Siletz Bay, Arch Rock & Lincoln City

By Lana Levy

Walking through the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge above Lincoln City, Oregon, we walked on quiet, forested trails along the marshlands and flowers of the Siletz River as it headed toward the ocean and its namesake bay.

It just now finished raining, and the grasses, foxgloves and other flowers displayed their freshly-washed, soaking wet textures and colors.

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Above:Droplets on the Grasses

Below: The trail after the storm:
Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge

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The gravel crunched convincingly under our feet, and we breathed deeply of the forest smell, the trees and undergrowth, and the gentle breeze that followed the storm.

As we hiked farther toward the bay, the salt-air tang of the ocean began to waft its way toward us.

At times, we could hear several kinds of birds singing and flitting in the undergrowth all around us, but they remained shy and just barely, occasionally visible in their hurry.

This marshy, wet and forested habitat suited their privacy well, until people noisily walk that trail and disperse them.

But they would return when no one was watching.

Below:

Low tide from the North End
Depoe Bay, Oregon

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Inn at Arch Rock

Incredible views, right from the room, that drew me with my cell phone camera to get closer, up close and personal.

I was not inclined to walk down that metal stairs for the last jaunt to the private beach, but was drawn closer and closer until I took the first step down what seemed steep and risky stairs at best. After the first step it was clear that I could safely make my way to the beach. Not as sure on my feet as in my youth, I held on to the railing on both sides of the narrow stairs and made it to the bottom effortlessly.

What a close up and personal view to behold! One could take pics from the beach for days on end and not see it all. The grasses, the rocks, the growth on the rocks, the trees atop the rocks curtained by the dark blue sky. The view of the ocean from ground zero is as spectacular as the views from above. The urge to stay longer-even with the only rooms left, the Penthouse and the Apartment-is strong. We must come back here!

I have not taken a big camera out of the bag, but have found my joy in taking pictures with my new cell phone. Thank you Tim. They make beautiful images up to 5×7, and these priceless memories will be with me as long as I have-and share- the pics.

It is difficult to take the steps to leave, but leave we must. Thank you Depoe Bay and thank you, Susan and Jeff!

Here are a couple more photos from our trip:

Below: Otter Crest Loop view, central Oregon coast

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Below: The World’s Shortest: ‘D’ River, Lincoln City, Oregon

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Travel updates: A date with the secret coast

CumminsCkTrailDownhill.jpgI get my balance back when I immerse myself in forests and along the ocean’s crashing surf.

I find both in the Cape Perpetua area of the central Oregon coast.

About a mile up the trail, where few folks go, the Cummins Creek area hikes into deep rain forest with lush ferns, tiny mushrooms and other wondrous undergrowth. The air is soft and sometimes moist with coastal fog. The forest gently envelopes you in its muffled peace. Only the ocean at Neptune Beach can be heard by the sound of its constant, softened roar.

Your trail is soft and matted with many years of pine needles and soft loam underfoot. Waist-high ferns glisten along the trail; there is an earthy, woodsy smell. Tiny flowers hem the bases of mighty trees; younger trees rise in gangly ranks toward the sky, pointing branching fingers at each other and making a living arch high overhead.

Below: Old Growth and Friends

CumminsCkTreesFlowers3665Cr2.jpgMaybe you will meet a few folks walking along here: maybe a lone walker with a hand-carved walking stick, or the occasional local couple briskly walking their silent dogs. They seem to share the same reverence for the energy and peace here, and smile swiftly and sincerely as they pass.

There are many even quieter side trails leading into and through the forest. Some take you down steep hillsides to the creek below, others hike farther inland. Some offer long yet steady inclines, while others are steep and rocky. Many lead to the silent solitude of spiritual cleansing, brought by the feeling of presence of forest, ocean and weather that combine here like nowhere else.

The center of that spiritual source appears yet farther in. A cluster of trees rises uphill from a cut in the hill at a rising bend along the trail. As you look into this scene, you feel that sense of peaceful power emanate. You relax as you focus within. You immerse, within and without.

And so it is for me, and I will be returning in the spring to refresh and cleanse. To photograph and explore trails I’ve never seen. To head to the ocean, and watch the waves smash into the rocks at Yachats. I will return. I will always return.

Below: Rainbow in the Wave, Yachats

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Visit any of my exhibits (below), and my web site, (kenlevymedia.com) to make the perfect photo selections for home, office or business decor. Your purchase of any of my images includes a 20% donation to the Idaho Foodbank. More details on my Exhibits and News of Notes page. Contact me at ken@kenlevymedia.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding spirit wherever you go

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Above: Patterns of Spirit, Yachats, Oregon

Besides our spiritual connections at home or wherever we are, we frequently travel in search of additional spiritual cleansing. We flush the toilet of constant chaos and refill the bowl with clean water.

Inevitably, the center of our search is a much kinder form of chaos: the sea.

Once there, we immerse ourselves (not literally!) in the power SeaLegsand the energy and the total awe of the ocean. The sea engulfs us spiritually, with its neighboring forests, towering cliffs, fog and windy sands to help mesmerize and fascinate. Releasing ourselves to it, we realize just how fully we are one with it.

Whether rolling gently in with the tide to a quiet sandy beach, or smashing themselves against rocks wearing away from the force of it, the waves have much to say.

Sometimes, it’s what the waves leave behind that tells about the life within. The patterns of their presence flow in sand as well as water, mystifying the eye and mind. The ocean cleanses and refreshes, and leaves behind its potent evidence for all.

Left: “Left Behind

Without the refreshment and renewal a coastal experience provides, life can sometimes overwhelm, like rip tides that deposit small creatures and little Dungeness crabs on the shore, leaving them to scramble away and dig themselves in before the gulls arrive. More often than not, they don’t make it. The beaches are strewn with their pecked-clean shells.

For those of us fortunate enough to not be crabs, exhilaration and a boosted sense of well-being permeates at the sea. We will always find our way back.

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Above: Mussel Beach

Below: Crashing surf

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Biggest trip in years

Our insatiable need for the coast and its atmospheres expands to our grandest trip of all this year: fall in New England, with a stop on the coast of Maine.

We’re making up for a very late start in our travels this year due to health concerns that sidelined me throughout spring and early summer.

Beginning late September, we’ll be traveling east to visit family in Ohio and attend a wedding in Pennsylvania. We’ll spend a couple of days getting glimpses of Manhattan, then off to begin our fall foliage odyssey in New Hampshire, exploring the White Mountains and the Kancamagus wilderness. From there, we’ll follow Lake Winnipesaukee along its western shores en route to Ogunquit, Maine, where the coast awaits our arrival.

We swing south to see family in northeastern Massachusetts before heading west along Route 2 to Williamstown, MA, following one of the most foliage-scenic byways in the northeast through the Berkshires.

From there, who knows…? Stay tuned.