May 11, 2015

Cape Perpetua

Some people need to drink. Some people need to eat chocolate. Some people need to clean the house? :) Some people need to gamble. Some people need to buy new shoes. I need to get in the car and go places. Just to let you know how bad it is let me tell you about yesterday and then you can shake your head, judge me, and figure out how to plan an intervention for me.

All week I thought about how desperately I needed to get to the coast. I declared my need to my parents and my children. I had a super hard week...not gonna lie. I knew Mother's Day was coming....it's never easy...not gonna lie. I knew the coast had the potential to fix these things. I had a few touch and go moments where it looked like it was not going to happen but I figured it out and here are the details....you love details.

I am a lover of logistics and figuring out how to make things work and I knew that Natalie had a birthday party she needed to attend on Saturday at 3:00. My day had to revolve around this party. I do not know enough people here in Cottage Grove yet to mooch favors off of people and besides I really did need to be here to help her get ready and to the party. The quickest drive to the coast from here is an hour and a half. Tatiana wanted to come with me. We decided what kind of beach we needed....you know you have to decide if you want tide pools...or sea stacks views....or good beach combing....or a hike in addition to the beach....sand dunes?...people versus not so many people. And then throw in our limited time and it was some work. So I sat down with my best friend Google and finally figured out that our destination should be Cape Perpetua.

 It is hard to give up our only sleep in day of the week but we needed to steal time from where ever we could. I told Tatiana we had to leave by seven in the morning and then I woke up at 5:30 and realized we needed more time than that so I woke her up at 6. The sun was already up and the day was beckoning....yes, beckoning....days can do that :)

We just have to jump on I-5 going south and take the exit onto Route 38 and then follow that straight to Reedsport. This drive is beautiful. A lot of it goes right along the Umpqua River and the views are so pretty. We ran into some fog and that worried me. I have lived here long enough to recognize morning fog and know that 9 times out of 10 it blows off but it still worries me when I am heading to the beach and need a view. But it was just in patches and never caused us any more worry.

We chose Cape Perpetua because of the descriptions and reviews of the tide pools and a hike. We have been trying all different kinds of beaches on the Oregon Coast just because we can. Once it was dunes. Once it was sea stacks. Once it was beach combing opportunities. We just have to figure out our mood and match it to a beach :)

It was not easy to keep driving past all the other beach opportunities as we drove up Highway 101 towards Cape Perpetua but I had to keep reminding myself I had a goal and I needed to follow through. You pass so many great views and other beaches along the way and they are ALWAYS calling my name. It took will power to not stop at every beach.

We got to the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center at about 9:15 in the morning. Yeah, I know the math is a little off if you are checking my numbers but we did have to get gas and we had to back track to get it :) The visitors center and the area around it was nice and clean. The trails were well marked. We had to take the Captain Cook trail to get to the tide pools....it is paved and not even a mile's walk. The minute the trail ends you are on what looks like lava rock. I looked up tides to make sure we were going to be there around low tide because tide pools are no fun if it is high tide :) Low tide was supposed to be at 10:30am.

Can you find all the starfish?
We were not sure where to start when we came to the end of the trail and saw our destination in front of us. All around you to the right and to the left are black, barren, lava looking rocks that you have to climb on to get anywhere. You can see the ocean waves crashing out past the rocks. To the right you can see a large sandy beach at the edge of the rocks. The tide pools are scattered around on top of the rocks. We just started tentatively exploring getting braver with each step. In the deep pools we found could see purple sea urchins and green cucumbery things...yes, I said cucumbery but I meant anenomes :)

 We decided to head towards the distant sand part of the beach. Once we got down on the sand we discovered that we had a great view of the undersides of the rocks we had been walking on. There were starfish everywhere. It was cool. We got caught in some water from the waves and soaked our shoes. We were woefully uneducated about what we were looking at but it was still fun.

The beach was wedged between the rocks from the tide pools and some high cliffs with pine trees on them. And with the tide all the way out the sandy part of the beach was very vast,empty, and smooth. Just begging for Tatiana and I to run across it. Way at the back of the sandy part, up against the cliffs, was tons of bleached driftwood and rocks. Someone had made a pretty cool driftwood house with a window. The house came furnished with a driftwood table and a driftwood sofa. We decided we needed to buy it despite the suspiciously wet looking sand floor.

As we were walking on the sand with the rock formations creating passageways on either side of us we came around a corner and found some cairns. I love to find cairns. I love to wonder about who left them. I love that someone took the time to make them. They just make me feel connected. Tatiana and I made our own cairns to add to the 6 or 7 that were already there.

The next high tide was at 5:30 pm and I wished I could stay because rumor is that high tide at Cape Perpetua is supposed to be very cool because of all these raised rock formations and passageways.  Apparently,the ocean shoots in and up these passageways supposedly making amazing noises as it crashes against the sides of the rocks. I mean with names like Devils Churn and Spouting Horn why would you not want to check it out? I will definitely go back at high tide.....or even better in a storm :)

We explored for about an hour and a half and then had to head back. Yes, lets do the math together shall we? We drove an hour and a half to be on the beach for an hour and a half and then we drove an hour and a half home. We got back to Cottage Grove at about 1:30 in the afternoon. Crazy? Maybe. But I am so glad we did it. I needed to drive. I needed to hear waves and see some views. I noticed that when I have told a few people that I went to the beach yesterday and when I divulge the details people look at me a little odd. But I am really loving this, "go to the beach whenever I want" option in my life and am not likely to give it up soon.

 Along the way home we stopped to pick wildflowers for my mother. Can I just tell you that Oregon has it's flaws but it definitely knows how to do wildflowers. I have lived in many states and I have never seen wildflowers done the way Oregon does them. It started in early spring with daffodils growing wild on the freeways? CRAZY. Then wild poppies that are so many different shades of orange, cream, and yellow. Wild lupines. Wild iris. Daisies. I am loving all the colors. And everyday I notice a new flower starting to bloom along the roads that I am constantly driving or riding my bike on.

So thanks to the beach I survived my weekend and now I have another beach that I know about.