This is post three in a series of four posts about our trip to Oregon. For the other three posts, click here, here, and also here.
After a day of mellow beachiness, yesterday was about exploring. We knew we were heading south. We knew that there were sand dunes, lighthouses and sea lions along the way. However, we didn't know exactly what shape the day would take.
This makes for an interesting day when you have a little man who craves an itinerary, but he knows that the rule is, if you ask to go home, we add fifteen minutes to the time that we are gone. It's a rule, and he loves rules, so it works.
Driving down highway 101 we came across Yaquina Head Lighthouse, and decided no time like the present for a little adventure. A friend told me about Cobble Beach, which is right below Yaquina Head lighthouse. She mentioned something about a smell, and flies, but all I really registered was her words, “It’s like nothing you have ever seen or heard before….” Sold!
Before climbing the lighthouse, we decided to head down to the beach for lunch. She wasn’t kidding. The entire beach is covered in these dark cobblestones. The sound as you walked on them, is abosolutely musical and unreal. We were enchanted immediately. Add to that, the amazing rocks in the ocean, the seals in the water and the view of the lighthouse above, and we figured this was paradise to eat lunch at.
We sat down, noticing a fly or two, but brushed them away and started eating. Slowly, we came to the realization that my friend's mention of flies on the beach was not to be taken as a passing comment. If you were still for a moment, 20-50 flies would land on you. No joke! As long as we were moving, it wasn't bad. However, staying still for even a moment to take photos, meant becoming a rest stop for a large gang of kelp flies. It wasn't long before we were laughing hysterically and dancing on the beach to keep them at bay.
They weren't really horrible, and they weren't your average housefly, so we dealt and ate lunch standing and checking out the seals playing in the water only a few feet off shore.
Wiggly lunch and seal sighting complete, we headed up the stairs to the lighthouse. Walking around the back side, there was a lookout, that was a perfect spot to see grey whales swimming in the ocean. We spent a little time watching a few whales play and blow water from their spout. Getting a photo of them proved to be difficult and sometimes you just have to experience a moment and forget about the camera.
The lighthouse was built in 1873 by Henry Roberts, who also happened to be the same Henry Roberts that wrote Robert's Rules of Order. The light house is beautiful and still operates today, however, instead of a flame fuelled by pig oil, it is simply a 1000 watt lightbulb.
We had to sit outside and wait our turn to be let in. As you can imagine, they only want so many people climbing the stairs at one time. So waiting meant sitting still on the front steps, which meant, you guessed it, kelp flies. Graysen, funny enough didn't mind them landing on him at all, and quite happily kept catching and petting them.
As we came to the top of the stairs, I suddenly felt the lighthouse move. Unexpected! I stood in the top of the lighthouse with my family, trying to listen to the man tell us all about the prisms that made the light so focused out to sea and all I could think of was Austin Powers saying, "Moley Mole, don't mention the mole." because all I wanted to SWAY errrr say was, "Is this thing moving??"
We all got a turn to climb the last few stairs to look out of the top where the light was. Totally worth the whole stairs, vertigo, moley mole sway stuff.
Our day's, lighthouse needs met, we headed the mile down the road to Yaquina Beach, which happens to have some small sand dunes.
Graysen, our resident beach/water hater, of course went straight into the ocean. Did I mention that he left his bathing suit in the car? I should probably mention that it didn't really matter. What's a little wet underwear between family when there is this awesomeness to take in.
After some time at the beach and a vow to come back for a beach day before we leave, we headed into Newport to see if we could spot some sea lions. We heard a rumor that they liked to hang out on the dock. The first few docks we checked out, were sea lion free. However, Lorelei, out fearless adventurer, did spot some men fishing off the dock. The one gentleman was reeling fish in by the minute, all small, all being thrown back but Lorelei thought this was all kinds of awesome.
She walked right up to them and said, "Can I watch you fish?"
Within seconds, she had positioned herself between two of the guys and was watching the show. A minute later, one of the men told her to start reeling in the line. She pulled in a little baby fish, which was so awesome but, "No thank you, I don't want to touch it." Another moment, where enjoying it was more important than the photos.
We heard the sea lions before we saw them. Soon enough, we found the dock and there they were, on a rock in the harbour, sleeping and fighting with each other. Their barking sounds and protests were hysterical to the kids. We stood for a good hour letting the kids marvel at how they looked and sounded a little like dogs, but also like bears and a bit like cats. They looked so sweet while they slept, but when they woke up and started yelling at each other, they actually reminded me a little of our kids.