Something’s Fishy

“Fishy, fishy in the brook…”

The fishy is a rainbow trout and actually it was caught in Garrison Lake.

“Papa caught it on a hook…”

Actually, our neighbor, Kenneth caught it with his fishing rod.

“Mama fries it in a pan…”

Oh hell, no! Jeff fillets the trout and cooks it.

“Baby eats it like a man…”

“Jeff shows Kenneth the cooked pan…”

Then we eat it as fast as we can!

Cape Blanco Part One

South of the Lighthouse

We have never explored the trails beyond the Cape Blanco Lighthouse except to walk down to visit the beach near Gull Rock and return.

Today we start at the South Cape Trailhead, take the beach to the mouth of the Elk River, and return via the beach to Needle Rock where we find a path back up the hill to our parked car.

oregonhikers.org

Cape Blanco Lighthouse…

Needle Rock as it appears from the parking area…

The trailhead leads us through an open meadow with several detours leading to spectacular views of the Oregon coast. I circled the first viewpoint in the picture below. Some people are standing there now.

And here we are, replacing those people I circled before. That’s Needle Rock below, looking less needle-like from this perspective. The land form to the right,  jutting out to the sea, is the most westerly point in Oregon. The lighthouse is located on this promontory.

To the south is Humbug Mountain and the Port Orford Heads where the Lifeboat Museum is located.

North…

South…

Due west…

More viewpoints…

We enter the woods that run parallel to the Cape Blanco State Park Campground.

The woods emerge into a large grassy area with picnic tables overlooking the ocean.

We end up on a road that descends onto the beach.

To the north is a view of Needle Rock, the most westerly point in Oregon, and barely visible is the Cape Blanco Lighthouse.

The beach is calm here and flat. Jeff wiggles his 10 piggies in the cold waters.

We walk to the mouth of the Elk River.

Two kids just slid down this sand dune on their butts!

We arrive at the Elk River where it meets the Pacific Ocean.

Then we meet Rover, the dog who loves to run and swim. He even catches a fish as he frolicks in the river waters.

It’s possible to cross the river, but we start back instead.

This is the most populated beach we have encountered in Port Orford. Of course, it is Memorial Day weekend and the closest beach to the campground. A few families with lots of kids and sand toys. Two sunbathers tanning on the sand dunes. Many beach bums like us. (I try to take pictures without people in them.)

Notice the sand drifts surrounding this piece of driftwood.

The south side of Needle Rock.

The east side of Needle Rock.

From the beach we search for a pathway leading up to the parking area. We can’t see it from here but we saw it from above and could trace it from the first viewpoint we came to on the South Cape Trail. I remember it went down to a pile of driftwood  to the left of the Needle.

I get a hunch and send Jeff up to survey. Eureka!

We make it!

Our beach souvenirs…

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…

‘Neath the Rock

Battle Rock Beach 2018

We walk the mile or so to Battle Rock Wayside Park along Highway 101, called Oregon Street here in Port Orford.

I find flowers along the way that capture my fancy.

The petals of these bright pink flowers resemble crepe paper.

These blooms look like salal, but they are not.

Purple violet-like flowers and pink-tinged daisies make their home in a large sawed-off wooden barrel.


We have no agenda except to walk, enjoy, and observe the changing seascape.

As we head toward Hubbard Creek’s spillage into the ocean, we meet 2 librarians from Utah. They carry thick rods with a scoop on the end. I assume they are clamming. Curious, I approach them to learn more. No, they aren’t clamming… just scooping up treasures from the beach without bending over.

We trade stories and share our delight for Port Orford.

Meanwhile, Jeff and I scoop up our own treasures that we collect in our bulging pockets.

As we return to Battle Rock we take advantage of the low tide to explore the cave-like crevices at the foot of the rock and to walk through the natural tunnel to the other side of the beach.

Do you recognize the mountain in the distance, the tallest one on the Oregon Coast? If you said Humbug, you are right!

Do you see the colony of white in the middle of the right side of the rock above? Does that make sense? Below is a close-up of these barnacles, mussels, and shells attached to the rocks.

Here’s the tunnel to the other side…

So, we walk through.

We arrive at the other side of Battle Rock to a mini-beach that ends at a bluff. Beyond it is the beach at the dock.

We collect some sea glass among the rocks.

Here’s a pic of the other side of Battle Rock.

And the view through the tunnel with Humbug towering in the distance…

As we return and head back, I discover the path the 4-wheel-drive vehicles take to access the beach.

The piles of driftwood still amaze me.

And a fishing boat reminds me of Port Orford’s natural resources.

As we make our way up the hill toward the Wayside parking lot, I can’t help myself. I just have to take pics of these colorful blooms of spring.

Back at the RV we unload our pockets and display our newest collection of beach treasures.

The Oregon Coast Trail

The Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

Named in honor of the first Oregon Parks superintendent, this scenic corridor is a linear state park in southwestern Oregon. It is 12 miles long and thickly forested along steep and rugged coastline with a few small beaches. It is located just north of Brookings, Oregon between the Pacific Ocean and U.S. Route 101. The north end abuts the Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint.

The Oregon Coast Trail meanders 27 miles through this park.

Following the coast of Oregon from the mouth of the Columbia River to the California border south of Brookings, the Oregon Coast Trail is a 425 mile hiking route.  (en.m.wikipedia.org)

So… now that we know The Who, What, and Where, I will explain Our Why.

Jeff and I stopped at every viewpoint along this corridor last summer. We promised each other that when we returned to Port Orford we would hike between the viewpoints.

Today we travel south for 44 miles to Arch Rock where we plan to hike the Coastal Trail to Natural Bridges.


It is raining and overcast when we arrive at the Arch Rock viewpoint. The view is beautiful but where is Arch Rock?

We walk along a short path through the forest and voila

Of course it’s raining now.

We meet up with a young woman with a clipboard and camera with a long lense. She is working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife surveying the presence of the Black Oystercatcher as an indicator of ocean health.

She shows us a picture of this black bird with its bright orange beak.

oregonconservationstrategy.org

We continue walking, trying to avoid the leaves of three that shout out, “We are poison oak… Beware!”

We return to our parked car and take more pictures while we decide whether to continue hiking in the rain or return to Port Orford.


Since we are already wet, we decide to continue following the coastal trail, hoping the forest will provide shelter and that the rain will stop.

I spy a yellow-green snail shell. As I move in to take a picture, the snail’s white body pops out!

We hike through the forest and the rain lets up and eventually ceases.

Ocean views peek out between the trees.


Twenty minutes later we are out of the forest and walking along Highway 101.

These blooms of purple flowers guide us along our way.

The road leads us to a large turnout and a path leading toward the ocean.

We delight in the breathtaking views of Secret Beach.


But we need to move on so we climb back up onto the trail heading south. We cross a bridge intersecting a waterfall and I take pictures from both sides.

A little later we pass by this closer view of the waterfall.

The sun shines brightly now and lights up the path in neon greens.

Once in a while the trees frame pictures of the Pacific Ocean.

The views of the forest are fantastic as well.

The coastal trail leads us to Thunder Rock Cove.

After opening onto a large grassy knoll, the path ends at the point below.

And look who I find here, doing his best Vana White impression…

The view to the north…

The view to the south…

The view heading back…

We finally exit at the trailhead to Thunder Rock Cove.

So, we never do quite make it to Natural Bridges, but we do have fun exploring the coastal trail and experiencing some gorgeous views.

We walk back along the highway to our car parked by Arch Rock because it is a lot shorter than retracing our steps. We still have a 44-mile drive back to Port Orford and I am excited to download my pictures for this post.


…Another lovely day on the southern coast of Oregon…

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.

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…