A really big welcome!

Wait, six pictures do not constitute a sufficient welcome to this place!

I mean, it’s big….DSC_8954

There’s Jenny Lake to explore….DSC_8984

There’s the long view from Oxbow Bend….DSC_9790

There’s the up-close, short view…from dozens of spots….DSC_0212You’ve gotta go back to Jackson Lake when the clouds try to take over the mountains….DSC_8735

And the view when a storm threatens near sunset…is to die for!DSC_9542

Yep, I think we’re really gonna like this place!

Welcome to the Tetons!

Our only other trip to Grand Teton National Park was for 2 days almost exactly 5 years ago.

That visit was, in fact, one of the reasons we decided to sell our house and live in the Big Taxi…so you know we had to come back!

We planned a number of objectives for our visit:

See those really Grand Tetons….DSC_8482-a

Check.

See a moose….DSC_9027

Check.

I mean see those really Grand Tetons up close….DSC_8686

Check.

For years, I had seen some iconic photos taken in this park, and I wanted to try my hand…and lens…at recreating them. One was a Moulton Ranch barn….DSC_8437-a

Check.

Another was using one of several reflecting ponds at Schwabachers Landing to capture a reflection of those Grand Tetons….DSC_8195

Check.

Of course, wherever we go, enjoying the local flavor of sunset is a must….DSC_9195

Check.

Oh well, might as well move on….

HA, not to worry, we plan to spend every second of an entire month right here…we want to soak up everything about this place!

More snaps to follow….

Bye bye, Oregon!

After 5 weeks along the coast of Oregon, we have made the wheels on the bus go round and round…more on that later.

We certainly left with some of the most vibrant and stimulating scenery fresh in our minds!

These photos are all from the last few yards of Cape Arago….we thought seeing them was worth every second of the drive to get there!

I hope you click on each one…to see the amazing details this spot provides everywhere you look at every minute of the day!DSC_7561DSC_7626DSC_7652DSC_7437

Next stop: the Big Taxi has taken us to Grand Teton National Park…for a month! We can’t wait to see everything the place has to show us…and to share it all with you!

Precarious

In several bays along the peninsula leading to Cape Arago, Oregon, I found trees that demonstrated real commitment to life. I hope you will click on each picture to display some beautiful details.

This little one stood alone at the end of a tall wall that knifed into the bay. The limbs behind it seemed to be reaching out to beckon it back to safety.DSC_7323

This old one showed a keen spirit. Clearly, it’s possible to defy the odds…and defy gravity…and lead a long life. Besides, who wants to stand up straight in a line like everyone else?DSC_7382

Finally, this remarkable tree stood at the end of land and showed the effects of daily battles with winds, rain, and waves. It’s tempting to call it “confused”, but I think “grasping” is more true.DSC_7408

High drama

It might be an exaggeration to describe the coast south of Coos Bay, Oregon as high drama.

It’s true, as we came into town from the north, the scenery was lovely…but not terribly dramatic.DSC_7290

The whole coastline north of Coos Bay for about 15 miles is a massive sand dune. This picture shows the last few yards of it on the edge of Coos Bay.

It’s the shoreline on the southern side of the bay that gets interesting.

At first glance, this picture offers some lovely changes in color of the water, and the scattering of rocks form some fun patterns, and the cloudy blue sky is great…but it’s not high drama.DSC_7460

Ahhhh, but enlarge it.

Notice brown blobs and nearly-white blobs almost everywhere you look?

Seals! Holy cow, hundreds of them! The noise on shore several hundred yards away can be heard with the car windows up!

But it’s when we get out near the end of this peninsula, Capa Arago, that the drama really becomes obvious.DSC_7385

Oh my, what can I say…it’s beautiful! And these shots are just a few…more to come!

Even the sunsets get all complicated…DSC_7441

Cape What?

Cape Perpetua.

This headland forms a high, steep bluff above the ocean about 2 miles south of Yachats, Oregon. The cape was named by Captain James Cook on March 7, 1778 as he searched for the Pacific entrance to a Northwest Passage. He named the cape Perpetua because it was sighted on St. Perpetua’s Day.DSC_7912

We visited this area several times, and always found it to be much more windy than other nearby areas of the coastline. Its rock formations in the inter-tidal zone were also more dramatic than most nearby areas…and they generated more dramatic wave actions.DSC_7779

In the first photo above, if you click on it so it fills your screen, you can see a number of slots in the dark rock that extends into the water. These funnel water into ever-narrowing channels that cause the wave to explode when it finally reaches the end.

My interest in this area arose several years before we saw it. I had heard of an interesting formation named Thor’s Well, and was dying to photograph it.

I previously showed you a very poor photo of it, gotten under terribly windy conditions that coated my camera and lens with salt spray and caused waves that threatened my existence.

On this occasion, as you can see in the photos above, there was a lovely sunny day to welcome us.

Well, not exactly. Notice in those photos how there’s quite a dense fog offshore? And that wave in the photo above wasn’t a fluke.

Nope, there was quite a storm coming straight onto shore, and my chance to shoot Thor’s Well was brief.

I realize you can see the pictures below, but let me explain just a little before you pay them close attention!

Thor’s Well is a hole in the rocks about 10 feet across just a couple feet back from the edge. Near high tide, waves will wash into it, and will disappear down its throat. If surges in the ocean are timed just right, they will push water up from inside Thor’s Well, but it all immediately disappears down that throat.

On this occasion, we were there about an hour before high tide…and I wanted to stick around to see just how dramatic it could get! But that storm wasn’t about to wait, and I was risking my camera to salt spray even so!

Herewith, then, my two very modest efforts to show you what Thor’s Well looks like and acts like.DSC_7758DSC_7746

 

More light, please

We finally moved south from Tillamook…after a month of great tours up and down the coast, and great evening meals numerous times every week at Grandma Barb’s!

We parked for a week in Winchester Bay…actually on a peninsula in the bay, and just blocks from the Umpqua River Lighthouse.DSC_7280

Our most favorite destination from this location was the Coos Bay area. Specifically, the coastline from the south opening of the Bay down to Cape Arago.

There are five separate state parks in about a seven mile span along this route, each more fascinating than the last!

Our first view along this stretch was this one:DSC_7369

See the lighthouse? It’s actually on a small island, and has the charming name “Cape Arago Light.”

The photo spends most of its time showing you the half mile of shoreline between my shooting position and the lighthouse. Wait until you see more of this area of the coast in the coming posts!

The final lighthouse picture for you is from near our second-most favorite spot to visit from our new park in Winchester Bay….north, on the way back from Cape Perpetua. This is actually the same lighthouse that was the first picture in the preceding post: Heceta Head Lighthouse.

Loved the foggy night…DSC_7931

Light the way

Along the coast south of Tillamook, we found a number of interesting lighthouses.

Some are pretty, some are stalwart, and some are historic.

Probably all of them are historic, because they date back to a time when much of the navigating by mariners was visual.

These days, electronic signals provide GPS information that is more accurate…and feeds into the navigation systems on today’s boats.

Still, several of these lighthouses continue to provide a beam of light out on the edge of the continental shore.

The Heceta Head Lighthouse beam was live even during the daylight when we passed it.DSC_6970It’s such a classic structure, and even the supporting buildings have been beautifully maintained.

Another classic lighthouse stands at the point of Yaquina Head, the federal “Outstanding Natural Area” we showed you ever so briefly in the previous post.DSC_7043

Interestingly, just a few miles away is the Yaquina Bay lighthouse, looking more like a house than a lighthouse. Its utility was to contain the residence for the keeper of the light within the structure of the light tower…possible because it was located on the edge of town (Newport), safely up high and away from the ocean’s fury.DSC_7130

Farther south from Tillamook

We took another day to visit Yaquina Head and the nearby town of Newport.

The Head is where we stopped briefly on an earlier trip and saw the Peregrine Falcon chicks. All four had fledged just a few days before this visit.

The full name of the federal nature installation on the Head is “Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area.”

Indeed, just look:DSC_7110DSC_7126DSC_7219

I took that second photo just because I was impressed with the tenacity of the one tree…not only had it chosen to grow on a massive rock that faced the ocean’s constant fury, but it overcame whatever adversity it encountered with its roots so that it grew bigger and stronger than ever!

The third photo impressed me once again at the willingness of so many aquatic life forms to grow in the roughest places…and their ability to do so with lovely results. This tiny pond contains dozens…maybe hundreds…of anemones that provide a deep green color to what might otherwise be just a dark, slimy pool. They actually wait here at low tide, figuratively holding their breath until fresh waves of sea water wash over them at high tide!

The first photo provides a distant look at the town of Newport, Oregon. I am giving this lovely town short shrift in this post by showing a photo of just one of its interesting features: the bridge that crosses the Yaquina River near where it empties into the ocean.

I have enjoyed a number of Oregon coastline bridges, many of which were designed by Conde McCullough, as was this one. It is listed in the US National Register of Historic Places.

Oh, and I couldn’t resist including the daytime moon high overhead.DSC_7659

South from Tillamook

We took Grandma Barb with us on a trip to Pacific City.

You’ll remember it as the place with the very large rock just off shore with a gap on one side:DSC_5185

Just to right of this picture is a tall, sandy peninsula. It’s not terribly fascinating, although it is pretty stinkin tall…

However, on the other side is a whole ‘nother world.DSC_6787

Not just because it has a gorgeous loooong, flat sandy beach…

Look how we got onto the beach:DSC_6895

Most fascinating to me was how that big, sandy peninsula hatched such a bunch of big rocks at its end…fun to climb and fun to shoot the waves.

DSC_6849

Not everything was big and rough…the driftwood protects some soft sweetness.

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