So, as I mentioned before, our good friends, Joan and David from New York, came to visit over Labor Day weekend. Day one was awesome...day two was "awesomer".
After breakfast we decided to first head back over to Yaquina Lighthouse in hopes of being able to climb to the top this morning. We arrived at the lighthouse only to find out the wait was about 2 hours. Not wanting to wait that long, we just decided to stroll around the grounds a bit. Joan spotted a whale (our first sighting that weekend), which we watched for a bit, until the flies got to us. There's something odd about this particular lighthouse. Every time I'm there, it's swarmed with flies that buzz around you and land on you. Eric thinks the place is cursed, and after about 5 minutes of being attacked by flies, Joan agreed.
We left the lighthouse to head for the Nature Conservancy Trail. We read about this in a Hikes of the Oregon Coast book. You'd never know it was there, if you didn't know where to look. The book told us to go up a particular road, then look for a gravel road and yellow gate to the left. Amazingly we found it and drove in about 3 miles to the trailhead.
The trail is closed from January to July because it is a wildflower and butterfly preserve. We got out of the car, stepped into a pile of mud, and began the 1 mile hike through the rainforest...which would lead to a huge alpine meadow high above the ocean with incredible 180 degree views from forest to coast to ocean.
The open meadow was sunny and warm, and we did see many interesting butterflies that I'd never seen before...plus some hawks, and even spotted some sea lions waaaay below us. The view was nothing short of breathtaking. We had packed a picnic lunch, so we found a spot at the very top of the hill, sat down and enjoyed a feast of cheese, meats, olives, bread, wine, and brownies (ya gotta have chocolate!). It is by far, the best view I've ever had with a meal.
After relaxing on the mountainside for a few hours, we packed up and headed back down to the car and back to Otter Crest. We had 6:00 pm reservations at the Bay House. The Bay House is another one of our favorite restaurants at the beach. The food is of course fantastic, but it's the atmosphere and the hospitality that give this restaurant such high rankings for me. Nestled on the edge of Siletz bay, The Bay House is cozy in a Nantucket sea captain's house meets Portland funk kind of way. The sophistcated grey walls are the perfect backdrop for the art, and the big windows frame the view of the bay. The four of us enjoyed a leisurely dinner, sipping wine, watching the sunset, talking, laughing. I loved sharing this little corner of the world with Joan and David.
The Bay House limo drove us back to Otter Crest after dinner. As we were walking up the hill back to our place, we noticed the sky was absolutely littered with stars. The air was sea-clean, salty, and crisp and we breathed it in deeply as we walked. David, made me laugh when he said sarcastically, "Gee, how can you stand it here...it's one crummy thing after another". I had to agree...it was an amazing day...nature's bounty had surrounded and astounded us over and over.