A Travellerspoint blog

Seeing the world through a puppy's eyes

Seeing the world through a puppy's senses opens one to new or long-forgotten things in this world.

We were hiking across the sand dunes near the Oregon coast, Bud in the lead and Sammie and I following. Every step Bud took left a three-inch depression in the sand. To a puppy, new to this much sand, every one of those boot-prints must have looked like a hole with the possibility of something interesting to sniff. Imagine watching three beings crossing the dunes: the first, camera in hand, plowing forward aggressively; the next, a pup, pouncing from footprint to footprint with excited nose to the ground; the third a person doubled over laughing while trying to keep the pup's leash in hand. What fun!

Sammie seems to have a particular nose for mushrooms. Not too many of these fungi in the dry forests of the eastern Cascades, but in the moist green forests near the coast, different varieties seem to pop up just under the logs or the ferns. I go on alert when I see Sammie, nose to the ground, along the moss-covered logs or the edge of the lush greenery along the trail. Yuck! I am not fond of mushrooms to start with, but they are extra-slimy when you have to remove them from a puppy's mouth.

Need an expert on ducks? Look no further than our puppy Sammie. It was rain, rain and more rain on Wednesday, and we stopped for lunch and relaxation at John Topits Park and Empire Lake in North Bend, along the Oregon coast. The day's weather was definitely made for ducks, and they were cavorting and playing enthusiastically along the edge of the lake, and in the water. Sammie took up positions in the driver's seat, the sofa and the bedroom window for nearly two hours, just carefully watching every move, flight and "quack." It was like a human being watching a sporting event...two quarters of duck team-tag, time out for the concession stand (puppy kibble), then back to the fowl lines.

Posted by Joyful Feet 22:10 Comments (1)

Cape Aragon on the Oregon Coast

Sunset Bay Camoground

We pulled into Sunset Bay State Park campground in the drizzling rain Wednesday, 5/22. This park is right on the coast, on the Cape Arago road south of Charleston. We chose site A38, one with electric and water hookups, and the least number of water puddles on the campsite. We liked the looks of this campground, with its grassy campsites and easy access to hiking trails. The free (though rustic) showers have hot water and are clean.
After listening to light rain periodically through the night, we were heartened to find the weather cooperating, mostly, by 9 a.m.

The trails are located across the highway, and are well-maintained wide wood-chip paths. We wound through huge green leaves, deerferns and towering pines, to beautiful overlooks of the coast. Towering slabs of rocks parallel the beach, with water channels from a few feet to many yards in width separating these rock formations from the cliffs of the coast. One particularly flat-top rock slab formed hundreds of little waterfalls as the surf danced and billowed, then receded from its surface.

There is a lovely tranquil beach at Sunset Bay, right across the road from the campground. Weather today was not suitable for a dip, but I read this is one of the best places for swimming in the Pacific in Oregon. Plenty of picnic tables and grassy areas for upcoming sunny days.

Friday morning we left this lovely campground, and traveled about four miles south to complete this road to Cape Aragon. Two miles south of Sunset Bay are the beautiful gardens of Shore Acres State Park. What a wonderful stop this was! This is the former estate of Louis Simpson, and the state of Oregon has restored the botanical gardens to their full glory. The Japanese garden pool is surrounded by lush colors, varying with the season. This day, the rhododendrons were still in their prime, along with azaleas so heavy with bloom I could hardly discern the leaves among them. More flowers of yellow, orange and white...I did not need to know the names to breath in the fragrance and enjoy the sights. I highly recommend a stop at this park if you are traveling the Oregon coast.

Posted by Joyful Feet 22:03 Archived in USA Tagged coast oregon sunset_bay sunset_bay_state_park shore_acres_state_park cape_arago Comments (0)

Oregon sand dunes

Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park

rain 50 °F

The rain has been falling, sometimes gently, sometimes with force, since about 1 a.m. I can almost seeing the mosses, ferns, vines, rhodies, and trees growing and greening before my eyes. Great day for cups of hot chocolate and page-turning of novels. Even our puppy Sammie seems to settle in for added sleep, much of the day.

Somewhat incredible, that if I walk just 1/4 mile west from our campsite (#275H) in Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, I come to nothing but sand, sand dunes to be specific. We walked there yesterday, under bright blue skies and warm sunshine. After an arduous climb up, up, up in soft sand, aaahhh...the Pacific Ocean, two miles or so away. Amid the dunes are oasis, little island-like patches of pines, ferns, lush rain forests. What a contrasting landscape!

A bit about this state park: this is Oregon's second-largest state park, 522 acres big. The year-round campground, with more than 300 sites, is on the west side of Highway 101, 3 miles south of Florence, Oregon. On this side, Cleowox Lake offers picnic, swimming, boating and hiking. In exchange for the off-season uncrowdedness of the campsites, we were not able to rent a kayak or canoe for this lake since the concession is not yet open for the season. We did see hardy souls swimming yesterday. A nice mostly paved "connector" trail took us on our bikes across busy highway 101 on a pedestrian bridge to the east side, and larger Lake Woahink. Swimming, boating and hiking are offered at this lake as well.

And who, I wondered, was Jessie M. Honeyman? Here's what Wikipedia says about him: "Originally named Camp Woahink, the park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and was later renamed in honor Jessie M. Honeyman (1852–1948) of Portland. As president of the Oregon Roadside Council, Honeyman worked with Samuel Boardman, Oregon's first Superintendent of State Parks in the 1920s and 1930s, to preserve Oregon coastal lands." Thank you, Mr. Honeyman, for a lovely park!

Posted by Joyful Feet 12:47 Archived in USA Tagged oregon camping sand_dunes honeyman_state_park Comments (1)

Camping in the Cascades

Olallie Campground


The waters of the McKenzie River dance by our campsite, with white froth merrily waving goodbye on its way downstream. The rush of the river is magnified at this spot by the cascading outpouring from the Olallie Creek as it joins the McKenzie. The creek is a series of small waterfalls and tumbles here, and it creates enough wind to cause the low-hanging branches of the maples to constantly jump up and down over the water.

This is a camper's delight if you enjoy the sound of rushing water, the visual comfort of moss-draped trees, and the quiet of sleeping in the forests of the Cascades. Olallie Campground is located on Route 126 in Oregon, at about milepost 12.9, a few miles north of the community of McKenzie Bridge. The campground is small, just 16 camp sites plus a host site, and is divided into two sections. The lower section, where we chose to stay, is sites 12 through 17, and all are along the river, just a few feet from the level of the water. The upper section, sites 2 through 11, still have views of the water though they are situated well above the river and closer to the highway. The campground has one water pump (bring your arm muscles!) and trash containers, but no other amenities.

Who needs amenities when one has the lush forest of the western Cascades surrounding them? Our campsite, #16, looked out on the creek and the river, with the "white noise" of the rushing water overcoming any other noise except perhaps the occasional drive-by vehicle. Our five-month-old pup, Sammie, was fascinated with the rocks that are totally covered with soft green moss. The large horizontal fern fronds were fun until she spied the tall-standing new unfurled fronds in the center, and she backed away from those. W admired the large flat white flowers on several trees along the camp road, and a few rhododendrons showing their purple blooms.

We had rain both days we stayed here--proving we were indeed on the west side of the Cascades! It was light rain, but enough to make it difficult to sit outside on the huge log down by the river enjoying nature from that vantage point. Instead, the raindrops on the roof of our RV provided a soothing background to our reading and card-playing. This was a gentle two days enjoying the forests and streams of the Cascades.

Posted by Joyful Feet 17:26 Archived in USA Tagged oregon camping olallie Comments (0)

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