Thursday, October 15, 2015

Visiting the Oregon Coast

Last August my family had a lovely vacation on the Oregon coast. I have lived in Seattle for 14 years (that is INSANE!) and had never been to the Oregon or the Washington coast before. It was definitely time-- and I can't wait to go back!

We stayed in Waldport, OR in the best rental house-- it's always fun when the rentals are nicer than the house you live in! The house was on the peninsula between Alsea Bay and the ocean. My parents graciously offered to rent the house for us, and despite having zero knowledge of the area themselves I don't think they could have picked a better location. We could see the bay from the back windows of the house, which was home to all sorts of critters, including seals! At night the Alsea Bay bridge was lit up, it was just gorgeous. 

The drive down from Seattle was a little looooong (as was the drive home), but we got to stop for Dutch Bros! 

Coconut mocha. Mmmmm.

Not surprisingly, I woke up on the first morning and headed out for a run. Down across the Alsea Bay bridge then on to the sand along the ocean. Having never run on sand before, I thought it was an extremely fun experience. At low tide the exposed beach was very flat and the sand was the perfect firmness. 
 
Looking back at the peninsula from the Alsea Bay bridge.

Driftwood sculpture on the beach.

Feet selfie with bird footprints.

After breakfast it was time to build our own driftwood huts. Apparently that's a thing on the ocean.

Checking out a hut we found.

Figuring out how to start the structure.

Big enough for half a girl!

Eloise and her new home.

We also learned how to go crabbing and clamming from the Alsea Bay Interpretive Center. Unfortunately being there in town just a few days meant it wasn't really feasible for us to buy all of the gear we'd need to really get in to it, but we did rent a crab net and buy some gloves and a license to try it out.

The girls spent the next few days digging up clams-- they mostly found purple varnish and heart cockles, and Matt tried his hand at catching crabs. Unfortunately we couldn't keep any of the crabs he caught as they were either too small or were females. It was still fun to try!

One of the crab hauls. No keepers.

Child labor.

Her first clam!

Eloise's birthday fell during our vacation and we nudged her in to the idea of going horseback riding. After breakfast and presents the girls and my mom and I headed south down Hwy 101 to C&M Stables. My husband and dad weren't so in to it. It was mostly a great experience-- the ride went on some beautiful trails over to the beach before heading down the sand, then back up and returns to the stables. The ride on the trails was great, but the wind was so crazy strong that the part on the beach was downright miserable. And the bones in my booty region hurt. 

Look like a natural, huh? I was riding Sandman.

Eloise on Zeus.

Iris on Bailey.

On the beach. Much windier than it appears.

We had Eloise's birthday dinner at Grand Central Pizza, which was far better than we thought it was going to be! The waitress was so nice, she brought a plate of cookies to our table along with a Good Humor ice cream cone for the birthday girl.

Of course, we still went back to the rental house and had birthday cake! 

Eloise picked German Chocolate.

The next morning the girls, my mom and I ventured to go kayaking in Alsea Bay. I absolutely loved this activity! We rented the kayaks from the Kayak Shack, which is run by Waldport High School. We paddled out in to the bay to watch the seals. There were dozens of them! Many were sleeping on the shore, several were swimming in the water around us. They were curious but didn't come too close. It was amazing. Unfortunately the little buggers were hard to photograph, so alas no pictures.

Intrepid paddlers.

Watching for seals.

My mom and Iris.

That afternoon my parents, the girls, Matt and I went down to Cape Perpetua, just south of Yachats (which was south of Waldport). Cape Perpetua is in the Siuslaw National Forest and is just gorgeous. The plan was for me to run on the trails while everyone else explored the shore, then we would all meet up to poke around a little more before heading back to Waldport. 

The trails in Cape Perpetua are beautiful and well groomed! It was a tough run, despite the weather being fairly mild, it felt pretty warm and muggy in the woods. 

View of the ocean from the Oregon Coast Trail South.

Signs at first intersection-- the trails are very well marked!


Bridge near the end.


I started at the visitor's center then went south on the Oregon Coast Trail South, east on Gwynn Creek Trail, then west on Cook's Ridge Trail back to the visitor's center. It was about 6 miles.

The run was tough, it was uphill more than half of the way, so it was a lot of hiking for me. I would recommend running that loop the reverse of what I did and get your climbing out of the way in a shorter, steeper burst!

Some pictures from exploring along the ocean:

I think this was by Devil's Churn.

Family portait in the tunnel under Hwy 101.

Happy Iris.

The next morning it was already time to head home . . . but not before one last stop. My parents showed us a cool little spot called Seal Rock just north of Waldport on Hwy 101. 

Climbing.

Iris in the mist.

The seals were out there.

It was a perfect vacation-- equal parts relaxation and adventure. I definitely can't wait to visit the Oregon coast again!

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