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Southern Oregon Beaches – Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand

Our recent trip to Oregon let us sample the different kinds of beaches there are along this section of the Pacific Coast. The coast of Southern Oregon has become our summer getaway of choice. We enjoy the break from the hot temperatures at home and we cooled off with the misty foggy days of the Oregon summer.

Would you like to see some of the beaches we visited along with some of the treasures we found to observe and record in our nature journals?

McVay Rock tidepools and rocks (6)

Let’s start off with the most southerly location we visited, a little gem of a beach with lots and lots of agates and pebbles, McVay Rock. This has become one of my favorite rock beaches and it has tidepools too! The boys enjoyed searching for the most colorful or interesting rocks. This was a great location to start our Outdoor Hour Challenge on Rocks. Although we didn’t examine any granite, we took advantage of the time to closely examine some other rocks.

Whaleshead Beach (16)

On the other side of Brookings, Oregon we spent some time exploring Whaleshead Beach. The sun was out and we walked the sand, climbed over rocks, and watched the sea birds flying.

Whaleshead Beach (13)
There were colorful flowers and grasses growing along the rocky cliffs. It hardly seems possible that this dudleya can grow right on the rocks but it does.

Pistol River (8)
This is a close-up of another beach we visited at the Pistol River in Oregon. It was early morning and we had the beach to ourselves. We had to walk over sand dunes and then over a flat area to get to the shore. There were lots and lots of empty shells…the birds must feast here when the time is right.

Pistol River (2)
Here is a view down the beach with the shorebirds in the distance poking their beaks in for a morning meal. We have friends that come here to go clamming but we were just on a refreshing beach walk as we traveled up the coast.

Bullards Beach Sunset Kite
Here is another beach we camped at on our trip, Bullards Beach near Bandon, Oregon. This image is in the evening and if you look closely you can see horses in the distance and a family having a bonfire up sheltered in the pile of driftwood.

Bullards Beach (11)
Here is another section of the beach early in the morning. Look at all that driftwood!

Bullards Beach lighthouse
This is the lighthouse at Bullards Beach and you can see the sandy dunes and grasses that border the actual shore. Behind the lighthouse is the Pistol River outlet which is where all the driftwood comes from during certain parts of the year.

Cape Arago (3)
Farther up the coast, we visited Cape Arago and Simpson Reef. It was a wet day but we braved the rain to observe the sea life down on the rocky islands. I had my binoculars and we were able to see sea lions resting on the rocks and in the water.

Rock and Shell Nature Journal (3)
Rocks and shells are rather difficult to draw in my nature journal. It is an exercise in slowing down and really looking at the object before you put your pencil or pen to the page.

Rock Shell Collection
We had a great time looking for rocks on this trip. Not much granite to look at but we did see many things to capture our interest and to look up in our field guides.

Just looking at these photos makes me want to turn around and go back to Oregon.

You can find other rock related challenges here on the Handbook of Nature Study blog.
Quartz Study
Sand and Soil
Salt Study

If you are interested in more of our Oregon Coast adventures, here are some links.

Oregon Coast Trail

Have you seen the new product over at If you own a Lifetime Membership over on Debra’s website, you can log into your account on and download your set right now. If you aren’t already a member over there, you can purchase the set separately or I would highly recommend a Lifetime Membership so you can access all of the 1000’s of notebooking pages she has to offer. ($4.95 for the set or get started with your membership with $10!)

Marine Invertebrates Notebooking Pages

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Oregon Coast Hiking – Picture Perfect

Chetco Point, Brookings OR

I just need to face the facts and accept that my boys are now the family leaders when it comes to hiking. They shoot ahead and find all sorts of things to be interested in as they hike along together. My hubby and I take a slower pace but then again, I am always stopping to capture some of the images that inspire me.

Harris Beach Bunny

This is a photo Mr. B took while we were hiking down to the beach. The rabbits like to hide alongside the trail and since the boys were ahead of us, they spotted the cute little beach bunnies first.

Azaleas Harris Beach

The trail winds down the cliff and the wild azaleas are amazing in June. The pink against the blue backdrop of the ocean and sky is dazzling. This is at Harris Beach State Park….our favorite.

Twin Berries

Here is one of the many types of berries that are to be found on the coast trails. Twinberry Honeysuckle is such a great shape and color. I am going to be drawing it in my nature journal this week as I catch up on my journaling.

Indian Sands Oregon Coast Widlfowers and Ocean

We hiked another section of the Oregon Coast Trail which leads down to the Indian Sands. This area of dunes leads down to a rocky steep coastline and the views both north and south are amazing.

Indian Sands Oregon Coast Wildflowers

Here is a better look at the dunes covered with wildflowers in June. Indian paintbrush, clover, beach strawberries, Douglas irises, lupine, dandelions, yarrow, and many more are found growing low to the sand….it is always windy here so be ready to be blasted with sand if you hike down to the edge.


Here is a close-up of one of my favorite plants…salal.

Salal Nature Journal with Watercolor Pencils

It made it into my nature journal on this trip. After dinner, I would sit at the picnic table and review with my field guide all the things that we saw that day. I then would pull out my nature journal, watercolor pencils, and my Sharpie Ultra Fine Tip pen and I am all ready to record a special subject from our day. It only takes a few minutes and it is a wonderful way to add another layer to your hiking experiences.

So there you have a glimpse into our coastal hikes which I think we ended up putting in about twenty miles over the course of four days. I can think of no better way to get to know an area.

You can read about our tidepool adventures in this entry: Oregon Coast-Tidepools of Wonder.

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Oregon Coast – Tidepools of Wonder

Spending time on the Southern Oregon Coast has become one of our favorite family destinations. I gave the men the choice of where they wanted to go camping and they unanimously chose Brookings, Oregon. Harris Beach State Park to be exact…..same as last year. There is something nice about really knowing a place, returning to see favorite beaches and then having some new adventures as well.

Low Tide Harris Beach Oregon
This photo shows how low the tide was for us…you can clearly see the normal waterline.

We hit the low tides of the year again so there were plenty of opportunities to tidepool in the early mornings. Surprisingly, there was not one morning of fog the whole time we were camping there so it was easier to get up early to hike down to the beach and explore.

Following my own advice, I gathered our field guides which included our new field guide for seashore life. We had paged through this one quite thoroughly and became a little more familiar with what we might see in the tidepools and along the shore. Our efforts paid off and we spotted some new things as we tidepooled.

Sunflower Star Harris Beach
We saw several sunflower stars and they are amazing creatures. We even watched one crawling!Can you see the tracks in the sand where he has moved? Really awesome to see in real life.

Cramped Quarters Purple Sea stars and Anemones
Everyone tries to hold tight when the tide lowers so here you can see many sea creatures crammed into the crack in the rock. I love the purple Ochre sea star.

Harris Beach Purple Snails
Yes, these are living creatures too. They have little snails inside and you can see them moving when you stand still. There were hundreds of these all over the rocks.

Harris Beach Tidepools Limpets
These are some kind of limpet which is also a sea creature. It has a tongue or radula that it uses to each algae off the rocks.

Tar Spot Algae
This is one we would have missed if we hadn’t studied our field guide before going down to the beach. It is Tar Spot and is a kind of algae. Cool huh?

Green Anemones
Can you say anemone? Look at this colony on the shore rocks…..amazing.

Gumboot Chiton
Here is another new creature for us and it is really alive! It is a Gumboot chiton and it has a large muscular foot attached. Our field guide says it can live for 20 years!

Leather Chiton Harris Beach
Another chiton, this time a Leather chiton. These were new to use last year and we knew just where to look on the rocks to see them. They look like rocks but they too are a living creature.

I will save our Coast Trail hiking for another post and I also have Redwoods National Park hikes to share as well. Stay tuned!

Harris Beach Sunset

Just another perfect Oregon Coast sunset…..we watched the sunset every day on our trip. There is just something amazing about being still and quiet, waiting for the moment when the sun dips below the horizon. Peaceful.

Hope you have many a summer sunset to watch.

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Our Tree Study – Sitka Spruce in Oregon

Jedediah Smith Redwoods hiking
Jedediah Smith Redwoods – Boy Scout Tree Trail June 2011

Our camping trip to the Oregon Coast was glorious. The weather was perfect without even a sprinkle or a cold day! We enjoyed sunshine, sand, and trees all up and down the southern coast of Oregon. Although I could fill a complete post with our adventures, I want to focus on our tree study that was completed right in our campsite.

We were prepared with some notebook pages and a field guide so this was not only an easy study, it was informative and interesting. The campground had a brochure that discussed the common plants and trees to be found so it was our starting point. We read through the brochure and decided to focus our tree study on the Sitka Spruce. Turns out our campsite was surrounded by them!

We looked up the identifying marks of the spruce as well as looked at the images of the needles, the cone, and the trunk. We discovered that the Sitka Spruce is found along the fog belt of the coast of North America.

Coast Redwoods

They are not quite as tall as the Coast Redwoods we experienced most of the week but they are still very tall trees. The photo above is my husband showing how large the base of this Coast Redwood is on one of our hikes. These trees make you feel small and insignificant. We would hike along and one of these ancient ones would come into view and it would make you stop dead in your tracks. Breathtaking.

Even though the Sitka Spruce is not in the HNS, we looked up the information for the Norway Spruce and used the suggestions in Lesson 186 to learn more about spruces in general. We observed the needles, the cones, the bark, the shape of the tree, the roots like buttresses, and the way the limbs droop.

Sitka Spruce notebook page – Nature Study Set. I like to embellish mine a bit with colored pencils.

Somehow I misplaced the photos I took for our study so now I am glad that we did the sketches on the notebook pages for our journals. We enjoyed our simple vacation nature study….one of many we did on this trip.

Here are some other things we observed and read about: harbor seals, trillium, fuchsia, gumboot chiton (sea creature in the tidepools), Winter wrens, huckleberries, and owls. There is a story to every nature study we did and if I had time I would relate them all but for this entry I will stick to our tree study.

Campsite and trees
Here is the best shot I have of the Sitka Spruces around our campsite. We could have spent our week focusing on the many plants, birds, and trees of this place and not run out of interesting things to think about. Eating and sleeping under the spruces made our study even more meaningful.

Okay, do you love my new tent? It is 6 1/2 feet tall and even my really tall husband and boys can stand up inside it without rubbing their heads on the ceiling. I love the hinged door too! This was our first outing with it and I think it is going to serve us for a long time.

6 14 11 sunset and moon
Just a pretty shot I took one night while we were out for a sunset walk…the moon was incredible the whole time we were camping, a natural nightlight.

So there you go…our vacation tree study. Wish every tree study could be this up close and personal.

Day six Jedediah Smith (8)
Well maybe not that up close….my boys have decided Planking is rather a fun activity.

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Nature Study and Summer Travels – Four Steps to Prepare

Nature Study and Summer Travel Tips @handbookofnaturestudy

The difference between a good outdoor experience and a great outdoor experience with an opportunity for nature study is sometimes just a matter of preparation. Summer nature study is a perfect fit for most families with the weather being more enjoyable and with longer days to enjoy. Whether you are visiting a new city, exploring your own city, or taking a road trip, including nature study in your plans can make your time more fun and interesting. Our family tries to include some element of outdoor time to each traveling experience.

Tiger Lily
California Tiger Lily


Four steps to preparing for nature study as you travel this summer.

1. Do a little research ahead of time for the habitat you will be visiting. Determine what you will encounter on your trip that might make for interesting nature study. I linked some ideas below along with some simple nature study books to get you started. Make sure to use your local library to find more books to prepare your family before your trip so you have some things to look forward to seeing in real life. For example, if you are going to be visiting an ocean beach, learn what plants, birds, and animals make their home there. You can also use the Handbook of Nature Study to read about things you think you might encounter during your summer travels.

Boys on the beach with waves CA
Beach play and nature study….a nice balance

Habitats Might Include:
Deciduous Forest
Boreal Forest (Northern)

Roosevelt Elk Prairie Creek NP
Roosevelt Elk – Northern California

2. Find resources such as field guides or other nature related books to read or bring along with you. I suggest a good bird field guide, a wildflower field guide, and perhaps a tree field guide as a basic set of resources to have with you. Check your library for books you can borrow and take with you. I have complied two lists of suggested field guides: Field Guides for Beginners and Field Guides for Families To prepare, you should page through the field guides before you leave on your trip to be familiar with the layout of the book and perhaps to glean a few things ahead of time to be looking for as you go outdoors.

nature journal redwoods
Nature Journals done on the trail do not need to be fancy.

3. Bring along your nature journal or some pre-printed notebook pages. During down time it is nice to have supplies on hand to make a nature journal entry to record your nature study as you travel. Basic art supplies like markers or colored pencils are easy to pack. I also like watercolor pencils for nature journal entries. Keep it simple and light. Digital cameras are a lot of fun for children to use as they document their own view of the trip. Encourage your children to take photos of things that they observe for future reference in identifying or including in their nature journals.

My suggestions for nature journal supplies and then nature journal ideas can be found here:  
Nature Journals-Ideas and Tips.
In preparing for your trip, you could also look up a few of the Outdoor Hour Challenges before you travel, the first five challenges can be applied to any habitat. If you have the first Getting Started Challenges 1-10 ebook, you can have that loaded on your laptop and reference it as you travel.
Blog Logo 1

Fern Falls Jedediah Smith SP
My boys love to climb and this time they discovered banana slugs and salamanders.

4. I also like to look up nature centers or nature trails in the areas we visit. A good nature center visit can take an hour or two and can provide a spark to capture the interest of everyone in the family. The staff is usually knowledgeable about the local habitat, giving you advice on where to go and what to see. They also can help identify anything you have observed but can’t put a name to as you try to make your journal entries. Most nature centers have bookstores that can provide additional resources to follow-up your nature study time. I found this list of Nature Centers in the United States. (This list does not look complete but it will get you started.)

We are preparing for a camping trip of our own and I have used the suggestions above to gather ideas and resources ahead of time. You know we will share our results when we return from our coastal trip where we are hoping to find tidepools to explore, sandy beaches to walk, and redwood forests to hike in. We have some time before we set out so we will be thumbing through our field guides and looking up some additional information and redwood forests while we wait.

Hope you have the chance to spend some time outdoors this summer with your family AND include a little nature study.

This post is going to be a part of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival for nature study. You can submit your own entry HERE and the deadline is 6/13/11.

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Low Tide Marine Life: Southern Oregon Coast

Southern Oregon Low Tide Marine Life @handbookofnaturestudy

We had an opportunity while on our Oregon Coast camping trip to take advantage of an extremely low tide to view spectacular marine creatures easily. We have done quite a bit of tide pool exploring in the last couple of years but this was by far the most awesome experience ever.

The colors of the marine life are shockingly beautiful with their pinks, bright greens, oranges, and purples. I will share a few of my favorite photos from the experience.

Tidepool with anemones and sea stars
Sea stars and anemones were everywhere you looked, the most I have ever seen in one place.

Sea star really close up
We all loved getting a close up view of the sea stars and feeling their textures. We each had a favorite color.

Leather Star 2
This was the first time we saw this particular kind of sea star, a leather star and it was really interesting to look at. He sort of looks like he is waving to us in this photo.

Sun star
How about this sun star?

Orange snail
There were also loads and loads of barnacles, mussels, and snails. I think the orange one is THIS. I think the striped one is THIS.

Talk about mussels…..some rocks were just covered in them.

Leather chiton
This was the most fascinating creature that we observed during the low tide. The leather chitons were exposed on the rocks and we could really get up close. Yes, it is a living creature.

Red worm
One morning we were out in the tide pools there was a volunteer naturalist helping answer questions. It was a treasure to have her there and we spent quite a bit of time exploring side by side. She was a wealth of information and I learned so much more by watching her movements and looking in places she suggested. She pointed out this worm. I think it might be this red ribbon worm.

Sea birds
It was an interesting perspective to see the sea grasses laying down flat because of the lack of water. The sea birds were having a delicious breakfast as they sat on the rocks. Even though it looks like the water is really close, we never got wet. Someone was always watching to see when the water was moving back in but we had plenty of time to rock hop and examine this habitat very closely.

Sea stars
The memories of this tidepool adventure will be with us for a very long time.

Mr D at the tidepool
It was such a moving experience and we all felt blessed to have been able to take advantage of the opportunity.

I will try to post some of the photos from our hikes in the redwoods soon….awesome in a different way. If you are wondering what beach this is, we were at Harris Beach in Brookings, Oregon. I highly recommend this state park for camping and exploring the southern Oregon coast.

Have you seen the new product over at If you own a Lifetime Membership over on Debra’s website, you can log into your account on and download your set right now. If you aren’t already a member over there, you can purchase the set separately or I would highly recommend a Lifetime Membership so you can access all of the 1000’s of notebooking pages she has to offer. ($4.95 for the set or get started with your membership with $10!)

Marine Invertebrates Notebooking Pages

Please note I am an affiliate for and have used the notebooking pages with my family for years!

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Oregon Coast Trail-What Are You Waiting For?

Western Azalea

We spent four days hiking several sections of the Oregon Coast Trail……a trail that extends from the California border to the Washington border along the Pacific Ocean.
Thunder Rock Indian Sands Campsite Day 5 (12)
This trail has some fabulous and surprising views and the sections we hiked were mostly within the Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor. If you ever have the chance to even hike a mile or so along this trail, grab it and enjoy the tall trees, the green ferns, and the views of the rugged and awesome Oregon Coast.

Harris Beach 1
We camped at Harris Beach and four out of the five evenings were just like this….clear, sunny and filled with beautiful waves. We walked on the beach every night after dinner and then we would go back to the campsite and build a big campfire and roast marshmallows.

Thunder Rock Indian Sands Campsite Day 5 (48)
The first section we hiked started at Indian Sands and just like its name suggests, it has some huge sand dunes. The trail is a little sketchy at some points and you have to really hunt for signs but it is worth the effort. The dunes were perfect for running down or rolling down if you preferred.

Just around the corner from the dunes, the trail turns into a narrow path through wildflowers and Sitka spruce. Yes, that is the trail right along the cliff’s edge. It was a spectacular section of the trail and the wildflowers are so thick you have a hard time seeing them all. Wild strawberry, Indian paintbrush, wild iris, clover, daisies….I can’t even remember all the different flowers. We came back a second time to rehike this section because it was awesome.

Foxglove 1
The foxglove was dazzling and the forests were dotted with purple blossoms here and there. I love purple.

Another section of the trail leads down to China Beach. The trail was not well worn and was very narrow in sections but the wildflowers were spectacular. I loved this place and spent lots of time looking at all the different wildflowers. While I was busy doing that, the boys were busy doing something else.

Cape Blanco 1
Another day we drove farther north and caught up with the trail at Cape Blanco. It was a little cooler and definitely more windy here and if you look closely in the background of the photo above, you will see the lighthouse. This was a fantastic place with a huge campground. We would like to come back to Cape Blanco some day and camp for a few days to explore more. This time though we hiked the bluffs and then headed down to the beach to see if we could find some tidepools.

Cape Blanco Wildflowers
Monkey flower, clover, and lupine all make a lovely mix of colors.

Cape Blanco Tidepools
We did find a few tidepools and these snails in the splash zone. We watched them climb around for a few minutes and then we had the most fabulous time watching the birds at the beach. We saw mostly crows and turkey vultures but a few swallows, gulls, and songbirds as well.

Thunder Rock Indian Sands Campsite Day 5 (13)
The next morning found us hiking along the section of the Oregon Coast Trail at Thunder Rock. The trees were so thick along the path that it was quite dark and eerie. We had the trail to ourselves and when we broke out of the trees, we saw the view above. A spectacular cove with an arch rock and pretty clear water.

Indian Sands snail on trail
This invertebrate was crossing the path and he was the most beautiful snail that I have ever seen, if that is even possible for a snail to be beautiful.

Thunder Rock Indian Sands
The turn around spot on this section of the trail was a place called Secret Beach. The water was here and the beach, although small, was very nice.

I encourage families to consider a trip to the Oregon Coast and try some of the Oregon Coast Trail….you will not soon forget the beauty and the wonder of this unique place.

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Nature Study is Not a Drill: How I Learn to Be Flexible

“If nature study is made a drill, its pedagogic value is lost. When it is properly taught, the child is unconscious of mental effort or that he is suffering the act of teaching. As soon as nature study becomes a task, it should be dropped; but how could it ever be a task to see that the sky is blue, or the dandelion golden, or to listen to the oriole in the elm!”
Handbook of Nature Study page 6

I know our family would never keep up our interest in learning about the world around us if it wasn’t something we enjoyed. I do think that it takes just one person to get excited about something and then everyone seems to catch the excitement.

I am sometimes that person but more and more it is the boys who are finding and exploring and drawing my attention to things that they see as they are outside. I have learned to follow their lead.

It is a little uncomfortable to just allow things to happen in nature study. There is always the risk that what interests your children will not be something you are interested in or that you know anything about. I can’t tell you how many times that happens in our family. Gradually I have learned the value in allowing some leeway in the topics we learn more about because I can see the growth in my sons’ love for and connection to the world they live in. I hear their appreciation for the complex system of life that was created for us to enjoy and benefit from.

Here is a real life example:
Most of you know we went to Oregon last month as a family vacation and as a way to learn more about marine biology. I had prepared these wonderful notebooks all about invertebrates that inhabit the tidepools of the Oregon coast. Great plan…or so I thought.

As the trip progressed I realized that the children were more interested in marine mammals than in invertebrates. Had I brought a book on marine mammals? Nope. I started to feel a rise of panic as we hit the third day and I was still fascinated by the sea stars and anemones in the tidepools and they were busy finding sea lion bones, watching sea otters play in the water, and sea lions on the rocks.

We decided to stop and go down into the sea cave along the Oregon coast where the Stellar sea lions winter over. The boys were excited to take the elevator down to this cave that is said to be one of the largest sea caves in the world, twelve stories high.

There were no sea lions in the cave at this time of year but pretty soon they will all be back inside after having time out at sea to bulk up for the winter. It was still a fascinating place and the boys were grateful we were willing to stop and pay the price of admission.

I could have made them go along with the original plan but it became clear that this was their experience on this trip. They had seen sea stars before and anemones were cool but they didn’t do too much to really observe. What they wanted was to watch the playful antics of the sea otters and sea lions and harbor seals.

Switching gears happened and by the time we reached Newport and the Oregon Coast Aquarium, they were primed to actually stop and read the signs and information on the displays for the marine mammals. We had printed out the aquarium guide ahead of time and this helped them to go on their own through the aquarium. This was a first for our family. The boys went on their own and my husband and I enjoyed the aquarium by ourselves.

We met three times during the day and each time they were full of things they wanted to talk about and to actually take us to see. The last hour was spent with the boys being the tour guide through the aquarium showing us their favorite things.

Number one on their list were the sea otters. They could have filled a whole research report with the observations they had made watching the sea otters play and be fed and then groom themselves. It was a big lesson for me. They obviously had spent quite a bit of time at the sea otter tank just watching and joyfully getting to know this wonderful creature.

I hope that you will learn from my experience. Nature study can become totally driven by the teacher and become a chore and a drill or it can be a source of excitement and joy as you explore and learn together.

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Sitka Spruce in Oregon: Outdoor Hour Challenge #37

Sitka Spruce

We had our eyes open for a spruce when we were traveling in Oregon and we discovered that the Sitka spruce was in just about every campground that we stayed in this time around.

The cones are interesting and the tree itself is very pretty. If you look closely at this photo, you will see the cones hanging on the branch.

One night we had our tent under a spruce and a storm blew in after we had crawled into our sleeping bags. The trees howled and the rain poured and it was sort of a wild night. In the morning the rain had stopped but we still had the drip, drip of the raindrops from the tree falling on our tent. We at first thought it was still raining until we unzipped the rain fly and realized the sun was peeking out and our “rain” was really just left over drops coming from the spruce.

I guess that’s what happens when you go camping in Oregon during the month of October.

Here are some other photos from that trip that are interesting.

I think this is the perfect mushroom. We saw lots of these when we were hiking and they were something new to me. I think this sparked my interest in “flowerless plants” so that is why they are going to be included for a few weeks in the Outdoor Hour Challenges. The boys and I would like to learn a bit more about mushrooms.

These two are such great travelers. Can I just say now how grateful I am to be able to homeschool them through high school? I think that so many of us get overwhelmed at the idea of homeschooling in the teen years but this is the best part of the whole experience. It is hard, don’t get me wrong. But here we are on a school day in October, standing and taking in the fresh ocean air and the peace of the moment. Right after this they had to find a way to hike down and throw some rocks in the water. There actually was a trail if you looked hard enough. Of course there was some sort of sea cave and that spurred on some more discussion about the power of waves.

This photo shows that not all our time outdoors has to be about nature study. We actually do spend time just throwing the frisbee around the campsite. That is a spruce tree in the background.

Here is something interesting from our trip as well and it tied into our study of trees during this time.

One campground we stayed at in Northern California had a recreated Native American village. This is one of the structures that was a family dwelling and the boys were fascinated by the circular door openings. This area was inhabited by the Yurok tribe and the buildings were all built of local redwoods.

Here is the sweat house in the village. They actually still use this for ceremonial activities.

I am not sure what kind of tree this is but I thought it was just so interesting growing right there out of the cliff along the Pacific Ocean. It was just so nice to look at and enjoy as we took in the horizon.

Okay, enough about trees. This was a great challenge for us and I know I had the advantage of knowing ahead of time that we needed to be looking for spruce trees. Challenge #38 is going to take some ingenuity to find an elm, hickory, or chestnut tree. We are up to the challenge though.

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Sea Lions in the Morning

Here is one of my nature journal entries from the week we were gone:

Oregon Coast Trip

I felt like a little kid today. The excitement of seeing something new and interesting always makes me feel young again.

Our morning drive brought us to a spot along the Oregon Coast where you can stop and look over a place called Shell Island.

As we opened the door and got out, we all could immediately hear barking…not a dog’s bark but a sea lion’s bark.

The islands were covered with California sea lions, Stellar Sea Lions, and Harbor Seals,. Thousands of animals were relaxing, playing, and swimming in and around the islands. We were there a long time looking through our binoculars at their antics.

They are so awkward on land but very graceful in the water.

Another great day related to our study of marine biology.

I am hoping you can click the photos and have a good look at these creatures.