The Sweet Escape ( Arch Cape Escape – part 3)

Thursday January 23rd brought another gorgeous WARM dry day. At low tide we headed north up the beach to see how far we could walk without running into a headland the low tide couldn’t surpass.

As we were leaving we caught a whiff of some wood smoke in the breeze, not strong, but familiar as to what it was. We couldn’t see any chimneys in the neighbourhood showing signs of any activity and didn’t think much more of it.

I wasn’t wearing boots, so to avoid one rather busy area of runoff we abandoned Sally’s Alley for another beach access point further down the road.

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It wasn’t until we got to the beach that we saw there was smoke coming from the hills up behind our house across highway 101.

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We heard sirens eventually, but at that point we didn’t know how serious the fire was. Still, our house was a stone’s throw from the highway and the fire not all that far from the highway, so we kept an eye on things.

The smoke started to drift down towards the water as the winds picked up and it formed a bit of a haze, different from the marine layer haze you can sometimes see over the ocean.

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We were lucky, the tide stayed out long enough for us to get down to Hug Point, a large headland we had heard about, but not seen. Back in the day, the beaches were the coastal roads (I cannot even imagine!) Hug point proved to be a challenge to get around, so a ‘road’ was created which hugged the point. Get it?

Now road is a bit of a generous term, because it had to have been a bumpy ride either in a horse and buggy or eventually a car. Not to mention the fact it is a rather narrow passageway with a rather unforgiving ocean on one side of it.

Here’s an interesting page with some historical pictures of hug point.

Now here’s Tom on it, in his invisible car.

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At this point the water still made its way up and around the access point and when I was up there, I was a wee bit freaked out about the water swirling around me, and me getting stuck so I snapped a quick shot of this historical roadway and skee-daddled off the rocks.

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See what I mean? Imagine driving on that?! Scary!

Beautiful though, as is the rest of the Oregon coast.

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And the area comes with its own little waterfall.

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We were having such a great time on this trip. Here’s a shot of Tom that perfectly illustrates exactly how much:

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And of course with a silly walk.

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We were treated to yet another AMAZING sunset from the deck of our lovely, lovely holiday home.

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Ahhh…

The next morning, it was apparent that the fire was still burning and fueled by some winds, it had in fact grown. We kept an eye and ear out, just in case the winds shifted and sent the fire in our direction, rather than up the hills as it had thus far. Everything started to smell like smoke including the house, Tom’s car and every stitch of clothing we had.

Though the dry hot weather was great for us, not so great for the firemen from the surrounding counties who along with the forestry workers had their work cut out for them.

The helicopters with their bambi buckets were passing overhead steadily. On previous trips we’d seen practice maneuvers up near Astoria for, I imagine, just such an occasion.

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Here’s a news story from the fire.

And here’s some video I shot from the beach

See? A little too close for comfort!

The next day was our last full day at the beach and it was a dandy, despite the smoke which hung over the beach, it was warm and sunny, so warm that we didn’t even need a sweater. Even Tom (aka Mr. Frosty!)

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It seemed they’d made some real progress with the fire by nightfall, but you could still see the flames once it got dark (this was a zoom shot from our back yard up into the hills.)

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Sadly, all too quickly, it was time to leave.

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Though we’d been doing our laundry all week, we knew that we’d need to wash the smell of forest fire out of our clothes when we got home, but that was a small price to pay. We were really worried that this lovely house, and all the lovely houses around us could have been caught up in a fire. It looked like there would be no threat to them and the fire was contained and expected to extinguished in a week or so. We felt like we could say goodbye and not worry about the house anymore.

It didn’t mean we wanted to though. (Sadface)

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We will be back one of these days, oh yes we shall.

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