Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Days 18 and 19 -

These were quieter days spent around the state park with some venturing off to Seaside to the south and back to Astoria.

Seaside is one of the first holiday towns, kind of like Sauble Beach on steroids. The water, and dunes are there along with some wonderful condominiums but there is also a promenade which extends right across the town in front of the ocean. Paul and I stopped there for an ice cream cone from the Tillamook ice cream store.

There are numerous parks along the ocean where one can spend the day, and in many cases you can take your car onto the beach although we have seen a few cars get stuck on the sand.

Last evening we had a great nature hike led by one of the park volunteers which turned into a private tour since we were the only ones who showed up - well along with the mosquitoes of course. We saw huckleberry (both regular and red), Oregon holly, lots and lots of ferns, wild roses, salal ( a type of local berry), thimbleberries, salmon berries and trailing black berries. But the stars of the tour were the sitka spruces  - “babies” Barney says - only 100 years old. They can grow to be 500 years old. The ones we saw seemed like monsters.

Today we returned to Astoria ( pronounced for some reason with the emphasis on the 1st syllable) for the Sunday market and lunch at the bow picker.

Apparently the latter is a local secret. The fish is albacore tuna caught just off shore and most Astorians get their lunch here. “Divers Drive-ins and Dives” needs to check this place out- it really was good!

We also got a better picture of the goonie house.

This afternoon we returned to the park for ranger-led presentation on a local shipwreck, the Peter Iredale

 One of 2000 major wrecks along this coast, it is testament to the extreme weather and seas when the Columbia river meets the Pacific ocean in a dance that is violent and unpredictable. Special river pilots are trained to take ships from one to the other  and these guys are treated with extreme respect.

There are a whole lot of folks in the park right now because of the razor clams - apparently if you go out at sunrise at the "Minus tide", these guys are there for the picking.

The crabbers are from Oregon and one family's eldest son (picture Mickey Rooney in a fu manchu moustache) brought us up to date with the latest techniques. It's also a lot of fun they say, but 5 am anywhere doesn't sound like fun to me - and on this rainy coast, less than that!

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