Tag Archives: workamper

4 Otter Kits

I knew if I could watch long enough I’d see all the otters.

4 otter kits
She’s got FOUR!

Mom went in for a nap and the kits stayed out to play and fish a little more.

otters playing
Doin’ what ‘e oughter

I got to watch the otters on the Alsea¬†for about 30 minutes today ūüôā

The thing I like about workamping is it puts you right in the middle of the most beautiful scenery and wildlife!

And if it doesn’t, maybe you’re doing it wrong?

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St Patrick’s Day Agates

Wow!  We got some pretty ones out of this batch of agates gathered from Tillicum Beach over the last year.

Even as busy workampers, we made time to steal away to recharge our batteries.

We've even got some Newport Blue Agates!
We’ve even got some Blue Agates!

Read Wikipedia for the technical definition of an agate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agate

or Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agate

Petrified Wood
Petrified Wood

Agates are a variety of chalcedony (if you care).

But if I talk about agate hunting, I really mean pretty-rock hunting.

Red Jasper
Red and Brown Jasper – the dark spot is a reflection of the camera lens

¬†If you can see light through it, it’s some¬†sort of agate.¬† If you can’t see light through it,¬†might be¬†jasper or petrified wood or obsidian?

There are probably a couple other choices on the Oregon coast too.

White Agate with conchoidal fractures
White Agate with conchoidal fractures

You (or someone) can actually dye agates; which I find really hard to grasp since they are so hard.

They are basically quartz.  The next one looks like a small geode that was completely filled instead of leaving crystals in a hole.

Amber Agate with color bands
Amber Agate with color bands

I like the ones with designs in them.¬† Sometimes you can’t see the designs unless you hold them up to the sun; or a flashlight works.

Agate - Jasper - Something?
Not Sure what this is

The tan part polished to a high sheen.  The white and black parts are more dull.  But it is an interesting piece.

Wear Your Agate Proudly
Insets with flashlight display

I need a new zipper-pull.¬† I think I need the one on the lower left to match my jacket.¬† I’m guessing it’s a green jasper? (for St Patty’s Day)

The photo inserts are flashlight displays of agates on the upper left and lower right respectively.

I thought these demonstrated the most dramatic visual change when backlit.

Blue agates are the big mystery here on the central Oregon coast.¬† When I first heard about them, they were called Newport Blues.¬† That’s because they “could only be found in Newport”.¬† The agate on the lower right looks blue to me, until you put it up to the light.¬† So, I’m not sure if a purist would deem it worthy of the title?

But I don’t do this for the experts.

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Hazard Tree – 7 foot diameter Sitka Spruce

Time for that snag to come down.  Darrel Bunch will be taking these trees down for us.

We invited the Job Corp¬†Forestry students to watch the sawyer take down the two hazard trees in Cape Perpetua.¬† I didn’t get pix of the 2nd tree.¬† This is the 7 foot Sitka spruce near campsite 16.

TIMBER!
TIMBER!

Since Cape Perpetua Campground is open to hikers, we had our campground managers posted up and down the road to make sure no hikers wandered into the area while the tree was being cut.  Our workampers have been rained in with little business in the campgrounds for a week.  So this was a nice opportunity to get outside.

On the Ground
On the Ground

It sure made a big boom when it hit the ground.  I wonder if the seismic activity was registered?

Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade

3¬†saws, 4 wedges, an axe, bar chain oil and¬†gasoline…¬†oh, and, 40(?) years of experience.¬† (He probably started when he was 5.)

I wasn’t close enough to see him saw but last time I watched him he had 2 saws inside the tree while his hands were on the other saw.¬† So he’d just move from one saw to the next to be sure it loosened the right spot at the right time.¬† It is an intricate cut to make.

Conch - Indication of Tree Rot
Conch – Indication of Tree Rot

This fungal conch is a sure indication of tree rot.  The tree can have live needles on it but be rotten inside making it at risk of blowing down in a storm.

Sitka Spruce Snag - Rotted Top
Sitka Spruce Snag – Rotted Top

Look how rotted-out the top is.

Sharp Saw Makes Slicing Easy
Sharp Saw Makes Slicing Easy

That sawyer keeps his saws so sharp they cut through that Sitka¬†spruce like it was butter.¬† The Job Corp crew was envious.¬† Where’d all the students go?!

Old Farts Rollin' a Slice
Old Farts Rollin’ a Slice

Once he got the first slice cut, our campground managers tried to muscle it around so they could roll it off to the side of the road.¬† (I said “tried”.)

You can see that the spruce wasn’t rotted all the way through.

Job Corp Students Help
Job Corp Students Help

Once a few slices were out the Job Corp students pitched in to get it off the road.

Job Corp Students Help
Job Corp Students Help

We’d have been there ALL day without them!¬† We REALLY appreciated their help.¬† We’ll probably invite them to “watch” again.¬† They might be wiser next time though.

Anyone need some sawdust for your dance floor?¬† There’s even some stringers for your mattress ūüôā

Workamper Activities: Wildlife Viewing and Logging

I’m glad the¬†elk season is over so¬†they can¬†come out of hiding again.

Cows-n-Cows
Cows-n-Cows

I think it actually ended a week or two ago.¬† We could tell the “memo” had been received when we started seeing the herd again.

Roosevelt Elk Spike
Roosevelt Elk Spike

Some cows are contained by a barbed-wire fence…others are not.¬† I’d like to see one of those black cows try this:

Effortless Jump
Effortless Jump

Not all workampers use a chainsaw.¬† Sometimes there’s no opportunity even if you are willing and able.¬† I’ve seen Don tackle some pretty large trees.

But for something this large we call in 40 years of experience.  This tree is 7 feet in diameter.  The top blew out during a winter storm a couple years ago.  It is now dead.

Cape Perpetua Snag with Faller
Cape Perpetua Snag with Faller

A “snag” is a standing dead tree.¬† That is never a good thing to have in a campground.¬† It’s a hazard.¬† So we called in an experienced tree faller¬†to get this one on the ground while the Cape Perpetua Campground is empty.¬† If you look closely, you can see the faller at the base of the tree.¬† He is holding his axe up to see how the tree is leaning.¬† He does this to plan where to make his cuts in order to fall it so it will not damage property.¬† He was hoping to fall it up the hill instead of across the road but he determined it is not possible.¬† So, there will be a lot of cleanup afterwards!¬† We’ve used this man before.¬† He is fun to watch.¬† He’ll tell you exactly where the tree will land.

Wildlife, Pets and People

This is one of those rare posts when I will not use a photo.¬† Although I could, because I actually took one last evening, as I was walking the beach.¬† I threw it away because it was a picture of dog poop on the beach…huge dog…¬† It was also in the pattern of a cross and I’ve been thinking about Easter lately.¬† It just didn’t seem appropriate.¬† But, now you have a mental picture. ūüôā

Did you know that our pets have become so integrated into our lives that they catch our diseases now?  They catch colds.  They have thyroid problems.  They get cancer.  If wildlife comes in contact with pet poop, they will also begin to suffer from our diseases.  Wildlife includes the fish we eat from the ocean.

When your pet is on a leash (and you are on the other end of it) you know where they poop and you can pick it up in that plastic grocery bag that environmentalists are trying to outlaw.

Short Rant:¬† Not leaving garbage (cigarette butts included)¬†or pet poop on the ground is the responsibility of the camper and anyone else who visits the beach or forest.¬†As a workamper,¬†I’m not actually paid to pick up your garbage.¬†We provide garbage cans.¬† Your fees are used to empty those cans. ¬†If garbage, or¬†pet poop,¬†is accidentally left¬†I’ll pick it up because I think the next person will appreciate a clean area to camp and walk on the beach.

So, there you have it.¬† Encapsulated in one short blog are reasons for leash laws, recycling plastic bags and¬†picking up after yourself, your children and your pets; even if you think no one will see it.¬† ūüôā

Okay, I can’t post without a picture.

SheDaisy
SheDaisy

SheDaisy is adjusting well after the passing of her owner, Steve, from cancer.  She is such a sweetheart.

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?¬† ūüôā¬†¬† 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!

Vineyards, Windyards and Needles

When we left Santa Rosa we wanted to avoid the Bay Area.  We went south on Hwy 101, somehow got to Hwy 12 and then to I-5.  This route took us through Napa Valley.  We could smell the grapes and the rolling hills of vineyards in fall color were beautiful.
Fall Vineyards
Fall Vineyards

This is an unusual, but effective, way to fly a flag!

American Flag
American Flag on Tree

We had originally planned on travelling down Hwy 99 but I-5 was moving along nicely so we stayed put.  This is farm country!  Orchards, vineyards, dairy and even wind.

Wind Farms
Wind Farms

We even found huge cotton fields in the farmland of California.

Cotton Bales
Cotton Bales

We did finally get bored with I-5 and crossed over to Hwy 99.¬† We spent the night in Tulare.¬† We’d found Sun & Fun RV Park in our Escapees directory.¬† It said they give a discount to members, which they did, but the price had changed since the directory was printed.¬† We did laundry there and they had nice, hot,¬†showers in a warm building.¬† I’m a little slow but I’m beginning to figure out that the parks that¬†give discounts aren’t getting enough business.¬† This one smelled like a dairy farm and was noisy with the Hwy and train tracks close by.¬† I think the last train blew his whistle around 11pm.

Needles, CA
Needles, CA

It was raining when we got up this morning and it continued most of the morning.¬† We took Hwy 58 to Barstow then got onto I-40 out to Needles.¬† We’re staying in Needles tonight.¬† This is a pretty area just north of Lake Havasu on the California side.¬† We found a pretty, fancy, RV park called the Palms River Resort.¬† $30 for FHU’s and all the amenities.¬† They are right on the river.¬† They sell park model homes here and they employ workampers.

Palms River Resort
Palms River Resort

The sky cleared, revealing a bright, full moon.¬† It’s in the mid-60’s and the low is expected to be in the 40’s.¬† It’s the first time we haven’t had the heater on since we left Idaho, I think!