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

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