In truth, the main storm front had passed through the area earlier and only passing showers remained. The rain from the black mass in this photo, arriving overhead shortly after this image was taken, was particularly intense. My upper half was kept dry by a halfway decent rain jacket but the lower half ended up pretty well drenched, much of it likely due to runoff from the upper half. Wind on wet jeans can be rather cold so I took that as a sign it was time to go home. Of course, the sun came out after that.
Yaquina Head is a natural scenic area just north of Newport that is managed by the US Park Service. This is a relatively recent development. What used to be a gravel road leading out to the lighthouse and a rock quarry that was slowly dismantling the headland is now a paved road. The rock quarry is now the site of an interpretive center. Paved paths and stairways lead down to tide pools at the base of rocky cliffs. What used to be free now requires an entrance fee. Although I’ve been there quite a few times since these improvements have been made, they were completed long after I left Newport for greener pastures. It’s still a bit odd seeing the headland this way.
Overall, the changes are a vast improvement to a beautiful area that was being gradually destroyed to make gravel. It can be mildly irritating to have to pay to enter an area that I used to access for free, but that’s a minor inconvenience and a small price to pay for protecting the headland. (It actually only costs to drive in; you can walk in for nothing.) What can be more frustrating is that the area closes at sunset, right when the light is best. Back home this week to visit the parents, the government has been in the midst of its pointless shutdown and while the gate was locked, I was free to stay as long as I pleased. It turns out cold, wet jeans are just as effective at sending me home as a park ranger.
Don’t forget to check out my 2014 wall calendar. For this year, I have put together a collection of my nature abstracts called The Nature of the Abstract. You can preview the calendar and, if you choose, purchase it here.