Lowest Tides of the Year

July 3rd… Tseriadan State Park and Agate Beach

Piddocks burrowing holes in rocks…

Pholadidea, also known as piddocks or angelwings, are a family of bivalve molluscs similar to a clam. One of the piddock’s shells has a set of ridges or “teeth” which it uses to grind away at rock to create tubular burrows. The shape of these burrows is due to the rotating motion of the piddock as it grinds the rock to make its home. The piddock stays in the burrow it digs for the entirety of its 8-year life span. Piddocks use a tube-like structure on their body, called a siphon, to filter water for food. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

Port Orford Heads is the huge land mass in the background. From the Coast Guard Museum you can walk out onto the Head and look over Agate Beach below. Do you see the footprints in the sand and a person walking? Those beaches are usually inaccessible except during minus tides.

Glorious tidal pools…

Limpets, barnacles, and mussels…

A kelp forest and emerald green seaweed…

The uncovered rocks are alive!

Jeff and I walk to the beach under Port Orford Heads.

I spy a purple Sea Star, a lime-green Anemone, and multi-colored kelp on my way back.

Too beautiful for words…


July 4th and 7th… Battle Rock State Park and Beach

Sea Stars and more…


The seashells move in this tidal pool!

Hide-and-seek…

A closer look at the inside of a Jellyfish…

The colors!

This Sea Anemone is eating a crab claw. Seriously… you try pulling it out of its grip!

I can’t stop taking pictures!

An osprey’s nest…

We discover friends on the beach too… Star Humans!

Jeff and I with Penny, John, and Dana…

Penny is a volunteer at Port Orford Library. She recycles used books. Dana is her husband. John is Cheryl’s husband. Cheryl is the Youth Services Librarian with whom I am volunteering with on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Here she is on the end in this next picture…

Good, good people! The true stars of Port Orford!

Independence Day The Port Orford Way

4th of July Jubilee

We start the day at the American Legion Hall where we attend the Rotary Club pancake breakfast with our friends Kenneth and Paulene.

Kenneth and Paulene go back home to feed their 4 chickens and we decide where we will meet for the 11:00 AM parade.


Meanwhile, I walk along Idaho Street to check out the line-up of parade entries and get a preview of what to expect.

I end up at the Community Building where the Quilt Show is displayed.

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quilt resources.com

“Diamonds and Dots” by Debbie Startt (pinterest.com)

I start talking with a visitor quilter and learn all about the different patterns, stitches, and symbols. She explains the difference between sewing machine stitches and hand stitching to me. Together we admire a black and white quilt and she points out the subtle artistry of the quilter’s unique pattern of not repeating the same pattern.

Wow! I never knew… I leave with a deeper appreciation of the art of quilting. And… I have just enough time to meet up with Jeff, Kenneth, and Paulene before the parade begins.


The parade starts off with a bang, led by Greg from Buddha’s Wellness, the local herbal dispensary.

Phyllis, the volunteer diva, is the queen of the parade.

Our good friend, Kenneth (everybody’s friend), runs out to greet her.

Here comes Smokey the Bear… Remember, only YOU can prevent forest fires! 

Local kids decorate their bikes for the parade.

The rest of the kids watching the parade collect bagfuls of candy strewn along the route. Paulene and I run out to collect candy for the children too shy to grab the booty for themselves.

The floats arrive. (I don’t understand some of their themes either…)

Horses with stars on their butts…

A humongous rock for repairing and reinforcing the jetty at Port Orford’s Dock…

A logging truck makes a political statement about Oregon’s upcoming vote on House Bill 2020, “Carbon Cap and Trade Bill” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (It fails to pass, by the way…)

And finally, on a lighter note… The parade police round up parade observers not wearing a two dollar 4th of July button and throw them in the pokey.


The Dinghy Races

Because the waves are too high on Battle Rock Beach, the dinghy races are moved to the beach by the dock. Four 2 person tag teams complete 6 laps from the shore to the anchored boat with the orange buoy. We meet up with Kenneth and Paulene and Faith and Allen on the hill overlooking the beach.

The winning team uses aluminum oars as opposed to the wooden oars of the other 3 teams. We cheer on the slow, steady, determined team who comes in last.


After the races, the 6 of us head over to TJ’s for brewskis and lunch.

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We make tentative plans to meet for the fireworks on Battle Rock Beach before we go our separate ways.

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But we never meet up…

Jeff and I get too comfy in our jammies. Kenneth and Paulene choose bed too. Allen and Faith live in a house overlooking the dock and have the perfect viewing spot for the fireworks from their windows and decks. (I guess they were in their jammies too…)


Since July 4th is on a Thursday this year, the Jubilee celebration continues into the weekend.


No other town celebrates July 4th quite like Port Orford! It’s an amazing event and experience.

Flowers Everywhere

Blacklock Point

Iris…

Bunchberry, also called Dwarf Dogwood…

Salal…

Rhododendron…

Trapper’s Tea (a type of rhododendron)… MAYBE 

Lupine…

Coast Manroot, also called Bigroot…

Lupine and Coast Manroot…


Sisters Rock State Park

Blackberry…

A prickly pod of something…

Bird’s-Foot Trefoil… MAYBE 

Beach Fleabane…

Scotch Broom…

Sea-Watch, also called Seacoast Angelica…

Some kind of Stonecrop… MAYBE 


Port Orford Heads

Salal and Sea-Watch…

Paintbrush…


Around Town

Sweet Pea…

Scotch Broom…

Foxglove…

Tiger Lily…

Prairie Rose…

Tinker’s Penny, also called Bog St. John’s-Wort… MAYBE… (the flower matches but the leaves do not)

Some kind of Wormwood that grows in the sand… Maybe 


And finally, I want to share this picture of a Bottlebrush Bush…

It’s not a wildflower. It is planted outside of the American Legion Hall where in a few days the 4th of July Pancake Breakfast will take place. The red flowers and blue sky capture the colors of the flag. The green leaves remind me of Mother Earth and her sacred splendor that I want to preserve.

Back to Port Orford

Up to Wyoming, Over to Utah, Into Idaho, and Across into Oregon…

The first night we stay in Rawlings, WY at Red Desert Rose Campground.

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This Mom and Pop RV Park operates like a hotel. Besides offering mints and dog treats upon registering, a courtesy vehicle is available to any guest in Class A or Class C recreational vehicles, or guests who prefer not to unhook their tows.


The second night we pull into Brigham City, Utah and stay at the Golden Spike RV Park.

To get here, we travel parallel to the Great Salt Lake and manage to sneak a peek of this famous body of water between the green foliage.


The third night we cross the border from Idaho into Oregon and stay in Vale, Oregon at Vale Trails RV Park.

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This place is really out in the country!


Finally, we stay in this coiffed park-like setting at Bend/Sisters RV Park in Sisters, Oregon. It’s beautiful!

You place your garbage outside the RV and someone picks it up daily.

Wine and beer is delivered right to your door too, if you so desire.

A rodeo is taking place here over the weekend so we fall asleep to horses and bulls singing low-voiced lullabies.


Wednesday we are back in Port Orford…

Amen!

Lasting Impressions

Of Port Orford

Fuzzy flora…

Tall blooms…

The Port Orford Heads on Dock Day (June 16th)…

The Morrison Dancers on July 4th…

The dinghy races on July 4th…

Port Orford’s dock…

Battle Rock Beach at low tide and through the fog…

A foggy view of Humbug Mountain from Battle Rock Beach…

A beached jelly fish…

Bull kelp at low tide…

Hubbard Creek cutting through Battle Rock Beach…

Waves…

Fish caught by our friend Kenneth…

Agate Beach and low tide debris…

My friend AJ’s car…

The Street Fair organized by our friend Steven…

The Spoon in Langlois…


By now you know how much Jeff and I love Port Orford. The sea either calls your name or lets you pass by. Three summers ago Port Orford beckoned us like a mythological siren. It is simple and pure… raw and refined… small but large with an underground network community… isolated but social… SPECIAL!

Please take the time to view this excellent video about the uniqueness of Oregon’s southern coast from Bandon to Brookings with Port Orford in between.


Bye bye, so long, farewell Port Orford… See you in June!

Cape Blanco Lighthouse Docent

Finding My Niche Part 3

While I was busy pursuing volunteer venues in Port Orford, Jeff made his own phone call, answering an ad on the local radio station for a cashier at the  Cape Blanco Lighthouse. On Thursday, May 24th, Jeff met Steve Roemen, Executive Director of the Cape Blanco Heritage Society and began volunteering once a week at the Lighthouse Visitor/Gift Center.

Jeff soon learned that Steve was looking for a docent in the lantern room of the lighthouse on Mondays to relieve him.

On June 4th I shadowed Steve and a few hours later I was taking 5 people at a time up to the lantern room to share information about the fresnel lens and the nighttime duties of the lighthouse keepers.


So, without more ado, let the tour begin…

Welcome to Cape Blanco Lighthouse home of:

  1.  The oldest CONTINUALLY operating lighthouse in OREGON (December 20, 1870 the lantern was first lit.)
  2. The most WESTERLY lighthouse in OREGON (The tip of Cape Blanco is the farthest west you can go in Oregon.)
  3. The HIGHEST lighthouse ABOVE SEA LEVEL in OREGON (The focal plane of light is 245 feet above sea level.)
  4. The FIRST FEMALE lighthouse keeper in OREGON (Mabel Bretherton was served as 2nd Assistant Keeper from 1903-1905.)

The tour starts downstairs in the office/workroom and oil room. A seam in the ceiling indicates the room was once divided by a wall separating the 2 areas.

The lighthouse keepers began their days fulfilling office duties and completing any repairs on lighthouse equipment.

Eight 100 gallon drums, originally filled with lard and later mineral oil, were heated by a potbelly stove. Before sunset, the 2 keepers on night duty carried pitchers of oil, a supply of wicks, and lantern replacement parts up the 59 spiral steps to the Watch Level.

Right before sundown they ascended the ladder into the lantern room, opened the fresnel lens, and lit the fire that would guide ships around Cape Blanco at night. It’s possible its light could be seen 23 miles out at sea on a clear night.

After lighting the wick, they descended onto the Watch Level again to adjust the series of flues along the upper brick walls to ensure the fire was burning bright and steady.

But enough talk… the main attraction awaits us up the ladder… the fresnel lens…

Please remember to stay on the black mat, to refrain from touching the lens, and to ascend and descend the ladder facing its steps.

As people step up into the lantern room the oohs and aahs and wows begin as they get up close and personal to the rotating fresnel lens installed in 1936 and still functioning today in 2018.

This lens is not the original one of the lighthouse. The first fresnel lens was a little bigger, did not rotate, and the focal plane was a drum panel. Both lenses, however, were designed by Henry Lepaute and manufactured in Paris, France.

The lens you are viewing weighs one ton. Eight bullseyes rotate slowly around a 1,000 watt halogen bulb. The second bulb is the backup. On a clear night or day the light can be seen as far as 26 miles away. That’s the magic of the optical physics of the fresnel lens. Prisms bend the waves of light and concentrate them into a focal plane.  Every 18.2 seconds the focal plane of light emanating from a bullseye appears for 1.8 seconds.

There’s much more I could share with you but I hope you will someday visit Cape Blanco Lighthouse. The lighthouse is open from 10 am-3:15 pm Wednesday through Monday April through September. If you visit on a Monday my friends from the Heritage Society, Steven, Bob, Judi or Steve, might be giving tours.  The State Park’s volunteers are docents Wednesday through Sunday.

As we descend back down into the office/work/oil room let me say a few words about the weather here.

Sometimes thick fog shrouds the cape and beaches.

Sometimes the winds almost knock you over.

Sometimes it’s so cold and windy that you need to don hat and gloves.

And sometimes it’s sunny and clear in Port Orford, like this picture taken from Paradise Point. But notice the fog and marine layer surrounding Cape Blanco and the lighthouse…


My friend Daisy sent me this link from August 25th of The Oregonian, the oldest continuously published newspaper on the U.S. west coast. (There’s that word continuously again!) Blogger Steven Michael shares his 2014 visit to Cape Blanco and Port Orford.

It’s a well written article with great pics. I hope you will take the time to read it!