Blacklock Point

 “Prepare to be Amazed…”

So true are these words from the 2007 blog of Terry Richard, travel and outdoor recreation reporter for The Oregonian since 1973. “It’s one of the most beautiful spots on the Oregon coast — and hardly anyone knows about it.”

We found out about it from the woman volunteer at the Port Orford Visitors Center. So today we decided to check it out. And luckily we did because tomorrow the whole area will close for a week for an emergency response training practice.

Terry Richard describes it best as “a rugged headland just north of Cape Blanco and one of the wildest spots on the coast. Traffic on U.S. 101 whizzes by three miles inland; only a few travelers make the effort to find it.”

But found it, we did… by traveling about 3 miles north of the entrance to Cape Blanco State Park toward Langlois. There is no sign, so slow down when you see Pacific High School on the right. Then, quickly look for Airport Road on the left. Take this road till it ends at the no longer used airport tarmac. There are places to park the car and a trail sign.

And we begin heading west on a wide off-road trail through the coastal forest. Then the path narrows and we stop suddenly so Jeff can calmly walk by a sunbathing snake. I, however, can’t move. When I finally do, I run by quickly and make so much noise that the poor little guy or gal slithers away.

We continue passing through Douglas firs, coastal pines, a winding creek, and several boggy areas.

The trail narrows…

Two signposts later and 2 left turns, we arrive at a large area under a canopy of pine trees. And I spy the ocean in all its glory, dotted with whitecaps and framed by trees bent by the wind.

And just beyond, we reach the coastal bluffs.

Cape Blanco Lighthouse shines periodically as it rotates around its fresnel lenses.

The sea stacks dominate the view.

The wind blows fiercely.

And I find a flower that tickles my fancy.

Port Orford Loop Road

 And Missing My Grandkids…

Also known as Madrona Avenue, this Loop, highlighted in pink, intersects Highway 101, and circled in blue shows where we are staying, Port Orford RV Village.

Until today, Jeff and I have always walked south on Madrona to catch 101 and head down toward town, the dock, and Battle Rock. Or we cross 101 and head north on Arizona Street to Paradise Point Road where we turn west to reach the ever-changing ocean, as highlighted in purple.

Today, however, we head north on Madrona Avenue, aka Port Orford Loop Road. It’s an overcast, gray day, but there is a break in the rain clouds as we head to Paradise Point to take in the ocean.

And I encounter the animals in our neighborhood…

There are chickens in the coop below. I just can’t get close enough to make them look like chickens without trespassing.

Ollie, what noise does a chicken make? Ask Uncle Andy to do his impression of one for you!

Llamas or alpacas?…

Jace and Eliska, do they make a sound? I am afraid to get too close for fear they will spit on me. Jeff laughs and says only camels would do that. All I know is that I am not taking any unnecessary chances!

Horses…

All together now… neighhhhhhh!!!

Old fishing boats adorn a front yard…

Toot toot!

Ya gotta love Port Orford!!!

We intersect Highway 101…

…and Jeff directs us north. I question his logic. (But who am I to question Daniel Jeff, nicknamed after the famous explorer and frontiersman?) He pulls out his phone and we immediately turn around and head south for over a half mile till we reach Paradise Point.

The sea is angry today. Doesn’t the picture below look like I filtered out the color?

Oh, Emjay and Jasley, I wish I could show you this in person!!

We head back home and take Arizona Street to Madrona and cross 101 at the southern end of the Loop. And a deer greets us…

Wish you were here! Love, Grammy L  XXXXX(X)OOOOO(O)

What’s with the (X) and (O)?? That’s for Oliver’s little brother or sister we will finally get to meet in early October!!

Seeing Stars

 Fish…

Jeff and I walk to Battle Rock Beach today. Someone has built a fort out of driftwood and I respectfully and delightfully memorialize the efforts.

The tide is out and oh, what a wonderland of ocean life we discover! These rocks tell stories.

And expose all sorts of ocean life clinging onto them or in the surrounding tidal pools!

These rocks look like pieces of wood, but they have only been smoothed by years of ocean waves…

Low tide also washes up…

And these little mole crabs or sand crabs, scurrying above and below the sand…

Walking around Port Orford also means encountering local peeps and their pups. On our way to Battle Rock we meet Fawn, a 12-week-old pup and her peep of no name. Later, on the beach, we recognize Fawn. I endear myself to her peep of no name and we share our love of Port Orford. She, the peep of no name, captures a teeny tiny crab among this rock of shells and crevices.

And I take a picture of this teeny tiny crab crawling up her arm.

What a glorious day of exciting new discoveries!

The Southern Oregon Coast

 Brookings to Port Orford

Today we drive south to Brookings, about 58 miles from Port Orford, to find a Verizon store.

My iPhone is taking forever to charge. I follow all the suggestions listed online. I switch charging cables. I clean the port with a toothpick and compressed-gas duster. I switch electrical outlets. Nothing helps. The charge creeps up so slowly that I feel I have to be tethered to the wall so I can be continuously plugged-in.

(The other option is to travel north to Coos Bay. The distance is about the same, but we are familiar with Bandon, Coos Bay, and North Bend since we stayed in Remote last summer. We’ve only seen the coast from Port Orford to California and back again from the RV and both times we were destination-minded.)

So, we combine business with pleasure… and another opportunity to stop and enjoy spectacular ocean views.

But first I stop at Verizon, only to find out that my battery is being drained by photos running in the background. This doesn’t make sense to me, especially since I haven’t opened any photos. At most I have my iPhone and iPad locked and plugged in so that my iCloud data syncs. The employee assisting me checks settings, battery, and running applications and resets something. There! All better.

I am not feeling all better. She assures me my battery is fine. I insist that she check my charger so she plugs it into the wall. The good news is that she doesn’t try to upgrade me to a new phone. She checks the progress of my charger and in her opinion I am ready to go… problem solved. I ask her what I need to do in the future to prevent this slow charging again. Nothing. She worked her mojo and I don’t need to repeat this process. So, I am still confused as to why photos were running in the background causing all this problem. I leave, but seriously wonder if I just chased a wild goose.

So, goose-chase or not, Jeff and I drive back, turning into every State Park, State Recreation Site, and Scenic View.

I hope you enjoy the Oregon coast as much as we do!


We start at Harris Beach State Recreational Area.

This is the beginning or the end, depending upon which direction you travel, of the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, a scenic 12 mile linear state park, named after the first Oregon Parks superintendent. It is located 3 miles north of Brookings between the Pacific Ocean and Highway 101. The north end abuts the Pistol River Scenic Viewpoint. The Oregon Coast Trail winds through here too for 27 miles. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

Jeff and I plan future hikes…

Five  minutes later we stop at Lone Ranch Beach.

In another 5 minutes we are checking out Cape Ferrelo.

Within yet another 5, we arrive at House Rock Viewpoint where a memorial to Samuel H. Boardman is emblazoned into a rock.

And here are the ocean views:

Here’s a peek of the coastal trail. Jeff and I are surprised by the barren trees.

Three minutes later… Whalehead Viewpoint:

Within 15 minutes we cross Thomas Creek Bridge.

From the car it is nothing spectacular. Built in 1961 and designed by Ivan D. merchant, this Warren deck truss bridge is the highest bridge in Oregon at 345 feet. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

 en.m.wikipedia.org

Another 3 minutes and we turn into Natural Bridges. A short walk onto a viewing bridge makes us gasp.

The different shades of ocean blue are amazing!

Before we get back in the car, I notice another memorial plaque adorned on a rock.

(You know, I like that idea… a rock of remembrance… I don’t mean to sound morbid, but I can’t see myself buried in a cemetery confined to one place. But I can envision my memory continuing subtly in nature… maybe just a word painted on a special rock that someone finds and decides to keep.) While I’m on this subject, I am reminded of my friend, Ann. She and I traveled to Africa together and Ann brought along some ashes from her mother’s urn. She spread some in the waters of Victoria Falls and some over the Serengeti when we rode a hot air balloon. It was her way of sharing special moments with her mother. I like that idea! What a heart-touched way to be remembered and let go of… and return to the earth…

A narrow path leads to the Oregon Coast Trail. But here is what I discover… an orange berry that comes out yellow on my iPad picture.

As I leave, I notice 3 more berries.

Ten minutes later we arrive at the Pistol River. The sand dunes and driftwood make for a beautiful picture in a natural setting.

Then the river melts into the ocean.

Within 5 minutes we are on the outskirts of Gold Beach at Cape Sebastian State Corridor.

Before we leave I spy…

and California poppies…

In 3 miles we are stopping yet again in Cape Sebastian State Park. The picture below is from a vista of 200 feet above sea level.

A mile-and-a-half trail leads to the cape. We notice again how barren and brown the branches on the trees are… so different from the trails around Port Orford.

Six minutes later we enter Gold Beach named for the gold found here in the mid 1800s.

The I.L. Patterson Memorial Bridge crosses the Rogue River. Built in 1931 and designed by Conde B. McCullough, it was the first bridge in the country to be constructed with prestressed concrete.

Soon, we pass Humbug Mountain and return to Port Orford.


Turns out I goosed a wild chase at Verizon after all. I need a new charger! I’m sure we’ll be going to Coos Bay sometime soon…

Old Highway 101 Trail

 Humbug Mountain State Park

This trail, is mostly paved (but not open to traffic) and runs along the north side of the park’s campground before veering northwest and dropping down onto the present Highway 101.

I couldn’t find any information about the re-routing of the original 1926 Oregon Coast Highway in this area. However, I can only surmise, from its name and paved surface, that this 5-mile out and back trail once carried traffic along the 363-mile coast of Oregon.

Jeff and I originally planned on hiking the 3-mile out and back Day-Use Trail, circled below, but the trail was unmarked and we could not find any sign of a trail crossing under or over the highway.

According to the Oregon State Parks brochure we picked up at the Visitors Center, this hike meanders along Brush Creek with views of three 100-foot waterfalls and either starts or ends at the only Oregon myrtle grove accessible from U.S. 101.

So, we head back to the Humbug Mountain Campground and look for the Old Highway 101 trailhead which is not easy to find. The Parking Area for the trail is also not marked. (What a bummer! No, what a frustration! The Humbug Mountain State Park brochure needs to seriously be revised! Or, clear signage needs to be added!) Fortunately, I don’t like to give up. Unfortunately, Jeff doesn’t always appreciate my enthusiasm.

As we drive through the campground I notice the campsite of the park hosts and know I can get help from them. But, whoa, I ask Jeff to stop the car so I can run out and talk to the park ranger who is tagging reserved campsites. And all my questions get answered! Yes!!!!!

I find out that the Day-Use Trail is not well maintained, especially since there are only 4 rangers responsible for several state parks along the coast. Also, it is tick season and not a recommended route in June. Plus, since the trail is not a priority, there are overgrown and fallen obstacles blocking the path. (I decide not to mention the signage issue. I’m just glad to know that Jeff and I have not lost our marbles or our map skills!)

So, where’s the Old Highway 101 Trail? She explains how to get to the unmarked area where we can access the trailhead. We follow her directions and park the car and walk up the hill blocked by a gate. Apparently, according to the park map and the ranger, the Day-Use Trail intersects here too, but without a machete, Jeff and I have no clue where this may be!

At long last, our hike begins in a dark and heavily forested section rising steeply to our right.

Twelve different varieties of ferns thrive on this section of the trail, appropriately labeled and aptly named, Fern Trail.

A waterfall cascades from Dry Run Creek.

A small field of delicate pine needles catches my attention.

Looking behind us, dark clouds overshadow our hike.

But, looking ahead, blue skies lead.

Another waterfall, tiny but too beautiful to ignore…

As we pass beyond the campground, a spectacular view of Humbug Mountain and the ocean appears.

And scenic views of the Pacific Ocean tease us along the way.

Here’s what the paved path looks like.

Yes, from the path above the views are amazing!

And flowers pose for a picture…

Before we reach the end of the trail, descending down to Highway 101, we discover a marker, yes! directing us to take a short detour through a narrow path leading us up to a secluded vista.

Along the way I discover a snail moving slowly across my path.

We arrive.

We take in the views.

We reluctantly leave. The snail is gone now, making tracks somewhere in the grass beyond the path. Instead of finding out where Old Highway 101 meets Highway 101, we head back to our car.

And I discover…

A banana slug…

Another snail…

And, on our way back to Port Orford RV Village on Port Orford Loop Road, a deer…

Humbug Mountain Trail

 Rising Directly from the Ocean

Humbug rises directly from the Pacific Ocean and stands 1,756 feet above sea level, making it one of the tallest headlands in Oregon.

 en.m.wikipedia.org

Originally known to Native Americans as Me-tus, Humbug was later named Sugarloaf Mountain. In 1851 it became known as Tichenor’s Humbug when an exploring party sent by Captain William Tichenor, the founder of Port Orford, got lost and headed north of the port instead of south. Tichenor said the name was chosen “to palliate their gross failure.” (enjoyportorford.com)

…from palliate to humbug…  Okay, then, the misdirection was glossed over, covered up, condoned and their misled behavior became humbug… That’s the best I can do to make sense of the name!

So, are you ready for a 5.5 mile hike up Humbug Mountain? Let’s go!

First, we have to cross a muddy creek at the beginning of the trailhead.

Then we hike steadily up for the next mile on a narrow path. With each switchback the steep edge alternates from right to left.

The ocean peeks through the trees.

Obstacles on the trail challenge us:

Moss on trees cast an eerie silhouette:

Then we cross a Zen-like stream.

And finally we meet the junction.

We take the West Trail and catch glimpses of the Pacific Ocean:

And the old-growth temperate rainforest:

We arrive at the summit.

We are greeted by a bench and a grove of Myrtlewood Trees, but no ocean view.

But we knew this before we started. We’re just happy to hike to the summit.

And now, what goes up, must come down. In our case, what goes west, must go east.

So, we head down…

And for the next 4 days our calves talk back to us!