Saturday, March 03, 2012

Elk By The Highway In The Dark

At 11 AM we were finished with our Portland doctor business, and 4.5 hours from home if we came straight up the Interstate and then back along Hood Canal. But this was desert-dweller JK's opportunity to get to the Actual Outside Ocean on this trip, and she's driving; so it's her choice. We guessed it might take 7.5 hours to get home by the longer loop if we came up 101 on the coast, and we might be doing the last 90 minutes or so in the dark. (Actually we're wrong, it's more like 9.5 hours and a LOT of dark. Sorry, JK.) We hop in the car, find the US 26 freeway exit, and head west through the Coast Range.

We reached the coast at Seaside, Oregon, and spent a half hour on Del Rey Beach, a state recreation area. It is very very very flat. Cars drive on it. The ocean does that wonderful trick of coming ashore in waves barely two inches high...

Del Rey Beach, Oregon, February 27, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

North and north and north. Up the coast, past Astoria, climb up onto the bridge over the Columbia River, north and north and north. Along the nearly endless Willapa Bay, along the Kalaloch part of the coast at dusk. We take a little trail, look out over the ocean, admit it would be too dark by the time we found our way down to the beach to find our way back.

North north north in the dark. I knew where we were, the highway familiar by this point; for JK it was just a black tunnel. Between the Hoh River and Forks, twice there were bunches of elk right next to the highway, their beige butts and dark heads readily identifiable in the headlights. Elk! Elk! We agreed this counted as a wildlife sighting, fleeting flashing in the night though it was... Then finally home.

Started slow on Tuesday, and spent time writing up notes, making phone calls to doctors, and so on. Finally it was time for fun in the rain. We went to Salt Creek County Park. The tide was cooperative.

The tidepools at Tongue Point, February 28, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Then we went to the other side of the park and up the trail towards Striped Peak. It was just as the trail books promise, the beautiful woods, the sound of waves, the water through the trees too gray/misty to photograph. It's been right there all this time, half an hour away, and I'd never been. Yum.

Striped Peak Trail, February 29, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

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