Take me to Tillamook

Last weekend we decided to take advantage of the sunshine and unseasonable warmth with a drive up to Tillamook. The scenic drive took us a little over two hours. We made it to the Tillamook Cheese Factory shortly after 11. I’ll share more about this fun experience in a separate post.

After lunch at cheese heaven, we started on the Three Capes Scenic Route. Our first stop was Cape Lookout. The state park was a very popular place on this gorgeous day.

Cape Lookout CrowdsWe started with the beach. Our walking sticks were in the trunk of the car and we really could have used them as we scrambled down the rocks to reach the sand. One day we’ll learn.

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After nearly breaking both my face and my camera on the walk back up the rocks, we decided to follow the north trail. The trail is constructed in a way that the climb is relatively gentle. Seeing the Pacific from a dense forest is something that I’m still not quite accustomed to. It’s glorious but still not something I expect.

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Our climb stopped when we reached this part of the trail. Without our walking sticks and my hiking shoes, this wasn’t even in the realm of possibility.

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We decided to head back to the car and head on to Cape Kiwanda. We arrived to find very little available parking. I let Mr. McB out of the car and then navigated to a little market where I could grab much-needed water and park for a few minutes. He walked over to the beach to get a few snaps of Haystack Rock.

After a short stop, we headed toward Cape Meares. The road to the park has seen better days. I am certain that these potholes have claimed a tire or two in their day.

After reaching the park, we started out in the lighthouse for the brief tour. We learned that much was expected of lighthouse keepers. In addition to the demands of their regular duties, they also had to appease the inspectors.  One keeper’s wife received a demerit because she did not finish folding laundry before she began dinner. Your house was to be pristine at all times; I am so glad that I am not a lighthouse keeper.

We enjoyed a walk after the tour.

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We also saw the Sitka spruce known as the Octopus Tree.

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Our next stop was the Girabaldi House, our home for the night. It’s a comfortable, clean hotel with niceties like an evening reception, popcorn machine and indoor pool. It’s close to the bay, which provided a gorgeous setting for our evening walk.

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The activity of the clamers added something special to this stunning sunset. It was a perfect evening.

On Sunday morning, we began at Rockaway Beach at low tide.

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This intriguing pattern covered large expanses of the beach.

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We climbed back in the car and stopped briefly to see the Three Graces before driving back to Tillamook.

DSC_0941We stopped at the Blue Heron French Cheese Company. Before noon, we owned a wheel of rich creamy brie and I learned just how quickly a goat can bite and just how much that hurts.

I was sorry to see this superb weekend end but I am thankful for its restorative powers. This little getaway gave me the calm and clarity needed to face a challenging week.

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Gorgeous day at Paris Mountain

I turned 35 a few weeks ago. For many years I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by friends on my birthday; I’ve enjoyed lots of lunches and special outings to celebrate the occasion. It’s a little different when you’re in a new place where you don’t know many people. I know this will change but for this particular birthday, I was a little blue.

The good Lord knew I needed something special for my day so he came up with a sunny, warm Thursday. I didn’t want to waste this gift so I set out for Paris Mountain State Park with my good tennis shoes and camera. I’d like to say that I climbed a mountain the day I turned 35 but in the interest of full disclosure, I walked a lot at the bottom and the top but the actual climbing between the two came courtesy of my Subaru.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Paris Mountain, it’s a gorgeous state park just a few miles for Greenville. You can picnic, hike, fish, swim*, paddleboat* or bike. Again in the interest of full disclosure, George Hincapie bikes here so while it’s not the Alps, it is a bit of a challenge.

I enjoyed my time at the park. I’ve forgotten how much I like just being out in nature. There is something about a nice brisk walk in the woods that helps me organize my mind. I look forward to going back to the park. It’s got great picnic potential and I can’t wait to cruise Lake Placid on one of those paddle boats.

It’s a cool angle. I feel like I could just slide into the water.

This bridge was built after the Great Depression as part of the Works Progress Administration.

This is part of the lake trail.

These gents seemed to be having a good time fishing. I happened across a dad and his preschooler on the other side of the lake. They were picnicking (pizza) and fishing. The little boy had caught his first bass earlier that day and instead of becoming addicted to the thrill of the catch, he was done with fishing. He met his objective (catching the fish) and now other things (a cool tree stump) had his attention.

Lake Placid dam

another shot of the dam

Those are busy beavers.

Outcropping on the Sulfur Springs Loop at the top of the mountain

*Seasonally available