Friday, July 13, 2012

Visiting the Northern Oregon Coast

The Astoria-Megler Bridge, the longest continuous truss bridge in North America. It runs from Astoria, Oregon to Washington state. Sam and I accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up taking the 5-mile long bridge over the Columbia River and to WA before we turned back around. Just one more of the crazy issues and technological difficulties from this trip!! :) Copyright (c) 2012 Wendee Holtcamp

I took Sam to the North Oregon coast last weekend, including Astoria and Cannon Beach. Astoria sets on the Columbia Rver near its mouth. This is the Astoria Column a 125-foot tall tower painted with a mural depicting important events in Oregon history.

A closer view of the column.

To get here you drive up a long, winding road to the top of a tall hill, and you can see the entire county! It's quite a view.

The county from another vantage point at the column site.

And yet another view from the column.

From the column parking lot, Sam and I took a hike to a 300-year old Sitka Spruce known as the Cathedral tree.

It wasn't near as large as some of the trees in Olympic National Park, but it was a nice tree. We met a guy on the trail who was a WWOOFer (Willing Workers on Organic Farms), and about to start grad school at NYU in Journalism. Sam dubbed him bro-han.

A shot of the Cathedral tree.

I took this using the Vignette app on my Droid and I think I like it better than the pics from my Canon!

We have seen a lot of these gorgeous red elderberries around Oregon and Washington. In fact Sam is so impressed with all the berries in general. I was so excited to see red huckleberries on the trail and we ate some. They were the berries I ate the most as a kid at my dad's (as well as raspberries, but those were planted). In fact I took photos of the huckleberries and they must not have turned out because I can't find them!

I was so excited to see this Stop sign on the road. When I was a kid, my dad had a big van (Van Morrison was its name) and it was set high up and I could never see the road. Dad used to say "We just ran over a Stop Sign!" And I was all, what?! where? I can't see! I want to see! And I would get so upset because I wanted to see the flipping stop sign and couldn't fathom how we could RUN OVER one?! What the heck? Of course as I got older I saw them, but at the time I thought it was silly and frustrating at the same time. So seeing this in Astoria brought back good memories.

Based on a recommendation, we ate at the Blue Scorcher cafe. I loved the concept but the food left a lot to be desired, in my opinion... The coffee was good though.

We were guests of the brand new Astoria Riverwalk Inn, which sets right on the water overlooking a marina and the bridge. This is the view right out the window. It was awesome! The owners Brad and Seth - i talked to Brad most - were super nice and helpful, telling us the best spots to go clamming, the techniques, etc. Sam was so freaking excited about going clamming I thought he would pee himself.

We had a two-room suite, and Sam had 4 beds all to himself! He didn't know where to sleep! Ha! The room also had a bean bag, a couch, and a game station!

We got up to go clamming during low tide in the morning. Wait, we actually went at 10pm at night because that was low tide, and you CAN clam at night with the caveat that you actually have been before and have some semblance of a clue what you are looking for. Sam was so excited to go, and so I took him at night. Big mistake. It was freeeeezing cold, dark, and we couldn't see crap. Being late, no one was out clamming and so we didn't have anyone to show us the ropes. We left frustrated but went back the next day and had much more success! This is Sam walking through the woods at Fort Stevens State Park to get to the beach, clam gun in hand.

You look for dimples on the flat beach at low tide, of varying sizes, and then shove the gun (a shovel) into the sand. After it's as far in as you can get, you cover a hole on it, which creates a suction, and then pull the sand out.

Theoretically, that sand contains a razor clam! There was a guy on the beach clamming who helped us with the technique.

Sam with his first clam! He was happy as... a clam! :) Seriously, he was VERY excited to get this first clam!

We tried for a while without success. It was harder than I thought to find the dimples.

Looking, looking... but then he finally had more luck and eventually got 12 clams. The limit is 15 but we left after 12.

This is a razor clam up close. And personal! :) After we got about 12 clams, we left the beach and went to Cannon Beach. But after the day was done, we went back to my dad's cabin, cleaned and cooked the clams, and enjoyed them!

Sam with the ocean in the background. I think I took this on a different day but I like the photo and hadn't put it online yet!

Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach. Cannon Beach is just about 30 or 40 minutes west of Astoria.

Another view of haystack Rock. Sam made the comment that this was winter weather in Texas and summer weather in oregon! The beach was completely full with beach-goers, kids playing in the ocean, people flying kites, women sunbathing - despite the clouds. Funny!

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