A Look at Earth's Geology and Geography With Kyle - Page 1

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Kyle and his mom Melissa say good bye to each other Sand dune with our campground in background
Kyle with flower

On August 8th, it was Kyle's turn to go on a trip with us in the motorhome to see first hand some of earth's geology. Like we did last year with his cousin, Summer, we took Kyle (age 7) on a learning excursion to get a glimpse of a different world than he had been used to seeing. It was a time for him to be with us and to visit some new and different places where earth's geology is open for display.

We took Kyle on a similar route to the one we did with Summer the year before, but we hit some new and different places this time in a reverse track. This time we headed directly to Florence, Oregon where we found a parking place in the same RV campground (Woahink Lake RV Resort) where we had been last summer near the Oregon sand dunes. This is a wonderful place to stay for a few days because there is so much to do and see here, and it was not long before we walked from the camp ground to the top of a nearby sand dune where we had a 360 degree vista of our camp on one side and the ocean (in the far distance) on the other. The sand here is very fine and is of a light beige color, and it easily gets into your clothes and into your eyes, as Kyle soon found out when he went leaping out from the top of a dune and somersaulted down the slope. He found that sand dunes are fun to roll and slide down, but they are exhausting to climb up as you slide and sink one step down for every two steps up. We noted, however, that it helps to have four legs to negotiate the dunes, as Pixie the dog dashed much more easily up and down the tricky slopes and ran circles around Kyle.

Kyle in dune grass Kyle in dune grass Kyle rolling down sand dune Kyle playing in sand

 

Heceta Head Lighthouse Heceta Head Lighthouse

After a fun time playing in the dunes, the day was not yet over for we discovered that there was an evening lighthouse tour at the Heceta Head Lighthouse, just like what we had experienced last summer. And, we knew that Kyle would also enjoy this experience; to see the lighthouse perched on a cliff where the land dives into the sea. So, we headed into town for a quick bite to eat at Moe's restaurant, which sits on the edge of the Siuslaw River where we had a window seat to diving gulls, cormorants, and seals. Then, after dinner, we drove about 10 miles north of town to where we came to a trail head for the lighthouse where a number of people were gathering just as it was getting dusk. Rangers were there who informed us about the local area and its history.Then they led us up the trail to the lighthouse where great beams of light were projecting far out into the ocean. As you looked up, you could see eight rays of bright light that was turning (like the spokes of a wheel) through the sky overhead. And to the east, the moon was just rising over the mist covered trees and hills.

Rising Moon

 

Kyle and some friendly Sea Lions Kyle and Diana near entrance to Sea Lion cave elevator
Inside view of Sea Lion Caves

The next morning, we eagerly got ready for the new day as we were now headed for the famous Oregon Sea Lion Caves. We had passed by there the last evening when we went to the light house, which is about two miles north of the caves. The "caves" is the largest and most spectacular natural sea cave in the world, and is home of wild Steller Sea Lions. The Sea Lions live in the cave year around, but primarily occupy it in the fall and winter. They utilize the several rock ledges outside of the cave during spring and summer where they breed and bear their cubs. The interior of the cave reaches to a height of about 120 feet and stretches the length of a football field. The cave took millions of years to develop from erosion of fissures and weak areas of the basalt rock that surrounds it. From the main building high up on the bluffs where tourists enter from parking areas, the cave is reached via a 100 yard paved path that winds down along the side of the bluff to an elevator. The elevator descends down about 200 feet, and then it is another few yards underground to where there is a fenced viewing area of the main grotto. There is also a short walkway within the cave to an opening that looks out toward the north and a view of Sea Lions that are scattered on rocks below. Altogether, it is a very interesting experience to see, hear, and smell these animals, which are so very graceful in the water, but terribly cumbersome on the rocky shore. The massive bulls get about 12 feet long and can weigh from 1500 pounds to more than a ton. They are not something you would want to get too close to with their deafening and threatening roar (hence their "Lion" name), and their smell is not something you'll care to remember.

Sea Lions and crashing ocean waves
Sea Lions on rocky shore with Heceta Head Light House in distance

 

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Note: All photos on this site are Copyright © 2006 - 2013 by David Schindele