Oregon Coast – Cape Perpetua

After our failed attempt to drive to Crater Lake we headed back to the 101 and north along the Oregon coast, the road kept winding in and out, up and down and the coast kept getting more and more beautiful as we drove along.

We stopped for the night in a very small and cute village called Yachats. The name derives from the Chinook indian word, Yahuts, meaning “dark waters at the foot of the mountain”. A quite accurate description of the area I’d say.  We checked into a cute motel and wandered down to the sea front, admiring the dark, rugged coast line, the funny unusual houses. We sat down and watched a few people along the beach trying their luck at clamming whilst the sun set beyond the Pacific Ocean.

The following morning we drove back to Cape Perpetua and the visitor’s centre, set on a high, steep bluff above the ocean. With huge panoramic windows along the front it offers you the ideal place for whale watching. Grey Sperm Whales make their migration south to Mexico along the west coast and then back up north again every year and we were just at the end of their migration season. So I was really hoping to spot one from here, so far I’d had no luck…

Several times during our trip I had been kicking myself for forgetting my travel binoculars back home, but no more so than here. Luckily the kind people at the visitor’s centre lent us a pair of binoculars for a bit. I watched and watched and as my hope started to fade I spotted the spray of one, but that was it.

We were advised to head up to the West Shelter Observation point and told that the views from there were even  more spectacular than at the visitor’s centre and they surely were. As we stood there looking out over the pacific horizon, hoping to spot a whale, a retired American couple started talking to us. Turns out they had retired a couple of years ago, sold their house and bought a large RV and they now spend their time travelling around the US, volunteering in different National Parks for a few months and then move on. What a life! And I did spot the fin of a whale as we stood there, Mat doesn’t believe me but the couple saw it too, so it wasn’t just in my head!

This part of the west coast is considered by many to be the best one and its easy to see why. Cape Perpetua is so special that it has in fact been designated as a National Scenic Area. It offers many fantastic hiking trails and the jagged volcanic coast line on one side and the beautifully green, lush sitka spruce forest on the other, makes for jaw dropping scenery along your way. This, combined with the lovely locals, really makes the Oregon coast something very special!

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