Posts Tagged With: Oregon Coast

Oregon coast is a walking dream

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If you enjoy walking on the beach near spectacular rock formations, the southern Oregon coast is tough to beat. Harris Beach State Park near Brookings is the perfect base for exploring this area.

Camping with longtime friends Kathy and Doug, we parked a truck at Arch Rock, then returned to Thomas Creek to walk the four and a half miles north. The walk starts on the cliffs and goes down to the beach a couple of times. Some of it travels through deep, dark forest, a treat for Mordor fans.

Kathy and Sue held up the Oregon Coast Path sign for a bit before the sun broke through toward the end of our trek.

The next day, we celebrated Doug’s birthday by driving north to Cape Blanco. We parked at the historic Hughes House and hiked two miles along the Sixes River and the beach to the lighthouse, built in 1870. Perched at the westernmost point in the continental United States, the lighthouse sends a beam 26 miles out to sea.

Tours of the lighthouse and Hughes House capped a beautiful, but very windy, day.

William Sullivan’s Oregon Coast hiking guide has maps and details of both walks. If you are hiking in Oregon, his books will help you find fantastic walks.

 

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Goodnight From Harris Beach State Park in Oregon

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.

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I Caught a Few Salmon in Astoria, Oregon

A few salmon photos that is…of several artistic trash bins celebrating Astoria’s rich salmon fishing history.  I “caught” these floating among the sidewalks along the waterfront.

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Lewis and Clark and two Oregon forts

 

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We are camped at Fort Stevens State Park and have enjoyed exploring an area known for being at the mouth of the Columbia River and the turnaround point for the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The campground is the largest Oregon state park with more than 500 campsites. Before you wince at that number, we must tell you that the loops are arranged such that we felt like we were in quiet, small campground most of the time. We were joined by many resident mosquitoes, however, who enjoyed the swampy surroundings and lush vegetation. A dense, tall forest keeps it comfortable for them. Our campfire and a ring of defense chemicals (including Bounce sheets) kept them at bay.)

Speaking of defense, Fort Stevens was a military installation from the Civil War through World War II, with many batteries, such as the one pictured, standing by to protect the Columbia entrance.

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Our son Andrew drove from his Portland home to join our expedition that included a walk to the ocean to see the 1906 wreck of the Peter Iredale, which ran aground while looking for the Columbia River mouth.

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To find where Lewis and Clark first saw the Pacific in 1805, we crossed the Columbia River on a three-mile bridge from Astoria and found the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse in Washington. Our 11-mile roundtrip trek from Cape Disappointment took us through forest where William Clark and his men camped.

The cape got its name in 1788 from an English captain who could not find the Columbia River mouth. Disappointing. I’ll say!

Some nice ocean views and Waikiki Beach (east!) marked our walk. Our destination was the North Head Lighthouse, which was shrouded with scaffolding while undergoing restoration.

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While looking for a place to spend the winter, Lewis and Clark canoed across the river to what is now Oregon and quickly built Fort Clatsop, part of Lewis and Clark National Park. We decided to go back by car.

We found that the Park Service had rebuilt the fort and we covered our ears while  a ranger demonstrated an early 19th-century rifle firing. During her talk, she told us that a misfire was called a “flash in the pan” and the gun’s parts gave us the expression, “lock, stock, and barrel.”

The fort is also the site of some family history. We brought Andrew here when he was one year old. Actually, younger sons Brad and Chris were here too, in a much more confined state.

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Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. We’ve been there…

…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!

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A Pleasant Hike on Humbug Mountain


It’s been awhile since we’ve given our hiking shoes a real workout, so today we put them (and ourselves) to the test along the 5 1/2 mile Humbug Mountain trail.  We hoped the promised ocean views would help distract us from the 1,748 foot climb.


The trail immediately began to rise, eventually leading us through a dense forest of amazing old-growth Douglas Fir, wildflowers and ferns.  As switchbacks led us back and forth up the mountain, Reg began to wonder just when we would see those Pacific Ocean views.  

At last we arrived at a break in the trees and were rewarded with a view north, up the Oregon Coast toward Port Orford.  We snuck several more peeks before trees grew dense and the trail took a turn, continuing up, up, up.  Surely, we thought, the view from the summit would be spectacular!

This little bench marked the end of the trail.  While I rested my feet, Reg documented our achievement with a quick photo.  Unfortunately, as the last picture shows, trees have blocked most of the views from the top.  Still, it was hard to be disappointed.  The hike was beautiful, we had made it to the top…and back down again…with plenty of energy to spare!

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Coastal Trail reveals hidden beauty

The Coastal Trail weaves like a thread along the rugged Pacific Coast, stringing together scenic viewpoints, state parks, hidden coves and dense forests. The trail also offers numerous opportunities to stretch one's legs, which is exactly what we did while sightseeing on our most recent camping trip on the South Coast of Oregon.

Armed with our Coast Trail and Travel Guide and a picnic lunch, we drove north from Brookings, Oregon one day and south, into California, on another day. The beauty stretches for miles in both directions. The views are easily visible from the road, but I'd encourage you to take a short (or long) walk and enjoy all the Coast Trail has to offer.

The Pacific Ocean appears endless from the cliffs above.

A window to the rocks below.

A misty fog is a familiar sight along the Pacific Coast.

Driftwood creates patterns along the beach.

Forest growth is so dense that it creates a tunnel along the Coastal Trail.

It's hard to resist climbing a tree like this!

Reg is dwarfed by soaring evergreen trees.

A splash of color.

 

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Going Green on the Oregon Coast

When we reserved our Harris Beach campsite last week, the weather report for the south coast of Oregon called for several days with mostly blue skies and temperatures in the mid-sixties. The perfect opportunity to sneak in, what might be, one last trailer trip before winter weather arrives.

As promised, temperatures have warmed up each day, allowing us to comfortably explore, but the sunshine we were hoping for has remained scarce. Although the gray skies haven't slowed us down, they have served as a reminder of one of the reasons Oregon continues to be such a beautiful, green state.

In celebration of my green theme, I thought I'd share a few photos from our Riverview Trail walk along the Chetco River, in Alfred A. Loeb State Park.

Reg pauses to check out the curtain of moss dangling from a fallen tree.

The Riverview Trail eventually turned uphill and past a cascading creek.

As we left the river and climbed higher we entered a Redwood forest.

Lots of green...everywhere!

As a couple fishermen quickly floated down the Chetco River, we noticed it too was a unique shade of green.

We stopped to look for a four-leaf clover, but couldn't spot one. Can you?

 

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Oregon mountain holds link to WWII bombing

Nubuo Fujita dropped two bombs on a ridge above Brookings, Oregon.

It was a September evening off the Brookings, Oregon coast.

Nobuo Fujita strapped himself into the pilot's seat in his floatplane atop the submarine aircraft carrier.

His spotter gave the thumbs up and their craft was catapulted from the sub into the air, eventually rising to several thousand feet as they headed toward the redwood forest on Wheeler Ridge.

Minutes later it was bombs away as they dropped two incendiary devices, intending to start a massive wildfire and divert American manpower from the war.

Forest Service guards heard a plane approaching their fire lookout. “What is going on?” they wondered.

The men heard an explosion and soon saw signs of a fire.

Forest Service Guard Keith Johnson at the bombing site the day after the attack.

They knew they must get to the fire quickly to prevent a disaster. Rain the previous night had dampened the ground. They summoned help and a wildfire was averted.

That was 1942. Fujita was a Japanese pilot aboard the I-25 submarine. His daring raid aboard the Glen was one of several missions by their submarine off the Oregon coast that year.

Sue and I made our way to the bombing site today, driving about 17 miles inland from Brookings, the last 12 on a gravel road that got more treacherous as we traveled. About 15 inches of rain had fallen in a recent storm, making parts of the road a challenge. A few trees had fallen, but the road remained passable.

After parking, we headed up the rustic trail, past a few markers commemorating Fujita's daring raid. After about a half hour, we arrived at the bombing site, marked by a platform overlooking the place where his daughter had scattered some of his remains in 1997.

Nubuo Fujita and his wife visited Brookings in 1962 and he presented his family's 400-year-old samurai sword in an act of friendship to the Brookings mayor.

Small road signs marked the way up the mountain.

There was no sign of other visitors during our drive and trek.

Sue holds back branches so our truck can pass underneath.

The trail headed up steeply, then down the other side to the bombing site.

Somehow, the Japanese attackers launched the plane from their submarine.

A small clearing provided parking near the trailhead.

A marker for the bombing site, as seen from a small deck.

A viewing platform and historical markers commemorate the World War II site.

 

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Agness, Oregon shines above the fog

We have found our most exhilarating travel experiences happen when least expected; crossing paths with people or places that set our imaginations on fire. Such was the case when, on a recent coastal camping trip, we headed inland to escape the fog.

On a whim and armed with travel literature collected from Turtle Rock RV resort, we headed east on Highway 33 outside of Gold Beach. Our destination? The village of Agness, described as a “quaint hideaway, isolated but accessible.” Hmmm….

The Old Agness Store welcomes all who venture up the road. Breakfast, lunch and a variety of refreshments are offered. The gift shop is filled with crafts and wares made in Oregon.

Present owners, Steve and Michele bought the store in 2013. Extensive renovations created a new life for both the store and its owners.

 

The drive was beautiful, winding along above the Rogue River, up into the sunshine.

A rich local history dates back to the Native Americans who inhabited the area long before white settlers arrived. The Agness Post Office remains one of only two rural mail boat routes still operating in the U.S.

The original store dates back to 1895 and supplied miners during the Gold Rush. Over the years the store has hosted a variety of owners, all of whom must have enjoyed a large dose of the pioneering spirit.

 

Steve encouraged us to wander through his vegetable garden. It was beautiful!

Sunflowers towered over our heads, standing out against the blue of the sky.

 

 

 

The Old Agness Store is home to the Agness Tomato Festival, a celebration of the tomato and the eat fresh and local philosophy.

We missed the festival by just a few days, but by all accounts, it was a smashing success. Watch for its return in 2017.

 

 

 

The festival may have come and gone, but tomatoes continue to ripen on the vine.

Much to our surprise, we discovered an airstrip in Agness. As the sign warns, it crosses the road, so be sure to look both ways!

 

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