On the Road Again

DAY ONE

Finally, everything aligned, and it was time to get out to the Oregon coast. I packed every bit of warm clothing, binoculars and bird books, notebooks and fiction, and we set out to the south in a drizzle. The sky was a tumult of grays and whites, and we drove over rivers, between pastures, past wetlands and bogs, following along the coast range on our right. 

First stop, Finley National Wildlife Refuge, outside of Corvallis. Finley is one of many preserves created in Oregon to replace shrinking habitat with safe havens for wintering migratory birds; in this case, Dusky Canada Geese. Of course other birds gather as well.  Hiking through oak savannas, woodlands, and Doug fir forests, it was a mass of moss, lichen, ferns and blackberries. The birds were fairly quiet and played hide and seek with us. Mostly it was so quiet I thought something was wrong with my ears. That’s the kind of place I like though, just breath between heartbeats.

Just before we made it out to the open marshlands, we heard an enormous cacophony that could only be huge numbers of geese. Off in the distance we could see the sky blackened with birds, perhaps in the thousands. How I wished I’d been closer for that, but the sound was a thrill.

By the time we came to the marsh, the few remaining ducks and swans and geese were all in the distance, and again I was in thrall to the patterns in the sky, the breeze, and felt the promise of the ocean calling us to go on.

We followed Highway 34 and the Alsea River through the Siuslaw Forest, a fun name to let trip over your tongue as you drive along. The forest was misty, dense, and dark under winter skies; definitely a witchy forest, and not a fairy forest, according to my grandkids’ lexicon. Finally, finally, we reached Highway 101 and the Pacific Ocean, which had been patiently waiting for us all along. I’ve been to a variety of beaches around the world, and there’s nothing like the wild and rugged Oregon coast.

The Pacific Northwest continues to reveal itself to me. It hasn’t worked out to be out exploring much lately, but I feel a change coming, my hibernation is over, and I have a long list of places I need to get to.

Alan’s real camera photos

10 thoughts on “On the Road Again

  1. I’m with you about the Oregon coast. I love it there. In Washington, driving is allowed on the beaches and it ruins it for me. Your window for the week looks fabulous. And perfect weather for writing and reading! Enjoy. Thanks for sharing the new-to-me places, too!

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  2. “Patterns in the sky” — Mike wrote music to a Bad Wolf Press song with that as a title. You must hear it!
    This is a beautiful intro to your trip—and what a wonderful hotel location! The ocean will sound so amazing. Enjoy and enjoy.

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    • Patty I’ve been thinking about our time in Etretat as I look out on this remarkably different coast, though with equally precipitous cliffs. Exploring this coastline will be part of your next visit for sure.

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  3. Thank you Nancy. I loved sharing your trip through the witchy forest, lichen draped. Is that mistletoe in the Oak savannah? Your photos are sensational and my own senses are riding along with you as you watch that beautiful sky and listen to the birds wrapped in the quiet breath of nature.

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  4. Thanks Mary Jo (right?). I had to look back at the oaks to see past the lichen, and I don’t know – I’ve wondered about those big clumps but never thought it through. My Jewish mind/non-biologic mind doesn’t attune to it perhaps! 🙂 But that could be the answer to the clumpy mystery. Thanks for riding along!

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