Spring in Oregon — Part 5

“For I am the LORD your God,  who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar —  the LORD Almighty is His name.”  Isaiah 51:15

In my last post, I mentioned enjoying a treat from the candy store in Cannon Beach — a treat with the same name as a very picturesque site. If you guessed “Haystack,” you were right!

Site Five — Haystack Rock near Cannon Beach. This rock totally reminds me of scenes in the 1985 movie Goonies. It was one of the first movies I saw in a theatre, so I remember it well. As my feet sunk into the sandy beach, I kept waiting to see an old pirate ship slip out from behind that rock!

But the only thing coming from behind that rock was one wave after another.

They say to never turn you back on the Pacific Ocean.

You just never know when a rogue wave might sneak up behind you and wash you out to sea.

But I suppose it’s okay to turn your back if you’re running for dry sand.

The best thing about wearing rainboots to the beach is that your feet stay dry and can slip in and out easily.

The worst thing about wearing rainboots to the beach is that the sand can also slip in and out easily. We inadvertently came home with about one cup of sand, not counting what we left behind in the backseat of Aunt Lilac’s car!

Spring in Oregon — Part 4

“Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea — the LORD on high is mighty.”  -Psalm 93:4

Site Four: Ecola State Park

As the biggest and deepest part of the world’s ocean — 60 million square miles big — the Pacific Ocean is mighty great indeed. And Ecola State Park is a mighty great place to view and photograph these vast waters, as well as the breakers that crash into the huge rocks along the Oregon coast.

Did I mention this state park is mighty windy, too? The tree in the picture below wasn’t just bending in that day’s wind; it grew that way! As we hiked along high above the water, we felt quite windblown as well.

Perched on one giant rock in the distance is Tillamook Lighthouse.

Since the tide was out and the wind was less fierce closer to the water, we did some exploring.

Ever confident and determined, my youngest built a dam and made a lake where the water was flowing into the ocean.

She’s just the kind of person who digs in deep and likes testing the natural cycle of things.

The fact that the water kept overflowing and destroying her dam really irritated her. Why oh why must all the water flow into the ocean? Perhaps it is more determined than she.

Meanwhile, my oldest daughter searched high and low for seashells.

Finding three whole sand dollars and several sand dollar pieces overjoyed her. This big discovery was more than two years in the making. She’d searched and searched with great determination but never found sand dollars while we were in the Florida Keys.

Our delightful and memorable visit to the Pacific continued in Cannon Beach with lunch — featuring sandwiches with Tillamook cheese and a quick trip to the candy store.

Stay tuned for my next post; the treat I bought myself at the candy store has the same name as the next picturesque site!

Spring in Oregon — Part 3

Site Three: Columbia River Gorge

Another highlight of our Oregon visit was seeing the Columbia River Gorge while en route to all those waterfalls I mentioned earlier. Being wild about waterfalls, I overlooked the gorge for a bit. Sorry about the pun.

I would say I skipped it for a while, but who can skip over a gorge like this?

Well, maybe some skipping was involved…

The Columbia River is the border between Oregon and Washington State. These beautiful snow-covered mountains are officially in southern Washington.

See the tiny dome-like building perched way over there on that cliff? It’s a scenic overlook.

We got closer. This is the view from the parking lot.

If you learn nothing else about the Columbia River Gorge, learn this: It’s wildly windy. The wind comes roaring across the Pacific Ocean and whips relentlessly through the gorge.

That wind put one daughter’s Columbia jacket and the other’s North Face fleece to the test just long enough for me to snap a few pictures. Then hatless and frazzled, we took cover in the dome-like building. Here’s what it looks like inside.

Pretty, huh?

Spring in Oregon – Part 2

“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls…” Psalm 42:7

Waterfalls mesmerize me. For a shutterbug, almost nothing else captivates like the roaring rush of water cascading over rocks in the lush and verdant Pacific Northwest.

As a small child, I spent many family vacations chasing waterfalls on the Olympic Peninsula and near Mt. Rainier in Washington State. My mom was a shutterbug, too.

Later, as a young adult, my husband proposed to me at my favorite waterfall — Sol Duc Falls in Washington — making waterfalls even more memorable for both of us.

As a parent now, I think passing along this multi-generational obsession with waterfalls to my children is imperative because waterfalls display God’s glorious creativity. Thankfully, waterfalls are more than plentiful in the great state of Oregon. And my dear aunt knows the perfect route to enjoy several breathtaking waterfalls in an easy half-day trip.

Site Two: Waterfalls along the Historic Columbia River Highway.  First up is Latourell Falls. This stunning waterfall is visible from the road, but a short downhill hike takes visitors close enough to feel a little spray.

As we continued eastward along the scenic route in a van named Big Red, we caught glimpses of several smaller waterfalls. At our next stop, we thoroughly enjoyed a quarter-mile hike starting at this waterfall at Benson State Park. Isn’t it heavenly?

Thanks, Aunt Sheila, for capturing this shot of us girls in front of the falls.

My dear Aunt Sheila is married to my Uncle Gary, who is by far the most experienced hiker I know. He led us on a little quarter-mile adventure up a path that rose high above the highway and railroad tracks. See the train hiding in the trees below?

We had to carefully cross over a few slippery rocks under this trickling little waterfall.

But don’t worry, the little sister kept her shoes dry this time.

In just a few minutes, we arrived at Multnomah Falls Lodge. Seated near the cozy fireplace, we delighted in a delicious and memorable lunch with aunts, uncle and Gramma. Tunes from Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring set the uplifting mood as we overlooked the Columbia Gorge and watched a few more Union Pacific trains race by. The big sister was certain we were seeing just one train go around and around in circles because the engines all looked just alike — yellow with an American flag.

After lunch, we went up with Aunt Lilac to see Multnomah Falls.

Then Uncle Gary joined me and the girls for a quick hike up to the bridge.

And so our waterfall tour ended on high at the gorgeous Multnomah Falls.

One spot we saved for next time is the falls at Bridal Veil, an adventure that requires more of a hike than our crew could handle that morning. We must go back!

NOTE: Read about our other recent adventures in Oregon here: Spring in Oregon — Part 1.

Spring in Oregon — Part 1

The girls and I just rolled in from a lovely trip to Oregon, spending time with my aunt, who answers to the nickname “Aunt Lilac” when her great nieces are around.

Aunt Lilac and Uncle Bishop hosted us for a whole week, not only feeding us well, but also feeding my camera well! Shutterbugs cannot go hungry in Oregon; we feasted on many breathtaking sites.

Site One: The Bishop’s Close Elk Rock Garden in Portland. If you’ve been reading my blog a while, yes, this is the same magical garden I listed two years ago as #2 on my 8 Things We Love about Oregon post. We still love it!

Won’t you stroll along with us?

Fallen petals from the blooming magnolias blanket the path like over-grown snowflakes.

All the trees — not just the magnolias — seem magically magnificent in this garden.

From a distance, the buds on the camellias look like peonies. But up close, the delicate petals reveal their own enchanting beauty, reminding us of pink tissue paper.

The little sister delights in gathering fistfuls of petals and dropping them into the water near this little corner bench. I try to take a picture of her in action. She’s a water-lover, as I’ve mentioned before, and is quite enthralled with everything watery. Well, that is until she accidentally puts her foot — brand new shoe, sock and all — right into the water.

Sometimes shutterbugs must surrender the camera, console the soggy, and inspect shoes for stray salamanders.

Thankfully, Uncle Bishop knows just how to lift a little girl’s spirits, and he warms her bare toes in the pocket of his fleece jacket.

So the stroll through the Bishop’s Close ends happily after all.