November 9, 2015

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, Oregon

"There's nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, 
no matter how many times it is sent away."
Sarah Kay

We left Nehalem Bay and pointed the Fox south. Our destination was located just two miles south of the town Yachats and above the Haceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint. Our plans were to leave our mark on Cape Perpetua, which many call "the rugged edge of the Oregon coast."

We decided to stay at Chinook RV Park on the Alsea Bay and River in Waldport, OR to dump and rinse our tanks, charge up the batteries and take care of 10 days of laundry. We chose Waldport because it is a town of relative obscurity, charming, but not crowded and on the water. The park was located just out of the town limits. The owners were great and the basic amenities offered were all we needed, but sites were pretty to close to each other. Fortunately, the park was pretty much empty. They did feature an awesome on-site pet area that Sydney loved to run in and it was right on the river. Plus their wi-fi was super fast so I could catch up on all our on-line tasks.

The US Forest Service created the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and built the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center in the 1960's to highlight the unique beauty of the central Oregon Coast. And what a wonderful champion this area is, to show off the coastal beauty of the state! The visitor center offers natural history and cultural exhibits as well as spectacular views of the ocean and coast from it's deck. There are 27 miles of interconnecting hiking trails through an old growth forest made up of spruce, Douglas-fir and western hemlock, with many of the trails leading to Pacific Ocean viewpoints across the rocky shoreline or the many tidal pools.

Along the Cape Perpetua coastline there are several unique attractions as well. Hike the Captain Cook Trail down to tide pools and witness the power of the sea. The Devil's Churn is a long crack along the the coastal rock that fills with each ocean wave, exploding as incoming and outgoing waves collide. The geyser like Spouting Horn and Thor's Well are both salt water fountains driven by the power of the ocean spectacular they can be is based on height of high tide and size of the incoming swells.

Starting at the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center, we walked the 2.0 mile Giant Spruce Trail that winds through the trees along Cape Creek to Cape Perpetua's most impressive tree, a 600 year old (before Columbus sailed to the Americas) Giant Sitka Spruce, also known as the Silent Sentinel of the Siuslaw. The tree stands more that 56 meters (185') and has a 12 meter circumference (40') at it's base. Its the second largest sitka in Oregon. What was really cool about this tree other than it's massive size was that it's roots came out of the trunk above ground level and create a tunnel underneath the trunk large enough to crawl through. Awesome tree!

Another hike we took was the 2.2 mile Saint Perpetua Trail. This steep trail rewards you with many incredible coastal views, each more awesome than the last, luring you to onward and upward to the most spectacular viewpoint at Cape Perpetua. You will arrive at the Cape Perpetua Shelter, a structure built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1930's, and once there you will agree the hike was worth it. Spectacular!

After three days of exploring this wonderful scenic area it was time to move out and head to one of our favorite destinations on the Oregon coast...Winchester Bay...and of course, Imke's treat of one of it's renowned dungeness crab.

At Waypoint 44.413383-124.016054
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