Friday, September 6, 2013

Pacific City to Tillamook, Oregon

Yesterday we continued to explore landmarks along the coast, this time traveling north from Lincoln city where we are currently parked.  Our tour book has been The Original Highway 101 Mile by Mile Guide. Pacific City is famous for the dory boats which are loaded directly into the surf.  For over a century the boats have gone from this harbor to fish on the open sea.  After 1927 larger surf boats were needed for commercial fishing, called double enders.  They required two sets of oars,  later a motor well was added near the stern.  The harbor, called Cape Kiwanda, is pictured below.  Large sand dunes mark this area.
At Cape Meares we took a short walk to see the Octopus Tree.  It had been overcast and foggy up to this point, but now the rain had started.  A picture of the tree may explain how it received its name.
The tree, a Sitka spruce, is 250-300 years old and has no central trunk.  It is unknown whether nature or Native Americans caused its unusual shape.  Also at Cape Meares is the shortest lighthouse in Oregon.
Near the city of Oceanside is Three Arch Rock Wildlife Refuge, the first NWR west of the Mississippi.  When citizens of the town noticed birds being killed there by hunters, they appealed to President F. Roosevelt for protection of the birds.  It is the home of the largest tufted puffins along the coast.
From Cloverdale to Tillamook we saw many dairy farms with cattle feeding on lush pastureland.  It rains here pretty much constantly from November to March.  Not surprising, then, to find a large cheese factory here, the Tillamook Cheese Factory.  We took a self-guided tour of the place, watching large hunks of cheese being sliced and packaged.  We munched on cheese samples, and, with ice cream cones in hand, we headed out from there to our last stop of the day, Munson Creek Falls.  To see the falls it was necessary to take a short walk through a very wet forest, which is quite lush with plants and trees.  In this setting the falls (highest on the coast at 319 feet) are quite spectacular.  The fog did not detract from their beauty.

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