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Posted on Feb 10, 2015

Adventures in Oregon: Cape Perpetua

Time to catch up on some of the amazing hikes we’ve taken in the past month! A few weekends ago, we headed over to the coast to check out Cape Perpetua, located a few miles south of Yachats, Oregon.

Trailmap for Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

source

We parked just off Highway 101 at the small Devil’s Churn Day Use Parking Area. Our first stop along the trail was to check out Devil’s Churn. This inlet has been thousands of years in the making, starting as a fracture in volcanic bedrock and widening as violent waves chiseled out the basalt.

Devil's Churn

Waves rush in to the inlet with such a tremendous force that they roll all the way in and back out again, meeting the next series of waves and resulting in violent, frothing clashes. It is truly quite a site to behold!

Devil's Churn at Cape Perpetua

While I was scrambling around the rocks, snapping photos, there was a little boy with his dad standing on the stairs overlooking the waves. Every time the waves clashed, he would yell ‘Whoa!!!’ with a mixture of awe and excitement. That’s exactly how I felt, kid. 🙂

Crashing waves at Devil's Churn

Departing Devil’s Churn, we headed on down the Restless Waters Trail to Cape Cove, a lovely secluded beach.

Cape Cove at Cape Perpetua

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The dogs really loved checking this area out, sniffing at the driftwood and various shells and seaweeds that had washed up.

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This is where Cape Creek empties out to the sea, and Sawyer was more than happy to sample some cool freshwater!

Cape Creek emptying into the sea

Andrew couldn’t resist either 🙂

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We hopped on to Cape Cove Trail and walked through a tunnel under the 101 to join up with the Giant Spruce Trail. A nice, easy trail led us through an old growth forest along Cape Creek, ending at the Giant Spruce, a Sitka spruce that is almost 600 years old and over 185 feet high! Incredible!

Giant Spruce at Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

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We headed a little ways back down the trail and jumped over to the Saint Perpetua Trail to climb up to the top of Cape Perpetua.

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Winding our way up through the forest, we emerged 800 feet above the Pacific Ocean. The view was utterly amazing as we gazed at the coast stretching to the south (that little bit of sandy beach you can see in the photo below is Cape Cove, where we had been just a short time earlier!)

view from Cape Perpetua

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We trekked along the Whispering Spruce Trail to a historic stone structure that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934. And I have to say, that Corps really did phenomenal work. Not only is the structure well-built and the perfect complement to the landscape – those workers had to have been incredibly brave to essentially work on the edge of a cliff …. far braver than I could be, that’s for sure!

stone structure atop Cape Perpetua

One of the reasons that hiking resonates with me so much is that the path always beckons you along, inviting you to possibility – perhaps of an extraordinary view or a plant you’ve never seen or a tree older than your great-grandparents. Cape Perpetua definitely delivered in that respect.

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Even little Ella took time to enjoy the view!

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The hour was growing late so we hiked back down and detoured over to Captain Cook trail to walk along the beach, amidst countless tide pools.

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The sun began her descent and everything was bathed in the most beautiful glow – I will carry the memory of that light with me for a very long time.

sunset at Cape Perpetua

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starfish at Cape Perpetua

As we were walking along, we stumbled across this starfish who was also enjoying the magnificent sunset in the company of millions of mussels and little anemones.

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I was so excited to see starfish! I haven’t seen them in the wild since I lived in Hawaii and it took me straight back to the memory of my third grade ‘reef walk’ where we saw all sorts of incredible sea life hanging out atop the reef.

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anemones at Cape Perpetua

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As the light faded away, we hurried back down to the trail to our car, our souls replenished by a day of fresh air and sunshine. This was the first hike where we’ve paired Ella and Sawyer together and they were very good together. In fact, this was Ella’s first full day of hiking and she had a blast. She was quite the little pro up until the very end when the sunset brought a drop in temperature. Then she was ready to get back in the warm car and curl up in my lap. Sawyer was in his element out on the beach and reminded me what a truly great dog he is. He is the only one of our dogs that we can trust off-leash 100% of the time. We never give him that option unless we’re in a protected area but when he has the chance, he shows us just how obedient and loyal he is – almost makes up for all the times that he’s knocked over the garbage can and that one glaring incident where he destroyed an entire rug …. from inside his kennel.

On a scale of 1 to 10, Cape Perpetua gets an 11 and I can’t wait to go back for another visit!. If you ever happen to be in the area, it is a definite must-see. But if you’re not nearby, I guess you’ll just have to live vicariously through these photos!

 

Want to catch up on other Adventures in Oregon? Here are other posts in the series:

Adventures in Oregon: Willamette National Forest

Adventures in Oregon: Newport

Adventures in Oregon: Rooster Rock Trail

 

 

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