Up the Oregon Coast

Mention Oregon and most Americans envision rugged seascapes, fog-shrouded cliffs, broad, sandy beaches, towering sea monoliths, luxuriant coastal forests and spectacular concentrations of marine animals. Travelling up Route 101 over the past three days, I can personally attest to the accuracy of that image.

Among our most memorable stops (to date) have been the Face Rock beach area (just south of Bandon), a noisy assembly of sea lions and sea birds at Cape Arago (off Coos Bay), the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (near Reedsport), the Cape Perpetua trail network (just south of Yachats), the Yaquina Head Preserve (just north of Newport) and Ecola State Park (at the north edge of Cannon Beach). En route, we have been inspired by the spectacular scenery and impressed by Oregon's effort to protect yet provide access to these natural treasures. Check a map of the State and you will find that its coast is lined with a fabulous variety of parks, historic sites, nature preserves and wildlife refuges.

Unexpected sitings (or lack thereof) often accompany travel to natural areas. On this trip, I have been amazed by the large number of brown pelicans that summer along the Oregon coast; having spent much time along the Southeast and Gulf Coasts, I have never seen this species in such overwhelming concentrations. On the other hand, sea bird sitings have been less varied than hoped for, an apparent indication that many species (puffins, murres, auklets) have already left their breeding grounds and have moved out to sea. A final day on this cool, damp coast will close out one of the most spectacular and memorable vacations that we have ever experienced; our thanks to Oregonians for their obvious commitment to environmental stewardship.