Monday, September 5, 2011

Cape Lookout Oregon

We traveled through Tillamook to find this beach. I wanted to see this place especially since we had just gotten some amazing sharp cheddar that had been made here recently. My husband was wondering how a place right on the ocean was known for making cheese. I told him "sea cows" ha! It was a cute quiet little town surrounded with beautiful pastures filled with grazing cows. Mountains surrounded the very flat farm pastures. A river interrupted the fields and then moved onto a tidal bay area where people were clamming! I have never seen clamming before other then TV or photos. It is REALLY neat and I would really like to try it next summer. The rules and regulations were laid out on a board and people in rubber boots mucked around in the mud digging up clams with funny little basket scooper things on sticks. I have some hot pink farm boots just for this task.

We drove past a few view points of the ocean and moved on to the Lookout Point parking area. It is good to get here early because though the lot is of ample size there are a lot of visitors. People were hiking in from far down the road.

I had been dreaming about moving to Oregon for some time. Quite often I would google image pictures and would see stunning photos of a rocky cliff coast. I could not imagine what it would be like to see cliffs like that and added it to my bucket list. To me the Oregon coast is as exotic and wonderful as Gunung Mulu National Park, Borneo (also on my bucket list). 

I got to scratch the cliffs off my list when I went to visit Cape Looktout. We started down the path to the populer lookout and realized we were going to be just in time for low tide if we went to the beach first. There were a lot of tourists anyway so we headed left down the less traveled trail to the beach. This seemed to be a much longer trail then the Crescent Beach trail in Ecola State Park but is much less steep as it makes a long gradual z shaped decent down to the beach. This is the kind of trail you would want to take visitors down. They could do it with most any kind of shoe one water bottle and even little kids could handle the trip. There are shortcuts that are very steep but if your in great shape and want to try it can cut an hour off the hike. Keep in mind the plant life is delicate and that you are in bear country and that staying on the trail is probably your best bet. 

One of my favorite critters here in Oregon are the giant slugs. I saw a record breaking slug munching on a bright orange and yellow muchroom. It had left large bite marks in the soft mushroom top. It had like a tube mouth that would slowly come down and scrape bits of the shroom off. I didn't think to take a video of this but I am probably the only person in the world who would want to watch a video of a slug eating a mushroom. 

There were lots of mushrooms and ferns on the trail. It was fantastic and I tried to take pictures of as many as possible. It reminded me of a much larger version of Clarks Reservation in Syracuse, NY. Clarks is a unique area with something like 150 unique verities of ferns growing on its cliffs. 

This is a nice quiet beach. Not as quiet as Crescent but large so you don't feel crowded in the least bit. The cliffs are immense and the tidal pool is VERY exciting. It seemed to be a crab breeding ground and I spotted at least 3 or 4 different verities of crabs. I am sure there were more but to my untrained eye it seemed to be about that many. There were babies the size of a pencil eraser everywhere. They were scooting around some with teeny tinny shells and some still searching for their shell home. There were large crabs crabbing around menacing the smaller ones and others defending their spots. I found some dead crabs and a big guy fending off a new intruder in one pool. 

The coolest thing I was able to spot was a giant sea snail. After a little research I think I found the name of the creature. Lottia Scabra seems to be the name. They seem to be a rare find though especially of that size. Apparently they are a delicacy. Hopefully this one is safe here at the park. 

I really enjoyed watching the dancing fog at this beach. When we arrived the water was vivid blue and smooth as glass. The fog was way out but slowly creeped in. It would creep in, move back and then move down the beach. People were slowly moving through the fog. It was like watching the saints march in the movie Fantasia. It was almost somber as if you were witnessing ghosts moving through the fog. The waves started to pick up and had a pleasant methodical crash. The waves looked really big to me and were still the vibrant blue with wonderful white crests. 

We explored every inch of the tidal pools and then moved down the beach to a area where sand and soil had broken off leaving a exposed area of layers and a wall of towering pines peering down the collapsing edge. We sat in the sand eating our lunch while the dogs dug little holes of cool sand to lay in. Daisy our beagle snuck some licks in on my sandwich while I distractedly starred down the beach. We were still tired from the King Mountain Trail adventure and headed back home soon after lunch. I would really like to visit this beach again and out of a whole state filled with 5 star beaches would give this one 10. 

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