campsite 74 - best.campsite. evah.
That afternoon we stopped at a small viewpoint and listened to the sea lions barking above the Sea Lion Caves. According to William Sullivan (our tour guide for this trip) it's a tourist attraction worth the $12 admission. I wouldn't know... The three we saw swimming in the ocean from the viewpoint were enough satisfaction for me.
near the Sea Lion Caves south of Heceta Head
We also skipped the homemade fudge made at the Sea Lion Caves. Probably a wise choice.
Next we drove to Sutton Creek Recreation Area and walked over to Baker Beach to enjoy the more grassy dunes in the area.
snowy plover nesting areaATVs aren't allowed on Baker Beach, and unlike Honeyman the dunes weren't high enough for kids to sled down, so we had the entire stretch all to ourselves. Well, us and the seagulls. The day was overcast but not too cold, and it finally felt like we were on the Oregon Coast. The beach itself was pristine with patches of "shell fields" every 20 feet or so. I'd never seen so many large pieces of sand dollars (no luck finding a whole one but at one point I had $2.50 in half dollars).
Clarence ponders the meaning of life
Patrick ponders the meaning of life
Jen ponders the meaning of life
Yep. Lots of sitting. Lots of pondering. A little snacking. A little wandering. Not a bad afternoon.
On the way back to camp we stopped at Darlingtonia State Natural Site to observe the "little garden of multi-colored horrors (for insects)". These interesting plants attract bugs with nectar into the hollow area, then lure the bugs downward where they eventually fall into a pool in the stalk and become plant food.
The peat bog where the darlingtonia colony resides is small but impressive. The park is quaint (I especially liked the hand-carved sign with its lengthy explanation of the plants), very accessible and free, and I highly recommend stopping to check it out.
The next morning we walked through park trails over to Heceda Head lighthouse and back. The sky was clear and blue on the way out, and halfway through the trail it turned foggy and gray - which made for some great forest pictures.
That afternoon involved tidepool exploration at Bob (not Bob's) Creek and Strawberry Hill... My first encounter with tidepools, and definitely not my last.
starfish parking only
even more lazy harbor seals
We also stopped briefly at Cape Perpetua but the tide was low so we headed to dinner that night (dungeness crab salad and artichoke bake at the Drift Inn in Yachats). Super tasty for a former fight club establishment...
the full bar was nice too
... and a quick stop near Bray's Point for some stargazing, where we saw the Milky Way for the second time that week. (And probably the last time for quite a while.) Back at camp the tent sites were full but the campers that night were peaceful, so we enjoyed our last campfire and the last of our Bandon fudge and tried not to think about the trip coming to an end.
The next day after a less impressive Drift Inn breakfast we headed east through the forest to Alsea Falls (eh) and William L. Finley Wildlife Refuge (pretty cool and worth another visit). The final stop was Trader Joe's on the way home.
In just eight days we saw a lot, yet there was a whole lot more we could've seen. Fun yet frustrating! But all in all it was a fantastic trip, and a good sign of great things to come.