O is for...Oregon Sea Lion Caves
Hello, dear readers, welcome to Wednesday! Today's letter could have easily gone to everything in Oregon, but I'm sticking with a main attraction along the beach. Let's visit...
The Oregon Sea Lion Caves
Located just north of Florence, the Sea Lion Caves are a connected system of sea caves and caverns that open to the Pacific Ocean. Access to the caves is through a gift shop above the cliffs. The main part of the cave is a total of two acres and about 125 feet high. There are a few entrances accessible via the ocean. One is completely flooded at high tide and the other is a wide opening in the rocks where observers can see the ocean. Over time, this has become the only known mainland rookery (breeding ground) and wintering home for the Stellar Sea Lion and the California Sea Lion (to a lesser extent). It is also home to several bird species. During certain times of the year, it is also a great place to whale watch.
Discovered in 1880, the Sea Lion Caves were made into a public visiting center in 1932 when Highway 101 was planned and built. The original 1,500 foot trail was carved in the face of the cliff by hand and then a 125-step wooden ladder was extended down to the entrance. Upon opening, the Caves had very light traffic due to the unpaved highway and visitor traffic completely stopped during World War Two. In 1961 an elevator was installed and traffic skyrocketed. The elevator can hold a total of 23 people, , travels a total of 208 feet with speeds of 250 feet per minute. With this, it can transport 400 people per hour.
The Sea Lion Caves are a truly remarkable site and experience; I haven't been in years. Also, fair warning: they smell terrible :)
Happy Wednesday, fellow A-Zers!