Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cape Lookout SP & Cape Meares Lighthouse

 Obtained between 1938 and 1968 by lease and purchase from three federal government agencies, the park is surrounded by the Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge. The cape itself was once an active lighthouse of the U. S. Coast Guard. The cape is named for the 18th century British naval officer, trader and explorer John Meares.

The lighthouse was built in 1889 and commissioned on January 1, 1890. The tower stands 38 feet high and is the shortest lighthouse in Oregon. It is constructed of bricks covered with iron plates. The original addition that now houses the interpretive shop was a work room built in 1895.  The current interpretive shop replaced the original work room in 1978.

The lens is a first order Fresnel lens made in Paris, France. It was shipped around Cape Horn, up the west coast to Cape Meares and then hauled 217 feet up the cliff by a wooden crane that was built from local timbers native to the area. It is an eight-sided lens with four primary lenses and four bull's-eye lenses with red panels covering the bull's-eye lenses. It produced about 30 seconds of fixed white light from the primary lens followed by a red flash of five seconds from the bull's-eye lens once every minute. This was the signature of Cape Meares Lighthouse. The primary lens produced 18,000 candlepower and the bull's-eye lens produced 160,000 candlepower. The light could be seen for 21 nautical miles at sea.

 This is a popular spot to take a picture of the rocks off the coast of Oceanside, OR.  I took a similar photo in 1995 and the pine trees on the left were not there then.  They do grow fast out here.

 The photo below is a closeup of the islands and shows the arch in the middle island.  Over time it will collapse and form two "stacks".  I didn't have time to wait for that to happen so you will have to take my word for it.

 There are hundreds of birds nesting among the rocks and have left their telltale sign of being there.  Notice the small pool at the base of the cliff.

The Octopus Tree is a Sitka Spruce shaped like an upside down Octopus.  No one knows its actual age because that would require chopping down the tree to count the rings. However, the Octopus Tree is believed to be hundreds of years old dating back to when the Indians lived in the area. In fact, there are rumors that the Octopus Tree was shaped like an octopus by the Indians to hold their canoes with their dead in it. So, the Octopus Tree could have been an old burial site.

The tree measures more than 46 feet in circumference and has no central trunk. Instead, limbs extend horizontally from the base as much as 16 feet before turning upward. It is 105 feet tall and is estimated to be 250 to 300 years old.

 On the ride up to the Meares Lighthouse we saw these seals basking in the sun on a sandbar out in the middle of the bay.  There were 3 or 4 groups of them just taking it easy and enjoying the sunny day.

 This seaside view is along the highway leading into Oceanside.  There are miles of beautiful scenery along the coast and it was difficult to make any driving time due to frequent stops.

Here's a beach view from Cape Lookout State Park.  The beach has suffered erosion the past year and they are working to repair the damage.  As usual, along the beaches in Oregon there are numerous dead trees along the shoreline. 

 We drove through the quaint town of Oceanside along the way to Cape Meares and returned there for dinner.  It was recommended by a local who thought the food was great.

 We had dinner at Roseanna's Cafe along the seaside.  It was in a nondescript building on the outside, however it was quite nice inside the restaurant.

 Can anyone play the piano?  They had one there and it was waiting for a pianist to belt out some songs.  Notice the wood stove on the right for taking the chill off during the winter days.

 Gerry had the prawn salad which was very good and filling.  The "prawns" were a little small, however they were fresh and tasty.  She enjoyed her chardonnay wine with the meal.

 I opted for the snapper fish, potatoes and squash washed down with a local Hefe beer.  Life is good.

 Beautiful iris flowers in the window beside our table with the three islands in the background.  It was a great location for us to enjoy the scenery.

There used to be a loop road from Tillamook to Cape Meares, down the coast and then back via Rt 101.   Due to a huge landslide four years ago that closed the road close to Cape Meares.  That now makes it doable only by heading south on Rt 101 and driving to the coast to Cape Meares and then returning the same way.  It doesn't look good for the road being repaired anytime soon and that is a shame.

That was our day, how was yours?

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