Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Once Upon a Newport Weekend

Sara Duncan - At Panini Bakery in Newport, Oregon.

After several weekends in a row up in Portland, I convinced Tim to come down to the coast.  So, on Saturday, he hauled up his camping gear and headed two and a half hours southwest to the small coastal city of Newport, Oregon.  Once he arrived, we took a stroll around the campus and I treated him to lunch at my favorite bakery in town called Panini Bakery.  I automatically ordered a portabella mushroom sandwich with balsamic vingarrette while Tim enjoyed a slice of pizza and an old fashioned Coca Cola.  After we finished divulging on our lunch, we drove a half hour northeast of Newport to the tiny town of Siletz, Oregon to stake our claim on a campsite at Jack Morgan Park before it filled up.  After we found a site that satisfied our needs, we set up camp and set out for the Yaquina Head Lighthouse back in Newport.  This lighthouse built in 1872, is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon and stands erect on a bluff overlooking miles of pristine Oregon coastline.  Yaquina Head is home to tide pools and pretty wildflowers that blanket the landscape. 


Launching the crab net.  
After we were content with our lighthouse visit, my roommates, Lauren and Nicole, invited us to come grabbing with them at the docks of Alsea Bay in the town of Waldport about 30 minutes south of Newport.  This was my first time crabbing, so I had no idea what to expect.  For those of you who have never taken part in the art of crabbing, I will give you a short synopsis of how it is done.  The crab net is composed of a two metal concentric rings tied together with rope.  In the center of the crab net is a metal cage to bait the crabs.  In our case, we used raw chicken.  The crab net it then thrown off the dock (or boat) and left to sit for fifteen to twenty minutes.  Unbeknownst to the crabs, the net it pulled up, hopefully catching them inside.  In accordance with Oregon state law, only crabs that are males and are bigger than six inches are allowed to be kept.  The others must be thrown back to continue to replenish the population.  That Saturday night, we spent a few hours on the dock with three traps in high hopes that we would bring some home enough for dinner.  Unfortunately, time and time again, we pulled up completely empty nets or nets with small or female crabs.  After we had our fill of wind and cold, we headed back to Newport empty handed and then to our campsite in Siletz to enjoy hotdogs and s’mores over the fire before retreating to our tent for a replenishing night’s sleep. 

Marine Life - Cape Perpetua, Yachats, Oregon. 
The next morning, we slept in for a bit before packing up our tent and heading to my apartment for a delicious breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and bacon.  Upon getting our fill, I instructed Tim to put on his hiking gear so that we could head out to our next adventure.  I was delighted to have my roommate Lauren come as well.  This weekend’s hiking destination: Cape Perpetua even farther south of Waldport passed the town of Yachats, pronounced ‘Yah-hahts.’  Cape Perpetua is a coastal bluff 800 feet above sea level that yields breathtaking views of 70 miles of Oregon coast in either direction.  We decided to hike St. Perpetua Trail that ascends 700 feet from the campground at the bottom to the peak.  Unfortunately, we weren’t aware of the trailhead at the bottom, so we found the one at the top.  Starting from the highpoint with magnificent views right from the beginning is not nearly as exciting to me as chugging along the trail from its base in suspense of the goal, which in this case is the view, at the top.  Since we made this mistake, Tim decided to go grab the truck and stop by the visitor’s center to see if there was another hike for us to partake in instead of hiking all the way back up to treasures already found.  Unluckily, there were two visitors’ centers and Tim headed to one while we went to the other.  We ended up just missing each other as Lauren and I finished the hike.  With no cell phone service we asked the park rangers for help to try to track down Tim.  Thankfully we found him parked at a spot that we passed only a little while ago.  We were afraid that he had gone up the trail searching for us!  Since we wasted a lot of time and energy looking for each other, we decided to skip the next hike and head down to the water to explore some tide pools while the tide was still low.  Among the jagged rocks we found pools of tadpoles, sea urchins, sea stars, hermit crabs, snails, and many other marine creatures.  It was delightful.  After we fulfilled our tide pool desires, we headed back home and then to the docks in Alsea Bay to see if we would have better luck crabbing.  They still weren’t biting as much as we had hoped, but we were able to take home one that we could eat.  This past weekend was just another great weekend to add to the list of Sara’s Oregon Adventures

Friday, August 5, 2011

Yaquina Bay Bridge Stroll

Although I was rather immersed in my blog writing, reading, and studying, last Thursday my roommate Lauren convinced my other roommate, Nicole, and I to partake in a sunset stroll across the Yaquina Bay Bridge in our sleepy beach town of Newport, Oregon. As the fog rolled in, we began our ascent of this historic bridge.  The cold wind that traveled hundreds of miles across the ocean chilled me to the bones as it enveloped around me.  I didn't mind though.  I was enjoying my time with my friends as well as taking in the sights that this old structure had to offer.  Once we reached the opposite side of the bridge, we descended down to the main roadway to try our luck at visiting the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse.  Unfortunately we got there too late as it is only open during business hours.  Nevertheless we made the most of our adventure by swapping stories and visiting the park.  As nightfall came, we headed back across the bridge as we watched the remaining fishing boats come back into bay from their day's catch.  
Yaquina Bay Bridge - Newport, OR

Yaquina Bay Bridge - Newport, OR

Yaquina Bay Bridge - Newport, OR

Yaquina Bay Bridge - Newport, OR


Since I can be rather anal retentive about things sometimes, Tim enjoys not telling me any details as to what his plans are for us.  This past weekend was just that.  I went up to Portland to visit Tim again having no idea what was in store for me.  I tried to relax the best that I could and went with the flow and boy was is worth it! 

Taking practice swings.
On Saturday morning we rose early and Tim instructed me to dress in comfortable clothing and sneakers before we headed out.  My guess was that we were going hiking and/ or camping, but as we pulled into the golf course I realized that I was wrong.  I was being thrown into a 9-hole, par 3 golf course with him and a few of his friends after only going to the driving range once.  I was a little nervous at first, but Tim and his friends were really relaxed and where there to help.  I had a couple holes that took me over 10 swings to get it in, but several times I only needed 5 or 6 swings to reach my goal.  Tim and his friends informed me that I was better than they were on their first time.  I have come to be fond of this rather relaxing, yet strategically intense game; it is just me and my target that matters when I’m out there and I can’t wait to see myself improve!
After a round of golf, we headed off to the next surprise which was tubing down the Clackamas River.  Floating down a river was something that I have never done before and as I got in my tube, I learned that this trip would be three hours long - much longer than I expected, but I slathered on my sunscreen and prepared for the ride.  The Clackamas River is a rather calm river, but is certainly not devoid of excitement.  There were occasional rapids that we went through that threatened to flip me over, but always bestowed a refreshing splash of water to cool me off.  It was great to relax and chat with Tim’s friends for a bit.  Even though I was fond of the experience, it was a little too passive of an activity for me and I think something more action packed such as kayaking or rafting down a more tumultuous river is much more up my alley. 
Mt. Hood and its reflection in Mirror Lake.
The next day, I got to decide what we were to do, so I told Tim to put on his hiking boots and we headed towards the Mt. Hood wilderness area.  Mirror Lake is one of the most popular hiking destinations east of Portland, and upon arriving, I am now privy as to why.  The Mirror Lake hike is an easy three mile round trip hike to a small lake at the base of Mt. Hood.  Upon climbing 800 feet from the trail head off of the main highway past vibrant wildflowers and through a dense coniferous forest, a pristine, deep blue lake opened up to us.  We walked around the lake and were enticed by the sight of Mt. Hood and its almost perfect reflection upon the still water.  We took a few moments to rest and internalize the beauty of our view before heading back down to our vehicle and then to head home for the start of the work week. 
Tomorrow, Tim will be coming down to spend a weekend with me in on the coast where I will get to surprise him!  Stay tuned to see what I have in store for another one of Sara’s Oregon Adventures.