Cape Blanco to Blacklock Point

Finally!

After several attempts driving to Cape Blanco to access the northern beach and walk from the Lighthouse to Blacklock Point, we finally succeed. Today is not foggy, windy, or cold.  And the tide is low.

We park outside of the gate leading to the Lighthouse and descend onto the beach.

Waves crash over boulders on the shore, painting them shiny black.

About an hour later we approach the southern side of Blacklock Point and make our way through the green, red, orange, and gray rocks.

High tides from winter leave piles of driftwood atop ridges of sand.

A whimsical driftwood hut has lost its roof.

Strong winds and waves wedge this large piece of wood into these boulders on the beach. Oh, did I forget to mention that this photo is facing east?

There’s the ocean peaking through. And look, the fog is rolling in.

We climb a grassy dune scattered with driftwood…

…and descend onto another rocky beach.

A path leads up to higher ground.

The deep crack in a rock resembles an upside down letter V.

The fog thickens and obscures Blacklock’s ledge of rugged rocks jutting out to sea.

Coming down the path we encounter a grandfather, his 3 grandchildren, and 2 dogs. The kids romp on the beach.

And we head back.

A sand slide!

The sea gets choppier.

The sky blends into the ocean.

The Sixes River pools into a lake.

The mouth of the river no longer reaches the Pacific.

Seagulls…

A clump of kelp…

Two and a half hours later we are back where we began, on the beach beneath the lighthouse. Trust me, Cape Blanco Lighthouse is there, buried in the fog.

Floras Lake Beach Trail

Slogging Through the Sand

The tide is out so we plan on hiking the beach from Floras Lake to Blacklock Point.

We take Highway 101 North past Langlois, turn west onto the Floras Lake Loop, park in the lot just beyond the Boice Campground, and cross the bridge where Floras Creek becomes the New River.

We walk briefly through a canopy of trees…

…And step out onto the lake… no one here… no kiteboarding or wind surfing going on yet.

My favorite driftwood “bench” is unoccupied.

Bright yellow flowers bloom in the sand…

…And grow into large clusters of…

The sand is thick and it takes an effort to walk through. We call it slogging. So, we slog our way past the lake and sand dunes to the ocean shore.

We leave our slogging footprints behind…

To the east, the sand dunes and lake…

To the south our destination… somewhere in the mist of rock heads jutting into the ocean…


Sand dunes give way to sandstone…

…That gradually grow into cliffs…

Meanwhile, the waves pound the shore…

…And hurl rocks into the sandstone cliffs…

Water seeps down from the cliffs above the beach.

As the cliffs get higher, the forest recedes from their edge.

Whole crabs wash ashore. Can you spot the agate in the picture below? Hint: 10:00 from the front left claw… white top, tooth-shaped amber rock with a diagonal streak of white? I didn’t notice this until after I took this pic!

Notice how the wind and waves shape the sand at the bottom of this sloping rock.

The cliffs rise and we slog on blindly to where rocks and sea prevent us from continuing further.

And then suddenly, out of nowhere, we discover an arch carved in the rocky cliffs above.

We can see the end of our destination now… the nearest cliff with trees above that slope onto a rocky point below.

We are almost there now…

And in another 10 minutes, we arrive…

Rocks… dark green foliage… yellow blooms… lime-green moss…

…Blue sky… white waves… dark sand…

Looking north down the beach…

Discovering a waterfall dropping out of the cliffs…

…Wish you could be here!


We head back to Floras Lake…

Clumps of Valella valella pile up along the rocks.

The cliffs look amazing from this direction!

Rocks buried in the sand are amazing as well.

As we approach the beach beyond the sand dunes at Floras Lake, a kite sails the wind.

We reach the break in the sand dune and trudge toward Floras Lake where we take the trail that leads us back to our car.

We empty our shoes and shake out the sand from our socks before we return to Camp Blanco RV Park in Port Orford.


Holy Cow! What a souvenir of shells and rocks we collected today!

Oh, and here’s the agate we overlooked…

Blacklock Point

2018

Today we revisit Blacklock Point by traveling north to Airport Road where it dead ends into the trailhead. It’s not an exciting hike, more of a means to a breathtaking end.

With this in mind, I decide to focus on the uncurling blooms of the springtime forest. And so, as we step onto the trail, I begin my photo-journaling with this pic…


The mile-long trail runs parallel to the airport runway before entering the woods. A marked intersection leads you along a winding path that becomes wet and boggy, but narrow boardwalks allow you to circumvent the soggy unpassable sections of the trail. Finally, one last intersection guides you to an open wooded area shaded by a canopy of large Douglas firs.

As we begin this last lap to Blacklock Point, Jeff notices a bright orange color and we stop to observe this unusual growth with amber sap emanating from irregular hole-like structures.

Finally, we enter the open forest and enjoy the first views of the ocean as we step out into the sunshine.

Below is the view of the beach leading south to the Sixes River. Beyond is the Cape Blanco Lighthouse on the rock ledge jutting out into the sea. If you stand still and watch, you can see the light flashing as the prism lenses rotate.

A gently sloping trail leads down to the beach on the south but we haven’t taken this trail yet. You can bet this is on our To-Do List for later in the summer!

Meanwhile, we continue along a grassy promontory overlooking steep rocky hillsides that drop down to a dark sand beach dotted with rocks, large and small.

To the north is a steep-sided ravine overlooking sandstone cliffs along the shoreline at Floras Lake. During low tide you can walk along the beach beneath the wall of cliffs leading to Blacklock Point.

The bluff is not too windy today. I am intrigued by the varying shades of spring green, the contrasting blues of the ocean and sky, the budding flowers, and the way the sun highlights it all.

We reurn the way we came and pass through the forest of ferns…

and flowering blackberry bushes…

and giant hostas…

and a very well-camouflaged red frog… His backside blends in perfectly with the bits of wood covering the forest floor. Can you find him?

and a rhododendron startinging to bloom…

and yellow moss covering a bare tree with its lace…

and finally, as we return to the trailhead, more uncurling ferns in the springtime forest.


…Just in case you had trouble spotting the camouflaged frog…