The Octopus Tree
One of the most remarkable Sitka spruce trees in Oregon is the Octopus Tree. Rather than a single central trunk, its trunk-like spires are arranged radially and extend out, then skyward over 100 feet tall, giving the Octopus Tree a vase-like shape. On the cape the Octopus Tree has inhabited for over 200 years, the sounds of the surf are ever-present. And there are more than surf sounds.
When I last visited the Octopus Tree, in February 2018, above the crashing surf, I could hear the distant roar of Steller’s sea lions. I believe they had hauled out on Finley Rock, a nearby sea stack. That’s Shag behind, further offshore.
A washed up whale bone
I missed a young humpback washed up in December 2021, but on February 1, 2022, a bit of it found me. It has the look of a bone from the upper jaw.
Something special in an ordinary beachscape
A sea-green boulder stands out on a beach dimpled with drab yellowish sandstone boulders (though can they look dark green in their seaweed coats, like those in the mid-ground).
If you’ve got a botanical bucket list, Darlingtonia californica is probably on it. It’s endemic to wet places overlying serpentine soils. The Wayside in Florence is a great place to see Darlingtonia. I needn’t have worried the plants would be past their prime in September when I visited.