Monday, June 26, 2017

Big Fires and Small Harbors

June 22-25, 2017
Garibaldi, Oregon

Timber is a large part of Tillamook's history. When 350,000 acres burned every tree in sight over three devastating fires, there was much doubt about a sustainable economy. The fires occurred every six years, becoming known as the Six Year Curse, and many believed it was unstoppable.

Photo from scuffproductions. Nothing but ash and naked sticks as far as we could see.
Fortunately there were people working on a solution of fire breaks, updated equipment, trained fire fighters, and permanent water access, and when the fourth fire started (six years after the third) it was stopped with 39,000 acres burned. The curse was broken, and the population finally had hope for the future of their community.

The Tillamook Burn was an ugly area covering mountains and valleys. Nothing was left alive. Teams of Snag Fallers were sent in to bring down the remaining burned trees for lumber. They would come home completely black except for their eyes and mouth, and became known as the Tillamook Coal Miners. 

Once most of the snags were removed, replanting began. Buses of school children, government work crews, lumber company workers - all planted hundreds of thousands of seedlings over a decade. Returning wildlife slowed their efforts by eating two of every three planted, but they continued to plant. 

The success of their efforts is visible in the lush green forests that once again surround Tillamook Bay. Timber continues to sustain the largest town in the county. The Tillamook Burn no longer exists, except in the memories of those who still live here.

It is those memories that make up most of the film offered at the Tillamook Forest Center. Thursday we visit this lovely facility on Highway 6, along the Wilson River.

Beautiful bridge over the Wilson River at the back of the Center.
A small museum, suspension bridge, lookout tower, and interpretive trails make up this wonderful education center. Knowledgeable, friendly staff, and the informative film, enhance the experience.

Well laid out with wonderful visuals about the forest eco-system.

Several exhibits about the history of the forest and its relationship with humans. An interesting balance of use and conservation is presented.

One of the replanting crews. The young man in the back row at the very right end is one of the story tellers in the film (a bit older now).

Trails with information signs run along both sides of the Wilson River.

And through the surrounding forest.

I couldn't get a good photo of this magnificent 100 foot Big Leaf Maple, but I want to remember it.

The grounds are beautiful with several benches to just quietly enjoy.
Hmmmm, I must have misplaced the pics I took when we climbed to the top of the lookout tower........uh, huh.

On our way back toward Tillamook we stop to check out the Misty River RV Park as an option for next time we're here. With FHU sites on the river and good water access for fishing, this is likely where we'll stay. And there will definitely be a next time.

Large bouquets of Foxglove and Daisies line Highway 6.

I learn at the Center that Foxglove flourish where the earth has been "disturbed". The highway was cleaned up last year after all the rains, causing this year's bonanza of blooms. Also explains their presence at all the clear cut sites.
The stop is all Bill needs to suggest we look for a fishing spot. Let's go to the Trask River!

Like all the others, the Trask has limited access. There are two boat ramps on the map so we figure these are a good start. We've been wrong before...

This is an open boat ramp, nothing more than what you see here. The escaping ghost is probably trying to tell us something. Slick mud on both sides deter attempts to reach the water.
Steep drop to the rushing water.

Pretty to look at from "up here".
The road to the second ramp isn't much more than a two-track. Rutted, narrow and steep - yeehaw! But instead of the previous death trap, we can walk out to the river. 

Catching a dozen small trout makes for a happy man.

The water is so clear, all those dark spots are rocks deep underwater.

Not sure where they park with a boat trailer. 

The sun dances in and out of the tall trees.

As I've recently been reminded that Fluffy Dog pics are required......
Friday morning Tessa and I walk the marina, and the working harbor. Nothing is fenced off so we can explore the "parked" boats, watch the birds and fishermen, observe a busy world so foreign to me. It's wonderful.

Water and electric sites, close to neighbors. Level, not level, level, not level, level........

Lots of sizes and styles. This one is just right for us!

The Port of Garibaldi opens into Tillamook Bay.

This spot is packed on weekends.

I've admired these in several places, but never seen anywhere they're made and sold. The large ones are $800. Love the fish!

The bay sparkles under misty mountains.

Need some oyster shells? We have a few.

Finally catch this lone seal.
Not pretty, nor as famous as the Astoria Column, the Whitney Mill Chimney is visible from most of Garibaldi. Built in 1928, it is all that remains of the old mill.
Saturday's forecast is for high temps so we figure stay close to the coast. Did I mention we've been wrong before.......

We head north, wanting to again see the area we explored in the rain. Guess what everybody else is doing on a hot Saturday in Oregon?

None of the beach parking is available so we just drive, catching wonderful views along the way. Our AC is on the whole day. Temps top out at 101 just south of Nehalem Bay!

Amazing views from the hills above Manzanita.

Where everybody wants to be on a hot day.
At every beach parking lot the cars line Hwy 101 for a mile before and after. 

Falcon Cape

Terrible Tilly, the famous lighthouse, to the north. See her in the upper right corner?

See? We'll go check her out when we're in Astoria.

We do stop at Buttercup in Nehalem for delicious ice cream (thanks again Laurel and Eric!) and chowder to take home. Watching the chowder made from cold drawers of fresh ingredients is unique! Ice cream flavors like Burnt Chocolate and Honey Lemon are perfect on a hot afternoon. Definitely a destination when you're in the area.

Every bowl and quart of chowder is made separately with pre-chopped fresh ingredients. It's fascinating to watch them put it all together. (Photo from Google Images)
South of Wheeler where the Nehalem River enters Nehalem Bay.
It's still over 90 when we return home and we hunker down with the AC for the evening. 

Cold wind greets us Sunday morning and the day never gets over 65. I thought California had fickle weather! But we aren't complaining about returning to our new normal :-))))

A subtle sunset ends our one-day heat wave.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Slowing Down

June 14-21, 2017
Garibaldi, Oregon

For us, the best part of staying in one spot is the opportunity to slow down and just be. Not having to choose one day trip over another, spending lazy days at home, not caring about a few days of rain, getting to know an area much better, all of these are why we stopped here for three weeks. The cool temps and gorgeous views make it even better!

When the tide is out, we are entertained by folks pulling out bait shrimp and raking for clams. When it's in, we're treated to the water lapping on the rocks and the occasional seal who manages to always duck under when I get my camera out. 

It's a much different view when the tide's out.

Everyone has these shrimp-sucker-uppers for collecting salmon bait.

On the other side of the pier, kids dig for clams.

Returning to shore as the tide moves back in.
Some of the most beautiful places we see are while searching for a good fishing spot. Although there are several rivers and creeks in the area, steep banks with thick brush, and private land, make for very limited access. While it means less fishing, it does make for fun exploring.

There are few places to pull over for photos, but I do manage to catch this pretty girl wading along the river bank.
On a drizzly Wednesday afternoon we find a nice spot all to ourselves along the Kilchis River. Bill catches half a dozen small trout while Tessa and I take the trail upriver. We navigate roots and rocks and fallen trees to find some pretty views and interesting treasures.

Looks more like a tropical island than a northwest forest.

The water is so clear!

Looks like a good diving rock until you see the other large rock below the surface.

Fluffy trail blazer.

Fabulous forest fungi.

This old trunk has such wonderful textures.

He doesn't move a hair as long as we stand here. We keep going so he can finish eating. And breathe.
These colors really pop along the trail.

Several riffles provide wonderful background music for our hike.
Thursday's rain and strong winds keep us inside, and unfortunately take out our satellite. Because those are the kind of days when you just want to stay inside and watch TV......

Not too wet for these two. With an average of 89 inches of rain per year, I'm sure locals don't let a little precipitation keep them indoors.
Unsuccessful in our search for someone to repair the satellite (we aren't get-up-on-the-roof people, especially in the wind), Friday we take a rainy drive up the coast. 

Nehalem, and Nehalem Bay, and Nehalem River (limited creativity here) are all very quiet. We want to come back and explore a couple more places that Laurel (see previous post) recommends, when the sun come out.

Nehalem River in the rain.

We can't help but laugh at the green sign. 

North of Manzanita we turn around at the view point.

The coast is a very different place in the rain. Still beautiful.
The clouds hang around all weekend, with intermittent rain and wind. We grab some fish and chips and chowder, with a couple brews, on the harbor for Father's Day.

Monday we head inland under partially cloudy skies, but it quickly clears and the temps increase. We actually turn on Piper's AC while exploring the forests and small towns (87 degrees!). 

As much as we love the water in Tillamook, these are the views we fell in love with.

A fresh crop of giant marshmallows.
Much of this area between Hwy 101 and Interstate 5 is owned by timber companies. The patchwork of green in the mountains is from cuttings and re-plantings done in different years. The newly cut areas are devastating - we can't understand why so much cut timber is left behind or how the cutting at the top of a range doesn't cause mass erosion.

The areas that were re-planted in the last three years are thick with new trees and shrubs and hundreds of colorful Foxglove. 

In eight years the new trees will be 10 feet tall. Today it is a very different "forest".
Turning at a sign for Saddle Mountain State Natural Area, we find a narrow, steep forest road. It's paved (mostly) and barely room for two cars to pass - which we have to navigate 13 times as others are coming down. There are more cars on this little road than we saw in 50 miles of Hwy 53. 

We have no idea what to expect but the "just a full parking lot and a restroom" is less than we're hoping for.  With a bit of exploring we find the trailhead (nope), and a beautiful picnic area. Everyone is on the trail, and we have this area to ourselves. As is often the case in these "let's go see" stops, we find delightful surprises.

For our enjoyment and safety we choose to stay "down here". 
Saddle Mountain is one of the highest points in northwest Oregon at 3,287

30x zoom, zero elevation gain.
Moss-dotted Aspens make for a very different looking forest.

Nice turtle tattoo on this cut log.

So many layers.

Babbling brook.
Multiple mosses.
On our return south we stop at a viewpoint near the tiny town of Banks, with no information. Until I see a guy photographing "out there", I only see a pretty forest view. Oh! Mount Hood in the distance - nice :-)

Lovely forest.
Beautiful view of Mt Hood, 100 miles away.

Still lots of snow.
We hang out in our beautiful spot by the bay the next couple days, run some errands, and get our satellite fixed. Bill finds a place that works on farm equipment and satellite dishes (love!). Richard calls when he's unable to meet the scheduled time, then spends two hours replacing the damaged wire and screws. For $60 we're more than happy to have service back!

Tessa and I enjoy morning walks along the bay, through part of town, and back on the harbor. There are lots of beautiful flowers along the way.

A favorite for big black bees.

Pretty bright yellow at the harbor.
Blowing in the bright sun, these grasses look like spun gold.

Pretty succulents along the bay.
Thursday we check out more forest and fishing, and learn about the historic Tillamook Burn. Next time.