Going South down the Oregon Coast
We left Buckley about 9:30 Sunday February 7th and stopped in at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge for a few hours before setting up camp. We drove around the 10 mile auto tour route twice and saw many different birds including Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Great Blue Herons ,Great Egrets , Snow Geese, Trumpeter Swans , Northern Harriers , American Kestrel, Canadian Geese , and many different types of ducks and other waterfowl .
We reached our campsite at Paradise Point State Park before sunset and immediately changed sites. Our neighbors looked a little sketchy and the site itself was dirty and muddy. The whole campground was pretty muddy due to all the rain we’ve been having. We weren’t very enamored with this place at first, but after spending the night and taking a 2.5 mile hike along the Lewis River in the morning , it began to grow on us.
On the 9th we left early and slowly made our way along the north side of the Columbia River stopping at several wildlife refuges along the way. There wasn’t an abundance of birds, but we could see future potential. It was a beautiful drive and we’re looking forward exploring more of the area next time we come through.
We arrived at Cape Disappointment SP at the mouth of the Columbia mid-afternoon and set up camp at one of our favorite spots. I was lucky enough to get a site with a view of the ocean. It was just a short walk to the beach and a beautiful day. We were treated to a great show by the Coast Guard . The were practicing cliff rescue techniques below the North Head light house. Very exciting watching those heroes coming out of the helicopter and being lowered to the cliff face. They really had to trust the pilot. The next day they were working on their rescue swimmer techniques right in front of our campsite and were jumping into the surf from 20 feet up. The pilots have amazingly steady hands on the controls.
We left for two nights at Ft. Stevens SP in Oregon on the 11th. We crossed the bridge at Astoria in 35 mph wind which made for a tense grip on the wheel. Ft. Stevens is a beautiful park at the NW tip of Oregon and the south side of the mouth of the Columbia. The wind and rain were crazy so we found a more secure site in another loop. The next day we went for a four mile hike around Coffinbury Lake and then hid out from the weather. During the night a huge storm moved in with high winds and heavy rain . We didn’t have any damage, but we were lucky. There were big branches down all over the park and the power lines were down blocking both entrances to the park so we had to park in the lot at the entrance for about 5 hrs. We made the best of our time there by taking a long walk out to the beach and the wreck of the Peter Iredale, a British merchant ship that went aground in 1909 and is only a skeleton .
After we made our escape from Ft. Stevens, we made our way 43 miles south to Nehalem Bay SP. This is sweet little park just south of the town of Manzanita. Today, Valentine’s Day, we took two hikes on the beach and had a campfire . Tomorrow we are off for two nights at Cape Lookout St. Park.