Adventures in Oregon: Warrenton to Seaside

 

After a couple of days of adventures in and around Astoria, OR, we were heading south toward Seaside. We had our itinerary planned and were excited to begin the day’s exploits.


Map route from Astoria, OR to Seaside
Map route from Astoria, OR to Seaside

Living in the desert of Arizona we don’t often have a chance to visit shore towns and see nautical sights and the idea tha we could get a close up view of an actual shipwreck could not be resisted. The British vessel, the Peter Iredale, ran aground on October 25, 1906 on its way to the Columbia River and was abandoned near Fort Stevens in Warrenton. As you can see in the photo below, people can walk right up to the remainder of the wreck when the tide is low.


People can get very close to the remnants of the Peter Iredale
People can get very close to the remnants of the Peter Iredale

The hulk was quite impressive when considering it has been windswept and bathed in salt water for more than a century.


Remnants of the ship wreck draw visitors to the beach
The ship’s carcass remains after more than 100 years

Although this day didn’t provide the best weather, when the sun poked through visitors could appreciate the form and structure of the ship along with a stark beauty created by the rust tones against the blue-grey seascape.


Beauty amid the wreckage
Beauty amid the wreckage

At times, the crowds would grow as photographers and dog walkers visited the water’s edge to take in the sight. We soon moved to other areas of Fort Stevens State Park to continue our explorations.


A viewing platfrom along a jetty or breakwall at Fort Stevens Park
A viewing platfrom along a jetty or breakwall at Fort Stevens Park

I never appreciated how much the west coast had prepared for invasion during WW II. Certainly Fort Stevens provided plenty of proof. This (below) was one of turrets that can be easily seen among the many other fortified batteries.


Defensive gun turret along America's western coast
Defensive gun turret along America’s western coast

After hiking one of the major trails through Fort Stevens and gaining an understanding of the military preparations there, we made our way to another planned stop, the Necanicum Estuary near Seaside. I was hopeful that we could spot a bird or two that I would be able to mark off my birding list and indeed we did pass some birdwatchers eyeing a Cedar Waxwing. Much to our surprise, it wasn’t birds that caught our attention…


Roosevelt Elk along coastal Oregon
Roosevelt Elk along coastal Oregon

… there was a herd of elk. They were quite numerous. One doe found us interesting, but not enough to stop eating.


An elk doe eats as she watches us walk along the path
An elk doe eats as she watches us walk along the path

We found ourselves in an unusual and unexpected situation as the hiking path we used to get to the bay was soon surrounded by the herd. A few males, which can weigh nearly a half a ton, were not happy that we were among their harem. We carefully made our way to the shoreline. There were some does there as well, but only a few.


Elk along the shore
Elk along the shore

Another doe nearby looked on as we approached the beach.


Another doe watched as we walked to the beach
Another doe watched as we walked to the beach

We were able to circle around to find a clear way back to the parking area and were glad to arrive safely at the car to head to our evening’s accommodations.

 

More information about the Peter Iredale shipwereck

Learn more about the elk at Gerhart’s preserve

Read more about the Necanicum Estuary in Seaside


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Read previous posts about our adventures hiking and exploring in Oregon:

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 2

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 3

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 3

We planned two days for our stay in Astoria, OR and as our visit to this river town was coming to an end, we wished we had planned a bit more time to further examine the nooks and crannies of this historic area.


Exterior of the Flavel House Museum
Exterior of the Flavel House Museum

One of the attractions of Astoria is the interesting architecture to be found in different parts of town. The notable Flavel House and Mueseum is a restored Victorian mansion that offers a self-guided tour with exhibits of period decor and Queen Anne era trappings,.

Read More about the Flavel House HERE.


Victorian features of the Flavel House Museum
Victorian features of the Flavel House Museum

Among the other noted buildings is the restored Liberty Theater, part of the Astor Building, showing its Italian Renaissance facade. The theater now serves as a premier showcase for a variety of arts including films, performing arts and student productions.

Read more about the restoration HERE.


Exterior facade of the Liberty Theater
Exterior facade of the Liberty Theater

The star of the town, however, is the Columbia River and a stroll along the waterfront properties will provide many opportunities for exploration and appreciation. This mural on the side of one of the larger riverside buildings was quite entertaining especially because we are fond of cats; dogs too!


Astoria riverside building mural as art
Mural by Jo Brown behind the Sears Store via

The remnants of once bustling piers hint at the extent to which Astoria was a waterfront mecca at one time.


Remnants of once bustling pier
Remnants of once bustling pier

We read about a couple of restaurants in town that provide glass windows in their floors to show diners the seals that come to rest under the pier. One such eatery was the Buoy Beer Company. We had fish and chips which were quite good and took a look at their lone slumberer which may be hard to discern.


Sea Lion visualized through window in restaurant floor
alt=”Sea Lion visualized through window in restaurant floor”

If you had trouble visualizing the sea lion, here are some highlighted details:


Sea Lion visualized through window in restaurant floor
Sea Lion visualized through window in restaurant floor – notations

While we were dining, we were able to watch the boats…


Boats busy studying and working along the Columbia River
Boats busy studying and working along the Columbia River

and ships go sailing by.


Ships moving up and down the Columbia River
Ships moving up and down the Columbia River

One could probably create a picture essay of just the interesting and historic-inspired trash cans found along the streets of this former fishing village.


Artistic trash can depicts a historic scene
Artistic trash can depicts a historic scene

Although the weather was not ideal and the northern fires left the skies darkened, this picturesque area of Oregon provided a wonderful start to our exploration of the coastline


Picturesque riverside scene
picturesque riverside scene


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Read previous posts about our adventures hiking and exploring in Oregon:

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 2

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1


Map route from Portland to Astoria, OR
Map route from Portland to Astoria, OR – Green

As part of our “hike while you still can” regimen, my wife and I decided to schedule a hiking vacation along the coast of Oregon and then on to Crater Lake for September, 2017. Even before we landed at Portland International Airport, we could smell fire in the airplane. We knew it wasn’t the Boeing, but the fires breaking out all over Oregon which tainted the air.

We retrieved our luggage and made a beeline for the car rental counter. After dusting the ash off of our suitcases and getting the trunk of the car packed, we headed toward the Oregon coast and the town of Astoria.

Astoria is a river town sharing space along the Columbia River and it has the requisite trappings of a riverside town. Our hotel was just yards from a shipyard with a number of ships and boats in a variety of conditions. The sun was setting and I was tired, but I couldn’t resist the photographic opportunities. I took my Fuji X-T2 and snapped just two pictures.


Shipyard along the Columbia River, Astoria Oregon
Shipyard along the Columbia River

A better image of the boat above appears in my previous post Fuji X T-2: The Magic of Beginnings. We enjoy walking around towns and discovering the variety of shops and sights. As we explored the streets the next day, the reminders that this was a fishing and river town were abundant.


Salmon-themed trash can - Astoria, Oregon
Salmon-themed trash can

The antique shops, cafes and other stores proudly adorned their windows with sailing memorabilia and accessories. There were a number of “general” decorative touches along the sidewalks as well.


Bicycle planter along 12th Street - Astoria, Oregon
Bicycle planter along 12th Street

Our first major stop was the Garden of Surging Waves. This was a small, inner city park celebrating Astoria’s Chinese heritage dating back to the days of John Jacob Astor. Interestingly, “The Chinese written characters for the words ‘surging wave’ are also used to express hardship and struggle — experiences shared by many of America’s early immigrant groups.” *

* Read more about the Garden of Surging Waves and HERE.

We entered the garden, part of Astoria’s Heritage Square project, through the Moon Gate which appeared to be the main entrance although there are a number of entryways. The ironwork was bold and attractive.


Traditional Moon Gate entrance to the Garden of Surging Waves - Astoria, Oregon
Traditional Moon Gate entrance to the Garden of Surging Waves

The ironwork not only serves as an entry, but also a story screen. There are a multitude of quotes and phrases related to the experience of the Chinese families and workers who helped to build the town of Astoria.

One touching quote appearing in the picture below, across two vertical sections, reads:

“Grandma said that Dad was so sick on the boat from China that he would have been fed to the fish if he had died. Now a seafood lab is named after him for the fish feed that he and his team developed.”


Part of a story screen near the entrance to the Garden of Surging Waves - Astoria, Oregon
Part of a story screen near the entrance to the Garden of Surging Waves”

There are granite columns carved with traditional dragon, Chinese cloud and ocean wave symbols.


Traditional dragon columns of the central pavilion at the Garden of Surging Waves - Astoria, Oregon
Traditional dragon columns of the central pavilion at the Garden of Surging Waves

The columns hold a series of wooden beams which in turn serve to frame a colorful stained glass crown-like structure. Although the day was grey, the sun did try to poke through as we stood in the open air pavilion.


Circular glass artwork at the central pavilion at the Garden of Surging Waves - Astoria, Oregon
Traditional dragon columns of the central pavilion

Further investigation led us to a large cast bronze lantern in the style of an incense burner which depicts characters in a story about a mythical dragon and a wise monkey. You can read about the statue and myth HERE. This was our last stop in the garden before we headed for 11th St. and more discoveries.


Cast bronze lantern in the style of an incense burner at the Garden of Surging Waves - Astoria, Oregon
Cast bronze lantern in the style of an incense burner

This was just a small portion of our day exploring Astoria. JBRish.com will soon have more stories about Astoria and other adventures in Oregon.

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



My Photography, Hiking, Exploring Procedure

As I stated or implied in my YOY (Year Of Yosemite) post Introduction, we had a grand time exploring the trails and mountains of this historic national park. When it comes to photography, I am really a fairly average amateur, but I am getting better. On this particular trip, I had three cameras with me:

My steadfast Canon PowerShot A590 IS which has been to so many places over so much time and still continues to provide faithful captures.

A PowerShot SX50HS which I use for birds, wildlife and anything that needs reach or isolation. I can easily open the aperture and isolate a subject. It has its drawbacks, but it fits into my particular work flow. I usually shoot in RAW format.

A Nikon D3300 which you can read about in my Photography Conundrum series. This provides the best overall quality among my cameras and has moderate “reach.”

When I am out and about exploring (which includes hiking and photography), I carry the photography essentials:

  • A Giotto Rocket Blaster to keep the lenses dust free
  • A lens cleaning cloth in the vent my lenses get wet or need cleaning that Giotto cannot provide
  • Extra memory cards (2 with me and more packed away)
  • Extra batteries for each camera
  • A whistle in case I encounter trouble and need to get attention

All of the above is contained in a belly pack and I keep my Canon PS A590 holsetered in one of the side pockets of that belly pack.

My other cameras go around my neck and I tether them to my back pack using carabiners so they don’t go bouncing all over as I climb and boulder scramble.

I don’t keep my cameras in a backpack in the event I need them in a hurry.

JBRish.com with his gear
So… How does this all fit together?

  1. Canon PowerShot SX50 HS that I use when I need reach, i.e. distance/wildlife
  2. New Nikon D3300 – Better quality, limited zoom
  3. Side pocket of my belly pack where I usually keep my PowerShot A590 for story telling photos
  4. Tether tied to the A590 so it doesn’t hit the ground if it falls
  5. Belly pack with numerous pockets for memory cards, Giotto Blaster, cleaning cloths, etc.
  6. Carabiner to keep cameras from jostling too much as I hike, bend, etc.


I do wear a hat when I hike, but I removed it for the photo!

Telling the Story

I take some photographs just to convey the story of where I have been and to indicate the overall “look-and-feel” of the hike. For this, I often use the jpeg only PS A590. These are not meant to be artistic photographs or pictures that are particularly significant although every once in a while I am surprised by the job this legacy camera does.

For most scenery I use the Nikon D3300 which has a nice kit lens that is fairly sharp and provides enough framing options to deliver the compositions I usually want.

The PowerShot SX50HS has some issues such as chromatic aberration and poor redndering at high ISO so I use it for wildlife and bird photography or any other picture for which I need the long reach. I sometimes use it as a substitute for binoculars if I want to see if anyone is clinging to the side of El Capitan, for example. I know I can generally deal with some of the camera’s “problems” in Lightroom and it also delivers some very good photos at ISO 200 or lower; 400 if I want to stretch it a bit.

The visit to Yosemite was a bucket list item for me so I tried something for the first time…

I brought a computer and external hard drive with me so I could back up my photographs on a daily basis. Each evening, I took time to create three folders on the external hard drive with the date, short name to indicate what we did that day and an abbreviation for the camera used. I did this so when I imported the pictures in to my photography software (Lightroom), I could apply presets for that individual camera. That is why I keep the pictures separated by date and by which camera was used.

NOTE – It is helpful to synchronize time and date on all cameras being used so pictures can be sorted according to capture time. Truth be told, I don’t always get this done and it isn’t a monumental problem although having the ability to sort by time/date is very useful.

I then systematically remove each memory card, place it into the computers hard drive and COPY the files into the specific folder (on the external hard drive) for that camera on that day. This is done for all three cameras. I am cautious so I double check how many pictures are in the new folder and how many are on the memory card for that day. When I am satisfied that I have transferred all photographs, I move on to the next memory card.

If there is a change in venue that I think I will have trouble remembering, I find a file (picture) that was taken in the place and time when the situation changed and I rename it leaving all native metadata in place. This helps me organize my photos later when I see a long name rather than just a capture number.

Now I have copied all three memory cards to the appropriate folder on the external hard drive. Before ejecting the external drive, I then copy the three new, daily folders into a parent folder on the computer itself.

This protocol gives me three copies of each file. I do not ever erase a memory card until I have copied all files to my desktop and have backed it up on at least one other device, perhaps two.

I don’t review my pictures on a daily basis except to look at a few from each camera to make sure that the camera is working properly. Is there a spot on the lens? Is there a series of pictures out of focus; why? If the cameras are working appropriately, I wait until I get home to review my images. I very seldom delete a picture during the backup process described above. Many a mediocre photo can be rescued in Lightroom or Photoshop.

I hope you have found my hiking/exploring regimen helpful and perhaps you have garnered a worthy idea or two. If you have questions, let me know in the comment section!