We try to go camping at Cannon Beach each year. We found a wonderful camping spot just four blocks from the beach itself. It's gorgeous when the weather is nice. We missed last year due to Madelynn's birth so we didn't want to miss this year, too. We just got back, and we were blessed with wonderful weather almost the entire trip.
There were so many good and interesting things about this trip. We drove down in two cars on Thursday; between two adults, four kids, a dog, and all of our gear there is just no other way to get us down there. On the way, the kids and I stopped in Seaside where we encountered a massive dragonfly migration. We saw hundreds, if not thousands, of dragonflies flying through town. It was surreal. We continued to Cannon Beach, where we met up with Scott, visited the beach briefly, and headed back to camp to set up. The dragonflies continued to fly through the air in swarms.
Mika managed to catch one of them for closer inspection.
Josh took a closer look before we let the little gal go.
I'm not sure when she took this photo, but Mika captured the sunlight through the trees at our campground just perfectly.
The next day we headed out to the beach. Maddie loved the water. She wasn't the least bit scared and giggled each time the wave got her. The only thing she didn't care for was eating sand, which she did after a couple of face plants.
We buried Zach like we always do. He actually likes it. He never fusses or shows any sign of displeasure over it. When we're done, he lays under the sand for quite a while before he stands up and shakes himself off. Every year, we end up with at least one person who wants to take his picture. People get a real kick out of seeing a buried dog.
After a while, the kids and I took off down the beach. I think the younger two had it made.
Our destination was Haystack rock. It was nearly low tide, and we wanted to explore. I thought exploring the tidal pools would be the perfect addition to our swimming creatures studies this year.
Unfortunately, the low tide wasn't low enough. We saw a few sea anemone but that's about it. Most of the tidal pool area was still under water.
Here's Mika pointing something out. See those clouds on the horizon?
In very short order those clouds were upon us and enshrouding Haystock Rock. Seeing this picture, you'd never guess it was a warm, beautiful day just half an hour before. Josh and Maddie were both crying from cold on the walk back to Scott. Both had nothing more than swim trunks (Josh) and swim diaper (Maddie) on. Josh wrapped himself up in the only towel that came with us which I confiscated for Maddie since she was younger. Unfortunately for Josh, when he gets cold, he gets REALLY cold. He was shivering and purple and hysterical by the time we got back to our blanket. It wasn't fun, and we all said goodbye to the decent weather with regret.
On Saturday, the kids and I headed up to Seaside to visit the aquarium. It was just a small building consisting of a single room of various tanks, a couple touch tanks, a pool with a large octopus, and the seals. Wolf eels, I must tell you are just strange looking. The kids enjoyed the touch tanks but the real draw were the seals. They sat in a tank where people behind a barrier could feed them by throwing fish purchased from the aquarium over the short wall. The seals seemed pretty happy and definitely performed for the people. There was a poster on the wall telling you how to tell them apart by appearance and mannerisms. One seal clapped his flippers on his chest. Another rocked back and forth like a rocking chair. Still another liked to splash the people. The kids liked seeing, feeding, and watching the seals.
Mika begged from some pop rocks, which I introduced to her one year when I found them in a fudge/candy store in Seaside so we stopped by there for a few packets. The kids enjoyed those on the drive back to Cannon Beach, where we headed back to the beach because the weather was nice again. We got there just in time for low tide, which was low enough to actual explore.
We saw plenty of California mussels, acorn barnacles, and gooseneck barnacles. We also saw a shy little crab. Can you find him in the photo? We learned that gooseneck barnacles are so named because they are attached to the rock by a part that looks like a goose's neck. A naturalist told us that they are light sensitive. When they are exposed to the sun during low tide, they extend away from the rock trying to keep cool. This, however, makes them vulnerable because their softer parts are exposed. When you shade them with your hand, they retract back against the wall trying to protect themselves...thinking the shadow is a bird coming to eat them. It is a neat, protective instinct that we were able to see first hand.
Josh had a good eye. He found this snail all by himself. One of the naturalist there to assist explores told us what kind it was but I forget the name now.
There were plenty of sea stars to view along the rocks. We also saw a couple of different kinds of sea anemone and sea birds.
On Sunday, my dad took the kids gold panning. We just read about the Spanish in South America and how they got gold from the natives when they first arrived. One method was panning. We'll also be learning about the California gold rush early next year so I thought it would be fun for the kids to try it out even if they didn't find anything, and I knew my dad had the equipment. They didn't get to use his sluice box though. After trying panning for a little bit, they tried fishing. They didn't catch any fish this time. They did see a salmon and catch salamanders using their poles. The silly creatures were grabbing their worms on the hook and not letting go. They had a fun day with grandpa.
Monday finally came and it was time to come home. We packed up, said goodbye to grandpa, and headed home. We hit some traffic in Washington making the long drive even longer. It was a long, but good weekend.and somebody, who didn't want to come home, was tired....