A new year, time for reflection on the year that has just passed and a look forward to what is yet to come. It's a good time to set new goals or an opportunity to recommit to old ones. Anything is possible. You don't necessarily need a new year to start anew but it seems like a natural time to me.
Day one of my new year began with a trip to the coast. Morgan, Cole and I hopped in my new-to-me car early Thursday morning and drove southwest from Portland to the central Oregon coast. It seems no matter which route you take to the coast, they are all full of beautiful landscapes of mountainous hillsides, giant trees, horse pastures and dotted with a few charming small towns. In some ways, it reminds me of home. Certain parts are like driving through the back roads in northern Wisconsin where my grandfather used to live, surrounded by trees and weaving through curvy roads illuminated by the sun's rays that barely manage to cut through the foliage. In other ways, it's a world of difference, the elevation changes in Wisconsin are nothing compared to those here in Oregon. I love coming around a bend in the road or over the top of a hill and suddenly being met with a magnificent view of giant sloping of hillsides, covered in enormous trees, as far as can be seen.
Once on the coast, we stopped in Yachats for lunch at the Drift Inn
. Colorful globed lamps and painted umbrellas hung from the ceiling while brightly colored art adorned the walls. There were many appealing options on the menu, making it difficult to choose just one thing. Once we finished with our lunch, we drove a bit more south to Cape Perpetua
, a 2,700 acre section of the coast with wonderful natural features to explore. We parked by Devil's Churn
and hiked south on the trail to Spouting Horn, stopping to explore tide pools along the way.
After leaving Cape Perpetua, we checked into a charming room at the Fireside Inn
, a motel close to the beach in Yachats. Before dinner, we walked to the beach to watch the sun set amid the cool, fresh air. At the nearby Adobe Resort
, we enjoyed a feast of sauteed mushrooms, seafood and cocktails. From our table, the view of the ocean and beach, still glowing from the setting sun, was a special added touch to our dining experience.
The next morning, we made a quick stop again at Cape Perpetua as it was high tide and a perfect opportunity to see Thor's Well
. Afterward, we went further south, stopping at Strawberry Hill
before arriving at Heceta Beach
to explore the rock-speckled shore. The beach curved up along a river that flowed under a bridge surrounded by moss covered trees and a few pockets of water froze on the sand. We climbed an old tree that had fallen and created a sort of bridge over the river. Once done there, we drove north to Newport to visit a bookstore we had heard good things about, Canyon Way Bookstore
. Afterward, we grabbed some lunch at Pig N Pancake
and then found our way to Devil's Punchbowl
. Unfortunately, the friendly little squirrels that had been there during my previous visit the summer before must have left with the tourists because not one could be found anywhere. Though we did manage to sneak in a quick visit to a nearby viewpoint off the Otter Crest Loop
before the last light of day disappeared.
As I was saying, a new year is a good time to set new goals and part of what I want to make a priority this year is getting my to-do list organized. There are a plethora of places I want to hike and with my new car, I'm now able to more easily get away on the weekends and hike the trails around Portland, in the Gorge, by Mount Hood, on the coast and in the central Cascades area. There's an ever-growing list of books I want to read and music I want to listen to. I want to setup my first official photography website and spend more time growing my photography skills. Now that my job and home are settled, I want to work on meeting new people and hopefully make some good friends here. Before I know it, it will be closing in on 2016 so I better get going. I hope you will follow along as I embark on these next adventures!!
|Viewpoint from Otter Crest Loop |
To see more photos from my nature adventures, click here.