Tag Archives: camping

Black Bear on the Alsea River

The day started off slow enough for wildlife viewing.  We saw our first turtle ever in Oregon.

alsea river turtle
Sunning Turtle

A little later in the day, as we were sitting on the deck and planning the next step of our jetty project, we saw a bear cross the Alsea to the opposite side of the river.

bear crossing alsea river
Now we know where the Bear Crossing is

He walked into the trees so we watched to see if he’d come out in the field and run down the route we’d seen him on previously.  But then we saw him down by the river and making his way on the river bank.  So we watched and videoed (is that a word?  spellchecker didn’t like it spelled videod)

[youtube http://youtu.be/rO-VADZp2FE]

He swam right past us!  It’s like living on a wildlife thorofare!

alsea river bear
Bear swimming in the Alsea River

These photos were taken just a few miles west of Blackberry Campground.

Darkness Exercises the Imagination

One of the times I like most about camping is after dark.

I think I get so used to constant sounds that I don’t even know what complete silence sounds like…until I go camping.

The campground is a buzz with activity all day, then dinner, cleanup and campfire…slowly getting quieter as people fall asleep.

(wish I had a sound clip to go with this but if you’re a camper you can imagine)


You start hearing the critters in the dark 🙂  The forest comes alive through sound.  It’s like you’re in a whole different world – one where only the animals can see.

Don actually heard (over the TV in the background) a bull elk bugle the other night.

(RVing/camping – same-same – get off my back you purists!   hahahaha)

Back to my story – so we turned off the TV, went outside with the night-vision scope and listened.

AAAaahhhh – the sounds of silence!  Like I said, I’d forgotten what complete silence sounds like.  There’s a relief to it.  It’s very peaceful.

There was a full moon that night but it still took about 10 minutes for my eyes to completely adjust to the darkness.  I strained to SEE what I was HEARING.  If there hadn’t been a river between me and the noise, I’d have been a little nervous.  I knew that, if a critter came toward me, I’d hear it crossing the river first.  So I was able to enjoy it without being nervous about it.

As I listened, hoping to hear another elk call, I heard branches breaking.  So I knew they were travelling through the woods.  These were not little, light-weight, sticks breaking.  Roosevelt elk average 600 lbs, and can get up to 1100 lbs.  The sounds were from large branches being trampled or broken off the trees.

Then we could see them through the night-vision scope and there were a lot of them!  They started running across an open area before they got to the trees.  That always makes us wonder if something startled them or is chasing them.  There goes that imagination again!  Waiting for a big meow…

If you close your eyes, the other senses have to compensate.  It’s a good exercise for someone who has their eyesight.  What a blessing to be able to choose which senses to use!

7 Otter Kits!

Don caught this otter family earlier this week.

otters emerge from alsea river
Toot-toot! Otter train!

I could tell from the close up photos of the river with just a swirl on the surface, and out of focus otters in the water, that Don had the same challenge I do in capturing these busy little balls of fur and teeth.   But he got a couple great shots of them on the Alsea River bank.  This reminds me of watching a large (human) family bailing out of a VW bus….they just keeping coming!

7 kits and 2 adult otters - alsea river
7 kits and 2 adult otters

I count 7 kits and 2 adults.  I don’t think the male usually travels with mom and the kits when they are this age?  Dad’s of all kinds can probably relate to this?

So I’m guessing the 2 adults are 2 moms travelling together.  The 3 kits on the right look a little larger than the 4 kits on the left.

These photos were taken near Blackberry Campground on the Alsea River.

A Stellar Day on the Oregon Coast

Sutton Campground is in the coastal forest area at the north end of the sand dunes that Florence is so well-known for.

I’m not sure if it’s in the 2nd or 3rd growth period of the huge trees that Oregon is also well-known for.  But I am always intrigued by the layers of growth here in Oregon.  Not only does moss grow on trees, but ferns grow out of the moss.  Here you can see that 2 trees are growing on the dead tree that fell (probably) decades ago.

Dead Trees Provide Life
Dead Trees Provide Life

Sea Lion Caves rolled back the prices for their Founder’s Day celebration yesterday (Apr 27).  And what a beautiful day to be on the Oregon Coast!

Stellar Sea Lions
Stellar Sea Lions

Tokatee Klootchman State Natural Site is a small parking area along Hwy 101 of the Central Oregon Coast.  It’s about 16 miles north of Florence.  We watched whales feeding here last summer.

Tokatee Klootchman, Oregon Coast
Walk around the left side of the sign

Access a narrow path to the beach by walking around the fence to the left of the sign.  Always lock your valuables in your trunk.

Trail to the Beach
Trail to the Beach

If you are a horror movie fan, you may recognize a house used in an 80’s horror flick.

Beach from Tokatee Klootchman
Beach from Tokatee Klootchman

Back up the Alsea Hwy, just out of Waldport, the geese are starting to pair up and make their nests on the bay side of the Eckman Lake causeway.

Eckman lake, Waldport
Canada Geese – Eckman Lake, Waldport, Oregon


Waldport to Newport Oregon Coast

Took a trip to Newport for some Walmart shopping yesterday.  What a beautiful day it was!

Seal Pups - Alsea Bay
No new pups yet

I had to check in on the harbor seals in the Alsea Bay.  I don’t see any new pups yet.

Alsea Bay Harbor Seal Colony
Alsea Bay Harbor Seal Colony

I think they usually give birth closer to the water but I wondered why this adult separated from the rest of the colony?  I’ll have to check on her again.

Diving Cormorant from Alsea Bay Bridge
Diving Cormorant from Alsea Bay Bridge

The Alsea Bay is so clear and pretty!  Looks like the fishermen have some competition.

Alsea Bay Bridge from north wayside
Alsea Bay Bridge from north wayside

Don likes to slow down on the bridge and push me out so I can take pix.  But I convinced him I’d walk from the north wayside this time.

Beaver Creek Boat Launch
Hwy 101 bridge at Ona Beach from Beaver Creek boat launch

Beaver Creek is popular, with our Oregon Coast campers, for canoeing and kayaking.

Beaver Creek Boat Launch
Access to the Beaver Creek State Natural Area

Check out this beautiful area: http://www.oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=191

Christmas Camping

Christmas obligations are met and it’s time to go camping!  Our fun Christmas campers are starting to join us at Tillicum Campground!

Did you know that you can use your campground receipt or car pass in any of the Day Use areas and Waysides; whether State Parks or National Forest?  If your receipt is required on your site post, ask the Host for a Car Pass.

We stopped in to take some photos at Governor Patterson State Park this afternoon.

Gov Patterson State Park-Park Bench
Park Bench

There are SO many great waysides on the Oregon coast.  Some are State Parks and some are National Forest.  Gov Patterson State Park has a restroom but not all of them do.

Pathways to the Beach
Pathways to the Beach

They usually provide access to the beach.  This one has several short paths over a small sand dune.  Some require a fee to park if you do not display your annual pass.

Gov Patterson looking south
Looking South

There’s a wide, sandy, beach for walking.  Driftwood builds up after the Alsea River floods.  High seas can move it all away with just a couple high tides.

Driftwood on Gov Patterson SP Beach
Looking north to Alsea Bay

Whether a State Park or National Forest, you can use any of the Day Use passes instead of paying the $5-$6 parking fee.

Here’s more info on the Day Use passes available for use on the Oregon coast:

Recreation Passes & Permits

Hhhmm – now there’s something worthwhile to spend that Christmas money on!

Yaquina Bay Jetties and Minus Tides

We had rain on the coast, off and on, yesterday.  That’s called “showers”.  That means it is fun being outside off and on. 🙂

We were in Newport (indoors) for most of the day.  Crossing the Newport bridge, before noon, we noticed the waves crashing clear over the jetties!  I wished we’d had time to stop to take some photos then!  I would definitely use my zoom to keep a safe distance though (mom).

We have minus tides and extra highs this week!  There is about a 12 foot change; which is about the most we get here on the central Oregon coast.

Returning south, just before sunset, we could see that the minus tide exposed places we hadn’t seen before next to the south jetty.  The clammers were out!  Tide-poolers were out!  It’s like exploring the moon when the minus tides expose the rarely seen ocean floor.  The extra low tides always make me want to run out to the edge of the water and think of how few people have actually stood there.  🙂

Yaquina Bay Jetties
Yaquina Bay Jetties

Even the low tide waves can crash over the jetties.  Every year some unwise person is killed by a sneaker wave.  Stick to the roads and trails on the jetties.  Don’t stand out on the rocks.  Sneaker waves are not as big an issue if you’ve got level sand to run away on (like at Tillicum Beach at low tide or anytime in the summer).  It’s the rocky areas that are dangerous (like the jetties and Tillicum Beach at high tide in the winter).

We’ve got high tides and showers through the weekend.  So it will be a great weekend for camping on the Oregon coast!