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.


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.

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


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


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.


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.



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


Columbia River Gorge Flamboyant Sunset

I hope all enjoyed my assistant, Sir Clarence James, while I was busy with many other matters including my work as a photographer.  A little whimsical, he is always a source for entertainment.  If you are disappointed that you are not reading another of his adventures, rest assured he will be back.

With only a couple of weeks of summer left one wonders where it all went.  This year has been very un-summer like in regards to weather, as we here in Oregon have experienced below normal temperatures and an unusual amount of rain the first half of the year.  My garden, or an attempt at one, produced a few green beans and just a week ago the cucumber plants, less than six inches high, produced blooms and now are developing tiny cucumbers.  It seems so peculiar to watch them grow on such small plants.  If the weather holds in the nineties this week and next, as predicted, we will be harvesting tomatoes, and possibly cucumbers if those tiny plants can withstand the burden.  All other plants that I planted either did not come-up or died from lack of sunshine.

With the hopes of an Indian summer, I look forward to capturing the autumn colors, that is if the smoke clears from not too far away forest fires east of Mt. Hood.  Today the wind is coming from the east, filling our air with smoke.  With the return of  the warm weather, I find myself confined mostly indoors due to the smoked-filled air which irritates my lungs. I can’t complain as there are so many who have it so much worse as they deal with natural disasters throughout the world this most unusual year.

The haze of smoke in the air affords one the ability to capture some interesting sunsets and sunrises.   Last Sunday the winds from the south cleared the air allowing me to venture out without a mask.  Wanting to take advantage of  the forest fire’s haze, my husband and I drove to Vista House on Crown Point in the Columbia River Gorge.1906DKB  Here the Columbia River curves a watery path separating Oregon and Washington states,  affording one a ninety degree panoramic view of the south end of the Columbia River Gorge, to watch and of course capture the sunset.

We came early as I wanted to capture the east end of that vista as the sun began it’s most westerly descent casting shadows from trees and craggy cliff edges.

Soon others with the same idea began arriving on this pleasant warm evening to witness and celebrate an end to a wonderful day.


A young man settled himself on the rock wall surrounding the Vista House and began playing a guitar.  His music fitting as it glided smoothly on the ever-present air currents found in the Columbia River Gorge.   Some brought picnic suppers which they spread out on the concrete steps.  Cameras from cell phones to the big guns, made their presence known as their owners captured the smoldering orange-red ball as it descended in the west.1937DKB

After I had taken the eastern images of the Gorge while the sun was beginning it’s descent, I then readied my camera with my Nikkor 17-35mm 1:2.8D wide angle lens and added a graduated ND filter.  With my trigger release cable attached and camera mounted on a tripod, I set-up facing west and framed my shot to include a lamp-post as a silhouette.  I then metered my shot.  I took different stages of the sun’s descent while enjoying exclamations of those around me and the lilting music of the lone guitar.  Young couples kissed the sun silhouetting their features.  Older couples such as my husband and I drew each other closer while facing westward, relaxing in the warm rays of the setting sun.1974DKB

I thought of those close to me who are dealing with life and struggling with what it throws at them.  I wanted them to witness this beauty of nature with me.  I wanted them to receive from this event what I was receiving.  To have hope and faith for when bad things happen, in this case a forest fire, to know there is light at the end of the tunnel such as this wonderful sunset .  My heart and prayers goes out to them as they negotiate their way through the turmoil while I can only be there for them in the form of support as I have no control over what they must endure.  My photography I hope brings them moments of mental relief from their daunting tasks when they view my captured images of the beauty that surrounds us or read the whimsical writing of Sir Clarence James!

So, go out and enjoy the sunset for it not only represents the end but also the beginning!  Life can be good if you want it to be.

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