John & Anne Wiley

2012/09/30

Last Leg

I’m feeling it all over again. The way it was knowing that the day we left McBeth would be the last on our wonderful AB Joy adventure. Luckily it was varied and beautiful just like every other day of the trip. We began with a berry good walk under some tall trees to stretch our legs and stain our faces with wild blackberry juice.

3681 Forest Road

3681 Forest Road

Joy’s not in this pic, because she was already foraging. Before long Tripp had lifted us effortlessly above it all again, and I circled back toward the airport to gain altitude.

3699 McBeth

3699 McBeth

The runway is just above the trees at the bottom, and we took off West (to the left). That’s the Klamath River at the left edge, and the rock dike is the gray line just above the runway. Our hotel was near the right end of the town, and Tripp was parked in the small cleared rectangle of cut grass on the far side of the runway about in the middle. It doesn’t look like much from here, but climbing over the 30′ dike and back through brambles and barbed wire carrying some heavy stuff at midnight wasn’t easy. Was fun though. 🙂

3705 White Blanket

3705 White Blanket

I’d initially planned to fly out to the coast and along it like we’d done in Oregon the day before. That white blanket that greeted our takeoff is why I decided to climb near the airport instead. Once we were high enough to see that we didn’t need to leave the coast completely, we turned south and climbed gradually higher within gliding distance of the highway. I’ve already shared a pic of the North Pass Fire, but thought you might like the starkness of this one too.

3712 North Pass Fire

3712 North Pass Fire

It seemed to have skritchy hair on the right, but maybe that’s because of the sleep we had. 🙂

I’ll close this AB Joy recap with a pic from our luxurious stop in Sonoma. We enjoyed a delicious picnic in the park across the street from the Basque Cafe.

3741 Relaxation

3741 Relaxation

Next I’ll start to bring you up to date on some flights we’ve enjoyed since our return. After that maybe I’ll share that we’re contemplating a new Big Adventure to the East Coast. If we decide to spend another big chunk of our savings… 🙂

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2012/09/29

McBeth Sundown

Still looking at pix from that same day along the Oregon coast, I like this one of an empty giant stone portal on the beach. A doorway of perception, does it open out or in?

3483 Doors

3483 Doors

Both I guess, like that kids song, “Go in and out the doorway…” Next in today’s stone collection this row of stone blades slicing sky, and in raging Oregon storms, giant waves.

3512 Blades

3512 Blades

Nearby is a walled garden of secrets. Looks like pirates would’ve hidden out in that cave, and their treasure might still be in there. Or speaking of stills, maybe rum runners used it on dark nights. Those clumps on the foreground cliffs guarding the entrance are cormorant nests.

3515 Garden

3515 Garden

By now we were well ready for a stretch break, so after much discussion we chose the charming town of Bandon. You can make out the angled light brown rectangle of the airport just right of center beneath the distant hills.

3527 Bandon

3527 Bandon

After feeding Tripp and meeting an energetic young caretaker as we jumped, stretched, and ran around, we took off into the much longer shadows and flew a little long after takeoff so we could get a look at the town.

3544 Abandoned

3544 Abandoned

Judging by Bandon’s abandoned forest of pilings in the harbor, this was once a thriving town. Logging I guess. Now it’s a friendly little town struggling to adapt to the new economy, and beckoning us for a return visit when we’d have time to find our way in for some exploration. Eight minutes later we passed a quiet estuary where this kite surfer was riding the same strong evening winds that were adding to our speed.

3554 Wind Rider

3554 Wind Rider

I have a bunch more pix from this last hour of flying but the light was fading, haze was increasing. So let me end with a tale of two beds. First, the best hotel bed we enjoyed on this adventure, at the spacious and delightful Phoenix Inn hotel in Olympia.

0357 Best Bed

0357 Best Bed

Now, let me digress for a moment to describe the lay of the land in the quiet little village of McBeth just above the mouth of the Klamath. It’s surrounded by a tall rock dike to protect it from tsunamis like the one from AK that destroyed it in the 1960s. I’ll show you daytime aerial pix of it in the next post, but for now imagine us landing just before dark and debating whether to pitch our tent or get a room on the other side of the tall dike ringed with barbed wire. We ended up scoring a bargain room about $20 less than our Olympia room, including a ride with our stuff around the dike into town. It had a tidy 1950s motel flavor, and this bed.

0404 Worst Bed

0404 Worst Bed

Now you may notice something unusual where the gold blanket starts. That’s our queen-sized airmat on top of two double beds pushed together. When we’d tried the bed it was so uncomfortable that I climbed over the dike and two barbed wire fences in the dark to carry the heavy airmat back to the room. The only hotel bed I can recall that was worse, is one we had at the volcano park in Hawaii many years ago. It was missing the mattress, and we had to sleep on the box spring. This one was better. A little. But that didn’t dampen our fun together, and I could hear the gals laughing at the top of the dike as they waited and worried about me falling. That bed is another great memory from the adventure. 🙂

2012/09/28

Interactions

Maybe it’s because of my fascination with human interactions, that I often notice all sorts of other interactions. Like the ones that have created this scene.

3439 Grasses & ATVs

3439 Grasses & ATVs

If you click to see the larger version, you can just make out the two ATVs at the bottom just left of center. More natural interactions like the ones between all the rivers and creeks, and the Pacific where they meet, are also fascinating to me.

3442 River & Sea

3442 River & Sea

When I first saw this next scene, I thought it was a word someone had carved in the dune.

3447 Dune Grasses & ???

3447 Dune Grasses & ???

Any ideas? This next one’s more subtle. See if you can pick out the interaction here that caught my fancy, before you read the caption.

3457 Dune & Shadow

3457 Dune & Cloud Shadow

No, that’s not our shadow again although we do seem to smile at it often. But here’s an interaction we were directly involved in.

3478 Ship & Tripp

3478 Ship & Tripp

I flew a little offshore to check out this ship and thought someone might wave from the deck, but I don’t see anyone outside. I found out later it’s an Army dredge. Last up, an epic interaction of some Greek elements.

 

3482 Earth & Water

3482 Earth & Water

2012/09/25

Calming Coast

The Oregon coast looks wild with the scars of violent geological forces further tormented by raging storms, yet on a nice day like this it’s so calming.

3115 Tortured Stone

3115 Tortured Stone

I like how the line of trees marches down the slope toward the sea, shoulder to shoulder to face the weather. The shapes and textures tell tales of torment from wind and sea.

3128 Resting Head

3128 Resting Head

The sandstone point in this one is a giant dragon’s head asleep in the gently lapping waves of this unusually calm Pacific. Further along, a quiet waterfall returns raindrops from their long journey home to the sea.

3131 Silent Fall

3131 Silent Fall

As we skim past, the sun behind us illuminates a deep cave hidden beneath a hardy clump of gnarled trees next to a vein of colorful rock.

3134 Hidden Cave

3134 Hidden Cave

As we pass another rock face the trace left by countless birds looks for a moment like white hieroglyphs from people long ago.

3161 Rock Art

3161 Rock Art

When cliffs yield to dunes, our shadow fleeting across the sand impersonates a giant seabird startling the small creatures huddled in the grass.

3172 Passing Shadow

3172 Passing Shadow

Our flight along this shore in the other direction a few days before is reflected in this opposite view to the south past now familiar offshore arches.

3176 Familiar Arches

3176 Familiar Arches

Placid tidepools and foam whirlpools offer a hypnotic serenity that pulls a sigh from me, remembering this contemplative passage.

3197 Placid Pools

3197 Placid Pools

A jumble of soft shapes and colors somehow especially pleasing to my eye almost brings the feel of sand between toes and the whisper of breeze in trees.

3241 Soft Place

3241 Soft Place

A magical dune from Arabian dreams mixes water, trees, and rippling sands to enchant the weary traveler.

3434 Dream Oasis

3434 Dream Oasis

Now we decide to stop for rest and to consider where we’ll spend this night. After consulting the gals, various charts and several other sources of information we choose the little town of Bandon. Such an awakening back into this millennium as we approach the welcoming airport. This has already been a day to remember, and there’s more yet to come.

2012/09/24

Like a Rose

There’s an old tune I used to enjoy with a line something like, “I will fall to the earth, and root like a rose, in the soft land that gave me my birth.” I felt that just now looking again at the last of the pix I’m going to share in this post. I’m a California kid, and maybe that’s why I love every sort of terrain. Having just flown thru so many spectacular mountains and across the edge of the vast prairie, there’s still something special about seeing the coast after being in regions that lack the embrace of the ocean that gave us birth. Our day started with exploration of Olympia, state capital of Washington.

0379 Boats Buildings & Birds

0379 Boats Buildings & Birds

There’s some fanciful art and architecture in the downtown area, and we enjoyed wandering it on the excellent little trolley and on foot. Before long we saw it again from the air taking off to continue our migration south. Soon we were nearing Astor on the coast, where the river widens out into a vast estuary and some sort of houseboats or fishing docks are moored in the shallows like links in a chain.

3097 Estuary Chain

3097 Estuary Chain

We took a shortcut to the sea, angling southwest rather than follow the river. Here’s one of our last looks across hills and mountains, enjoying those shapes and the colors dominated by green.

3100 Soft Scene

3100 Soft Scene

As you may have noticed, the morning’s inland solid overcast had begun dissipating into the welcome and ever larger patches of open sky in aviation forecasts for our route. Suddenly we burst out over the coast at Seaside, and inhaled deeply the fresh sea air and the sight of happy beach goers.

3103 Beach Playground

3103 Beach Playground

Not more than three minutes later we rounded this small prominence and gasped at the view of our next few hours’ flying, garnished with fluffy clouds and graced with a hint of healing mist.

3104 Sand & Foam

3104 Sand & Foam

So I looked it up and I think the version of that song I recall was by String Band, and it was written by Emmylou Harris titled Root Like A Rose. Here’s the rest of that verse:

Take me home

to the sand and the foam,

where my dreams still walk in the mist.

I’ll fall to the earth and root like a rose,

in the salt land

that gave me my birth.

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