Our first day together we tackled the Sparks Lake Loop Trail which took us through forests and around ancient lava flows. While the remains of the lava flows were fascinating, the views from the shoreline were the high point.
Posts Tagged With: camping
With our trailer following behind us, we were making good time as we headed down California’s North Coast. And then, just a hop, skip and a jump from our destination, we came upon a traffic jam, causing Reg to hit the brakes. Twenty minutes later we were on our way and saw no visible signs of a cause for delay.
Our destination was a private campground across the road from Patrick’s Point State Park, the only place we could find when hunting for a last minute reservation. We checked in and were given a sheet of rules listing all the offenses that would cause us to be required to leave. A little over-the-top, but since our camping buddies weren’t joining us, we figured we could restrain ourselves from causing too much of a ruckus!
Patrick’s Point State Park hugs the cliffs of Northern California, offering spectacular ocean views and a network of forested trails. Had the weather been a little nicer, we may have spent more time exploring. We did drive through the campground and the sites looked amazing. Good incentive to reserve early for a return trip.
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.
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.
When smoke continued to choke the Rogue Valley last week, we decided it was time to live dangerously. We hitched up our trailer and headed to the Oregon Coast…without reservations! Spontaneous and risky! And successful. Arriving early on the last day of a three-day holiday weekend allowed us to easily find a full hookup spot at a first come – first served campground.
Our favorite outing of the week was a trip to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse with friends and fellow campers, Lan and Jeff. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the lighthouse has the distinction of being the tallest (at 93 feet) on the Oregon Coast. Free tours of the lighthouse are available most days. Space is limited, so check in at the Interpretive Center to get your tickets.
As great as the lighthouse tour was, the stars of the day were the resident gray whales that linger off the coast near Newport from May through October or November. They swim surprisingly close to shore and put on quite a show for us throughout the afternoon.
Scanning the water, we were continually rewarded with a glimpses of a water spouts, followed by gracefully arched backs of the diving whales. The sight of a fluke (when the tail sticks straight up) never failed to raise a cheer from spectators.
Although the whales were swimming just beyond the rocks, capturing them with my camera lens was impossible…so, while we have no photos, we do have many memories of a beautiful afternoon spent at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and surrounding Natural Area.
We are enjoying a four-day escape from home where work has begun on a new roof for our town home. Longtime friends, Kathy and Doug, drove their trailer up from California, joining us to camp and explore Oregon's beautiful Coast. We finished dinner just in time to rush down to the beach and catch the setting sun.
…or have we? When Reg reserved our “one night stand” at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park on the coast of Oregon, we both had a pretty clear memory of our prior visit and a mental picture of where we’d be staying as we headed up the Oregon Coast.
When Reg pulled into the campground I commented that it was much more forested than I remembered. Without another thought we checked in, quickly set up camp and headed out to explore the ‘hood.
Following a one mile trail that looped around Lake Marie, Reg marveled at our surprise discovery. “I never would have guessed this lake was here,” he said as we watched children splashing in the swimming area.
When the camp host told us the Lighthouse was just a short quarter mile walk from our campground, we began to have reservations about our reservation! Perhaps we were not where we thought we were…
Slightly disoriented, we arrived at the Lighthouse and realized why everything felt so unfamiliar. As it turns out, we’ve never been to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park before…until today that is! A chat with a crusty old sea captain type who was selling admissions to the Lighthouse Museum cleared up our confusion, reassuring us that we weren’t completely losing our minds. It seems our memories (and where we thought we had a reservation) are from (we think) Heceta Head Lighthouse, just north of here…where there is no lake and the campsites are not quite so forested!
This was not what we had in mind when we scheduled four days at Tumalo State Park, just north of Bend, Oregon. However, with so much to see and do, we headed out early and hoped the weather report, which called for just a 30% chance of afternoon showers, would be accurate. Silly us!
Lava Butte is located within the boundaries of Newberry National Volcanic Monument. The monument was created in 1990 to protect more than 54,000 acres of lakes, lava flows and spectacular geologic features, remnants of long past volcanic activity in Central Oregon. The butte was our first stop on a rainy morning, a morning that got progressively brighter as we continued to explore.
One of the more unique adventures we discovered at Newberry Volcanic National Park was the walk through the Lava River Cave. Surprisingly, this is a self-guided walk through a pitch black lava tube. We were told the path extended a mile into the cave. Reg exchanged his car keys (for collateral) and ten dollars for two park service flashlights – you can bring your own but make sure the batteries are good and strong! We were educated about bats…although, lucky for me, we didn't see any…and sent on our way.
I've must admit…we didn't walk the entire way to the back of the cave, so I can't tell you what lies at the end of the trail. There weren't many other brave souls making the journey that day and I started getting the the heebie-jeebies.
So…my suggestion to you would be that you plan your own visit sometime soon and find out for yourself what's found the end of the trail…then let me know!
Lake of the Woods is the crown jewel of lakes in the southern Cascade Mountain Range within an hour or so drive of Ashland, Oregon.
At 4,949 feet elevation, the natural lake offers relief from summer heat with swimming, boating, fishing and other fun managed by the Lake of the Woods Resort.
We hitched up the trailer on Labor Day and headed for Aspen camp, one of two National Forest Campgrounds on the lake.
The resort was a short walk away from our quiet, deserted campground. We resisted the restaurant but found firewood at the camp store.
The lake's level fluctuates just two feet during a normal year and water temperatures warm to the 70s at the surface. Brook and rainbow trout as well as Kokanee salmon swim in its waters.
Fish Lake was our destination on a nearly seven-mile stroll from North Fork Campground, just a short drive away. We found a greasy spoon cafe that fit the bill perfectly.