Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Goin' Coastal

2015 has been the year of the coast - the Oregon coast, that is.  From January 1st through mid-April, I've logged more trips to the Pacific than the previous five years combined.

And I wasn't finished yet.

My home for two days

The Central Oregon coast, between Newport and Florence, has been on my "return" list for many years.  Boasting miles of fabulous scenery, interesting rock formations, historic lighthouses, and uncrowded beaches, I'd been scheming a spring visit.  But it's a three-plus hour one-way drive, which makes for an extremely long day trip.  Searching for an inexpensive lodging alternative, I discovered most state park campgrounds offer yurts.  Trying to reserve a yurt, I found every weekend was booked for several months ahead.  However, I could have my pick of Sunday and Monday nights. You know what?  That's what vacation time is for.

My yurt's spacious interior

So I reserved myself a yurt at Carl Washburne State Park for the last Sunday and Monday in April.  My hubby had to work, so it ended up being a solo trip.  But that was fine with me.  Planning to be running around taking photos, I could come and go as I pleased.

Mossy coastal forest

My chosen Sunday afternoon found me driving towards the coast in a rainstorm.  Although the weather wasn't cooperating for my visit, I consoled myself knowing at least there'd be a warm, dry place to sleep.

Gnarly trees

But as I passed through the funky town of Yachats, something wonderful happened.  The rain stopped completely.  By the time I'd pulled into Carl Washburne State Park campground, things were already beginning to dry up.

Salal blooms

The little yurt - my home for the next two days - was everything I'd hoped for.  Essentially a large domed canvas tent on a wooden platform. it had a door that locked, and was equipped with heat and electricity.  Inside, the yurt was furnished with a bunk bed, futon, and a table.  It even had an outlet so I could charge my phone.  Bonus!

Lush forest near my campground

After unpacking and arranging my gear inside this new cozy home, it was time to explore the nearby beach.  The campground had a half mile trail through an amazing mossy coastal forest that led directly to the ocean's edge.

Carl Washburne State Park beach

Aaahhhhh!  Now that I was finally on the beach, the stress from traveling melted away.  There's nothing like a long walk in the sand to chill out jangled nerves.  And having some fantastic scenery to photograph didn't hurt.

Interesting seaweed

So many subjects.  Like this seaweed-draped piece of driftwood.

Colorful shell

Or this pearly pink-striped shell.

Another interesting shell

Or this bluish pair of shells.

Sweeping beach views

These eroded cliffs were an interesting blend of light and dark earth tones.

A little color 

I even spotted some cheery yellow wildflowers growing nearby!

Lovely flowers

Still wearing droplets from the afternoon's rain.

The beach's south end

I wandered all the way down to the beach's southern end.  The sand here was blocked by a tall headland.

Velella velella washed up on the beach

So I turned back, retracing my steps.  On my return, I ran into a small cluster of Velella velella, jellyfish-like sea creatures, that had washed up on the sand.

Velella velella before they begin rotting

These organisms live in the ocean and float above the water, using a small sail on top of their bodies to propel themselves.  Because this sail is their only means of locomotion, the Velella velella are at the mercy of prevailing winds.  These creatures are sometimes subject to mass strandings on nearby beaches.  Coincidentally, this very phenomenon happened in April.  The local news reported that hundreds of these tiny creatures had been washing up on Oregon beaches.

This one looks like he's leaking

I saw numerous Velella velella stuck in the sand, slowly leaking blue fluid out of their bodies.  Although eerily pretty, it was also a sad sight.

Lovely ocean cliffs near Heceta Head

My rumbling stomach cut the beach walk short, and I returned to my snug little yurt, to have dinner and plan the next day's activities.  There was lots on my agenda - visiting the Heceta Head Lighthouse at sunrise, and taking in the tidepools and spouting waves at Cape Perpetua.  Tune in to my next post and see what sights I find!

Sharing with:  Our World Tuesday and Wednesday Around the World.


  1. The forest is out of this world.
    Are those mussel seedling on the seaweed?
    I would like a yurt.

  2. Beautiful post, iv'e never seen before this kind of jellyfish.
    Best regards.

  3. Those state park yurts are my favorite part about Oregon State Parks. Some county parks have them too. It's soooo nice to have a cheaper and dry/warm alternative for winter trips too. :) Gorgeous shots, as always!

  4. That region of the coast is so beautiful.. I haven't been down there in several years. Need to go back!
    I loved all your images, I soaked them in. And I've always wondered about what the inside of a yurt looked like, they seem to be popping up at state parks, here in Washington and in Oregon.
    Wonderful post, Linda.. I really enjoyed it!

  5. A beautiful area to explore and you made many interesting beach finds

  6. Oh wow, I love the Oregon coastline.The gnarly trees are cool. The kurt is a neat structure and I am glad to hear they lock. Are the bathrooms nearby? The beach is beautiful. Beautiful wildflowers and the Velella velella is a new creature to me. Sad to hear they were washing up on the shore. Gorgeous series of photos! Have a happy day!

  7. As always, I enjoy following your journeys along the Oregon coast. You have some great photos here. I particularly like the beach scenes. Very nice work, Linda!

  8. Cool! We're missing the ocean this summer and you are taking me there, thanks!

    Speaking of yurts, we saw some on the most beautiful bluff overlooking Guernsey Reservoir yesterday. Another photographers dream spot, especially on a nice, calm weekday!

  9. Wonderful pictures! I do indeed look forward to the next batch of pictures from your lens. :-)

  10. What a nice place to vacation! That yurt looks just perfect! The Velella velella are such interesting looking creatures:)

  11. Wow! Those mossy trees are amazing!

  12. What a great tour of the coast, keep the photos coming! Tom The Backroads Traveller

  13. How totally awesome has day 1 been? I love, each and everyone of your captures but particularly love the path with the wriggledy mossy trees.

  14. That is awesome - such scenery. And I love the yurt!

  15. Boy, talk about a post filled with 'eye candy'. If there is a series of photos in one post, I usually try to identify the one I love the best, but this was impossible. What a wonderful solo vacation you had, and you certainly came home with some stunning images!

  16. Oh Linda - what fabulous photos today. I loved all of them. And, the yurt sounds cool.

  17. Some of your shots here remind me of the beaches we stopped at when we were up in your area last year. Amazing beauty. What an amazing find this yurt was and such a perfect quiet time to do your photography. Love your flowers with the raindrops on them, and the trees in the woods look like a tropical forest. Just gorgeous. i will be in Hawaii soon and looking forward to the beaches there. so beautiful

  18. What a wonderful get-a-way! Love that yurt!

  19. I do love to walk along the coast and on the beach, too! Your yellow wildflower looks like what they call 'gorse' here in New Zealand. I love to see it and shoot it, but, apparently it's quite invasive.

  20. Yurts are fun to stay in. Looks a great section of wild coast. The sort of beach a person on horseback might turn a corner and find a half buried Statue of Liberty perhaps.... has that look about it.

  21. Wow! Nice trip to the coast. The yurt looks very nice to stay. The ocean cliff photo is very cool. Thanks for sharing.

  22. I have always thought that staying in a yurt would be a lot of fun. Especially love your "gnarly trees" photo and the "lush forest..." photo -- both are quite lovely! I don't think I've ever been to this beach before...nothing like a walk on the beach to make one feel peaceful:)
    Blessings, Aimee

  23. This is so beautiful, I'm almost speechless...Sleeping in that forest would be a dream come true! Your pictures are stunning as always!

  24. Such a beautiful place. The velella velella looks like a jelly spiders web :-) The yurt looked so comfortable, the perfect bolt hole. xx

  25. Your photos show why you wanted to go back there so much! The Oregons coast is beautiful.

  26. now I know what those blue jellyfish are called. I didn't know their name....thanks. I found a huge jellyfish on the beach in WA and took a photo of it. Never seen one like it. It was with a bunch of the little blue jellyfish. Apparently the small blue ones are in the family of man o war jelly fish. That's what I read when I was researching the small ones. Your trip sounded fun. I have enjoyed the beach a couple times this year so far. Yurts are nice. I've stayed in a couple state parks that way. Still gotta walk to the bathroom and showers. Oh well! Take care and have a fun summer!

  27. I love the mossy trees. It's like a magical forest. Beautiful captures from the beach as well.

  28. We visited this area a couple springs ago - I loved the town of Yachats. Your yurt looks like the perfect home away from home. I love the dancing trees, the Salal, and the blue jellyfish - all come alive in your photos.

  29. playing catch up. great photos. beautiful area.

  30. So pretty! Putting this on my list!

  31. I think I'll put a yurt stay on my to-do list! It would certainly be more comfortable in the rain than my 2-man backpacking tent!


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