Cape Perpetua

image Headlands, and Promontories, and Capes… Oh my!

Just 8 miles south of Waldport lies the village of Yachats, pronounced ya-hots. And a few miles south of Yachats is the 2,700-acre Cape Perpetua Scenic Area with 26 miles of hiking trails leading to spectacular vistas, old growth rain forests, tidal pools, and evidence of Native American use dating back more than 2,000 years. (visittheoregoncoast.com)

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According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Siuslaw National Forest brochure from the Visitor Center, the Cape Perpetua Headland, towering over 800 feet above the shoreline, is the highest viewpoint accessible by car on the Oregon coast.

And according to the geographical definition of “cape” from en.m.wikipedia.org, a cape is a headland, a type of large promontory jutting into a body of water, usually the sea. Referring to the same source for my information, allow me to explain these terms in my own words, sort of. A promontory is a land mass of something that is high and steep on one side. A headland is a high point of land with a steep drop off that extends into a body of water, like the ocean. It is a type of promontory. A large headland is often referred to as a cape.


Trivia question… What then, is the difference between the geographical terms cape and bay?


An Aside… If you are a word nerd or just curious about the history of the usage of familiar vocabulary terms and want to learn more, check out mashedradish.com, an everyday etymology blog by John Kelly.

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Did I forget to mention that John is also my son? Oops!

Notice that he is drinking a mug of coffee. I too have a mug in my hand on my posts. But I’m not drinking coffee or tea. I am toasting you with a mug of wine!


From the Visitor Center we head south to see 3 spectacular rock and water configurations right on the coastline. Spouting Horn, Cook’s Chasm  and Thor’s Well can be reached from a .4 mile loop beside the highway.

As we descend onto the beach, I capture a view of Cook’s Chasm.

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Spouting Horn is here too but we can’t see it because it isn’t performing right now. It’s low tide.

Below is a picture of the horn spouting courtesy of Bob Thompson.

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The beach below is like no other I have ever seen.

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Notice Cook’s Chasm on the far left in the picture below.

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We trudge through silk-like sand giving our calves a good workout. Then we traipse over the rocks to take more pictures.

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We approach what we think is Thor’s Well

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and wait…

Is that the well spouting in the background?

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We are happy just to capture the low tide displays.

But here’s what a full blast of Thor’s Well looks like.

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So, I’m sorry to say, we were there, but we don’t know where Thor located his Well.


As we head back north to Waldport and McKinley’s Marina and RV Park, we make a final stop at the Devil’s Churn Info Center, viewpoint, and .4 mile loop. Again we descend to get a peek of the coastal phenomenon.

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At high tide it looks more like this:

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We complete the .4 mile loop as we return to our car. The views on this short trail are just as spectacular!

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Although Native Americans lived along this coastal headland over 6,000 years ago, explorer Captain James Cook first observed the cape in 1778 on one of his voyages searching for a northwest passage connecting the northen Atlantic to the Pacific via the Arctic Ocean. (en.m.wikipedia.org) Did you get all that?

If his name sounds familiar it may be because he is the same adventurer I referred to in my post, Depoe Bay. He also named Cape Foulweather on that same voyage.

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And why did he name it Cape Perpetua? Because the day he first spotted the promontory was March 7, 1778, the feast day of the martyr and Saint, Perpetua.


Trivia question answer…

A cape is surrounded on 3 sides by water and a bay is surrounded on 3 sides by land.

Where the Forest Meets the Sea

image Waldport, Oregon

Today we leave Wapiti RV Park in Lincoln City for our next 3-night stopover at McKinley’s Marina and RV Park in Waldport.

Nestled between the ocean and the Siuslaw National Forest, Waldport sits at the mouth of the Alsea Bay.

We ready the RV for travel mode and consult our checklist. We hitch the tow dolly and Jeff secures the car. But as we take off my seatbelt won’t unreel. It’s stuck in retract or safety mode. Before we leave we make a few calls to RV repair services along the coast and finally find a garage in Florence who will look at it. So, after Waldport we find a place to stay in Florence. Jeff tries to give the guy the model number for the seatbelt along with information on our RV, but the mechanic interrupts him and says he needs to see it before he can order any parts.


In 43 miles we pull into the Marina and RV Park.

This is the view outside of our front  window the afternoon we arrive.

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We overlook the Alsea Bay and boat dock.

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Boats can also be rented for crabbing, fishing, or just pleasure riding. Canoes and kayaks are welcome for just exploring the Alsea River Water Trail.

Crabbing, however, is the main attraction here.

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I watch boats return with crabs and clean them on the dock’s station and take them back to their RV to cook and enjoy.

On-site crab cooking is also available from a Marina staff member.

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To find out more about crabbing, follow this link to McKinley’s Marina and RV Park. Scroll to the bottom and play the short video. The end of the clip explains the crabbing process.