Friday morning, we woke up bright and early, in a not-so-great way. I think the room started to become light around 4am – but thankfully we were eventually both able to fall asleep again. Around 8, we woke up for good and headed back to the main street for breakfast, which a sparrow hoped we’d share.
John had planned a horseback ride on the beach as our morning activity, but sadly, the stables were closed in preparation of the upcoming high-volume weekend. (This was the Friday before Memorial Day, and the town was quite empty – we were startled at how quickly it became busy and full over the next 24 hours.) It was nice to have a walk to another part of town, though. We saw another beach access point, and a Whale.
Since the horseback riding was a no-go, we decided to spend the rest of the morning on the beach – so I apologize for the potentially repetitive pictures, but it was so beautiful. It was hard not to snap photo after photo, and equally hard to narrow them down to just a few to post here.
Haystack Rock is just peeking out around the corner…
It looked so close from where we stood, but it’s a monumental 235 ft tall and was much farther away than we expected. Ryan called to wish me a happy birthday, and I figured we could talk until we reached the rock – but half an hour later, we still hadn’t arrived. According to wikipedia, it’s just a mile and a half south of our hotel, but we were strolling slowly and enjoying the scenery.
(On a side note, when I asked Ryan if he had anything exciting planned for the long weekend, he deftly dodged the question. “Well, I slept in until 10 this morning….”)
The clouds were perfect. These pictures just do not do them justice. (I probably should have uploaded them as full-size files…)
The tide had been going out all morning, and we found a beautiful spot where the rock was reflected in the still-wet sand….
I think Maxwell didn’t quite know what to make of the sand and the beach; he’d never been somewhere like this before. But with the way his nose twitched and his ears wiggled, I think he was intrigued by the new sounds and smells, even if he was a little perplexed.
This may be my favorite photo of the morning; we walked to a spot where the clouds just perfectly surrounded the rock, as if it were itself emitting the vapor:
We’d both brought our binoculars, but it turns out that some organization sets out an array of binoculars and telescopes for passersby to use. The rock is covered with nesting (and non-nesting?) birds – tufted puffins, terns, cormorants, guillemots, and gulls. I’m not sure we correctly spotted and identified the puffins, but we did see all of the others….
There are also tidal pools all around the base of the rock, filled with various small animals.
I was amazed at how unregulated the area was. There were warnings not to climb up Haystack Rock, not to disturb the birds, not to pick up any sea creatures except for mussels (for fishing bait), and not to venture too far out …
… and that’s it. Many people were climbing out very close to the Rock itself. (Slightly visible in 3rd photo above.)
At any rate, we craned our necks and peered at the birds and marveled at the size of the thing for a few moments, while attempting to keep Maxwell out of the water, then headed back up the beach for lunch.
We realized about halfway back that the beach was a leash-free zone, so we set Maxwell loose; being the good dog that he is, he trotted dutifully beside us the entire way back. (I can’t remember if it was this beach excursion or another, but at one point he did catch sight of a seagull taking flight, and his predatory instincts kicked into full gear – he shot off after it heedlessly, and we realized that if he sets his mind to something else we definitely do not have him under voice control.)
I’ll leave you with one last shot of the beautiful birthday morning I’d been graced with….
It was so perfect, and unexpected. Not quite a gray, rainy Oregon day!