Saturday, August 21, 2010

A few days away

A weekend away in summer, however brief, is a lovely thing. Especially when Portland temperatures soar above 95 degrees F., the coast is the place to be, so that's just where the Mulchmaids went last weekend.

We stayed in Astoria, one of our favorite getaways, but we spent a good part of one day just north, at Cape Disappointment in Washington. It was anything but disappointing: Sorry my images are kind of washed out but, hey, that's what happens on perfect, sunny days!

See the large Douglas fir on the cliff above? Guess what flew across in front of us and lighted there for perfect viewing?

My point-and-shoot camera can't do justice to this magnificent Bald Eagle. He sat and preened for half an hour, giving us a great chance to study him through the binoculars. He flew away and stretched his wings, then returned for more contemplation of potential dinner on the cormorant-covered rocks beneath him.

I have never seen a bald eagle so closely. You can't see this detail, but his beak was bright gold and his head and tail were perfectly white.

Looking southwest from our position, the Cape Disappointment light house stands ready to help mariners across the Columbia bar. The Cape Disappointment Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center (behind us) is a great indoor vantage point for wet or cold weather viewing of the bar. It's quite a show when large ships are pitching and rolling in turbulent winter conditions.

There's a shady 3/4 mile trail from this point out to the lighthouse.

Dismal Nitch is another of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial locations in Washington. Although it doubles as a busy rest stop, the views across the Columbia to the south and east are great.

In Astoria, the Astoria Column provides 200 degrees of must-see views. This looks south up the Youngs River. 

The return trip wouldn't be complete without a stop at Joy Creek Nursery.

We picnicked in the shade there  enjoying this stunning Eucomis comosa 'Sparkling Burgundy'. (Their catalog sells 'Oakhurst' for those of you swooning over this strappy purple foliage.)

A nice mixup of large-leaved perennials (I couldn't read the tag, but I'm guessing a may apple and farfugium?)

We came home to find the heat had coaxed the oncidium Colm Wildcat 'Red Star' orchid into full bloom.



  1. I am so jealous, being stuck here in Az. Next summer, the Coast for sure!!!

  2. Nice work combining a trip to Astoria and WA with a stop at Joy Creek! Pure genius. And thanks for the Eucomis shot. I'm really missing my Oakhurst blooms this summer.

  3. I can almost feel the sea spray. Thanks for taking us along.

  4. I'll say cool! What a stunning orchid. I didn't want your post to end yet, Jane. The views of the capes and scapes were just dazzling. How wonderful that the bald eagle alighted so close by and you were able to watch him. I've never been up close to an eagle either. Looks like a Podophyllum and a Rogersia to me...but I'm wrong a lot. Whatever they are they're gorgeous. Joy Creek is a nursery on my bucket list.

    How nice that you had cool and clear weather at the beach--the great escape if only for a weekend. Thanks for taking us along.

  5. Nothing beats the Oregon coast, especially when combined with Oregon nurseries. I remember Astoria had a great maritime museum. Glad you had a longish time to observe the eagle. I'd have been rooted to the spot too.


Thank you in advance for jumping through the annoying but necessary word verification hoop to leave your thoughts!