After enjoying a lovely sunny day on the coast, I awoke the next morning to a wet, misty world.
|Foggy, rainy morning|
But it was cozy in my little heated yurt, and I was in no hurry to leave. Snuggling up on the futon couch, I read a book while listening to the soft pattering of raindrops on the roof. Today was the day I'd pack up and head home, and I was gonna enjoy these final hours to the fullest.
|Not much to see at the beach|
A four-hour drive awaited though, and the desire to beat rush-hour traffic finally dislodged me from vacationland. That, and I'd planned a few photo breaks along the way.
|Highway bridge underside|
Once on the road, I stopped at the first nearby beach for photos, but wind and driving rain made capturing images nearly impossible. Further along, I made a final visit to Cape Perpetua. The fantastic sunny conditions I'd enjoyed yesterday seemed like another lifetime ago. Today, the rocky shoreline huddled under a dull, gray sky.
|Cook's Chasm wasn't as entertaining today|
From the highway bridge, I looked down into Cook's Chasm, hoping for a repeat of yesterday's huge wave action. But the drab-colored seawater just swirled sluggishly. The only bright spot was a couple of wildflowers blooming nearby.
So I continued north, following US 101. Seal Rock was my next destination. I'd heard the scenery was fantastic. And there was supposed to be tons of wildlife - seals, of course, and birds nesting in nearby cliffs.
|Lots of birds hanging out|
But upon my arrival, the rain and wind decided to turn up the volume. Emerging from the protective coastal forest, I was blasted with huge raindrops, while strong gales tried to blow me over. I managed to click a couple of images, before hurriedly shoving the camera into my jacket. The line of large, offshore sea stacks looked photogenic, and on a better day I would've spent more time. But I wasn't willing to destroy my camera (or myself!) for a bunch of photos. Seal Rock would have to wait for another trip.
On to another scenic attraction! My next destination was a wave-sculpted hollow rock called the Devil's Punchbowl. Located north of the town of Newport, I was hoping the weather would improve by the time I arrived.
|Close up of the inlet arch|
Although not an official Oregon state park, Devil's Punchbowl was designated a State Natural Area. It had been many years since I'd visited here, and if not for some well-placed highway signs, I might have missed the turnoff. The narrow, windy road I was directed onto didn't seem like the main road to a well-known attraction. I drove for a few miles through a residential area, thinking to myself "Is this really the correct way?"
|Interesting orange lichen on it's walls|
But, right before the ocean, the houses cleared to reveal a wide street. A couple of small commercial buildings, including a chowder restaurant, were perched nearby. A large fence was strung across the road's end. What was behind there? Walking up to the fence, I looked down, and spread below, there was Devil's Punchbowl.
|Topside, looking out to sea|
A much more interesting landform than I thought it would be, Devil's Punchbowl consisted of a huge oblong hole in the seaside cliffs, which resembled, of course, a punch bowl. Thought to be formed when wave erosion caused the roof of two sea caves to collapse, I admired it's smooth, sand-colored rocky walls, accented by bright orange lichen.
|Long way down to the beach!|
It was fun to watch waves rushing in through two arched openings. The foamy water churned around in the middle, before being sucked back out to sea. Arriving between tides, there wasn't a huge amount of splashing action, but I assumed high tides would likely put on quite a show.
|Interesting "islands" carved into the cliffs|
A paved path followed the clifftop, and wandered along the sea. High cliffs prevented beach access here, but there appeared to be a path closer towards the neighborhood that led to the sand. But the crummy, windy weather wasn't persuading me to explore down there. As a matter of fact, that nearby chowder house was looking mighty tempting.
|Not a day to sit outside|
The restaurant was nearly deserted. I had the fastest service in my life, and good conversation with one poor waitress who was probably bored by the lack of customers. As I enjoyed a steaming bowl of delicious clam chowder, the heavy rain and wind decided to make a comeback, slamming at the windows. I silently thanked my lucky stars for the good sense to photograph Devil's Punchbowl before having lunch.
|One more rainy shot!|
Thus ends my Central Oregon Coast trip recaps. Looking back, I'm glad I made the effort to explore this part of the coast. Many years had passed since my last visit - and I now remember what I've missed. Although a lot was packed into 2 days, there's still many places I'd didn't get to. They're on my list for a return visit - which I can guarantee will happen soon.
Just in case you've missed any, here's all the links to my Central Oregon Coast mini-vacation posts:
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Cape Perpetua - Land of Big Splashes
Sharing with: Our World Tuesday