Three Capes Outing

Took a day off from the usual grind and headed to the three Capes, Kiwanda, Lookout, and Mears on the Oregon Coast.  Being the middle of the week still in the off-season, along with overcast skies, I looked forward to a mostly solitary day of hiking in the Siuslaw National Forest.   My body and mind needing to experience the wonders and joys of being with nature.  I loaded up my photography gear in its backpack and headed out just before dawn to my destination at Cape Outlook.

I have wanted to do this hike for some time but held off due to what I had read about the trail traversing sheer drop offs, not a place for dogs or kids.  Having been on a couple of other hikes in the gorge that claimed the same and they didn’t bother me I decided to take this one even though I have somewhat a fear of heights.

I arrived at the trailhead just as the morning light was penetrating the seemingly ever-present morning coastal fog.  As I began my trek I saw early signs of spring, such as this delicate trillium wildflower.  Amazing how such a little flower can thrive under the thick canopy of old growth forest.

Trillium Flower

The thick canopy of forest soon gave way to a spectacular view only blocked by sparse trees and shrubs, their roots clinging perilously to the face of the huge rock I climbed.  I paused to capture the wonderful view stretched out below me, and since fear had not edged its way into my conscience I decided this was one hike I could do.  It was the last image I dared captured on this hike.

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Moving forward and up the sparse trees and shrub became sparser and the trail narrower.  I pushed on even though the edge, a sheer drop off to the ocean below of several hundred feet, kept me up against the wall of the rock.  The wind was picking up as I kept my head down looking at my path and concentrating on my breathing as I vowed to get past this section of the hike.  I reached my limit when my tripod got hung up on a root embedded in the rock wall.  This knocked me a little off-balance as I grabbed another root and flatten myself against the wall where I remained frozen while my mind went wild with all kinds of devastating events.  Earthquake would knock me off the cliff, some mean person will come along and push me over, or I will simply slip and fall.  I had to force myself to breath and eventually let go of my death grip on the root embedded in the rock, trying not to think why there was just a root.  Finally fear forced me to move and I got turned around and headed back the way I had come.  The wind gusting at my back.

Back under the canopy of forest I relaxed somewhat and told myself I had made the right choice for if I had seen something to photograph I probably couldn’t for fear had a great hold on me.   I got back into my car at the trailhead and headed for the safety of the low-lying beach that offered a variety of things to photograph.

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Fog at Cape Lookout Beach
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Erosion of the treeline on the north end of the Cape Lookout Beach

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After a few hours walking the beach I headed to Cape Meares where I captured this view, from a much more manageable height, of the town of Oceanside and it’s coastline.

Oregon Coastline view from Cape Mears.
Oregon Coastline view from Cape Meares.

I then retraced my route to Oregon Islands Wildlife Refuge.  This is just north of Oceanside and is a very interesting place to visit.  To get to the beach below one follows a trail built, by the looks of it, by several different people over the years.  Daffodils, pop their cheery blooms here and there.  Thick lumber embedded into the hillside provided steps.  Scrap lumber line the trail as a fencing and as benches to rest.  One section of the path was completely covered with scrap lumber and underneath it things collected from the beach below, rocks, feathers, buoys,rope along with names carved in the lumber, a place much like shrine filled the area within.  Quite interesting.

I continued my descent and finally reached a rocky beach filled with driftwood.  DKB7766

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I found these all quite interesting.  The swirl of the wood grain and the rocks embedded in them afford me time to contemplate nature’s design.

The misty rain, high tide and fog made photographing this beach a pleasure as I love photographing the rain, fog, rocks and water for it adds a punch to an image.

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I continued retracing my route with a detour to Sand Lake.  As the day waned the wind picked up in strength and I wanted to see if I could capture drifting sand at the dunes at Sand Lake.  I wasn’t disappointed.

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I left Sand Lake with my Yukon half filled with the wind-blown grit.

My original plan was to end my day at Pacific City sitting on the beach watching the sun set before heading home.

DKB7771  Fog and low clouds encroached enough on this idea that I knew there would be nothing to watch so I settled with a Bach CD and a leisurely drive home using the back roads to end another wonderful solitary day appreciating life and the surroundings I find myself in.

I had nightmares all night about falling off that cliff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can see these images and more on my website  www.deebrowningphotography.com

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Road Trip to Port Angeles, Washington

 

I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful friend/editor as Sonia.  A thirty year age difference is not an issue, our mutual interests and philosophy provide a bridge.  We are a lot alike in many ways which surprises others.  Neither of us are very social, thus we come across as rather aloof.

Periodically I will take a road trip photographing asking her to join me.  She assists me in taking notes of the images I capture and points out subjects that catch her eye, providing for me, a different perspective.  I deal with a lot of distractions so when I blog, I always run my final draft past her keen eye.  After correcting any errors, she will read it out loud, her English accent and clear voice adding flavor to my written words.

Last Friday I planned another road trip Sonia and I had talked about doing for some time.  It had been years since I had been to the northern Washington Peninsula and the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  As a teen, our family enjoyed camping and clamming in the Olympic National Park.  One of our favorite locations, Lake Ozette, a place promoting solitude, where only a short hike through old growth forest led to ocean beaches adorned with seastacks.  Seals romped in and out of the icy sea waters of the Pacific Ocean, always entertaining to watch.  I plan to return to this place in the near future but for now our destination, Port Angeles, is where we had reservations for a two night stay. The weather forecast called for a wet and stormy weekend, which has never deterred us.

Leaving Portland fairly early, the low clouds prolonged the lighting of the day, we took I-5 to Tacoma where we would exit and cross the Narrows.  The rain we had driven through on I-5 abated as the clouds broke up allowing blue skies, lit by the sun, to appear.  Encouraged by this break in the weather we took a side trip to Port Townsend.  Incorporated in 1851, well-known for its preserved Victorian architecture, rich in history, art and annual festivals.  We arrived to witness them setting up for the weekend annual International Film Festival.  It felt good to really stretch our legs as we joined the locals and tourists alike taking in the interesting sights.

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The rain kept its distance till we were well on our way to Port Angeles.

The next morning we were again blessed with only partly cloudy skies and no rain.   We drove to Hurricane Ridge, in the Olympic National Park, where Sonia wanted see the vast vista of the Olympic Mountain Range. This place held a special meaning for her.  Just recently her dear friend Bob passed away, and his wife and fellow hikers brought his ashes, as per his request, and scattered them near here.    Bob, an adventurous outdoors man, loved the Olympic National Park, his hiking boots were left somewhere up here under a tree marking his favorite spot.   Seeing the view from Hurricane Ridge we understood and appreciated his last request.

_DKB7352_DKB7361Clouds began reclaiming the space of blue, a sign of rain, soon to follow.  As we drove down Hurricane Ridge, the clouds followed obscuring most of the lush, majestic scenery.  The rain began in earnest pelting the Subaru in a side ward direction pushed from the increasing winds.  As with all of our other excursions, when bad weather is predicted, we felt fortunate for once again we experienced a nice dry and partial clearing of the skies while we enjoyed the view.

Seeing blue skies to the east upon entering Port Angeles, we decided to drive back to Port Townsend.  Our hopes were to beat the rain’s arrival and again enjoy the little town built on the shores of a bay with the same name.  Hopes fulfilled, we entered Fort Worden where I helped Sonia set up on the beach with a view of the lighthouse, and the sounds of the small rippling waves coming ashore.  While she took a power nap, I with camera in hand, explored the shore.  Having lost my tethered trigger release on my last hike, I replaced it with a remote trigger release.  It had just arrived the day before and I hadn’t had much of a chance to work with it.  Being told several times that I need to update my self-portraits, something I loath to do mainly because I am not good at it, upon finding a secluded spot alongside of a pier, I made an attempt.  I do not recommend this unless you have a good sense of humor, especially when directed at yourself.

Doing a test shot
Doing a test shot.  Why am I  leaning against the wood and stooped over?  Don’t know!  Must have tripped or stepped on something and lost my balance, at the same time I pushed the trigger release.  LOL
Trying different poses.  UGH
Trying different poses. UGH! and feeling stupid.

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Not quite so secluded, I even got a shot of myself acknowledging the presents of another.  How embarassing!
Not quite so secluded, I even got a shot of myself acknowledging the presence of another. How embarrassing!
So embarrassed and nervous, I rose and pretended to be looking for something in the sand.  Little did I realize, due to my discomfort I had kept my finger pressed on the trigger release button which was set for continuous release.  LOL
So embarrassed and nervous I rose and pretended to look for something in the sand.   Little did I realize, due to my discomfort, I had kept my finger pressed on the trigger release button, set for continuous release. LOL

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After Sonia’s power nap on the shores of Port Townsend Bay, we again visited the more crowded streets of the town enjoying the many sites and different street wear of the locals and tourists.  Heading back to Port Angeles, the clouds again opened up and again we felt fortunate that we avoided the down pour.  The rain soon dissipated when we entered Port Angeles, affording us a wonderful view of the sun setting reflecting off clouds and the waters of Strait of Juan de Fuca as we ate dinner in a local restaurant.  Life is Good!

To purchase prints of images taken that day of sail boats,sunrises,sunset and others   please visit my website     www.deebrowningphotography.com