Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cool on the Coast

Post by Henry and Loretta

Well, it's the middle of summer.  Back in Alabama and Georgia, temps are in the 90's, as usual.  Here in the West, there's been record breaking high temperatures.  At Pine Flat Lake where we spent April and May, it's been over 100 degrees almost every day since we left.  And back in Yuma, it gets into hellish temperatures near 120!

Here's the forecast highs for the next 5 days where we are now: 71-73-70-60-70

Pacific Coast

We are on the incredibly beautiful Oregon Coast!  We're at Harris Beach State Park in southern Oregon, about ten miles from the California border.

We're in Oregon!


(drumroll)........we are volunteers again!  This time we're volunteers with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge.  Our job site is a spot here at the state park overlooking the Pacific Ocean and in particular, Bird Island, which is the largest island along the coast of Oregon.

Bird Island

Our 'job' consists of showing folks the birds and wildlife on and around the island with spotting scopes and binoculars provided to us.  How cool is that?
There are nesting Western Gulls all over the island, most which have new hatchlings about a week or two old.  Pelagic Cormorants are also nesting amongst the crevices, patiently awaiting their new arrivals.  Common Murres and Pacific Loons frequent the adjacent waters.  Pigeon Guillemots, with their neon orange feet and legs make a showing daily.
Where the water meets the rocky edges at low tide, bright orange and purple star fish come out of hiding.  Black Oystercatchers fly in and out along the beach and Harbor Seals sun themselves on the beach and sea stacks. As you can tell, wildlife is plentiful, and we are enjoying sharing it with others.

Our "Office"

Since our job only takes up 20 hours of our week, we have plenty of time to explore.

We've made several trips back into Northern California where the coast is also quite beautiful and the Redwoods are magnificent.

Redwoods along Dirt Road

Just like the Sequoias we saw a few months ago, the Redwoods were logged extensively and it's estimated only 5% of the original 2 million acres are left.  Thankfully, they're protected in Redwood National and State Parks.

Saving the Redwoods

Venturing North is an endless stream of Oregon State Park scenic areas with picture postcard views. We visited Cape Blanco, which has the southernmost lighthouse in Oregon and is the westernmost point in the continental US.  It's quite windy there and is also a place I spent some time at 37 years ago!

Cape Blanco Lighthouse

Cape Blanco

Arch Rock

Heading inland from the coast, the temperatures quickly rise as you move away from the cold Pacific. We visited Loeb State Park, which is 8 road miles from the coast and it was at least 10 degrees warmer.  We hiked a nice trail there along the Chetco River and on into the Northernmost grove of Redwood trees.

Chetco River

Everything here is fresh and green and BIG!

HUGE Trillium

Yep,  She's a Tree Hugger!

Towering Sitka Spruce and Redwood trees.  Wildflowers blooming everywhere that are blowing Loretta's mind. And good, clean, cool salt air to fill our lungs.  Southern Oregon is awesome!

Oregon Iris

Bleeding Hearts

Wild Fuchsia


Sweet Pea

Banana Slug
Yes -  It was Huge

Then, of course, there's the Pacific Ocean.  Endless waves crashing on shore and tide pools to check out at low tide.  When the sun is shining, it's just a gorgeous mix of greens and blues.  We've spent plenty of time sitting in our chairs on the beach, just soaking in the sights and sounds  It's mesmerizing.

Oregon Beach

Field of Foxgloves overlooking the Pacific

It can get pretty windy here, though, and some days the fog takes until noon or later to burn off, but mostly everything here in Oregon is cool on the coast.


Not foggy!

The sunsets aren't too bad, either.

Sunset at Harris Beach