RV Adventures: A Trip Out West! Day 20

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The four of us left in the morning for our drive to the Oregon coast. Our friends wanted to show us more of the coastal area. Winchester Bay was our first stop. It is a small sea town located at the Pacific end of the Umpqua River. It is known for its fishing, both fresh and saltwater.

Looking from Winchester Bay

We stopped at Ziolkouski Beach Park in Winchester Bay. It has a wide expanse of sandy beach. This is where you’ll find a triangle that is a jetty formation. It consists of two jetties that consist of rip-rap structures jutting out into the ocean and then they connect with each other and this forms the triangle. As we walked along the beach there was a LOT of driftwood! A family was creating a fort with the pieces of wood. In the middle of the triangle we saw the oyster pods from the Umpqua Triangle Oysters.

“The Triangle”

After walking along the beach and climbing over the jetty to look at the oyster pods, we drove to the Umpqua River Lighthouse. The lighthouse was originally built in 1857 near the mouth of the river and the Pacific Ocean but it was destroyed by a flood in February, 1864. The lighthouse was rebuilt at its current location in 1891 and was finished in 1894.

Portside Restaurant, Coos Bay

Coos Bay is where we stopped for lunch. Coos bay is a city where the Coos River enters Coos Bay on the Pacific Ocean. This city is the most populated city along the coast. We had a delicious meal at the Portside Restaurant which is located along Coos Bay.

After lunch we visited Shore Acres State Park. This park was originally the summer home of Louis J. Simpson who was a lumberman and shipbuilder. It was built on a scenic bluff and then purchased by the state of Oregon in 1942 because after the crash of the Great Depression Simpson was bankrupt.

Shore Acres has a formal garden with plants and flowers from all over the world, a Japanese style garden, and the All-American rose selections. In the garden there is something blooming year-round. There is a trail that leads to an ocean cove called Simpson Beach and another trail that takes you to the cliff’s edge.

We were able to get a close up photo of the Cape Arago Lighthouse from the cliff’s edge in Shore Acres. The lighthouse was first erected in 1866 and the only surviving building is the third lighthouse. The lighthouse stands on Chief’s Island at Point Gregory and is now private property owned by the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians.

When we finished touring the gardens we started back toward our campground. The route back is the same that we took yesterday so we passed the elk viewing at Dean Creek. Today we saw bull elks feeding. Of course we pulled over and watched them.

The sunset over the Umpqua River was beautiful this evening.

RV Adventures: A Trip Out West! Day 19

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Today we drove over to the Oregon coast with Peggy and Ernie! Our first stop was the Oregon Dunes Overlook. There are trails that you can hike over the dunes to the Pacific Ocean.

After walking around the dunes we got back on route 101 and drove to the city of Florence which is along the Siuslaw River. We had a nice lunch after we parked and walked back into town.

Florence has sea lion caves where we saw many Stellar sea lions relaxing! These sea lions are also threatened.

Near Florence we could see from the scenic viewpoint off the highway the Heceta Head Lighthouse which has been restored. The lighthouse was first lit in 1894. In 1963 the lighthouse was automated and run by computers. The former Keepers house was turned into a Bed and Breakfast in 1995. Due to COVID the tours of the Keepers house and the lighthouse were canceled.

Heceta Head Lighthouse

The views along the Oregon coast were beautiful!

At Cape Perpetua we saw more of the rugged Oregon coast. From the viewpoint you could see how the ocean has carved blowholes and other formations.

The Captain Cook Trail is a loop that we hiked and we could see Thor’s Well which is also known as the Drainpipe of the Pacific. At Thor’s Well you can watch the water come in and then shoot up! It wasn’t very high when we were there.

Devil’s Churn is a narrow inlet of the Pacific Ocean. It is a huge rock chasm which is a deep crack in the Earth’s surface. Devil’s Churn is believed to have formed from a collapsed lava tube going back many, many years to Oregon’s volcanic days. The ocean waves crash and then churn!

Devil’s Churn

On our drive along the coast we also hiked the Giant Spruce Trail. We hiked through the dense forest to a Sitka spruce tree that is more than 500 years old. The giant spruce is more than 185 feet tall and a circumference of 40 feet! Pictures of the giant spruce are below.

Baker Beach is located north of the town of Florence. To get to the sandy beach, the trail is about half a mile through the grassy dunes.

As the sun was beginning to set we started back toward our campground. On our way we saw elk eating near the Dean Creek Elk viewing area. There are a series of pastures along the Oregon highway 38 that are maintained by the Bureau of Land Management. You can view elk almost everyday. Today we saw many females but no bull elks. They were busy feeding!

We had a such a good time exploring the Oregon Coast that we are going to different areas along the coast tomorrow!

RV Adventures: A Trip Out West! Day 14

Friday, June 18, 2021

Our goal today was to explore Olympic National Park. It was another early start because we wanted to have a lot of time in the park. It is 922,650 acres of various wilderness terrain. We downloaded for offline use the park information from the NPS app. It was very helpful because we didn’t have cell service for much of the park.

From our campsite we crossed Puget Sound and drove along Hood Canal which is one of the four main basins of Puget Sound. Annas Bay is located at the mouth of the Skokomish River at the bend at the south end of Hood Canal.

Before heading into the park we learned that we need to fill up our gas tank when we see a gas station. This was the first station and mart that we saw on 101, near Sequim, WA before the entrance to the park! And it was very busy! There were totems around the station and are representative of the S’Klallam Tribe. The S’Klallam Tribe community is located nearby.

Longhouse Market & Deli and Gas Station

We stopped at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center which wasn’t open but the park rangers were set up outside with maps. We used the map and the trail information to guide us through the park. The Beaumont Cabin is located at the visitor center. The cabin was built in 1897 and was moved here in 1962. The Beaumont family lived in the cabin for about 40 years. It sat on a government homestead site of 160 acres about a mile from its current location.

Beaumont Cabin

Once in the park we headed toward the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. The panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains. Hurricane Ridge is located in land of the S’Klallam people.

Our road to Hurricane Ridge as we travel on Hurricane Ridge Road.

When we left Hurricane Ridge we drove to Elwha River Valley. We parked and walked the Madison Falls Trailhead. As you walk the trail you are in the homeland of the Lower Elwha Klallam people.

Our next stop was Crescent Lake which is a freshwater lake that was carved by glaciers. The lake is 12 miles long and 624 feet deep! The Crescent Lake Lodge is near where we stopped. We parked and got our packed lunch and sat on a log by the lake and enjoyed our meal looking out over the water. After eating we walked around the grounds and went into the lodge. The lodge was built in 1915 and the lobby has a beautiful stone fireplace and it is furnished with antiques. It has a sun porch that looked so inviting but we had more to see and do in the park!

As we travel in the park our next stop was the Sol Duc Valley. We hiked the Sol Duc Falls trail and we were rewarded with the falls which was really flowing!

Along the Sol Duc Hot Springs road is a viewing platform for visitors to watch the salmon leap up the cascades to spawn in the Sol Duc river. Of course that time of year is September and October for the Coho Salmon and March through May for the steelhead trout!

There is a short loop trail where we hiked through the deep green Olympic Old Growth. It was a peaceful walk.

We continued around the park to the Hoh Rain forest.

In the Hoh Rain Forest we hiked the Hall of Mosses trail and the Maple Grove trail. At the trailhead we saw the sign below. Needless to say we were paying attention as we hiked along!

Bear Warning

Below are pictures of large ferns, moss covered trees and the Taft Creek. The moss is everywhere and really covers some of the trees but the moss doesn’t hurt the trees. The moss feeds on air and light.

Some of the coniferous tree trunks were huge as you can see from the picture below!

The tree trunk is wider than Dave’s arm span.

The Hoh Rain Forest is named after the Hoh River which runs from Mt. Olympus to the Pacific coast!

Hoh River

Our last stop in the park was along the Pacific Ocean with a lighthouse in the distance and the sun getting low in the horizon.

Olympic National Park was definitely the most diverse park we have visited with four regions: the alpine areas, the Pacific coastline, east side drier forests, and the west side temperate rainforest! Several times as we drove around on route 101 we would leave Olympic national park and then we would enter back into the park and the entrance gate. Our drive back to our campsite was uneventful and we were exhausted after a long day exploring Olympic National Park.