Tag Archives: florence

Thunderstorms and Sea Lions

We made a run to Florence today.  Yay!  To the BEACH!

Travelling down the Alsea Hwy from Tidewater wasn’t a problem after the recent rain/wind storm.  Hwy 20 was affected more.  Hwy 101 from Waldport to Florence was also clear.

Tillicum Stairway
Tillicum Stairway

We just had to stop in to Tillicum Campground to check out the beach.  The rain is washing some of the sand off the stairway.  Winter storms will probably continue to was sand off the beach.  Maybe we’ll see some agates this winter?

Heceta Lighthouse
Heceta Lighthouse

We haven’t seen the lighthouse since they took the cover back off so I had to get a photo of her new coat of paint.  They haven’t finished restoring the lens yet.  We had thunder showers most of the day.  As Don put it, “we travelled through all the seasons” today.

Sea Lions At Heceta Lighthouse Overlook
Sea Lions At Heceta Lighthouse Overlook

There was a car at the north end of the Heceta overlook pullout so we parked at the south end.  Three people were SO excited to call me over to look at all the sea lions!

Sea Lion Mosh Pit
Sea Lion Mosh Pit – Can you see one rock in there?

You can hardly see the rocks they are resting on!  Everytime one would move they’d bark at each other.  “GET YOUR BONEY FLIPPER OUT OF MY BACK!”  “QUIT SQUIRMING!”   “SHUT UP!  I’M TRYING TO SLEEP!”  It just went ON and ON and ON!  hahaha

Branded Sea Lions 8063 and 8329
Branded Sea Lions 8063 and 8329

Found a couple branded sea lions too!  I’ll ask my Forest Service friend about them and edit this post if he can find out anything about them.  Sometimes they’ve been able to tell me where, why and when they were branded.  Some are branded as pups as part of a study.  Others are because they were being a “nuisance” to the salmon.

An Unobstructed View of Fog

Who knew that fog could be beautiful?  I always thought of fog as something that limited my view of my surroundings.  But, yesterday on the Oregon Coast, the fog was gorgeous!

I was the passenger so I got to enjoy it a lot more than the driver.  But, everytime I saw what I would have photographed, there was no place to pull off Hwy 101.

The first thing I noticed was a dark grey fog bank off the coast.  There was blue sky above me but you could hardly distinguish the difference between the fog and the ocean and you couldn’t see the horizon.  The ocean was as flat and still as we’ve ever seen it.  The only line was between the dark grey fog bank and the blue sky.  I wouldn’t describe it as ominous because we were basking in the warmth of the sun.  It just sort of hung out there over the ocean.

As we travelled south, on Hwy 101 from Yachats, we are higher in elevation.  We could see where parts of the fog bank was lifting up over the mountains.  It looks like it turns white as the floor turns from water to land.

Fog Over Florence, OR
Fog Over Florence, OR

This isn’t the prettiest view we saw but it’s the best of the photos I was able to get.  The line you see between the sky and water is actually between the sky and fog.  The horizon cannot be seen through the fog.

Fog From Rock Creek Campground
Fog From Rock Creek Campground

On the way back north I was noticing that it looked like the white fog was causing a white reflection on the ocean.  But I think it is actually a thin layer of fog laying just on the ocean’s surface.  We stopped into Rock Creek Campground for a visit.  I didn’t want to risk my life to walk across Hwy 101 to take a better photo. (I’m a sissy.)

Foggy Sunset over Tillicum
Foggy Sunset over Tillicum

Back-at-the-beach…I wanted, so bad, to run out to the beach for more photos.  But we were so tired and hungry that I thought I’d better warm up some left-overs for dinner first.  By the time I got out to the beach, the fog was onshore and the sun was just falling behind the fog layer.

So I hunted for agates and went back to the 5th wheel before dark.

Out of Place

I wanted to be sure to get a walk on the beach today.  So I got up early and headed out to the minus tide and the possibility of an agate bed or float or another beach treasure.

Out there, on the edge of the surf, was a bird.  It looked larger than a seagull and a little darker in color.  The shape looks wrong too.  My camera  is messing up so I wanted to wait until I got closer in case it only worked for a short time.

As I walked closer, I saw it walking and it reminded me of a goose.  But what would a single goose be doing on the beach?

Goose on a beach?
Goose on a beach?

So I had to go investigate.  As I got closer, the bird was moving away from me.  It moved out into the surf.  Maybe it’s a pelican?  hahaha

in the surf
in the surf

Nope!  It’s a Canada Goose.  I wonder where all his friends are?

Surfing Goose
Surfing Goose

Sometimes things just look out of place.  I wonder if he’s confused?

Notes from my Workamping Journal:

We got a report that some moron vandalized a restroom in one of our remote campgrounds.  So we went up to get a look at the damage.  It looked like they started the toilet paper on fire, ripped the handicap handle off the wall, ripped the door off the hinges and broke the window out.  The campground is in the Florence Oregon area.  There were several Forest Service Day Use areas that were damaged the same way last fall.

If anyone has any information about this vandalism, please let me know.

I hope the bears find them!

Vandals are nothing but cowards – they do their damage when no one is around to see them

Salmon Berries in Alder Dune Campground, OR

Come and get it!

The salmon berries are already ripening in Alder Dune Campground.

Salmon Berry
Salmon Berry

Fish the stocked lakes for rainbow trout.  Trout for dinner and berries for dessert!

Lavendar Rhododendron
Lavender Rhododendron

Florence Oregon’s Rhody Days was last weekend.  I don’t know how they get all those rhodies to bloom in time for it every year?

Dark Pink Rhododendron
Dark Pink Rhododendron

I love the deep red ones.

Red Rhododendron
Red Rhododendron

They’ll all still be in bloom for Memorial Weekend.  You’ll see many pink rhodies in our campgrounds (Sutton and Alder Dune, north of Florence).  The pink ones are the wild rhodies.

Notice: There’s no access to the dunes for ATV’s from these campgrounds.  But access to the dunes is a short drive away.

Hooded Merganser at Sutton Campground

The little lake just inside Sutton Campground has water in it this time of year.

Hooded Merganser Couple
Hooded Merganser Couple

We always watch for ducks and other wildlife when we’re there.

I have a hard time focusing the camera when there is such a clear reflection.  Or maybe it’s when the ducks won’t sit still?

Anyway, I like the colors and clean lines of the male Hooded Merganser.  And the female has the same bed-head as I do!

A Note from my Workamping Journal:

The Whine and Seafood Festival seems to be causing pee challenges.

This one is for the men:  Do some actually feel the need to practice aiming at other things besides the toilet?  (There are no children in the campground…not even teens.)

Why the toilet paper though?

sigh……It could have been worse.

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

One of the advantages to workamping is that you get to spend enough time in an area to find the local secrets.  A sunny day in October calls for some Oregon Coast sight-seeing on our regular drive between Yachats and Florence.  I knew you could hike the trail to Spouting Horn, taking the turnoff from the trial that leads to the tidepools.  But I’m usually so focused on the tidepools that I don’t want to take the detour.  And I only leave the tidepools when I’ve run out of time so there’s no time left to walk over to see the Spouting Horn.  As we drive past Cook’s Chasm, there are usually people stopped to see the view from there.  But I didn’t realize that you can see Spouting Horn from that overlook.  Since I was behind the wheel, on this day, I pulled into the Cook’s Chasm overlook in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.  It was around high tide.  I love hearing the low thump as the waves crash into the chasm walls.  Just a hint of the power of Mother Nature and God’s creations!

Spouting Horn - Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

Here’s a better shot of Spouting Horn from the Cook’s Chasm overlook.

Spouting Horn from Cook's Chasm

The timing has to be right for the spout to really shoot out.  I think there needs to be plenty of air below it when the wave comes in?

Cooks Chasm - punchbowl

We also stopped at a favorite overlook, between Heceta Head Lighthouse and Sea Lion Caves.  Since it’s the “most photographed” lighthouse I won’t post another picture of it here.  But what we like to do is listen for the sea lions.  If you hear them, they’ll be somewhere below the overlook.  There were lots out in the water, some starting to form a raft.  The males groan and bark anytime someone gets too close to one of “their” females.  I don’t know how you could move in this crowd and NOT be close to someone else’s female!  The noise was constant and fun to listen to.

Sea Lions at Heceta Head

We stopped at Ocean Beach Day Use to clean the restroom.  As we were parking, a young couple was returning to their car.  The car had been broken into.  I guess we had weird looks on our faces as they approached and we waited for the inevitable discovery.  We told them where to go to get cell service so they could report it to the police.  They didn’t get her purse but he’d left his wallet in a pants pocket which he left in the car.  The thieves took that and a bag with clothes in it.  We swept up the glass into a pile and left it there as a warning:  DO NOT LEAVE VALUABLES IN YOUR CAR

Central Oregon Coast – Waldport to Florence

Not a cloud in the sky yesterday!  Until evening when the sun started to set.  The clouds added just the right touch to the sunset; so much color!  It was incredible!  The color seemed to last forever.  I went out to watch it; a camper joined me.  I had my camera with me.  But, you know, sometimes I just need to enjoy the moment.  We went to Florence yesterday.  This is somewhere in between Yachats and Florence.
Oregon Coast - sunny
Oregon Coast - sunny

I heard, one time, that the most addictive form of stimulation is random.  Maybe that’s why I’m addicted to the ocean?  🙂   The waves crash in endlessly random patterns.  That’s why one picture is never satisfying!  Don spotted a whale so we pulled over to watch as he made his way south.  He was close enough that we didn’t need the binoculars to see it.  But not close enough to get a great picture.  (When people say they are ‘seeing’ whales, it usually means we are seeing their spout as they surface and blow water out of their lungs.  Breaching the surface, or jumping out of the water, is not too common.  But it’s still exciting to see the spout.)

Wave Spray
Wave Spray

Since it’s such a pretty day we stopped to see if the sea lions were out.  This is probably the most photographed lighthouse on the Oregon Coast (Heceta Head).  We heard the sea lions barking and growling as soon as we got out of the truck.  They are right down below us on the rocks at the bottom of the picture.

Heceta Head Overlook
Heceta Head Overlook

Aaaawww!  They’re so cute!  Look at that little one laying on his mom!  They are the same color as the rocks until they dry out.  Then you can see their brown fur.

Sea Lions on Rocks
Sea Lions on Rocks

OOOOOOOOOuuuuuuuuuuuucccccccchhhhhhhhh!

You rolled over on my flipper, you BIG TUB OF LARD!

Sea Lions - outside Sea Lion Caves
Sea Lions - outside Sea Lion Caves

Oh well, gotta get goin’.  I mean, it’s not like we get paid by the hour, but we do have work to do.  hahaha

You can always tell when you’re getting close to Florence, Oregon, when the dunes come into view.  This is just north of Florence.

Florence Dunes - North
Florence Dunes - North

This is why camping isn’t free anymore.

Cost of Camping
Cost of Camping

This was going to be my last picture but I hate to end the blog this way because it’s not how my day ended.  Now I wish I had taken at least one sunset picture.  Picking up litter is more of an aggravation than it is work for us workampers.  I just don’t understand why people aren’t more considerate and respectful of the beauty that they just enjoyed.  So, we picked up the litter, cleaned the restroom, added TP and found the beauty again!

Horse Creek Campsite
Horse Creek Campsite

Horse Creek Trailhead is about 4 miles inland from Hwy 101.  Take the first east turn south of Sea Lion Caves on Forest Road 58.  Horse Creek has facilities for your horses at each campsite.  There is no drinking water for you, but there is a trail leading to drinking water for your horse.  Don pointed out that we could actually hear the ocean from the campground.  That was a mistake!  A couple false-starts and I turn and ask Don, “Are you in a hurry to leave?”  He said, “No, go on.”  hahaha

Horse Creek Trail
Horse Creek Trail

So I headed down the trail labeled ‘Horse Water’.  At least, that’s what I think I read through the bullet holes (note to self: order a new ‘Horse Water’ sign).  I didn’t want to go on an hour-long hike.  I just wanted to see how far the creek was or maybe discover an overlook of the ocean just a short distance away.  But the trail kept going downhill and I kept thinking about going back uphill.  So I enjoyed the old-growth forest and the hairy trees and went back.

Now, think of the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen.  Yep, that’s how my day ended!