Our next campsite was free! Several months ago we joined a group called Harvest Host, which connects RVer’s with locations across the country that allow a free night’s stay. Places like wineries, dairies, museums, golf clubs, restaurants and boutiques. In the case of Tillamook, it was The Blue Heron French Cheese Company. They’re a deli, restaurant, and boutique all rolled into one. They actually allowed us two nights stay, which we gratefully took them up on.
On the way into Tillamook we noticed a sign for Munson Falls Trail, and since it wasn’t too far back down the road we checked that out first. This is an easy half-mile, out and back, trail leading to an impressive waterfall. The best part… Sadie got to hike with us!
After Munson Creek we made a bee-line for the coast in hopes of finding a good spot for sunset. We stopped a few times, but weren’t quite feeling it, and eventually ended up at Pacific City barely in time for sunset… which turned out to be a bit of a dud.
The following day, however, we enjoyed a great hike… Cape Meares Lookout Trail 4.7 mile, 810 foot elevation gain… through the woods, and out to a bluff high above the water. as we hiked along the ridge (guessing at 70′ above the water ) we kept hearing the sound of coastal birds below us. We couldn’t see them at the time, and assumed they might be nesting somewhere along the bluff below us.
They sounded so familiar and I was guessing Common Murres, but wasn’t sure until we stopped at a bluff at the end of the trail. There I set my equipment down, pulled out my cell phone and googled an audio for Murres. The reaction from everyone standing on that bluff was rather humorous, as they were startled to suddenly hear the sound they’d all be listing to… and wondering about… coming from right behind them.
You can listen to them at the audio file and the top of this page… Common Murres audiio file and information.
[It wasn’t until I loaded the images onto my computer that I could actually see the individual birds on the water in one of the following images.]
After our hike we spent some time down on the beach. The sea-weed covered “hairy” rocks below reminded me a bit of an old guy with a bad comb-over. And I loved the colors and textures in the sand in the following image. Three arch rock was pretty impressive too!
Then we went in search of the lighthouse… cuz that’s what we do. Before we hiked down to the lighthouse we took a quick detour up the hill to see the “Octopus Tree”. I’d never heard of this Octopus Tree, but it was pretty darn impressive.
The forces that shaped this unique Sitka Spruce are unknown. It has no central trunk, but instead limbs grew horizontally from the base as much as 16 feet before turning upward. It is 105 feet tall, 46 feet in circumference, and is estimated to be 250-300 years old.
The following morning we left Tillamook and drove to our final campsite before crossing into Washington. This was another military site… in Warrenton (next to Astoria)… Camp Rilea. Here we had plenty of space in a long paved lot with full hook-ups.
We spotted this critter along a creek on the way in, and I hopped in the car to see if I could find him as soon as we parked the rig. I first heard about Nutria from my father several years ago. They had apparently become quite a nuisance along the creeks in my home town of Longview, WA. To me they look a bit like a beaver, with more of a rat-like tail.
Nutria are from South America, and were brought to America for fur ranching. When fur prices collapsed during World War II, ranchers lost interest and set them free. Now considered an invasive species, Nutria damage crops and vegetation, and destroy marshes and other wetlands.
We dropped back down the coast to Cannon Beach. First time back since Elissa and I said good bye to Jazzy (She loved the beach, so we spread her ashes there.)
Haystack Rock was crowded with folks, and Sadie was moving VERY slowly in the sand. That was incredibly hard for me to witness. The two of them loved scampering on the beach, and the first place they ever did so was at Cannon Beach.
In a melancholy mood, I just focused my camera on the waves.
The following morning I woke to a warm light coming through the window… grabbed my camera and trotted out the door It was a sweet light start to the day.
From here we’re off to Washington, and the Olympic Peninsula. (Right now we’re actually sailing into our next adventure on the water. Literally!)