicks are growing.  The chicks aren’t as dark and shiny-black as their parents.  The common murres are still there but I can’t tell if any of these are chicks.

Beaver in the Alsea River
Beaver in the Alsea River

Of course, there’s always the option of driving inland, up a river, for other un-foggy options.  This photo was taken near Blackberry Campground, 18 miles east of Waldport.

Elk herd with this year's calves
Elk herd with this year’s calves

The elk calves still have their spots and feed in open fields with the rest of the herd.

Sassy Elk Calf
Sassy Elk Calf

I’m not sure if the cow on the left is the mom but she’s not happy with the calf (ears down).  And the calf is talking to her (mouth open).

Summer Wildlife on the Alsea River

We saw wildlife ALL DAY LONG on Saturday as we did our yard work.

He's got his harem started
He’s got his harem started

After the flicker chick incident, we heard elk calls across the river.  Cows were calling and then this bull called out.  Looks like he’ll have a couple yearling bulls to chase away later.

3 elk calves and 2 moms
3 elk calves and 2 moms

We saw 3 elk calves with just 2 cows.  So one of them had twins.  These look like recent births.  We haven’t seen the older ones recently but they’d be about twice this size.

Elk Calf with Mom
Elk Calf with Mom

The herd was moving pretty fast across the field for some reason today.  No stopping to graze.  They were travelling down-river.

elk calf lagging behind
These blackberries look yummy

One straggler kept our attention.  We thought of the cougar sightings around here and wondered if we’d get to see a National Geographic Moment.

slow elk calf
Risky with Cougars Around

He looked like he was having trouble keeping up with the others but maybe he was just distracted.  You know how kids are.

Fortunately, no cougar pounced across the field.

Then we saw 4 otters – 3 young and one parent – while we ate lunch.

snorkeling the Alsea River
Jo Cousteau

Yard work is done … time to see what kind of wildlife lives IN the Alsea River

crawdads, minnows and one, little, quarter-sized flat fish shuffling along the bottom

I’ll need a camera if I see anything bigger.

Before dark, one of the elk cows with calf ran back across the field; up-river.

Photos taken near Blackberry Campground.

Happy 4th of July from the Oregon Coast

I think every village on the coast has a fireworks show over their bay.

Campfires line Alsea Bay
Campfires line Alsea Bay

Since Waldport has their parade on Beachcomber Days in June, they traditionally have July 3rd Fireworks.

I assume this is so they do not interfere with sister city Yachats’ La-De-Da Parade and Fireworks on July 4th.

People line Alsea Bridge
People line Alsea Bridge

There’s actually more room to stand and watch the fireworks than there is for parking.  Carpooling is advised.

Great Show
Great Show

Music does not accompany this show – at least that we could hear from the north end of the Alsea Bay Bridge.

Loud booms echo off the mountains
Loud booms echo off the mountains

All we heard were the delayed BOOMs, their echos off each mountain up the bay and then the OOOoooooo’s and AAAaaahhhhhh’s from the crowd.

Fireworks light up the Bay
Fireworks light up the Bay

The reflections on the bay make it twice as stunning!

Waldport put a lot of money and effort into their fireworks show.  It lasted for about a half hour.  Several times during the show we thought we were seeing the finale’.

Very well done Waldport!

Check out for all the summer fun along the North and Central Oregon Coast.

Otter Family!

We’re not sure if this is the same family we’ve seen before with 4 kits.  Dad must be on a fishing trip.

Although these photos are mine and taken on the Alsea River, Oregon, I got the scoop on them from here:

Everything in italics is from me.

Otter kit sneakin' a drink
Sneakin’ a drink

At 8 to 10 weeks the young otters start exploring outside their den and are introduced to solid food.  That one’s not too old to forget that mama has yummy milk though.

Otter mom with kits
I think I’ve been made

River otters are active day and night; around humans they tend to be more nocturnal. Otters spend their time feeding and at what appears to be group play.

Otters playing and drying their fur
Playing and drying their fur

They also dry their fur, groom themselves, and mark their territory by vigorously scratching, rubbing, and rolling on the ground. River otters are active year round, and, except for females with young in a den, are constantly on the move.

otter mom with kits
Sticking close to mom

They tend to follow a regular circuit that is covered in one to four weeks. Males can travel 150 miles within a particular watershed and its tributaries in a year. A family may range 10 to 25 miles in a season.

As they frolicked up the river, past a great blue heron, they left our sight.  At one point we started hearing a high-pitched bark or, it was more of a chirp.  I thought it was an osprey but there was nothing in the sky.  The sound seemed to come from different places, first one side of the river and then the other.  We couldn’t see the otters anymore.  The heron didn’t fly away immediately when the chirping started but eventually did.  We’re sure it was an alarm sound from one of them but not sure which one was in trouble or how.

We Otter Be in Pictures

But we’re behind the camera instead.

Baby River Otter
Baby River Otter

I only saw one kit across the river.  So I don’t know where the other adult is or if there are other otters.

The baby didn’t stick around long.  It went in the water once and then walked along the bank and disappeared.

River Otter - Catchin' His Limit
Catchin’ His Limit

I watched the adult for about 20 minutes in the Alsea River this evening; a little down-river from Blackberry Campground.  You can see the fish in his mouth.

River Otter Gag
AAaaccckkk – Hairball

Do otters get hairballs?  hahaha – just kidding!  I know they throw up the fish bones and scales and crawdad parts.  I didn’t watch to see if that’s what he was doing though.

River Otter Munch
Anyone Got a Toothpick?

His face looks like a cat with those big whiskers.

It’s Still Spring

I know that Memorial Day seems like the beginning of summer.

Fox Glove

But summer doesn’t actually start for another month.  So we are still seeing things spring up and out and through.

Salal Flowers
Salal Flowers

The delicate pink flowers on the Salal shrubs will turn into plump blueberry-like berries.

Those close to the ocean get a light coating of salt on the berries; which makes them especially yummy.

3 bulls - last year's spikes
3 bulls – last year’s spikes

These cousins only had spikes last year.  We’ll see how many points they grow this year.

Nice Velvet Dude
Nice Velvet Dude

This was taken on a different day so it could be one of those in the previous photo for all I know.

River Moss
River Moss

The moss is getting thick in the Alsea River too.  We’re still not sure if this moss has grown on the branches or if they just caught it at high tide?  It sure seemed to happen quickly.

Osprey Couple at WHS
Osprey Couple at WHS

I hadn’t seen the osprey fishing in our front yard all week.  My theory was that the chicks had hatched.  Based on what we saw today (above), I’m sticking with my theory.

Algae Bloom
Algae Bloom

The algae bloom makes the water look thick and almost chocolatey – if it weren’t for that slight greenish tint.

Not so inviting for swimming but lots of marine life love it.

And apparently it doesn’t adversely affect the shellfish:

Sutton Campground - Group C001
Group C001 is blooming in Sutton Campground

The campgrounds are sprouting tents!

We’ve really had a dry May so we really need the rain we’ve seen this week.  But a break for Memorial Weekend would really be nice.

Yearling Elk Nursing
Yearling Elk Nursing

Some people’s children never grow up.

I’m trying to figure out how she can nurse for a whole year?!