Saturday, August 22, 2015

The best view on the Oregon Coast from public lodging

                       The actual view from the window at Toby's Crab Shack.

THE absolute best, No. 1, superior view on the Oregon Coast, available for public lodging is at Rainbow Rock, 3 miles north of Brookings.
I stayed here for 5 days in August of 2015. Having traveled on vacations along the Oregon Coast some 24 times in the past 32 years, I've seen the majority of what's out there -- and the place called Toby's Crab Shack is light years ahead of the rest.
Case in point: My 19-year-old son has always turned the TV on and plopped down on a chair whenever we've stayed anywhere else. 

                 The 2 indoor window seats at Toby's Crab Shack. There's a deck too.

However, at Toby's Crab Shack, he went to the window and sat down and starred. He never ate at the dinner table -- he took his food to the deck or the window chairs.
Now I have not idea why the name Toby's Crab Shack was given to this place. It should be called "The Room with THE view."
You will NEVER want to close the blinds at this place -- just keep the view always open.

Toby's Crab Shack is in the building on the left, second floor, far left (or north end) in these two photographs with a 180-degree clear view of the Pacific Ocean and rocky headlands galore.

Besides the spectacular view, the place has access to a private trail to a remote beach north of Brookings. It also has elaborate accommodations for 4 people (2 bedrooms) and is very affordable when you consider how much plain motels cost along the Oregon Coast.
Now, I'm not paid, affiliated or compensated in any way with or by Toby's Crab Shack. I just think it is a great place to stay and it has redefined my formula for lodging along the Oregon Coast.
The ONLY improvement I'd make in the place is to have a good spotting scope available by the window.
I will return to this place in the future. It is a gem.
Toby's is part of the large complex of condos at Rainbow Rock. It has a locked car gate and is its own private community. It is a very quiet, serene and well kept place.

-If you'd like to look at Toby's Crab Shack as a rental, go to and search for: 

Oceanfront Condo in Brookings at Rainbow Rock

(NOTE: However, children are not allowed at Toby's Crab Shack. Yet, there is another condo for rent by the same company at the south end of Rainbow Rock that caters to families with young children.)

         What the beach below Toby's Crab Shack is like ... My family members were often the only people there, even on a warm summer day.

Oregon Coast -- A lot of closed businesses

I spent  nearly a week in Oregon on a vacation during August of 2015. I really noticed a significant number of businesses along my travel corridor that were closed.
From closed restaurants in Brookings to former gasoline stations and motels, it was rather startling.
Perhaps many of the closures came from the downturn in the economy in about 2008.
I recall from an Oregon trip last year that the city of Rockaway Beach on the Oregon Coast seemed to have more than its share of closed businesses.
Hard hit too, seemed to be the little places on Highway 199, between Grants Pass and Crescent City, where many old tourist stops seemed boarded up.
Even in small towns of Northern California the same trend appeared to exist.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Some Oregon Coastline Eroding Pretty Quickly

                            Ecola State Park, looking southward.

DURING a June 2014 visit to the Oregon Coast, I realized more than ever before how vulnerable the coastline is to erosion.
While Cape Foulweather and the Seal Lion Caves appear to be built on bedrock, many other places are not.
Classic example: Ecola State Park's south side facing Cannon Beach.
Through the 1980s, you could climb down a nice trail from Ecola to the far north edge of Cannon Beach. (I still have watchable videos of playing on the beach area.)
However, in the early 1990s, that area had a slide and has never been rebuilt as a trail downward.
Jump to August of 2013 and yet another slide, this one further to the west, took out the trail in Ecola where you can view the lighthouse. It has been closed ever since and may never be opened again.
That's some dramatic change in just 26 or so years.

                               Inside the Devil's Punchbowl at low tide.

Go south to Devil's Punchbowl and at the main cliff lookout, you can spot old asphalt over the fenceline, where the fence used to be 10 or so feet further out to the west.
Some vintage photographs from the 1910s also show formations on nearby area beaches, like the Sphinx, that no longer exist, being all eroded away by the water.
--As a sidenote, the Oregon Coast is so dramatic mostly because of all the cliffs and rocks that jut out along the coastline. That's all thanks to an ancient lava flow that created them.
--Also, Cape Foulweather is now owned an operated by the Oregon State Parks Department. So, there's less gift show there now,in favor of having an observation room, complete with binoculars to better enjoy that lofty height.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Crater Lake: The Mountain That Isn't There

                                    Crater Lake as it often appears in mid-May.

Crater Lake is Oregon's only national park, but it is a beauty!
It is a worthy tourist destination, though it can snow there about any month of the year.
Most years, it is July before the snow has melted away.
Notwithstanding, the snow cover offers its own great views of this unusual lake.
Crater Lake is the deepest lake in America, at 1,943  feet (and ninth deepest lake in the world).
Its vibrant blue color and water clarity is unparalleled in most of the world today.
The lake's original name as "Deep Blue Lake" when it was discovered by White Men in 1853. The lake was also called "Blue Lake" and "Lake Majesty," before the Crater name stuck.
(Native Americans considered the area sacred and did not tell outsiders about it.)

  Crater Lake is the remnant of a huge, ancient volcano, Mount Mazama. A gigantic eruption about 7,700 years ago led to the collapse of the crater.
This "Mountain that isn't" was almost 12,000 feet in elevation.
With no inlet or outlet, the area's massive snowfall and precipitation, some 524 inches a year, filled it with water in an estimated 250 years after the volcano collapsed.
Evaporation and seepage keep the lake's water level almost perfectly balanced.
The National Park Services strives to keep pollution from seeping into the lake. The lake's record clarity was to 134 feet in clear depth in the mid-1990s.
 This is a high-elevation lake. The Crater Lake Rim Village sits at an elevation of 7,100 feet above sea level.

  The Crater Lake Lodge opened in 1915. It has been remodeled lots over the years, but typically withstands a snowfall of 15 feet on top.
 Crater Lake is from 4.6 to 6 miles wide. Its water temperature ranges from 32 degrees to 66 degrees.
There are some hydrothermal vents at its bottom.
  The lake contains some 5 trillion gallons of water. If its caldera every broke, a huge flood will result below.
  The shallowest portion of the lake goes from just 15-25 feet.
  A 33-mile loop road circles the lake, but is only open from late spring and summer to early fall.
  A tour boat seasonally operates on the lake.
  A 1.1 mile hike down to the water level at Cleetwood Cove offers not only the seasonal boat opportunity, but the only chance to touch its waters. That hike includes an 11 degree incline, dropping some 600 feet in elevation.
The tallest rim mountain is Hillman Peak at 8,151 feet. (There are taller peaks in the park, away from the rim.)

                                               Deep snow lingers here into late spring.

 Crater Lake is located about 60 miles northwest of Kalamth Falls (elevation 4,100 feet), or about 80 miles northeast of Medford (elevation 1,350 feet).
So, the drive from Medford is almost 6,000 feet upward and from Kalamath Falls, it is about 3,000 feet upward.
If traveling the Medford route, be sure to check out some Rogue River scenic points along the roadway.
Deep snowwalls along side the road highlight the upper portion of the road from Kalamath Falls.

 Wizard Island 

                                   Visit in mid-May and a lot of options will still be closed.

          Compare the 2nd photo up with this photo to imagine the vanished Mount Mazama.

Oregon Coast: Devil's Churn Along the 'Restless Waters'

            The frothy, milk-like Pacific waters, appear like this at times in the Devil's Churn.
                                                                                                                         Photo by Roger Arave

  The Devil's Churn is a "must see" highlight along the central Oregon coast and highway 101.
The "Trail of Restless Waters" leads down to the ocean level.
It is about a 0.5 mile loop, dropping/climbing several hundred feet.
 Located just 11 miles south of Waldport, there is a fee of $5 fee per vehicle here year round.
There are toilets, picnic areas and drinkable water here.
However, exercise extreme caution down below. The waves are powerful and visitors have been killed there.
Children must be watched carefully.
In low tide levels, monitor the ocean level closely and be ready to move inland quickly.
 A jacket is almost always in necessity here.
  Taking your time to explore Devil's Churn is a great two-hour to a half-day adventure.

(Note: Do not confuse Devil's Churn, with the "Devil's Punchbowl," located to the north at Otter Rock.)

                           At times, the water in Devil's Churn is frothy and milk-like.
                                                                                                                                Photo by Roger Arave

                                                                                                                            Photo by Roger Arave

                Even if you can't hike to the bottom at Devil's Churn, there are some overlooks.

                             Wave watching is a highlight here, as well as tide pools.

                                                 Waiting for a wave worthy photograph..

                               The power of the ocean is apparent all around visitors here.

                                                         Tide pools.

                                 The south trail back up to the starting point.

                                  Just south of Devil's Churn, the Spouting Horn goes off.

                                                The nearby bridge.

Oregon Coast: The Bird's-Eye Views of Cape Perpetua

                                         The view from Cape Perpetua looking south.

Cape Perpetua, just 11 miles south of Walport, is the highest point you can drive off Highway 101, rising some 800 feet above the coastal highway.
The paved, two-lane highway climbs to the top in about two miles.
The road is not particularly steep, nor is it frightening to drivers.
Back in 1933, the "CCC" (Civilian Conservation Corps) built a road to the top, plus a stone shelter on the summit and some hiking trails.
During World War II, the summit was a military lookout station.

                                              The stone shelter on top, dates back to 1933.

  On a clear day, it estimated that you can see 37 miles out to sea or some 70 miles up or down the coastline from Cape Perpetua.
(However, it is difficult to get a clear view of the north coast, because of all the dense forest.)

                                                    A lofty perch.

                Plan on one extra hour for a comfortable side trip off Highway 101. The turnoff to the Cape comes up fast, so watch closely or backtrack.

                                                                 Framed view.

                                 Devil's Churn is located just below Cape Perpetua.

                               Supervise young children, as there are some cliffs here.

  Below is a video of Cape Perpetua:

                                                    Historic sign on the summit.

Oneonta Narrows: Wading Through Heaven

Who knew walking in water could be such a worthy adventure?
Dump the crowds at busy Multnomah Falls in the late spring or summer and wade up a narrow, green gorge to waterfall paradise.
Oneonta is east of Multnomah Falls and is the second-to-the-last stop (heading east) on the scenic highway. 
You should wear aqua shoes, or old shoes and shorts and make my own trail up the narrows themselves. Start at the Oneonta Bridge, near the Botanical Gardens sign.
Wading in the water is the key here, but be aware that the river may be too deep and swift in the early spring for a safe passage. The water is cold, but not that bad in the summer.
If you don't want to get wet you can walk a few hundred yards up the gorge (and still catch some of its flavor) by stepping from rock to rock, or log to log, and along the side of the stream.
Sadly, the Forest Service rarely cuts fallen logs any more, like they used to. The start of the gorge here is a maze of fallen logs to negotiate through.
It's about 600 yards up the river to a narrow 100-foot waterfall. Although this distance is small, walking in the water, to get solid footing (and also to enjoy the botanical view), is slow. It takes about 40 minutes to reach the waterfall and return.
The water is so clear that you can see small fish. Water drips down from rocks above in the most narrow places.
The tricky part comes 100 feet before you reach the waterfall when the gorge narrows to eight feet in width. Here the water gets waist deep, though it is not swift in the summer. At this point some prefer to negotiate above the water, on the right side, by clinging to rocks and choosing careful spots to step and get a hand hold.
The narrows offer an unusual and unforgettable hiking experience. This hike/wade is a must, especially for outdoor lovers with little spare time to spend in the gorge.

If you've ever hiked the Virgin River Narrows in Zion National Park or if you can't because of the long length of that trek, this short water hike may be for you. This is a mini version of that hike, but even narrower and with greenery.

 Note: Do not confuse this water hike with the actual Oneonta Trail, located to the west. This is a steep dirt trail, starting several hundred yards west of the Oneonta Narrows. It climbs about 1,000 feet on switchbacks and 1.7 miles to Triple Falls, another highly photographed waterfall that's true to its name.