This past January saw a gloomy cold hanging over most of the state. Mostly, that is, except for the Coast, where temperatures were doing their best imitation of spring. So I took a couple days away from the lingering patches of snow and ice and cold, cold air and headed west.

The first day I went out with my wife and drove the Three Capes Loop. Starting in Tillamook, we meandered down to Cape Meares State Park, stopping briefly on the Bayocean Spit to get some of those “negative ions” we’ve been hearing so much about. Back in the car, we drove up to Cape Meares itself to visit the lighthouse, the Octopus Tree, and an enormous Spruce hiding back in the forest.

Onward, up and over the shoulder of Cape Lookout—a great place to watch migrating whales—and on down to Sand lake for lunch in Whalen Island County Park. We ended the day exploring around Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City. As the tide went out, we saw rockfish in the tidal pools left on the sandstone bluffs. Temperature? A balmy 68 degrees.

Undaunted by the travel, I took my friend Andy and went for a second day, this time up the massive Cascade Head to see firsthand the nature Conservancy Trail, preserved for the threatened Oregon Silverspot Butterfly and the rare Checkermallow it feeds on. The undulating meadows provided a vast view over the Pacific and distant Lincoln City, where we dropped into next. Down on the beach, we wandered the Road’s End Wayside down to a secret cove, where a couple was picking through the myriad of colored stones and agates. I never did get to check temperature, most likely in the 50s, but you can be sure by the time I got back home I could see your breath.

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