The Yachats River, pronounced YAH-hots, is derived from the Chinook Indian word, Yahuts, meaning dark water at the foot of the mountain...(aka - Cape Perpetua). This little river is nestled between the lush Sitka Spruce forested mountains of the Coast Range and ends where its water meets the lapping waves of the Pacific surf. A quaint little village, also named Yachats, lies at the mouth of the river. Our journey, (my mother and mine), began just after turning onto the Yachats River Road. We came across a couple canoeing up the still waters. A photo opportunity was at hand. They were residence of Yachats enjoying the peaceful fall, rare 85 degree day. The couple’s bright red canoe reflected perfectly in the dark water. As we continued up the river, the Coast Range widens and fields of lush farming lined this small river’s basin. Cows dominate the grasslands. Cows are nothing unusual to coastal rivers, but we came across a group of cows in which I had never seen before. We called them “Oreo” cows. These black cows had a white stripe that lined the center of their body. I later learned this unusual looking cow is called a Belted Galloway, or nicknamed a “Beltie”. The Beltie is native to Scotland, and used as a beef cattle. I did get a photo of the herd, but they were very skittish and ran away from us. The fall season was an excellent time to visit this little river. Thick mats of moss covered the shade dwelling native Big Leaf Maples. The colors of yellow and orange dominated the landscape. As the sun began to set over the ridge, glowing silhouette's of flouresent lime green lurked behind every tree. Native Vine Maples were scattered thoughout the banks of the river. Their fall color of red glowed with each turn...but the red leaves didn't take center stage.
Approximately 9 miles up the river drive we came across, what I would call the jewel of the Yachats River, the historic red North Fork Yachats Covered Bridge. This beautiful covered bridge was built in 1938, with a Queenpost truss, one of the few of this type remaining in Oregon, and was restored in 1989. The setting, a red bridge, a gravel road, a thick matted shaded forest, made me feel like I was in a fairy tale land. It wouldn't have surprised me if we witnessed a hobbits, or friendly trolls, and perhaps leprechauns going about their business. No such luck though. On the hill just above of the bridge grows a giant multi-branched Sitka Spruce. The base of the tree measures at least seven feet across, and stands approximately 200 feet. Though not the biggest Sitka Spruce, its branching structure was definitely worth photographing. The tree stand as if guarding the small covered red bridge...and possibly the home of the unseen leprechauns. Though this small river doesn't have any grand photogenic vista's, it does carry its own as a tranquil important watershed to the Coastal Range. Salmon and trout run free here, and so does the river.
My mother and I had a great little adventure. I was even able to capture a photo of my mom that might become her next Christmas card.
We left the shaded valley and returned to the beach, where the sun was still out and very warm. After a bit of agate collecting we went to eat at the Blue Whale Restaurant in Yachats. The sun was getting ready to set, so we got our Swiss potato soup and freshly baked bread to go, and we ate dinner watching the sun set. It was a fun day exploring the beauty of the Yachats River with my mother.