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.

DKB7757

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.

DKB7758
Fog at Cape Lookout Beach
DKB7761
Erosion of the treeline on the north end of the Cape Lookout Beach

DKB7762

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

DKB7765

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.

DKB7764

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.

_DSC3183

DKB7770

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

Advertisements

Garden and Glass House

Dale Chihuly Exhibit Glass House and Garden
Dale Chihuly Exhibit
Glass House and Garden

On a recent balmy, damp Saturday morning Sonia and I boarded the train to Seattle at Union Station in Portland.  The predicted downpour for the day had thankfully arrived early the night before leaving only puddles of water and low hanging clouds.  A little disappointed that our train was not the new European style one, recently purchased by Amtrak, but pleased to find it clean and comfortable for I had heard since my last train ride that Amtrak had fallen behind in the upkeep of their trains’ interiors.

Settled in our seats we looked out the picture window, the sky growing lighter with the lifting of the low ceiling clouds allowing a nice view of the scenery passing by.  As the train moved northward we noticed periodically leaves, from seemingly nowhere. were flying past our window leaving us to pondering their source.   As we passed by the south end of the Puget Sound, we watched the choppy waves rolling across its vast expanse.   It was then we realized how hard the wind was blowing and its strength is what carried the fall leaves from their unseen source.

As we drew nearer to Seattle, we began discussing one of our favorite artists, glass sculptor, Dale Chihuly, whose ‘Garden and Glass House’ exhibit we had come to see.  Upon our arrival at King Street Train Station, again the wind made us aware of it’s strength as we ventured outside.  Whirlwinds of fall leaves flew in our faces as they pushed past us and into open doors of shops as we walked, or rather pushed past.  The next day, we learned due to the high winds, the floating bridge crossing Lake Washington closed, leaving cars abandoned as people walked off the bridge to safety.

We had on a previous occasion, a couple of years ago, visited Dale Chihuly’s Museum of Glass in his native home town of Tacoma, Washington.  Enchanted with the Bridge of Glass, a 500 foot long pedestrian overpass that links the Museum in Tacoma to the downtown section of the city, a  delightful walk with walls and ceilings showcasing  his work.

Our first sight within the Garden and Glass House exhibit, in Seattle’s Center, brought a sense of calm as we paused to admire the Chihuly’s ‘Glass Forest’.  I love light and its effect on a subject whether it be natural or created by man.  Chihuly  truly understands its importance as it illuminates and reflects off his sculptured pieces.  A real treat to one’s eye and mind.  Allowed to photograph his work, I captured a few of my favorites.  These are very large displays set on a stage, its floor covered with reflecting mirrors producing an impact.

Dale Chihuly's Glass Forest
Dale Chihuly’s ‘Glass Forest’

We moved on to the ‘Northwest Room’, a gallery of his glass sculptured Indian Baskets.  Magnificently done, with Indian designs painted on the blown glass.  His success revealed in his sculpturing the glass to the likeness of ancient Indian baskets with their slump and saggy forms.

Dale Chihuly's Indian Baskets
Dale Chihuly’s Indian Baskets

Another gallery ‘Macchia Forest’, intrigued me as the shape of the glass sculptures captured and reflected the light directed upon it.  Below I captured a section that really caught my eye.  Subtle yet bold!

A section of Dale Chihuly's Macchia Forest
A portion of Dale Chihuly’s ‘Macchia Forest’

Further into the exhibit we came to ‘Ikebana and Float Boat’.  The ‘Float Boat’ literally took my breath away.  Full of glass blown floats the boat drifted upon an illusion of water created with mirrors.  Other floats appeared to have fallen from the craft and been set adrift.   I shot two different angles. This is a life-size boat.

Dale Chihuly's Float Boat
Dale Chihuly’s  Float Boat’
Dale Chihuly Float Boat
Dale Chihuly’s ‘Float Boat’

The other side of this display is another watercraft filled with Dale Chihuly’s interpretation of Ikebana, a traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement.

Dale Chihuly's Ikebana
Dale Chihuly’s ‘Ikebana’

As we moved slowly through the rooms, contemplating this man’s magical work,  one enjoys  the many themes displayed here besides those shown above.  The ‘Sea life Room’, filled with sea plants, starfish, anemones, octopuses, fish, all intertwined, appearing as if moved by the sea’s current.

To our delight, we came to another ceiling gallery, ‘Persian Ceiling’, for we so enjoyed the one displayed at the Tacoma Pedestrian Bridge.  ‘Mille Fiori’ another gallery, at the Glass House and Garden, is fifty-six feet in length and twelve feet wide, a garden of sculptured glass.  Very colorful as most gardens are.

When we finally reached the ‘Glass House’. which sits at the base of the Space Needle, we marveled at the size of this sculpture.  This piece has two thousand individual Persian glass forms fused together.

Myself and my editor, Sonia Picture taken by exhibits staff.
My editor, Sonia, and myself.
Picture taken by exhibit’s staff.

Below a closer view of the Persian glass sculpture in the Glass House.

My self and my editor Sonia In the Glass House.  Picture taken by exhibits staff.

We exited the glass house to stroll in the garden.  At the base of the Space Needle ‘The Sun’, a sixteen foot in diameter sculpture in bright yellow, sits center stage above a platform of sculptured plants.

Dale Chihuly's "The Sun" sculpture
Dale Chihuly’s ‘The Sun’ sculpture

My favorite piece in the garden, as shown below, I see dolphins riding the surf.  The garden, a fun enchanting place, is filled with Chihuly’s glass sculptures.

7After our stroll in the garden we went to the Collectables Café .  A cute little café with tables inlaid with shadow boxes, displaying items from Dale Chihuly’s personal collections.   To our surprise the foods presentation at other tables evoked our reason for eating here,.  We were not disappointed, it delighted our palates.  I highly recommend it.

Though invigorating, we had fought the wind and mini-tornadoes of autumn leaves coming to this exhibit by way of city busses.   With our time running short to catch the train back to Portland, we decided to take a cab.    At the station as we departed our cab, the wind ushered us into King Street Station, along with dry crackling leaves,

With a little time on our hands we took in the architectural beauty of the building.  Sonia commented that it looked freshly painted.  I took pictures of some of the architectural design and when I got home I looked up the building’s history.  Built between 1904 and 1906, over the years it endured many remodels, one that resulted in a lowered ceiling, leaving much of the original ornate interior hidden, till now.  The restoration completed just this year reveals a very stately structure of classic architectural design.

King Street Station restored to it's original architectural design.
King Street Station restored to it’s original architectural design.
King Street Station restored to it's original architectural design.
King Street Station restored to it’s original architectural design.
King Street Station restored to it's original architectural design.
King Street Station restored to it’s original architectural design.

Darkness descended as we traveled south.   Without the views to distract us we made acquaintance with some of our fellow passengers.  One small group told us about eating at Ivan’s that afternoon, a well-known restaurant on one of the many piers along Seattle’s waterfront.  This restaurant is a newer version of it’s former self, destroyed by fire.   As they ate, the strong winds drove waves crashing over the piers.  The rolling white-capped seawater, in clear view of  Ivan’s vast picture windows, left one in their party feeling a little queasy as he tried to finish his meal.

We arrived on time back in Portland, though we didn’t get the opportunity to ride the new train, the comfort and cleanliness of the ones we rode in left us in good form.    An enjoyable day, windy but no rain!

Mental Retreat: Journaling In The Practicing In The Art Of Being

0966DKBwebWe all have those days when we just need to escape.  Living in Portland, Oregon gives me an array of venues, each providing a different scenic and meditative place where I can immerse myself.  The northern Oregon Coast is one of my favorites as it provides an ever-evolving atmosphere for contemplation.  When my everyday schedule starts to get the best of me, I gather my camera gear and head out.  Rarely do I plan these trips as they are accessible day trips.  The night before decisions are the best as they offer me an earlier start.

The northern Oregon coast is a magnet to many, especially those of a solitary artistic nature such as myself, for there are many wondrous areas to appreciate the variable moods and actions of the sea. This particular trip found me traveling northwest on Highway 30, along the banks of the Columbia River.  A light drizzle traveled with me as I drove the dark highway with only the small passing town lights, and headlights of those heading into the city for work, lightening the predawn sky.  Tension in my neck and shoulders begin to recede as I draw nearer to where the Columbia River meets the sea.  My destiny close at hand, as is evident in the silhouettes of ships appearing in the beginning rise of the sun’s rays, as they light the peaks of the dark choppy waters of the mighty river on which anchored ships sit.DKB7408web Life is stirring as I drive through Astoria, Oregon, a town of antiquity and it’s four mile long Megler Bridge that spans the Columbia River.

0003DKB

Arriving at Cannon Beach the rising sun rays have begun to dissipate the early morning fog.  I am in luck as the low tide is nearing its end, leaving a wide beach to stretch my legs.

0980DKBweb

Pools of salt water were left from the retreating surf around Hay Stack Rock, as crews begin to set-up informational signs about the tide pools, a signal to me that possibly a group of school children would soon be arriving.  Wanting more solitude, I returned to my car and headed further south in search of my retreat.0033DKBweb

South of Cannon Beach on Highway 101, I arrived at my destination, Arcadia Beach which is between Hug Point and Cannon Beach.   Hug Point was an old-passage way for wagons and automobiles, before 1940, so-called because the roadway hugged the shoreline contours as it connected Arch Cape with Cannon Beach.  With a trained eye one can see a piece of the abandoned section of this earlier roadway at low tide covered with colonies of anemones, mussels, starfish and sand.3662DKB

Visiting this area of the Oregon Coastline in the middle of the week during the off-season, offers a meditative venue of nature’s art, especially at low tide.  Massive rock formations, once connected to the coastline, stand separated by years of relentless pounding of the sea, evidences of such in the form of trenches, surrounded these Herculean pieces, trapping sea water and creatures alike.  I am not drawn to view the old passage nor to sea life stranded in the pools, instead I find myself captivated by the abstract art formed by nature and where it leads one’s gaze.

I place myself and camera gear on the firm cool wet sand near a grouping of  massive sentinels.   My line of sight follows the artistic curve of the smooth-edged sand banks retaining shallow calm water that flowed slowly past the monolith sculptures of nature, each adorned with mussels, and sea anemones glistening in the sun’s rays.  This watery path lead to the more aggressive waters of the sea that were instrumental tools in the design of these statures.  As I contemplate each shot, I lulled not only by the beauty within my camera’s frame, but by the sound of the rhythmic waves of the reversing tide.  A feeling of well-being and clarity enfold me.   Relaxed, I am thankful for such an opportunity.0952DKB

Pleased at my early arrival for I was experiencing the solitude I so desired as I ambled over to Hug Point Waterfalls, while the tide is still low.  One must be ever so aware of one’s surroundings no matter where you are for various reasons.  Here though, because of the tempestuous nature of the sea at high tide, one can become trapped or at worst pulled into it’s icy turbulence without provocation, by what is known as a sneaker wave.  As in life nothing is as it seems.   Do not be fooled by the calm, for calm is the opposite of turbulence and the two go hand in hand as a balance, as is the way with nature.

Arriving at Hug Point Falls I reclined upon the now sun-warmed accommodating sand and reflect upon the sounds surrounding me.  This was the tonic I so needed.  Born on the cusp of Pisces and Aquarius, I feel this is why I am so drawn to water.  The source of arresting sounds of the fall of water over the small rise of Hug Point Falls and those of the over-lapping waves of the sea, allowed any remaining tension I retained, to completely drain away with each receding wave, as my mind and body became one with my surroundings.  What a gift to oneself.0949DKB-web

Distant voices interrupt my meditative state.  Opening my eyes I saw the source, as an older couple strolled along the tide pools heading my way.   Their beloved pet, of an indescribable canine breed, chased an occasional seagull and snapped at the items offered up by the waves of the incoming tide.  Again I take up my camera and begin capturing the beauty that surrounded me.

As I capture nature’s art and it’s intent, more people arrived to beach-comb or to enjoy a leisurely stroll.  Young adults were the last to make a trek along this beach, probably due to the previous late nights activities.  Their young athletic bodies, with agile limbs, transverse the rocks as they noisily explored their surroundings.  This did not perturb me for it filled me with adventurous thoughts of my own nimble youth and vitality. Though not as spry as I once was, I am grateful for these delays due to my age, for they afford me a more thorough exploration of my surroundings.   As I watch their youthful enthusiasm, I am aware that they are not being truly appreciative.  This will only come with time as I have had to learn.  Our lives are paths which we must all take and each brings about a new awareness.  We must not be critical of those who have not caught up or have surpassed our current path, for they have not traveled as far, nor have we traveled as far as those before us.

0951DKBweb

People are friendly here, a nod accompanied with a spoken “hello” from a smiling face prompts an enthusiastic reply.  Some stop to chat about photography upon seeing my gear.  Others proudly display their finds and mention where they found them.  Children squeal as they run knee-deep in the icy waters, along with an occasional shriek when a wave pushes them from behind, soaking once dry warm garments.  I come alive watching and capturing the human interaction with nature.

Hunger forces me to return to my car and since I did not pack a lunch I’ve decided to head back to Cannon Beach for a bowl of clam chowder at Moe’s.  I enjoy this place for one can watch the goings-on along the shoreline.  The chowder’s warmth spreads through me as I watch those bundled-up souls braving the icy wind as they stroll and play on the beach.  A simple but pleasant meal break.

0987DKB-web

Not wanting to retrace my route, I decide to travel south along the coastline to Tillamook on my return trip home.  More of nature’s art is seen in the wind sculptured trees that line the road, along with panoramic scenes of ocean waves, boulders and sandy beaches.  I turn east and follow the shoreline of Tillamook Bay, passing through tiny fishing communities their boats dotting the bay.

00029DKB-web

I can’t resist the Tillamook Cheese Factory, the true reason for this chosen route, as I am a lover of cheese and here you can sample to your heart’s content before you buy.  Let’s not forget the desert in the way of an ice-cream cone, dish or shake.  The stress released by my journey so far has prepared me well in the practiced art of patience as I become one of the throng of tourists who visit here.  Waiting in line I observe my surroundings and take in the many forms of human life.  I like to think up small life stories to attach to those that interest me.  It is a mental game I enjoy.

After purchasing my cheese and eating my one scoop of ice-cream in a cup, as I am always on a diet these days, I resume my drive towards home by taking Highway 6.  Dairies, their pastures filled with black and white cows, spread across the landscape.  Inland water-ways swell from the incoming tide as it reclaims its mark on the pillars of the piers and docks stationed along the banks.

The landscape changes even more as I make my assent up the coastal range, which is evident in the forest that grows there. Gone are the trees sculptured by the insisting coastal winds.   The trees here have chosen their own paths, some standing tall and wide, others succumbing to the soggy soil as gravity pulls on them, their roots slowly relinquishing their hold.  As I continue to follow the asphalt ribbon I have chosen, I feel the Pacific Ocean diminishing as I near the summit.   Instead of dread or sadness, I feel gratitude that I am fortunate to have experience what I have this day.

Having reached the summit I begin my descent, again I take in my surroundings as the forest gives way to farm land, orchards and vineyards.  Highway 6 connects to Highway 26, known to the locals as Sunset Highway.  Here the traffic grows in numbers as it becomes a multilane freeway.  The homeward journey lengthens as traffic becomes more congested when one draws nearer to entering the Portland Metro area.  With the masses, I traverse through the south-east blocks of the city, my chosen route to bypass the more heavily congested routes.  As I made progress I saw many things of photographic interest.   I found myself not thinking of the heavy traffic but instead of how I need to come and spend another day in the city to experience and capture images of the life here.

Leaving the city behind I continue my way towards home, on the far south-eastern edge of the great Portland Metro area, the distant Mt. Hood stays in my sight on this last leg of my journey.  It beckons me to visit it too soon, exploring it’s many trails with hidden alpine wonders to photograph.

I journal my experiences when photographing for they are such wonderful experiences of time taken to study ones surroundings.  When processing my photographic image files I often write thought-provoking phrases to go with a group of photographs.  Here is one from my experience that day.

 Ride the waves of life for they will recede.

To see more Sea Escapes visit my website

www.deebrowningphotography.com

©copyright 2011 Dee Browning   All Rights Reserved