The Cape Mears National Wildlife Refuge forms a steep bluff over 200 ft high at the southern end of Tillamook Bay on the Oregon coast. The refuge protects a remnant of coastal old-growth forest and the surrounding habitat used by breeding seabirds, including the Common Murre, Tufted Puffin, Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot and Black Oystercatcher.
For the best viewing experience, click on an image to see a high resolution version.
North of Nestucca Bay on the Oregon coast, Hwy 101 heads north northeast inland through Cloverdale and Hemlock, away from the coastline, to Tillamook (say cheese!). One the coastline, west of Hwy 101, along Netarts Bay Rd, are Cape Lookout State Park, Netarts Bay, the sea stacks at Oceanside and the lighthouse at Cape Mears. This post features compositions from the north side of Cape Lookout and the sea stacks at Oceanside.
For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view the high resolution version.
This post features additional monochrome western juniper tree and lava rock compositions from my visit to the Oregon Badlands Wilderness earlier last month. My previous post included details about this amazing landscape. This was supposed to be a Monochrome Monday post, but I just had too many items on my Labor Day to-do-list. So, its my Monochrome Tuesday, Day After Labor Day post instead.
My wife was appalled by my consistent grammatical errors and typos in recent posts. She told me “You don’t want readers to think you’re illiterate!” I told her not to worry, its just my ADD, and me getting a little older. She replied “Just read it out loud before you post!” That sounds like some good advice, I’ll give it a shoot.
Thanks for taking time to visit my photo blog! For the best viewing experience , click on an image to see a high resolution version, as well as other images from my Oregon Badlands Wilderness Gallery. Ha, ha “I’ll give it a shoot”! I’m so silly!
My brother-in-law Jim, his pointer puppy Artie and I arrived at the Badlands Rock Trailhead around 8:30 am on a Tuesday morning. The Oregon Badlands is about 30 minutes east of Bend in Deschutes and Crook counties. The high desert area is known for castle-like volcanic rock formations, harsh terrain, ancient Juniper trees, sagebrush, and extensive arid land.
The Western Juniper is a prominent feature across the badlands and Oregon high desert. The durable juniper is known to live more than 1600 years. Its scraggly bark and gnarly branches are quite impressive. I suspect the specimen above is well over 200 years old. Ironically, the tree is seen by many scientists and land managers as invasive. It hogs scarce water resources (12 – 14 inches, or 30 – 35 cm, of rain annually in the badlands), and crowds out native shrubs, grasses and flowers – all of which provide critical wildlife habitat.
Before settlement of the west in the 1800s, the juniper occupied only 10% the territory it does today. Up until then, naturally occurring fires kept the tree contained. But settlers and ranchers have since tended to quickly suppress fires giving the young junipers opportunity to spread. We did notice along the trail evidence of past fire events.
Another interesting feature of the badlands is the volcanic rock formations created by ancient inflated lava flows. Jim, Artie and I climbed the 75 ft (23 m) tall Badland Rock outcropping to get an impressive 360 degree view of Central Oregon. The Badlands soil is composed of sand from eroded volcanic rock and ash from the Mt. Mazama eruption (known today as Crater Lake) some 7,700 years ago.
Finally, the high desert landscape is complemented with visual interest from big sagebrush, rabbitbrush, Idaho fescue and bluebunch wheatgrass. Artie loved bouncing around the thickets of sagebrush and bunchgrasses, sometimes flushing a flight of Mourning doves. As it was early August, the desert wildflowers were waning, but there was still numerous pink dwarf monkeyflower, Oregon sunshine and sulfur buckwheat to be found. I particularly found numerous sulfur buckwheat subjects for photography.
Below is Artie scoping out scenes from the Badland Rock Trail. You can see big sagebrush, rabbitbrush, bunchgrass and junipers mentioned above.
Look for more posts featuring this amazing landscape! For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high resolution version from my portfolio site.
During our trip north along the Oregon’s scenic Highway 101, we detoured off the highway along the northern boundary of Nestucca Bay to Pacific City and the Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area. I specifically wanted to see (translation – photograph) the iconic Chief Kiawanda Rock – a sea stack geological formation. Upon our arrival, I found the tall sandstone cliffs jetting out into the ocean and the enormous Great Dune equally impressive.
The sandy beach and adjacent sand hills were popular among
the numerous visitors. My younger son
Parker and I climbed the sand hill to reach the top edge of the sandstone cliffs. A fence warned visitors of the dangerous
cliffs. Seeing a few others exploring
the cliffs and boulders, we cautiously and perhaps foolishly climbed under the
fence to gain a better view from of Chief Kiawanda Rock.
Making our way to the top, we backtracked to find a safer route to the top of the cliff. My rule for Parker and I was to stay 20 feet away from edge of cliffs. I’m glad we did; while researching the area for this post, I learned 7 people have died – falling into sea from crumbling sandstone cliffs! Below is a photo of Parker with Pacific City in the background.
The area was originally inhabited by the Nestugga and Killamook Native Americans. The names evolved into Nestucca (as in the Nestucca River) and Tillamook – the city to the north with the huge cheese factory. The sea stack was named after Chief Kiawanda, whose name has also changed over time to Kiwanda. In the past, some referred to the sea stack as Haystack Rock, but this is often confused with the also iconic Haystack Rock 65 miles to the north at Cannon Beach. Today the locals in Pacific City, and most maps, refer to it as Chief Kiawanda Rock.
At 341 feet (104 m), Chief Kiawanda Rock is actually 100 ft taller than Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach. It looks smaller because it is actually almost 3800 ft (3/4 mile, 1189 m) offshore from the beach at Pacific City. Sea stacks are formed when lava flows collapse under the upper crust and later erupt back to the surface. Ocean waves and wind carve the rocks into their current shapes. Most of these sea stacks are considered bird sanctuaries and as such are off-limits to human visitors.
I wished we could have stayed longer and had a beer at the original Pelican Brewery location in Pacific City. But, there was still much more to see along the Oregon Coast. For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high resolution. Thank you for stopping by!
Smith Rock State Park is an amazing volcanic rock formation rising above the high desert plateau in central Oregon. In addition to its gorgeous scenery and abundant hiking trails, it is also considered one of the best rock climbing destinations in the western United States.
We arrived in mid-morning and were able to hike a couple of miles before it got too hot. As usual, I was constantly lagging behind my family, sister and brother-in-law, stopping to take photos. So many amazing photo opportunities!
There are more pictures from Smith Rock State Park to curate for a future follow-up post. For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high-resolution version from my portfolio site.