Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday at the coast

This park is so beautiful.  By 10 a.m. we'd seen two new birds to add to our life list.  We hung up the bird feeder outside the door and in a few hours, a chestnut backed chickadee and a red breasted nuthatch had zeroed in on it.  I'm sure they called all their families, because the feeder was like grand central station all morning.  The vibrant colors of these birds was stunning.

red breasted nuthatch

chestnut backed chickadee

the Steller's Jay's tried and tried to reach the feeder.  they finally gave up and  settled for the ground pickings.
More new things....after our morning coffee/tea outside and the bird invasion, we came inside to clean up a bit before setting out to find a post office (to facilitate a new mail delivery) a gas station, the huge sand dunes, the harbor, and the south jetty.  As we were getting ready, a really loud tsunami warning siren started blaring right outside Beluga.  Sasha nearly jumped out of her skin, as a matter of fact, we all did.   Then we remembered that they always test the warning siren on the last Friday of the month and, you guessed it, today is the last Friday of the month!    So we'd know the test was over, the siren started playing the Westminster Chimes....the tune and quality of sound  made us think of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"!

We found the gas station (Safeway - and with our reward's points we only paid $3.50 a gallon), found the road to the Sand Dunes, the commercial fishing harbor and almost drove all the way out on the South Jetty.

sand dunes meet the river

the wicked wind shapes everything here
These pictures of the dunes show them in their pristine shape.  Further down the road the dunes were higher, but crisscrossed with OHV tracks.  Riding down them with these supercharged vehicles looks like it might be really fun, but I liked seeing the dunes in their natural state better.  They are the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America and tower over 100 feet above the Pacific on one side and the Suislaw River on the other.  They are very impressive.   Pictures don't do them justice I'm afraid.

We found the south jetty road and started driving to the end, where the river meets the ocean.  It was very very cold and windy, and despite the sun we were chilled to the bone.  Next time we'll need to drag out our winter jackets for this walk.  Huge waves rolled up the river and crashed into the jetty's stone walls.  Signs everywhere warned us of "deadly waves".  We didn't need those signs to keep us away from the edge.  The road on top of the jetty was jagged, we drove for a while, but decided not to push our luck by driving all the way to the end and the crashing waves of the Pacific.

Dave was very cold walking along the Jetty today (so was I!)

fog (the marine layer) would drift in and out quickly, making clear blue sky visible one moment, grey fog the next
this is the end of the jetty, at the ocean

 a calm place to snooze

"You want me to drive on this road?"  
we decided that the jetty road was more than our "trail rated" jeep was up for, so we stopped right here and walked the rest of the way.

this little ground squirrel watched, covertly,  as we fought the strong winds

bridge on US 101 over the Suislaw River

view under the bridge

Port of Suislaw in the old town area of Florence.
We walked along the docks and looked at the fishing boats in the Port.  Its crab season and the boats were busy.  A very small farmer's market was set up there and we found a few things to enhance our dinner of left over's tonight.  The vendor was very excited to give us samples of all his wares, and that turned out to be a great sales tactic!  In addition to the veggies below, we bought some beautiful, juicy peaches, probably the last of the season.  Peach Cobbler coming up!

tiny multi colored pear tomatoes and 2 Armenian Cucumbers
Finally, we found what I'd been looking for all afternoon.  A wide, flat beach (low tide) with easy access not too far from our campground.  All the others we checked out today necessitated a long, steep climb over dunes to get to the water.  This was more like it!  It was great to get my feet back in the sand, even if it was only 52 degrees with a 25 mph wind!!!!

Dave had to brace himself to keep from blowing away.  

Tomorrow's another day, we'll be back with the dogs for a good long walk, this time with the proper clothing!  


  1. Phew...I'm glad you're home. I'm exhausted just watching you brave those winds (and psunami sirens) and it's only 5:15 in the morning here. Glad you didn't get pushed out to the ocean. Keep a good hold on Sasha and Lewis when you visit tomorrow. After all, we're not in Kansas anymore!

  2. Great pictures. MCH