Take a Hike

This morning I'm heading out to the Portland Farmer's Market with Erik and Mae.  I'm really hoping to find some pie cherries because I am Jonesing for a cherry pie.  You understand, don't you?  But first, I'm going to tell you about the hiking we did while we were at the beach earlier this week.

When we're traveling, Mike and I love nothing more than a good hike.  It's the best way to see the sights in state and national parks, in our not-so-humble opinions.  (And we are very opinionated on this topic.)  We have a small library of hiking books that live in the RV year round, and I had several about hiking in Oregon.  We chose the Cape Meares hike from this book, which could be made into whatever hike suited your time and endurance preferences.  Since my knee was giving me grief, we settled on three relatively short hikes and that took us most of the day.

The first part of the threesome was about a half mile out and back to see the "Big Spruce".  There are old growth and second growth Sitka Spruce forests all along this part of the Oregon coastline.  These trees are huge, although they are not as big as the California redwoods.  Still, when one falls, as this one did recently, it makes a large hole in the forest floor.

Look down at your feet, and you'll see this sort of thing.

The Sitka Spruce trees are easy to identify, and I'm hoping these few images will give you some idea how to spot one.  For one thing, they appear white in contrast to the other trees.  This next image is one I took several years ago at Ecola State Park.  When the sun shines directly on them, they appear as ghosts in the forest.

Also, they have bark that has the appearance of roofing shingles or alligator skin.

And they are big.  We were on a mission to see this next guy, and it did not disappoint us.  Read the sign...or don't.  It's up to you.

When looking at a very old tree, I love to imagine all of the historical events that have occurred during its lifetime.  Think of everything that has happened in the past 750-800 years.  It boggles the mind that something can live so long and see so much.  And here it is when you stand beneath it.

On this particular hike, we saw these berries in various stages of ripeness.  They look like raspberries, only hairier.  Mike tried one, and it was bitter.  Not good for eating, unfortunately.  Neither of us has ever seen these before.  If Otter Daughter is reading, she'll tell us what they are.

Also, we saw these guys in various stages of ripeness.  We originally thought these were Oregon Grape, our state flower, but they are not.  The Oregon Grape has a leaf that looks like a holly leaf.

After seeing the Big Spruce tree, we drove a little further down the road to see the Cape Meares Lighthouse.   We stood on the viewpoint above the lighthouse and viewed this beautiful cove.  We enjoyed watching the gulls swooping through the area and landing on the cliffs.  They always seem to enjoy their flying.

Mike tried out his new digital anemometer.  He's an engineer.  It's his version of fabric.

Here is the Cape Meares Lighthouse.  There is a gift shop below and it is also possible to go up into the lighthouse and see the whole thing.  We have been here before, and so didn't take the tour, but I can tell you that standing next to the huge light is very impressive.  The Cape Meares Lighthouse began operation on January 1, 1890.  It is 217 feet above the Pacific Ocean and it guided mariners traveling along the northern Oregon coastline until it was decommissioned in 1963...not so long ago...at least if you're old like me.

After leaving the lighthouse the trail passes along another bluff where you can see Oceanside Beach below.

Follow it up the hill to see the Octopus Tree...another stop along our hiking day.  Read the sign...or don't.  I'm not trying to boss you around.

When you recall the images of the Sitka Spruce trees I showed you above, you can see why this tree is so unusual.

All along the way, we saw these flowers, and they were very fragrant.

After seeing the Octopus Tree, we stopped for lunch in the town of Oceanside, Oregon.  (I used to live in Oceanside, California!  Both cities are on the Pacific coast line.  What a surprise!)  We had lunch at the Blue Agate Cafe where they served us lunch large enough for four people.  We both had various forms of panini .

And they served us this delicious Oregon berry lemonade.  Yum.

After that, we took a stroll on Oceanside Beach to walk off our lunch.  But first, we stopped to observe this sign.

All sorts of stuff has washed up on the beach in Oregon from the tsunami in Japan.  Whole docks have been found.  The concern is that the stuff is radioactive, thus the sign advising folks about what to do if they spot anything.

Looking up from the beach, you can see the community of Oceanside, Oregon, which is built on the cliff overlooking the beach.

It's a lovely wide beach.

We spent a little bit of time here and then headed home to eat our dinner of fresh oysters and fresh clams.

We were feeling adventurous in our chef roles.  We had never before shucked oysters or prepared them.  We first watched this video:

After that, we said, "Bring it on!"  We didn't have an oyster knife, and so Mike used his pocket knife.

In the process, he broke the tip off his knife.  These buggers are tough about opening up their shells.  In the end, we prevailed.

First, I dotted them with butter.

Then I made a sort of pico de gallo using tomatoes, basil, capers, garlic, and green onion.  We piled that on top.

Then I put a drop of tabasco on each one.  (We think two or three drops would have been better.)  Then we sprinkled them with grated Parmesan cheese.

Then we grilled them until they were bubbling and the cheese was melted.

Looks pretty good, huh?  Even if you're not an oyster eater, they look good, right?  I like oysters, but only if they've been cooked.  Eating them raw is sort of like swallowing a big gob of ... something I'd rather not eat. Let's just put it that way.  Cooked is better.

While the oysters were grilling, we also steamed some clams using this recipe.

And then we ate them.  And this is all that was left when we were finished.  Calcium, anyone?

And then we went for a walk on the beach.  After all that hiking and eating, we were mere shadows of our former selves.


And that was that.  We came home the next day.

And now things are starting to get back to normal.  Yesterday I was so hungry to sew that I spent the whole day in my sewing room.  For one thing, I fixed the blocks in my heart table runner that were turned the wrong direction.  Oy.

Looks better, eh?

And then I made my entire doll quilt for the month of July from designing, to cutting, to sewing, to quilting, to binding.  I was a regular sewing demon.  I actually didn't intend to finish the whole thing in one day, but there you go.  I'll have to show you that later, after my partner receives it.  This month's theme was "Stars and Stripes".  Oh, all right, if you're going to whine about it.  Here's a little peek.  

I still want to tell you about the quilt shop I visited while we were in Tillamook, but that will have to wait for another day.  Right now I'm going to get ready to meet up with Erik and Mae.  I'm looking forward to my breakfast of Farmer's Market huevos rancheros.  Enjoy your Saturday!

19 comments from clever and witty friends:

Jeanie said...

Looks like a great trip....thanks for sharing the scenic pictures!

Lyndsey said...

Thanks for sharing the photos from your trip. I've never tasted oysters or clams but they sure look tasty. I love you heart table runner, it is so pretty.

Sherry said...

Thanks for sharing a part of the world you live in. You are better than a tour guide! The oysters and clams looks really yummy.

Muv said...

Oh Barbara

What a lovely walk in the woods!

The fragrant flowers and the bitter fruits are all the same plant... brambles, bearing blackberries. The fruit was underripe, which is why it was still red and bitter and had the collar of stamens around the top. I'm a bit puzzled by the picture of the fruit, because I can't see any thorns and it is a single fruit (perhaps the stems I can see are a different plant), but on the picture of the flowers you can see immature green fruits in a cluster on the right. The plants seem to be at the same stage they are here, so the fruit will be perfect for picking in late August and early September. Come for a walk in the woods in England, Barbara, you will love it. You will be stung by 6 foot nettles and scratched to shreds by brambles. We have brambles and nettles everywhere.


Muv said...

Hello again Barbara,

I have just had an interesting time doing a spot of research:_

This is what we get

and this is what you have probably seen

I might have to do a blog post showing how to make apple and blackberry jam this autumn. Totally delicious.

ana-ane said...

Son unas fotos muy bonitas. las ostras y las almejas me han abierto el apetito.

Muchas gracias


WoolenSails said...

That is such a beautiful place and such diversity in the landscapes. I never get steamed clams, lol. Here, clams are for chowder and clamcakes and we steam steamers which are softer shelled.


Cath said...

Loved your post today. Hubby and I love hiking whenever we go anywhere. It is our common denominator. I do fancy those cooked oysters. My hubby would think it sacrilege to do that but I am with you and just cannot face popping a raw one in my mouth (I have tried it and yuk!)

Kate said...

Love the Sitka Spruce trees. Very majestic.

Looks like you had a wonderful trip.

Colleen said...

You are a riot! ROFLOL! I enjoy reading about your travels. Im so excited because we leave for ours Monday! 5th wheeling from NC to Michigan, to the Canadian Rockies and GLacier and Yellowstone. Not as far as Oregan but someday...

sunny said...

What a fun trip! Thanks for taking us along to see the beautiful sights. What a beautiful part of the country. love the shadow picture.

Heidi said...

Good Morning Barbara! Love your photos this morning, I think I have mentioned berries are one of the things I miss most about living in the Pacific NW. Your berry shot is Salmon Berry, native to PNW (maybe from Bramble family?). They are a lovely orange, then go redish like you found. Very tart. Your Oregon Grape look-alike is Salal, and the white blossoms I believe to be Thimbleberries. Yummy when you are a kid hiking, but very hairy and not ideal to bake with:-) Oh, how I appreciate the memory evoking pics!

Dana Gaffney said...

I loved every bit of this post! I think the octopus tree was struck by lighting, so interesting looking and the scenery is so beautiful. As soon as you said Mike used his knife to open the oysters I knew what was coming, that's why they have special knives for opening them and it's dangerous. I'm glad you had a good time and got home safe.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed armchair hiking (and virtual eating) with you this morning. :-)

Vickie said...

Now I want to visit Oregon...see what you've done!

quiltzyx said...

Beautiful hikes! The Sitkas are wonderful. Isn't it amazing how nature adapts - and makes an Octopus tree!

Sorry that Mike broke his knife. Guess he can put a new pocket knife on his wish list - along with an oyster knife. ;^)

I got called into work today for a few hours (yay!) & am eating a lovely Berry Almond Chicken salad from Wendy's. Blueberries, Strawberries, chicken breast, almond slices with a rasberry vinaigrette. Yum!

Brown Family said...

The first berry and the white flowers do look like blackberries. We picked some in a park in Washington one year with the grand sons!


KittyAnnArt said...

Awesome trip! Your narrative is wonderful, felt like I was right there with you - especially eating those oysters and clams - YUM! KittyAnn in NC

Jacque said...

I'm so glad that you don't really mind when I whine to see something more...haha! Wowser, those trees are incredible...thanks for taking us along on your trip, and showing us your feast, too! Really chuckled at the "engineer's version of fabric" -- it's so true! They love their techy toys!