Battle Rock

 Port Orford

The rock is named after an 1851 battle between the Qua-to-mah Native Americans and Captain William Tichenor’s men. (More about this later.)

Today this area is a park leading down to the beach.

The Port Orford Visitor Center is also located here. So, that is where we stop first. Sandy greets us and soon I learn that she and her husband moved here 4 years ago. I ask her some logistics questions, like, where do you shop for cheaper groceries. Ray’s Place market is understandably quite expensive.

And that’s the trade off here. Our monthly rent is $380, including electricity and wifi. We don’t have to pay any extra fees for the dogs. In Lake Elsinore our rent did not include electricity or wifi and the dogs each cost $1 a day per month. Our monthly output was between $685-$750.

But in Lake Elsinore we could shop reasonably at Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s. The cheapest supermarket in Port Orford is Wal-Mart, 50 miles away in Coos Bay. The best doctors and dentists are there too.

It takes a special person to fall in love with Port Orford, a town with less than 2,000 residents. It’s simple, not glamorous, and when the love for this place bites, you are smitten forever. We got bit!

The beach access is a narrow winding descent among tall bushes and ice plants.

Driftwood is pushed in from high tide. The tide is low when we visit.

From a distance, doesn’t this piece of driftwood, below, look like a tiger taking a nap?

Unfortunately, even bald eagles wash up.

But paddle board surfers and boogie boarders ride the waves.

We keep walking down the beach to get a closer glimpse of the rocks and hoping to see tidal pools.

No tidal pools…

We head back…

You can see the dock and dollies of Port Orford in the picture below.

We meet a couple picking up driftwood and seaweed treasures from the beach. They moved here 4 months ago from eastern Oregon, the high desert. He looks so much like Eric Clapton but I don’t mention it.

Our pockets are bulging with our treasures too:

The one piece of driftwood reminds me of a bird’s wing.

The darker piece looks like an abstract sculpture. Here, I turned it around in this picture:

I know some of the rocks are quartz. We don’t find any agates, but, then we weren’t digging for any either. My favorite rock, however, is the one below:

The Eyeball Rock!


The History of Battle Rock

Before the first explorers, miners, and settlers discovered the southern Oregon coast, the Tutuni People lived here. In 1792 George Vancouver was one of the first outsiders to make contact with these indigenous people. He described them as “curious, with a mild and peaceable disposition”.

On June 9, 1851 Captain William Tichenor arrived here with 9 men armed with rifles and a small cannon with the intent of establishing a town and taking over the village of the band of Tutuni People already living here, the Qua-to-mah. Understandably, these curious, mild, and peaceable people resisted and fought for what was theirs. Unfortunately, they lost their land.

But all along the Rogue River, some 30 miles south, the Tutuni’s land was compromised. Miners destroyed their fish runs. Settlers carried infectious diseases, developed farms, fenced the pastures, tilled the camas meadows, and destroyed the elk and deer population. Tensions mounted and resulted in the Rogue River Wars of 1855-1856, culminating in Congress’s creation of the Coast Reservation. US troops began removing these Native Americans from their homelands and force-marched them to the new Reservation. Some 1,200 people marched against their will to Port Orford and were held in open pens until the steamship Columbia deported them north to the Coast Reservation. Today, many descendants of these displaced native peoples reside on the Siletz and Grande Ronde Reservations. (plaque at site)

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