Saturday, July 19, 2014

So Much Beauty, So Little Time

Our volunteer jobs here are truly enjoyable, but still leave us enough time to shop, dine, and explore.  There are just so many things to see here, and the beauty of the area never ends.  Today’s blog is a mix of places and things we’ve seen lately and I hope the images can convey just a bit of how magnificent this area is.  (Don’t forget to click on the picture to make it full-sized)
We volunteered to help manage a large group of students visiting Cape Blanco, the westernmost point in Oregon and the home of one of the few remaining working lighthouses.  It was windy, it was cool, and it was spectacular!  Cape Blanco Lighthouse School Day (Small)
The offshore rocks, or “sea stacks” always catch our attention when the tide or wind is pushing the water – it makes them look like they’re moving along like a ship:Rocks Steaming North
Low tide transforms the beach into something resembling a lunar landscape:Low Tide
Wildflowers are everywhere and will remain throughout the summer.  In the woods, you can still see wild Rhododendron and  Foxglove (Digitalis):Wild Rhody
Foxglove Close Up
There is so much uninhabited forest here - you can drive for miles without Laird Lake Roadseeing a house or any structure at all.  One day we took a drive to Laird Lake, which is really the size of a pond.  Off the main highway it was ten miles of paved road, then 20 of one-lane mostly paved, and finally 8 more miles of little used dirt road.  Finally we came to the lake; crystal clear with trout visible.  I caught a few smaller ones, but didn’t connect with any of the 20-inch trophies that are stocked by Oregon Fish & Game.Laird Lake
About 50 miles south of us is the California border and the beginning of the Redwood forests.  We visited Lady Bird Grove, a magical stand of Redwoods dedicated to Lady Bird by President Richard Nixon in 1969 for her environmental efforts.  The one and one half mile trail winds through the huge trees, some approaching 360 feet tall and over 2000 years old:Lady Bird Grove
The trees are so big that it’s hard to convey their size with a photo.  I almost fell over backward a number of times trying to see the tops:Lady Bird Redwoods
Redwoods are nearly indestructible; they resist fire, aren’t bothered by insects, and continue to grow into gnarly shapes even when damaged by fire:Redwood Roots
This tree was nearly burned through but still stands and continues to grow:Burned Redwood
No visit to the Redwoods would be complete without a picture of a person standing in front of a trunk to show it’s size – and who better to enhance a photo than Brenda?Brenda and Redwood
Now for our science lesson – back when we volunteered at Harris Beach State Park I used to do nature walks.  One of the plants that I remembered Red Sorrel Openas we strolled through the grove was Redwood Sorrel.  Uniquely adapted to living in the shade of the Pacific NorthwestRed Sorrel Closed forests, it’s capable of photosynthesis at low light levels.  Because it is so sensitive to light, full sunlight makes it fold up to protect itself.  You can actually watch the change take place….if you’re patient.
Finally, on our way back we detoured through an area with meadows and came upon these Elk casually grazing.

Prairie Loop Elk
There are so many other places and things to share with you, so check back and see!