Got Sand?

Paradise Point to the Mouth of the Elk River

Recently we hiked south from Cape Blanco to the mouth of the Elk River. So… today we decide to walk to Paradise Point and trek north along the beach to the mouth of the Elk River.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day and the sky is so blue. The colorful spring flowers beg me to take their picture. We pass by Garrison Lake twice as we make our way to Paradise Point.

A little over a mile later we descend onto Agate Beach. The time is 11:02…

The sand is is so deep. The wind blasts us from the north. Tiny pebbles pummel us as we slowly slog our way toward the tributary of the Elk River.

A half hour later we are enjoying the view of sandy cliffs and driftwood washed ashore by high tides…

And we continue for another half hour, still amazed by the cliffs dripping with sand…

Meanwhile, the wind creates ripples of sand on the shore and the waves wash up pulverized pieces sea debris…

…stinging us in the face as we trudge forward. I can hear the sand hitting our jackets and sunglasses.

We slog, on tasting and smelling the sand as it flies by our noses and enters our mouths through gritted teeth.

The view of the carved cliffs along the shore keeps us happy and urges us forward.

The crashing waves entertain us.

Driftwood buried in drifts of sand intrigue us.

Finally we reach the place where the Elk River starts winding its way through the sand.

Free range cows from a neighboring farm mosey down to the beach.

We can’t be too far from the mouth of the Elk River now, can we?

Another half hour of slogging…

More driftwood buried in drifting sand…

I look back in the direction from where we started.

More driftwood ahead…

We’re both tired from the wind… But we have come too far to turn back. So we continue slogging north, hoping we are close.

Another half hour goes by…

The Elk River continues carving a channel to the sea.

…Until sand dunes block the view…

Here’s a good example of what the sand actually looks like. Notice how it is mixed with billions of tiny particles of shells and rocks ground down by the powerful forces of waves and wind.

In the distance is Cape Blanco, the landform jutting out into the ocean. Look closely and you can barely make out the Lighthouse sitting atop the green cliff to the right of the sandstone edge.

Directly in front of us is the litter of driftwood deposited by high tides.

Closer to shore this embedded piece of wood stands stoically while getting pounded by waves.

And we’re still not there yet!

But the river is visible again cutting through the sand along the cliffs. There’s more driftwood collections.

At last… Eureka, we find it! I zoom in and take a picture of the Elk River getting swallowed up by the Pacific Ocean.

Cape Blanco appears in the upper left of the photo below. Needle Rock rises proudly beneath it. The Lighthouse stands on the promontory to the left of Needle Rock.

We encounter 4 men with 2 ATVs. They passed us along the beach about an hour ago.

Three of them are catching surf perch and they let me take pictures.

As I watch and take pictures, they catch about 5 fish in a matter of several minutes.

Jeff and I walk up to the mouth of the river and sit on some driftwood, spill the sand out of our shoes, and shake out our socks.

As we head back to Paradise Point, the 4th man offers us a ride back to Paradise Point on his ATV. He is not fishing and knows how long it will take us to walk back along the beach. He has room for one passenger at a time and doesn’t mind driving us back in 2 trips.

Yes! Thank you! Really? Are you sure?

His ATV has a cargo bed so we spare him 2 trips. I sit in the passenger’s seat and Jeff rides in back.

Yes! Thank you!

As we ride back to Paradise Point I try to get a picture of Jeff in the cargo bed in the overhead mirrors, but I am not successful.

Here is our Good Samaritan, Larry Brown, dropping us off at Paradise Point!

Now it’s just a mile to home, sweet home…

Our catch of the day…

Oh, but what you cannot see is the sand we caught in our hair, ears, mouths, clothes, bodies, shoes, socks…

A Scenic Road Trip

Close to Home

It’s an overcast drizzly day in Port Orford so we decide to check out the town of Langlois, 13 miles north of Port Orford.


Oregon author Jane Kirkpatrick is scheduled to speak on April 28th at the Langlois Cheese Factory so we head there first.

 google maps 

Jane has written 30 historical fiction and non-fiction titles. A lively, humorous, and inspirational speaker, 72 year-old Kirkpatrick is a frequent presenter for conferences, women’s retreats, and workshops. (jkbooks.com)

 nwbooklovers.org

Unfortunately we don’t find this venue (with no cheese). All we see are old dilapidated buildings. I know it’s there somewhere.

What we do find are sheep… so cute… so vocal. As I get out of the car to take a picture, a few wander over to greet me. I take a video but when I play it back you can’t hear them baa-ing. Just look at these cuties!


Langlois is a quaint little community between mileposts 287 and 288 along Highway 101. The Langlois Market is the gathering place for local farmers and ranchers, especially at lunchtime where hungry customers order deli sandwiches or the house specialty, a hot dog famous for its special mustard sauce. Groceries available include Oregon wines, cheeses, and craft beers. For $5 you can fill up your growler with some local brew.

Across the street is the wool factory, a co-op of local merchants who knit, sew, and design amazing items out of wool in its various forms. Did you know you can make felt out of raw fleece?

The building that houses the Wild Rivers Wool Factory Outlet used to be a Catholic Church. It was built in 1917 under the direction of a young priest, just 20 years-old. Father Joseph P. Clancy was assigned to south coast mission churches, traveling the stagecoach line from Bandon to Gold Beach. (portorfordoregon.com)


On our way back, we head east on Elk River Road in Port Orford. Two summers ago we stayed a few nights at Elk River Campground off this road. The road runs parallel to the river and we decide to take a scenic drive through rolling pastures and hillsides covered in yellow gorse.

In 2 miles we pass Elk River Campground and continue another 5.5 miles east to the fish hatchery. The Elk River Hatchery collects salmon, incubates eggs, and raises natural and hatchery Fall Chinook and Winter Steelhead salmon. (dfw.state.or.us)


We continue for 10 more miles pulling over every now and then to take pictures of the delightful scenery, such as this unique mailbox below…

The rolling hills and pastoral settings give way to a narrow road lined with leaning trees.

Finally, Elk River Road, aka Curry County Route 208, ends and we pick up a U.S. Forest Service road which eventually turns into a one-lane parkway.

But here the river changes color.

The water becomes crystal clear and turns a beautiful aquamarine…

…And flows rapidly over rocks churning into foamy pools the color of milk.

Waterfalls seep from the hillside on the other side of the road.

Some trickle.

Others roar.

What a great day finding hidden treasures along Oregon’s southern coast.