One Last Walk on Agate Beach…

…Before Heading Back to the Desert Oasis

We leave Port Orford in 2 days to return to Thousand Palms Oasis in the Coachella Valley in Southern California.

As we scurry around saying goodbye to friends, sharing last meals, doing laundry, planning our 3 overnight stays, packing up the RV,  planning meals and buying groceries for the road… we take time out to breathe and take one of our favorite 3 mile walks to Paradise Point, down to and along Agate Beach to Tseriadun State Park, and back again to Camp Blanco RV Park.

Unlike me, I only snap a few selective photos to save and savor until next May.

Naked Ladies

These pink to white flowers, from the genus amaryllis, bloom before the leaves develop, hence the naked stems. Amaryllis belladonna is native to the Western Cape of South Africa but has naturalized in many Mediterranean climates throughout the world and is especially popular in California and Australia. Apparently, it also thrives in the seasonally moist soil of the Oregon Coast. Naked Ladies sprout from large bulbs, the size of a softball, and grow with the top of the bulb at the surface of the soil. (

These blooms just happen to be in the yard of another library volunteer, I happily discover as he and I exchange greetings!

Pampas Grass…

This weedy pampas grass, called Cortaderia jubata, has thin plumes held high above the leaves. It is not native to the South American plains but to the mountains of Ecuador, Peru, and Chile, and a more suitable name for it would be Andean plume grass. This invasive plant, supposedly introduced to the horticultural trade via France, has made its way to the coastal areas of the Pacific Coast.  (

As we reach the parking area of Paradise Point, these plumes, invasive or not, wave to us against a pure blue sky in pure innocence.

Ribbon Kelp… immaturely washed ashore…

Also called bull whip kelp, this seaweed is made up of a round hollow bulb, or air bladder, from which ribbon-like blades emerge. The air trapped in the bulb pulls the kelp up so that the blades float close to the surface and receive adequate sunlight. The blades or stipes of mature plants are shiny and leathery, while younger plants have thinner, shinier brown blades or stipes. The stipes are hollow tubes, up to 120 feet long. (

Their lower end, however, is a solid root-like structure that tenaciously clings to a rock on the bottom of the ocean. Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest Coast used this ribbon kelp to make fishing lines, nets, ropes, harpoon lines, and anchor lines. (

A driftwood sculpture…

A baby Sasquatch was here!

Agates, shells, and rocks we collect along the way…

See you next May, Port Orford!

More Beach Bumming

My Favorite Moments

Battle Rock Beach June 22nd

Ripples of sand…

Tidal pools…

Sea anemones…

On the rocks…

Redfish Rocks…

Hubbard Creek changes channels to the sea…

Washed up…

Black Oyster Catchers…

Rooted in the sand…

Paradise point/Agate Beach June 26th… HAppy birthday, dad. You would have been 92 Years old. ❤

It’s a w-i-n-d-y day!

This colorful little beetle blows away after I take its picture…

As we continue walking south along the beach our backs are pelted by the tiny pebbles carried by the wind. Ouch! The only bums bumming along the shore are us…

Battle Rock beach again July 7th

Bundles of bull kelp…

Navigating the waves…

Notice the sailboat in the photo above and Redfish Rocks in the photo below.

And now I capture them both in the same photo…

Pecking order… Fresh crab…

Snail shells and other stuff stuck on sea rocks…

Hubbard Creek and Humbug Mountain…

Serious sand sculpting …

Blue skies, evergreens, sandy cliffs, and pink flowers…

Tseriadun State Park/Agate Beach July 10th


Yummily tart to the taste…

Live crab…

Tidal pools…

A starfish mosaic created by the wind…

Port Orford Heads…

“Mussel Beach”…

Splish splash…

Agate hunters…

Geysers of Waves

Agate Beach 2018

Today we walk to Tseriadun State Recreation Site to gain access to Agate Beach. Our plan is to slog north through the thick sand, exit at Paradise Point, and return home.

As we cross through the sand dunes we notice a spray of white sea droplets shooting up from the rocks. And they keep coming like a fireworks display. They remind me of spurting geysers in Yellowstone National Park.

The waves are especially strong today and as they hit the rocky shore to the south, they explode. So cool!

Jeff and I climb up onto the rocks to get a better view. I capture one spectacular view after another.

Then we climb higher.

Eventually the waves get larger and spill over onto the lower set of rocks where we were just standing.

Did I forget to mention that the beach below us is a wide stream and that the only way back is over these same rocks?

The waves here are unpredictable and can be dangerous so we make our way back to the dry beach again. But what a glorious experience…

We head north along the beach looking out to the sea, looking beyond to the coast, and mostly looking down to the treasures buried in the sand.

We fill up our pockets with agates, jaspers, rocks that call our name, and seashells or parts of seashells. The smooth segments, polished by the sea and sand, I call “worry shells” because you can hold them between your fingers and rub them like a “worry stone” when feeling anxious or unsettled.

We reach the beach access at Paradise Point where we climb through the sand dunes and walk home along Paradise Point Road.

As we cross Garrison Lake, I look through the trees and take this picture of Humbug Mountain rising in the distance.

Upon returning to the RV, we unload our pockets and admire our newest collection of beach treasures.

Especially awesome is this blue and white rock with 2 distinctive personalities.

Side 1…

…and Side 2

But for me today, my beach treasures are really the geysers of waves and the unexpected view of Humbug Mountain from Paradise Point Road.

Beach Bumming

Agate Beach Again…

Today we head north from our RV site to Paradise Point Road that takes us along Garrison Lake to the ocean. Then we walk south along Agate Beach and exit across the dunes at Tseriadun Recreation Site.

Paradise Point is a parking area overlooking an expansive coastal vista stretching from Port Orford Heads to Cape Blanco and the lighthouse. It’s a great spot for watching the sun set or just visiting the ocean without leaving your car.

The pictures below are taken from above the beach.

At the end of the parking area a steep hill curves through the dunes and leads to the beach.

Descending the dunes we notice 2 kites flying and 3 fishermen casting their lines a safe distance from the water, atop a sand ledge sculptured by the crashing waves.

For an hour we dig for agates and slowly make our way south toward the Heads and Tseriadun. Each time we find an agate we have to find just one more before moving on.

Then we stop digging and attempt a serious effort to continue along the beach, all the while looking down at the tiny rocks and stopping to pick up “could-be” agates.

As I stand tall to stretch my back, I capture the flavor of the beach.

Instead of sand castles, visitors build sculptures out of driftwood.

A tangle of bull kelp…

The picture below is a huge driftwood log bent at a 90 degree angle, the thickest part buried in pebbly sand imported from some powerful waves.

The Heads jutting out ahead…

More sculpture…

We’re getting close to Tseriadun.

On the way home I spy with my little eye this spider web made from driftwood.

Then this colorful shrub catches my attention. New growth arrives in spurts of yellow, red, and lime-green leaves before turning spring green.

Here’s our cache from today… agates, jaspers, driftwood, and seashells.

Bet you couldn’t just find one either!

Agate Hunting

Port Orford 2018

Agates come from erosion of cliffs along beaches and rivers where they wash out to the ocean and get polished in the surf over time. In the summer months, agates on beaches are deep beneath the sand. But from December to March winter storms remove sand and expose the agates underneath. (

Today we walk down to dinosaur park, my name for Tseriadun State Recreation Site, one way to access what locals call Agate Beach.

Apparently the name refers to a Native American village site that existed here or near here some 5,000 years ago in Port Orford. But the name Tseriadun, pronounced serry-AH-dun, sounds like a dinosaur to me. (

Sandwiched between Garrison Lake, where locals enjoy boating and trout fishing, and the Pacific Ocean, this beach is popular for finding agates and jasper.

And, like a dinosaur, the waters of the ocean command this beach with their thunderous roars. The waves crashing against invisible rocks are dangerous. Locals warn, never turn your back to the water. Deep soft sand, severe drop offs where water meets shore, and rip tides also make this beach a hazard.

These waves have led to several deaths.

In 2005 a wave swept 3 people into the Pacific Ocean, killing two and injuring one. Seventy-two year-old Pamela Flynn and her older son, Thomas, were pronounced dead on Agate Beach in Port Orford. Rescue crews pulled Pamela and her younger son, Brian, from the water. Brian survived and was treated for hypothermia in a local hospital. Thomas, however, was spotted by a fishing boat a half-mile offshore. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter dropped a rescue swimmer to retrieve him and airlift him to the beach. Unfortunately medics could not revive him. ( According to, Pamela and her sons were from Slagle, Idaho and we’re scattering the ashes of her late husband into the ocean when they were swept away.

Then, in 2010 a 78 year-old local woman’s body washed ashore on Agate Beach in Port Orford. According to her husband, she left that morning for a walk on the beach and by late afternoon had not yet returned. ( Later it was learned that the deceased woman had gone to the beach with another local resident who was 53 years-old. A check of the younger woman’s residence and her mother’s and daughter’s houses revealed she too was missing. Three days later, on a beach some 30 miles from Port Orford, the body of the second woman was found by a passer-by. No one knows what really happened but this Port Orford beach, a good site for collecting agates and jasper, is also known for its dangerous sneaker waves that rush up on the shore. ( According to the dictionary, a sneaker wave is an unexpected coastal wave that is much greater in force  and height than the waves preceding it.

And as recently as 2015 reported Sea Claims Life, Two Survive. A woman and her husband tell the following story… On a Sunday afternoon, while they were searching for agates on the beach near Paradise Point in Port Orford, they noticed a small boat caught between the big swells of the ocean and the crashing surf. Then the boat capsized, dumping its 3 passengers into the water.

The couple called 911 and ran down to the ocean’s edge, joined by several other beachcombers, to help. A naked 38 year-old man, his clothes ripped from his body in the rough surf or caught on a rock and ripped off, and a 19 year-old woman wearing a life vest were struggling to get to shore. The 3rd passenger, a 37 year-old man, was yelling for help in the surf, about 75 yards from the shore, but nobody could reach him before he disappeared into the waves. The Coast Guard searched for 9 hours, covering an area of more than 169 miles but could not locate the man. The search continued for several days but this 3rd passenger was never found. (

Lessons to be learned on Agate Beach:

  • Don’t wade into the ocean.
  • Don’t get too close to the ocean.
  • Don’t turn your back to the ocean.
  • Dangerous conditions happen fast.

You won’t find people wading in the waves, surfing, building sandcastles, or sunbathing here. Actually you won’t find many people on the beach at the same time. Occasionally you will see people fishing, casting their lines atop one of the sand cliffs contoured by the pounding waves, walking their dogs, flying kites, or most likely digging in the sand hunting for agates.

So… what is agate? Agate is a semitransparent chalcedony. And a chalcedony is a very hard material composed of microcrystalline quartz. Quartz is a mineral composed of silicon and oxygen. Microcrystalline means that the quartz is in the form of crystals so small that a microscope must be used to see them. ( TMI? Or maybe not enough? You can go online to find out more yadda-yadda.

Jasper is an opaque variety of chalcedony. Jeff and I call jasper rocks jellybeans.

Here are the treasures we found today… our gifts from the sea.


Study the collection of rocks below:

Can you find at least one agate?

Can you find at least one jasper?

Cheat sheet:

Looking for Agates

image One Rough Beach

The city of Port Orford only occupies an area of 1.61 square miles, but it packs in a lot of natural beauty, history and geological resources. Home to less than 1,200 people, it boasts 3 state parks:

  • Port Orford Heads where the Lifeboat Station Museum is located
  • Paradise Point that offers spectacular sunsets
  • Tseradiun, more popularly known as Agate Beach

And the 130-acre, fresh water Lake Garrison…


The docent at the Lifeboat Museum suggests a visit to Agate Beach after offering me a small sand polished stone.


Jeff only has to hear his caution about not wading into the ocean because of the dangerous undertows when, before I know it, we are headed for a rock-hunting expedition and an adventure with waves.

The beach access greets us.




The ocean waves entice us.







…Maybe a little too much!