On the Oregon Coast, visit the Octopus Tree

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Summer Solstice found us at the Oregon Coast, relaxing with two of our daughters and their families, including our four grandchildren, ages 4 to 7.

Son-in-law Bob and I drove over Highway 6 on midsummer’s eve to join wife Sibyl and daughter Andrea, who had driven over earlier for a conference. Our destination was a rented house in Oceanside, a small village about 10 minutes west of Tillamook. On our way with kids Alice and Judson, of course we stopped at the Tillamook Forest Center, about one hour from Portland. Seven-year old Judson enjoyed the video displays. Four-year old Alice stretched her legs. Bob admired the displays of firefighting gear, noting that his brother, now a senior executive for a forest products company, spent his summers fighting wildfire in Colorado.

After lunch in downtown Tillamook, we headed for Oceanside, stopping at a fresh seafood stand in Netarts to load up on two dozen Netarts Bay oysters. Just in time for dinner, daughter Claire arrived from Springfield with her two children, 5-year-old Annie and 7-year-old Jacob.

The first day of summer, we drove about three miles north to Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint to view seabirds, tour the lighthouse and visit the Octopus Tree. Two volunteers with high-powered telescopes helped us spot a large colony of common murres, two bald eagles and a peregrine falcon nesting high on the ocean cliff. We made quick work of the 1890s lighthouse, Oregon’s shortest, and then scrambled up the quarter-mile path to the Octopus Tree.

This unusually shaped Sitka spruce is Oregon’s largest, following the demise in 2007 of the Klootchy Creek Giant near Seaside to hurricane-force winds. It measures more than 14 feet across at its base, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a central trunk. Instead, limbs extend outward and then upward – octopus-like – nearly 105 feet.

How did the tree get this way? No one knows for sure, but wouldn’t you expect to see an Octopus Tree on the Oregon Coast?

Paul Barnum

 

Photo from left: Annie, Jacob, Judson and Alice in front of the Octopus Tree at Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint.

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9755 SW Barnes Rd., Suite 210        
Portland, OR 97225        
Phone: 971-673-2944        
Fax: 971-673-2946

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