Momma Told Me: The Oregon Coast: Haceta Head Lighthouse + Cape Perpetua

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Friday, December 6, 2013

The Oregon Coast: Haceta Head Lighthouse + Cape Perpetua

***The photos contained below are copyright Momma Told Me Blog 2013, and are original content.
Haceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon
Momma Told Me: You only live once, live with your eyes wide open.

Some of you may already know I recently took my yearly vacation to visit Momma, over the Thanksgiving holiday. This year Momma has landed back in Oregon, a state in which she has been a National Parks host 4 times now; returning from her 2 year stay in Ohio. However, instead of hosting a coastal campsite, as those are pretty much closed for the Winter season now, her and my stepdad have taken over a quaint hotel in the heart of Florence, Oregon. I dare say Momma is having a blast as acting, live in, management here, where she happily greets every desk with a donut in the morning, and a smile at checkout. Momma thrives on social interaction such as this, and the challenge of turning a mid-ranking business into a 5 star (or bubble, as they say on Trip Advisor) hotel.  So, I digress, we packed the pup in the car and made the trek up the Pacific Coast to visit Momma for the holiday.
I won't lie, road trips are fun, but they can also be quite stressful, especially when you're trying to maximize vacation time, and cut down on travel time. We left at 3 PM on a Sunday and drove straight through to 1 AM, when we exited the Bay area and stopped in Santa Rosa, CA to visit Jay's brother for a 20 minute break. Because we were both quite alert still, we decided to continue driving on until about 3:30 AM, when we passed through Willits, CA. Yes, I was one of 'those' tourists who knocked on some poor hotel manager's window at a 3in the morning asking for a room to catch a few hours sleep. To be fair, she made me stand outside in the 23F weather for a good 20 minutes in my Southern California clothes. When we woke up at 7:30 the following morning we were actually pleasantly surprised by the quaint little Pioneer themed hotel we'd spent the night in. The decor was a bit kitschy, but the place was clean and well decorated. We promptly hit the road, and crossed the Oregon border around 1 PM, rolling into Momma's town just after 6. 920 miles traveled, one hyper little dog, and 8 occurrences of Miley Cyrus's 'Wrecking Ball' on the radio (our unofficial anthem for the trip, don't ask).
Haceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon
Oregon Coast Trees
Oregon is beautiful, but it's the Oregon Coast that truly has my heart. Ever since I set foot in the Siuslaw Rock Creek Campgrounds 5 year back, I have had somewhat of a romantic notion of moving there and whiling away the latter years of my life. Of course, that's primarily what most of the coastal residents are, retirees, or loggers- while moving there would be affordable, millenials such as Jay and I would be hard pressed to find work in this rural, coastal environment. Regardless, we certainly do enjoy the escape to the crisp, clean air, and beautiful scenery. Unfortunately, Momma only had 2 days off, afternoons to be exact, during our stay, and one of them was Thanksgiving; I wasn't about to leave her behind, to go gallivanting up and down the coast, when I had traveled all that far to see her. So we only got an afternoon to do the 'tourist' thing with Jay and the other visiting family members, but it certainly was a treat.
Haceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon
One of the most visited spots on the Oregon Coast is the Haceta Head Lighthouse. Considered a National Park, there is a beautiful beach picnic area at the base of the Haceta trail, in an area known as Cape Creek. Directly behind visitors is the historic, and stunning Cape Creek bridge, the oldest still functioning bridge on Scenic Route 101, built in 1932 to resemble Roman aqueduct architecture. (You can see the bridge to the right of the lighthouse keeper's home in the photo 3 above this paragraph.) From this starting point, it is a half mile hike through a fairly built in trail along the coast, up to the lighthouse. Several hiker's trails branch off along the way, and wind their way up behind the peak of the lighthouse, making for some very sought after photo opportunities of the lush winding coastal scene.
Haceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon
Haceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon
Haceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon
Haceta Head is unique in that it was recently renovated in 2005 with a complete paint job, and runs complimentary tours to the top, at several intervals during the day. In fact, this was one of the campgrounds Momma hosted several years back; these 'hosts' and tour guides are entirely complimentary and typically perform these duties out of a pure passion for the site and it's rich history. The 56' tower was first illuminated in 1894, and has since been upgraded to a  more modernizes system, which keeps it functioning in it's original intent to this day. Visitors can follow the 3 tiers of winding, increasingly narrow, stairs all the way up to the level, directly below the lookout, so a sneak peak at the working lighthouse mechanism, just feet above their head.
Stone Shelter, Cape Perpetua
Stone Shelter, Cape Perpetua
After our visit to Haceta Head, we made a beeline to Cape Perpetua, the highest coastal lookout on the Pacific Coast, where the height of the point reaches 800ft above sea level. One of the highlights of this scenic trail is the West Stone Shelter Observation Point, built in World War II as a coastal watch station. Not only is the history fascinating, but the view at sunset is all together awe-inspiring. This is a must see for anyone passing through the scenic coastal route. I only wish we'd had more time to explore and photograph the views, but, as any local knows, driving the coast after dark is a risk for both the native Elk and the drivers.

In all, we had a wonderful vacation, and I simply cannot wait to return again to visit Momma and see more of the historic, and scenic, Oregon Coast.

What Daughter Says: I love the comforts of home, but sometimes, things worth seeing take a little exploring.

7 comments:

  1. I loved the Oregon coast when we were traveling about in our fifth wheel. We camp hosted as well and it's a delightful way to stay somewhere beautiful for a bit of labor.

    The photos are stunning!

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  2. That's absolutely beautiful. I would love to visit some day.

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  3. Dang I want to go visit your Mama!!! That place looks absolutely amazing! It would be a dream vacation!

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  4. These photos are absolutely stunning I would love to have these photos in my home. Sounds like it was a great trip.

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  5. This place is gorgeous! I have been wanting to drive down the Oregon coast for a long time. This place is on the list for sure!Thanks for the beautiful photos!

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  6. How incredibly beautiful! I've heard so many lovely things about Oregon; I would love to visit there someday!

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