There are three capes near Tillamook that provide great photo opportunities, Cape Lookout, Cape Meares, and Cape Kiwanda. They are connected by Three Capes Scenic Drive. I drove a portion of the scenic drive to visit 2 of them today. First I went to Cape Lookout. In driving to the top, I came across a couple of people getting ready to jump off a cliff at Anderson's Viewpoint. It's apparently a favorite location for hang gliders and paragliders to launch over the Pacific Ocean beach along Netarts Sand Spit. I got there just in time to see one guy prepare his paraglider and jump off the edge. Crazy. The guy that left just before looked like he almost landed in the forest behind the beach. It looks like they can fly quite a distance along the beach where they can make a soft landing. After watching the gliders, I never did make it to the Cape Lookout.
I turned around and drove out to Cape Meares, the northernmost of the three headlands on Three Capes Scenic Route. It is the only one with a lighthouse. It sits on a 200 ft. cliff with great views of the nearby string of rock islands called Three Arch Rocks near the resort town of Oceanside. The lighthouse is the shortest one along the coast standing just 38 ft. tall. It was built in 1889 and deactivated in 1963. It was eventually turned over to the State of Oregon, but not before vandal had taken their toll. Four of the bulls-eyes in the Fresnel lens that magnify the brightness of the light were stolen. The lighthouse was eventually refurbished and 3 of the bulls-eyes were found and returned to the light. Four sides of the 8-sided lens are covered with red glass, which produced an alternating red and white beam as the light turned that were visible some 21 miles at sea. In 1980, the tower was opened to the public. Tours are available when docents are present.
I wanted to be around for sunset, but official sunset wasn't until 9PM so I headed back down to Oceanside for dinner. I ate at a cute seaside restaurant called Roseana's. I had salad, cioppino, and a Widmer hefeweizen. It was all good. They had homemade berry cobbler for dessert. I ordered 2 to go, one for Sue who decided to stay at Winnie, and then drove back to the lighthouse. When I got back, there were a couple of other photographers set up to catch sunset. The shot to get is the sun setting behind the lighthouse lens. I got it and even got a double starburst at the top and bottom of the lens. The low cloud layer made for some great orange colors in the sky behind the light and the breaks in the clouds were at just the right altitude to allow the sun to peak through just above the horizon. I'm glad I went back. By the time the sun had disappeared below the horizon, I was the only one left and it was about 9:30. I had to climb back up the hill to the car which was a struggle, but not as bad as Cape Flattery last week. I needed to get out of the park by 10:00 when they locked the gate. I didn't want to have to spend the night there.
The other thing to see at Cape Meares was the Octopus Tree. It is a huge Sitka spruce with branches growing like giant tentacles from its 50-foot base. The tree’s odd shape, according to local historians and Tillamook tribal descendants, comes not from the wind, but from its function as a ceremonial site, shaped to hold cedar canoes and other ritual objects. It is one of several "Indian Ceremonial Trees" trained over time, which was a common practice of the Coast tribes. The Octopus Tree was specially venerated serving as a gathering site for important Tillamook tribal rites. The branches of this spruce were forced downward toward a horizontal position when they were still flexible, and they extend about 16 feet from the base. When allowed to resume vertical growth, each branch reached skyward to more than 100 feet, creating the current shape. It’s believed to be over 250 years old.
We're driving into the Portland suburbs on Saturday to have dinner with friends, Frank and Martha. It's about a 70 mile drive across the mountains.