The HiLine trail took us up, down and all around Cathedral Rock, connecting us with the Baldwin Trail and then to the Templeton Trail, an 8-mile Loop that took us back to where we began.
To secure a parking spot, an early start is mandatory for any of the Sedona area trailheads. The Big Loop Trail, Courthouse Loop Trail and part of the Llama trail led us around 8 miles of spectacular scenery.
This big horn sheep proudly posed for a crowd at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, while I posed with the resident vulture. A combination zoo, botanical garden, natural history museum, aquarium and art gallery it’s an attraction not to be missed.
Tubac was established in 1752 as a Spanish presidio and was one of the stops on the Camino Real (the “Royal Road”) from Mexico to the Spanish settlements in California. Thanks to our RV Park neighbors, full-timers Bill and Heidi, who mentioned the charms of the tiny town, we managed to squeeze in a visit on our last day. Now a thriving artist colony, shopkeepers are a trusting lot. On the door of one closed shop (center left) were instructions to drop cash or checks through the mail slot for any purchase of wares displayed outdoors.
The Pima Air and Space Museum entertained us for several hours with nearly 300 aircraft spread over 80 acres. Tram tours are offered, but not required, for the outdoor displays. Indoors, numerous volunteers are scattered about to answer any and all questions.
Just a short detour from U.S. Highway 101 in Coos Bay lies a beautiful stretch of the Oregon Coast where three state parks await your discovery. The parks are easily reached by car, but the best way to see the sights is by foot along the cliff top path, an 8.5 mile walk out and back.
Cape Arago State Park, located at the south end of the loop, provides picnic tables, views and hiking trails down to tide pools. A highlight is the viewpoint overlooking a noisy colony of seals and sea lions. We were lucky enough to see the occasional spout from a whale swimming about. Be sure to bring your binoculars!
Simpson Beach, a secluded cove with a sandy shore, is breathtakingly beautiful and a perfect spot to wiggle your toes in the sand or dip them in the surf.
Directly above the cove is Shore Acres State Park. Originally home to timber baron Louis Simpson and his family, the estate home is long gone. The remaining Gardener’s Cottage is surrounded by 5 acres of formal gardens, open to the public and well worth a stroll. Be sure to stop and smell the roses!
Because we were lucky enough to have secured a campsite, our walk ended where it began…with our return to Sunset Bay State Park. Make your reservations here early…this is a popular spot to escape the summer heat and, of course, to watch the sunset.
Sunshine speckled the trail to Hunters Cove as we set out from the Cape Sebastian State Park Viewpoint. Our guidebook warned of strong winds that have kept the Sitka spruce that grow on the point at shoulder height, but this morning all was calm. As we hiked around a bend, the view north opened up to reveal an impressive sea of fog hugging the coast below us. Our downhill path would, no doubt, lead into the thick of it.As the fog lifted, we were able to see the steep cliffs and the surf below. The trail continued downhill through the forest and would eventually lead to Hunters Cove and a view of a collection of rocky island outcroppings. We didn’t make it quite that far since we had left our lunch in the car, but we walked long enough that the return trip offered clear views of the coastline we had missed earlier.Once back at the car, we drove a few miles down the highway and found our own spot (with a pretty good view) for our picnic.
The Coquille River Lighthouse was first lit in 1896 and continued to guide ships to safety off the coast of Bandon, Oregon until it was decommissioned in 1939.Bullard Beach State Park provides the starting point for a brisk 5+ mile round trip walk to the lighthouse. You’ll find plenty of opportunity for beach access along the way. Several parking lots are available those less adventurous.These days the lighthouse opens to provide a glimpse into the past…a brief history lesson for visitors, campers and history buffs. It also serves as inspiration (for photographers) from either shore of the Coquille River.
The wind continued to blow, as it has since we arrived on the coast, but without a cloud in the sky, it was a beautiful day to walk on the beach in Bandon, Oregon.
After pocketing my winnings from the casino we continued north on Highway 101 to the Coos Bay waterfront. A pair tall ships were dockside, drawing eager crowds who held tickets, ready to set sail for adventure. Everyone and everything was enjoying the sun, including this seagull perched atop a cluster of old wharf posts.We took a chance on a little seafood shack located down on the docks, figuring their fish and chips were worth a try. We were not disappointed! Not only was it “the best fish and chips on the Oregon Coast,” (according to the owner…and he was right!) but my casino winnings covered the cost! Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch!?
Reg pulled in to check out the The Mill Casino RV Park in Coos Bay, and since we were there, I couldn’t resist trying my luck. I waved goodbye to my five dollar bill as I fed it into a giant slot machine…then pushed the button. Much to my surprise, I walked away with a $20.00 profit. I was thrilled! Maybe we’ll go back and see Elvis this weekend!
Remains of an old wharf stand tall as the tide recedes along the coast of Oregon.