We have now completed our July volunteer tour and have been really enjoying the experience. We live in the campground at Cape Lookout State Park, just a few miles from Tillamook, OR. The park is not overly large fut it is breath taking in its beauty and is home to nine volunteer couples from the two parks. We have full hook-ups but only 30A electricity, but with no need of air conditioning at all, that is ample. The typical daily high temperature here is only in the low 70 degree range and so far we have only seen that one time. Most days have highs in the mid 60's. The RV sites are pretty small and closely spaced but there is brush that makes for reasonable privacy in the host spots.
The staff here are very friendly and helpful. The ranger that we work for is here but we report to a member of the Friends of Cape Mears at the lighthouse. There are miles of public beach here and lots of scenic area to rove, but swimming is only for the most hardy as water temperatures are in the low to middle 50's. You do see many children play in the shallow water but few actually swim in it unless they are wearing a wetsuit. There is a lot of kite flying, volley ball, and assorted other activities that do not require getting wet. Like any public beach, there are always the sunbathers out if the day happens to be clear. Hunting for interesting sea shells is usually nonproductive as the shells that are there are very picked over. Broken sand dollars are very common on the beach but I never found even one that was still intact.
This is not a place for folks who love to sweat in the sun because the Oregon coast tends to have many cloudy days and fog comes in if the area east of us over the mountains should get really hot. Water is also colder in summer than in winter due to the patterns of the currents along the coast. Very few of the visitors to this park spend much time in the water. It is very common for more than half of the days here, even in summer, to be foggy and/or overcast. Even in the hottest days of summer, the fog will often roll in and make the day here very sunless. Typical high temperatures which we experienced were between 65 and 70 degrees with the warmest day of all only 71 for the month of July. It is very unusual for those of us from warmer climates to be comfortable with no jacket or sweatshirt.
The lighthouse is about 1/4 mile below the parking area and volunteers are allowed to drive down to the location and park there. There is a paved walkway that you drive down each morning and back in the evenings with locked gates to pass through. This is a very small lighthouse at only 38 feet tall and has only three levels. While we were there, only the lower level was open to visitors due to some vandalism in the lens room, but it should be open to tours by next year as repairs are underway.
We really been enjoyed our work here and the days fly by since they are so much fun. Cape Mears Lighthouse is nine miles away and we work there alternating three day and four day weeks, Sunday through Wednesday. The lady in charge is a wonderful person who goes to great lengths to take good care of us and to be sure that we enjoy our stay. Pam mostly runs the gift shop while I do interpretation talks in the lighthouse, but we also do bits of a few other things as well. There is no cleaning involved in this position and we actually work mostly for the "friends" group who pretty much run the lighthouse. The "friends" have even made us members of that group and gave each of us one of their official jackets, to keep.
This lighthouse is rather unique, as most lighthouses are. Since each was designed for a specific location there is little that is alike between them and each has it's own history as well. Havning been built in 1890 this is a relatively new one and it also holds the distinction of being the shortest one, due to it's locatin high on a rocky headlands. Much of the grounds work is performed by prisoners from the state prison that is nearby. Crews come to both parks to do lawn and tree care as well as weeding and any other work of that nature. The area is really kept well.
Volunteers came from the friends group to relieve us for lunch each day and to help out in busy times if we needed assistance. Over all, this was a tremendous experience and one that we will always remember!
Even muffie seems to have enjoyed our time here, although she does pout just a little when we make her stay home on work days. But she does love to roam the beach and is as inquisitive as any of the children who visit here. There is a large section of beach that is designated to allow dogs to run free without leashes and she does seem to enjoy that area. She is very socail and seems to especially like meeting the other dogs. She isn't into swimming and especially not int he cold water. The campground is just a little packed and so spacing could be better. We did enjoy the evening programs that are put on by the park rangers each evening and also the hiking trails here in the park.
With Pam having difficulties with her right ankle, we have been somewhat limited in the hiking that we are able to do, but even so we managed to get in a few visits. I hiked the trail to Cape Lookout alone and Pam went along on the hike to a waterfall and also to see the biggest Sitka Spruce as well as the famous Octapus Tree. There is also a great Naval Air Museum near Tilamook.