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Posted on Feb 26, 2016

Adventures in Oregon: Yurts!

Way back in January, we headed to the coast for an overnight trip to celebrate Andrew’s birthday. We’ll just ignore the fact that ohhhh, a month has gone by and dive right into telling you about our little adventure. Our destination for the night was Nehalem Bay State Park and along the way, we made a few scenic stops that took our breath away.

Our first stop was Cape Kiwanda. We’ve been here before but the weather was very different this time, shrouding everything in an eerily beautiful mist.

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(No, that’s not Andrew but this guy stood in the water for so long, I began to wonder if he was a statue).

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We continued north up the coast and made another stop in the teeny tiny town of Oceanside. The clouds began to part and sunshine painted the hillsides with color. Oceanside is a quaint little place with what appeared to be maybe three roads total. Definitely the spot to get it away from it all.

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We carried on to Cape Meares and made the short but lovely walk to the lighthouse.

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The sky put on an exquisite show as the sun set behind the edge of clouds.  The drama of such darkness and such light in the same vista was completely mesmerizing.

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To see that light gleaming from behind the clouds like a beacon was nothing short of incredible.

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We walked over to check out the Octopus Tree. This enormous Sitka spruce is 105 feet tall and estimated to be between 250 and 300 years old.

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We continued our drive along the coast until we reached our destination for the night, Nehalem Bay State Park, where we would be camping … in a yurt!

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We picked up some crab cakes in the nearby town of Manzanita and cooked them on our little propane grill.

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We had also picked up a tiny container of ‘ice cream’ to have with the cake I had made. I distinctly remember I used to love this stuff when I was vegan …. but I have to say, this time it was … well, less than satisfactory. Not sure if this container was just off or if my taste buds have grown accustomed to regular ice cream but I do know this will not find its way into our shopping cart again 🙂 On the bright side, it stayed frozen much longer than regular ice cream would have, so it has that going for it.

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After several rousing rounds of checkers, we hit the hay and settled into our bed. You might be wondering – does a yurt have heat? Technically, yes, this one did. However …. it was still pretty darn chilly. It was chilly enough, in fact, for the dogs to abandon their beds in the middle of the night to crawl into our sleeping bags. After some investigation the next morning, we discovered one of the “windows”  was no longer sealed at the bottom which had let in the cold air we felt the night before. So here’s a tip, bring a roll of duct tape and check your windows if you do any winter yurt-ing!

One of the coolest things about sleeping in the yurt (no pun intended) was being able to stare out of the clear ‘window’ at the top and see the stars. Magical, indeed.

The next morning dawned and after dressing ourselves warmly, we set out with Annie and Sasha to walk on the beach.

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Oh goodness, you guys, it was so beautiful! There is something indescribibly calming about walking along the beach at dawn (even when it’s frigidly cold out). The palette of the sky is brilliant yet strangely soft. The breeze blows back the incoming surf, creating a fine haze that adds to the feeling that you are in a dream world. Apologies for the slightly absurd number of photos but you know by now that I always err on the side of too many rather than too few.

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Annie was thoroughly intrigued by this. Fortunately, she was kind enough not to roll on it.

We headed back to our yurt and got cracking on breakfast. Mmmmm!

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Hot coffee on a cold morning – not much better than that!

The girls enjoyed peanut butter stuffed kongs for their second breakfast.

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And in case you’re wondering just what a yurt looks like inside, here you go:

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We were lucky to have one of two pet-friendly yurts at the park and the dogs certainly seemed to enjoy themselves.

We waved goodbye to the yurt and set off.

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We took a short trail to check out Nehalem Bay under clear blue skies. The brisk wind encouraged us not to linger so we hit the road again.

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Our plan for the day was to reach Astoria, the northern tip of the Oregon coast. Not only is it where The Goonies was filmed (a childhood favorite of Andrew’s) but it’s also where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. Not to mention it’s the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies and just so happens to be where Lewis and Clark led their expedition to in 1805. The town is busting at the seams with history.

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By the time we reached Astoria, lunch was calling to us. Since Annie and Sasha were along for the fun, we searched for somewhere to eat outside. We lucked out with Baked Alaska, a restaurant right on the riverfront. We devoured the most delicious dungeness crab mac and cheese …. my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Since it was pretty chilly with the breeze off the river, I cradled a cup of hot tea in my hands to warm up.

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The view was perfect. We could not have asked for a clearer day (a warmer one, yes but it was January … we were just grateful it wasn’t raining!)

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The dogs were very nice lunch companions (who may or may not have had a piece of macaroni as a bribe).

After lunch, we headed over to Fort Stevens State Park to check out the Peter Iredale wreck. This has been high on our list to see since we first moved to Oregon so were happy to squeeze in a visit before heading home.

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In 1906, the ship was making for the mouth of the Columbia River. A heavy squall drove the vessel aground, despite the crew’s attempts to steer it away from shore. Now, 110 years later, the wreckage still rests on the shore.

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We also checked out the jetty lining the mouth of the Columbia. It would make a lovely spot for a sunset but home was calling so we started our return trip.

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Along the way home, we stopped at Ecola State Park to see the last whisper of sunset fall across the water.

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We could also see Terrible Tilly, or Tillamook Rock Light, off in the distance.

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This quick little getaway turned out be a fantastic way to celebrate Andrew’s birthday and also see a bit of Oregon we had yet to visit before. We can now officially say we have driven the entire Oregon Coast. There are certainly many MANY places we want to head back to and explore further … it is an astoundingly beautiful coastline that changes so much from south to north. If you ever get the chance to visit pretty much anywhere on the Oregon coast, you will not be disappointed, I promise you that.

And if you get the chance to stay in a yurt, all the better!

 

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