Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Oregon Coast: Sandlake to Florence

It was a dark, quiet, chilly night at the West Dunes Campground! Very nice!

First on the agenda today was a hike up to Cascade Head. The trail started in Knight City Park which was off 101 a little ways - but it was a twisty turny narrow road. Dad was able to pull the RV in but had to take the car off in order to turn it around and park. The hike was really neat! It started in a Sitka Spruce forest with huge trees, moss and ferns. After climbing up about a mile and a half it opened up into what I think was called "marine prairie" or maybe it was "ocean prairie", in any event it was a headland covered with grass! It looked like South Dakota, only it was on a hill and the ocean was right there! As we went up we got great views of the coastline all the way past Lincoln City! It's just all sand, then there's another rocky headland, then more sand! It's amazing! The other amazing thing is that the beaches are largely empty! Huge stretches of pristine sand, and no one on them! We are guessing it's because it's cold, today it barely hit 70.

After our 3-ish mile hike we had lunch and headed to Depoe. Since we were going to take the car off in Depoe and it was already off we made Mom drive the 20 miles. Once in Depoe we parked the RVs at Boiler Bay SP and took the jeep down the Otter Crest scenic loop to Cape Foulweather and Otter Point. That's just a viewpoint with a gift shop. The next stop was Devi's Punchbowl - this is a rock formation that the surf crashes through and it's cool at high tide or during a storm. We were there at almost low tide so there wasn't much to see.

Oregon State Parks are different from some states - in some places the state park is a free pull off view point, in others it's a viewpoint with stuff to do - a quick hike, a lighthouse, a natural feature, or beach access, and others have huge camYpgrounds and day use fees. There are probably over 100 state park facilities along the Oregon Coast.

After this little tour we returned to the Boiler Bay and got the RVs. I'd picked up a brochure about tidpooling along the coast and found a spot, Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint, that said the tide pools were easy to get to and since it was low tide as I'd be passing I decided to stop.

The tide pools here were very cool! The rocks were embedded in sand and you could walk between them and see all the creatures! No climbing on the rocks! I saw a ton of purple starfish! I did end up wading through the surf to get to the tide pools so I walked across the beach in the water to the other pile of rocks to check them out. The surf on this beach was rougher than at Cape Lookout, but it was still very shallow! The wind was crazy! It almost blew me over several times! I spent about 45 mins checking out the tide pools and walking in the surf so I headed back to the van, hosed off then changed into my yoga pants! I think I like the beach when I have my RV right there.

The drive after the tide pool area was really cool! We went up over a headland with views all around and then came down and the road was right along the ocean! Most of the drive today went through bigger towns with more resteraunts, grocery stores, gas stations, etc. There was a lot of traffic through the towns, both residents and tourists. This was different from yesterday when it was mostly little quaint towns. After Newport today the scenery got more wild - more pull outs & view points.

We'd planned to stay at the Fred Meyer in Florence, only they didn't allow overnight parking, luckily Sutton Campground (National Forest Service) had plenty of sites, even a pull through that was big enough for mom and dad - didn't even have to unhook the car! And the camphost was really nice and let me park on their site too for just the extra car fee!

Unfortunately on our hike today Dad twisted his ankle, I don't think it's bad, but it's going to slow him down for a few days.


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