Monday’s Meanders: Never Too Much Beach Time

Horsewoman pausing after maneuvers at Cannon Beach; Haystack Rock looms behind them. (All photos Cynthia Guenther Richardson copyright 2020)

I know, I posted on the Pacific Ocean not long ago. But it was Marc’s birthday last week and that is where he wanted to be–so off we went, about a 2 hour drive. We ended up at spots we often enjoy: Manzanita, Hug Point, and Cannon Beach.

Manzanita is a favorite place with 7 miles of beach (and the home of a fine bookstore, Cloud & Leaf). It is the area that inspired past Governor Oswald West to determine that Oregon beaches should be free and public–thankfully! We’ve had many overnight visits at the comfortable Inn at Manzanita, and recommend it. We tend to cook simple meals when we vacation (or order pizza) but I hear there are excellent eateries, also; cute shops line the one main street–now only a few are open with limited hours.

Since this was a day trip, we got out there to avail ourselves of windswept sands, walking much of it. The wind across the beach created fantastic patterns. From some of my viewpoints it seemed an near-alien landscape.

View after leaving Manzanita.

Our next stop was Hug Point State Park, a wayside with short beach many well enjoy once discovered. The rock formations are interesting, there are caves in the sandstone headlands/cliffs and tide pools, as well as a small waterfall. The tide was coming in when we arrived so didn’t explore as much as we hoped. I also will admit I was slowed some after foolishly stepping right into a hole while clicking the camera; this was on a paved path so landed hard, though I rolled to avoid cracking bones, on a thigh and hip. No harm done but was pretty sore!)

The view from the path before I fell over.

Though we began in Cannon Beach, I am ending this post there. A much more touristy spot, it has always had that beautiful long beach with Haystack Rock–and many attractive shops and good restaurants (none of which we visited last wk.).

Ecola Creek’s fresh water mixes it up in sea water at the north end of beach.
This athletic youngster was honing his skills, no doubt hoping to some day try big waves like the wet-suited surfer…
Several headland climbers–something I’d do if not inexperienced at 70…
An easy way to fly a kite.
A pelican getting a meal…I think!
Leaving groups of people and Haystack Rock behind–until next time.

Monday’s Meander: Elk Rock Garden of Bishop’s Close

Once or twice a year I post about this graceful, fully accessible garden spread over 13 acres. It changes wonderfully over seasons and displays a fascinating mix of botanical life. The house was built in 1914 by a Scottish businessman, Peter Kerr, to resemble a Scottish manor. It was built along the Willamette River to also give a good view of Mt. Hood in the distance. At his death in 1957, his daughters decided to give it to the Episcopal Bishop of Oregon, with a provisory clause that the garden be open to visitors.

Wandering there gives rise to deep peace. Join Marc and me as we stroll about on a recent visit.

Outdoor altar for the Holy Eucharist, for staff at the Diocese ; it is covered in kiwi vine.

Monday’s Meander: Roving Along the Columbia River

Seen from the WA. side: Columbia River and OR.’s, Mt Hood
Steigerwald Wildlife Nature Preserve was sadly closed.

We started on the west side of the Columbia River in Washington State one hot afternoon. We had headed to a nature preserve but found it closed, so when we went on, seeking a different area. We found a small parking lot that with access to a walkway by the river. Since we’d not been on this southern part of the the river walk, we checked it out.

There is a reason why we hadn’t intended to stop there. The Captain William Clark Park (of Corps of Discovery, 1806–though we know Native Americans resided there…) is by a small city, Camas, so lots of people traverse that part of a very long, winding walkway. And we enjoy nature with far less people. But any river calls to me–I’ll stop at small or big ones, with or without parks or any path. Columbia River is one I deeply admire, am fascinated by–no matter how many times I visit it. At 1240 miles, starting in British Columbia and emptying into Pacific Ocean after flowing through seven U.S. states… mammoth. It also holds one third of our potential hydropower, so what a resource.

The photos attempt to share its softer nature that afternoon, and how people were enjoying it. We came to Cottonwood Beach which I did not photograph much; it was packed, to our surprise in this pandemic, and we avoided huge groups of friend and family gatherings–but they were having a pleasant time in the unusually warm sunshine.

It is hard to describe how big and deep and restless this river is. The often strong winds were were rather still; the water surface fairly calm. But when I see the boats out there with fisher persons, I wonder if they ever feel intimidated by the mighty currents that occur, the breadth and width and depth of it. It is one of the biggest rivers in the U.S. flowing by Portland as well as Vancouver, WA. metro. There has been. alas, flooding occasionally…

I leave you with a truer perspectives below, displaying both Oregon and Washington sides of the Columbia River Gorge as it rumbles, winds and sweeps toward the vaster Pacific. It was a relaxing afternoon on the WA. walk– but we do hope to hike in the Gorge soon again!

Monday’s Meander: An Oregon Riparian Wildlife Refuge

On Saturday we returned to a place we explore each season, the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. The riparian forest, wetlands, and lowlands comprise over 1800 acres that are home to over 200 species of birds, 50 of mammals, 25 of amphibians and reptiles and a large assortment of insects, fish and plants.

We had our ears attuned to birdsong as eyes sought out critters among lush greenery. We heard more than saw wildlife–a snort of a black tailed deer, the sleek fat body of a river otter, the rustlings of perhaps a snake through the tall grasses. I was hoping for a bobcat but have never seen one, and may have sighted a coyote and beaver.

It was a peaceful mosey among groves of old great white oak trees, which support 800 kinds of creatures there. We missed the bigger groves but there are many other trees to enjoy along the paths. Small lakes amid the wetlands were luminous, dramatic as the sky darkened and brightened with sunshine alternating with rain clouds. The river itself was hidden much of the time–several areas are off-limits to humans to protect migrating birds.

Rain became a fickle companion, the sky feeling low and then high again.

Rain increased but it was a mild day and we are Oregonians…we kept on. At the end of our walk, the small lakes and swooping vocalizing birds captivated me. I could have set up camp there right through dusk and nightfall.

Clouds scudded off; the landscape flushed with honeyed light once more.

It was a soothing while also stimulating afternoon, and I always feel happy photographing nature. We will return when more paths are opened to our eager feet.