Bandon

By the time we were ready to head out the sun was shining and we were feeling really lucky to possibly have another glorious day on the coast. We walked down to Bullards Beach, about 1 mile from the campground; a large dune separated us from the ocean. Climbing to the top we saw men along the shore fishing, some even catching and the lighthouse to the south on the Coquille River.

Bullard Beach Trail

Coquile Lighthouse

Leaving the campground we drove south to the lighthouse for quick look before leaving the Bandon area but first . . . a stop at Face Rock Creamery, a devilish place with outrageously good homemade ice cream, the smallest cup $2 and too much for one person to eat. They also have a love deli where we ordered a cheese Panini with some of their fresh aged cheddar, sinfully good! The also sell a nice selection of Oregon wines, handmade sausages, many cheese made on site and an array of tempting jams, jellies and picnic fare. This is a dangerous place but one I would highly recommend if in Bandon, if for nothing else than the ice cream.

Just south of town we diverted to a residential area just to poke around and we found an area with a Cliffside trail along the Bandon headlands, overlooking a beautiful beach. It was cold and windy but a really nice walk. The trails also lead down to the beach but we stayed up on top feeling too full to climb the steep hill after our lunch.

Bandon Headlands

Bandon Headlands

Leaving Bandon behind the drive south along the coast highway to Brookings took us through Samuel H. Boardman seashore, a beautiful area of offshore sea stacks, secluded white sand beaches and forested hiking trails, a really love stretch of coastline.

Arriving at Harris Beach State Park we found the entire front of the park had been devastated by the wind storm; most of the trees were down along the ocean side; the park was open but a massive clean up was underway. Even though it was Saturday we found a campsite, it was a little too close to the road and a bit noisy but we weren’t about to be picky and it did quiet down after dark.

Harris Beach

After dinner we walked down to the beach to wait the sunset, sometimes spectacular in this park. Tonight it was beautiful but not what I would call spectacular. We got in a lot of walking today, about 5 miles so should sleep well tonight.

 

Sunset at Harris Beach

Sunset at Harris Beach

Bullard Beach & Simpson Beach

We awoke to glorious sunshine and blue sky . . . can it last all day? By the time we had finished breakfast it was raining so we relaxed and had another cup of coffee. The squall passed and the sun reappeared oh joy! The rangers arrive in force to the next campsite, uh oh are we in trouble? No, they were here to cut down a tree that was leaning over the evacuation trail we had walked yesterday, we knew the one he was talking about and were reassured it would be gone by the end of the day.

Today’s excursion was to retrace our steps north to Coos Bay and then out to Shore Acres State Park, the estate of timber baron, Simpson. On the way we stopped at Sunset Bay a beautiful little secluded cove, and today very not crowded. We watched the rollers come in for some time and back at the car talked to a local who was getting ready to surf. He was a very friendly fellow, having lived here since the age of 13, now 63. He and George struck up a conversation about aging and staying fit and then he asked some rather pointed questions that I felt were a little creepy.   We tried to retreat to the van but he was happy to keep talking. It was a little awkward but that’s probably just our “city paranoia”.

Not far from Sunset Bay is Shore Acres State Park, an absolutely beautiful piece of property perched on a cliff above the sea with magnificent gardens, something blooming for every season. Today the azaleas were at peak, daffodils and tulips were still showing lots of color but waning and the camellias and rhodys were just blossoming. We walked the whole garden, down the trail along the headlands and down to Simpson Beach, trying to imagine what it would be like to have THIS as your front yard.

Simpson Headlands

Leaving the gardens we continued on to Simpson Reef a short distance, pulled off and as soon we exited the car we could hear the sea lions out on the reef, they were easy to spot.

It had been a full day and a full day of sun, glorious!!! We had to stop at the market in Bandon for some supplies and . . . the Creamery where George ordered a child’s size cup of ice cream (it was huge). I opted for some aged sharp cheddar and St. Augur blue cheese – perfect for appetizers.

Great Day!

 

Bandon Oregon

We awoke to a little sunshine but the forecast does not look promising, we are still facing more rain, I cannot tell you how tired I am of rain! Along with the stressful I-5 driving the scenery is mind-numbing so we decided despite the weather to head for the coast, maybe not the best decision but at least the scenery is better.  Decision made, we relaxed and enjoyed watching two ospreys busily building their nest in a field on the edge of the campground; they kept us entertained through breakfast. The Twin Rivers Park sits on the Umpqua River and just outside the gate a lovely city park runs a fair distance along the river with picnic tables, a covered picnic shelter, volleyball area, play area, a swimming area along a gentle stretch of the river and wide open grassy areas.

Guardian of Twin Rivers

Back on the road toward the coast it didn’t take long before the rain started again; it was short lived. Most of the ride from Roseburg to Bandon was rain-free. To my delight we spotted one covered bridge along the way and had to stop for a photo, I love Oregon’s covered bridges.

Sandy Creek Bridge

By the time we reached the coast the sun was out and so were we, out of the van that is, parking along the waterfront of Bandon to walk the docks and soak up the sunshine. We had lunch at the Fish Market, a small but busy little restaurant on the dock, fresh salmon for George and fresh cod for me, yum, yum!

Bike Art in Bandon

Coquille Lighthouse

Tomorrow we will visit the Shore Acres Park north about 30 miles so booked two nights at Bullard’s Beach State Park. One loop was closed due to damage from the windstorm. We did walk the “Evacuation” trail (in case of tsunami) near our campsite, a nice forest hike to a high point above the campground. In the afternoon we sat out and enjoyed the sun on our faces, this has been a good day.

Rain, rain go away . . .

Light rain off and on last night, our towels are not drying but we stay warm in the van with the heater “on call” 24/7. In the campground they are still cleaning up after the Friday storm and the sounds of chain saws fill the forest, as we get ready to leave camp.

It was a terrible drive today, rain and wind, rain and wind, rain and rain and rain . . .

We finally gave up in Roseburg had a wonderful lunch at Brix and then headed out to a campground not far from town.

Trail of the Falls

No rain this morning, hooray!! After the weather we’ve seen thus far I didn’t hold out much hope that it would be a good day, weather wise. We dressed in full rain gear and carried an extra poncho . . . just in case. I had hoped that the falls would be spectacular because of the amount of recent rainfall and the warming temperatures bringing on the snowmelt. We were not disappointed AND the countless lower woodland wildflowers were beginning to show their colors.

Wildflowers along the Falls Trail

The weather was perfect for hiking so we walked the mile from the campground to the Trail of Waterfalls and started out on the Canyon Trail to pass under the beautiful 171’ South Falls, an awesome feeling to walk under this fall of water spilling over a rock cliff high above. Hiking down the canyon next up was Lower South Falls a 93’ cascade that we walked behind to continue on the trail, breathtaking! Another mile through the canyon to Lower North Falls a short 30’ drop but a wide falls, beautiful. From here there is a short spur trail that takes you to Double Falls 178’ drop in all with a second cascade starting about 2/3 of the way down. Still no rain! We stopped here and sat by a bridge at the top of Lower North Falls for a rest, a little snack and to enjoy the sound of the water pouring over the falls. Next came Drake Falls a mere 27’ this one with a viewing platform over the edge of the river. Middle North Falls was next, another stunning 106’ cascade and where we had to decide to continue on the last loop and three more falls or take a short cut back along the rim trail. We opted for the rim trail but first Winter Falls spilling 134’ in a spectacular cascade off the rim of canyon. The rim trail took us through quiet forest marks of downed trees here and there and scattered branches everywhere but the trail was actually in good condition save for one muddy stretch where a large tree had made it’s mark on earth, landing across the path.

South Falls

Lower South Falls

Drake Falls

Lower North Falls

Middle North Falls

Winter Falls

By the time we reached the van we had logged 7 miles, a bit much for our first hike but the falls are seductive and keep you moving.

The Canyon Trail is not a difficult trail, mostly flat with a few ups and downs and there were spots that were quite muddy this time of year, turning some of the tennis shoe hikers back. We also slogged through areas where there had been a lot of trees downed in the Friday windstorm but otherwise it was good hiking.

We took our time along the trail and stopped often for shots of the different falls and, of course, the wildflowers. I was pretty tired by 6 miles but we still had a mile back to the campground and a light rain had just started. I put my camera away and protected my pack, we arrived back at camp tired and a little damp but stimulated and inspired by the gorgeous hike and breathing in the fresh, clean air, thinking why don’t we do this more often?

Caution signs on a bike trail

All in all we felt extremely lucky to have a mostly rain-free day with the exception of the last mile and happily we had dressed for the mud and rain so it was not a big deal. Great day!

Back at the van we were pooped but not too pooped to pop the cork on a bottle of champagne to celebrate being back on the road again and to celebrate a beautiful day of hiking; I wonder how I will feel tomorrow . . .

Oregon Garden

We heard rain drops and a little wind during the night but nothing to cause concern, however, after awaking to some blue sky and feeling optimistic about the day we packed up quickly after breakfast to continue our journey south into Oregon only to be met by rain a short distance down the road and then a few miles farther by a torrential rains and this before we even made it to the interstate. It was nearly impossible to see the road in some spots and then ahead we saw bright sky and so it went for the rest of the day, drifting in and out of the rain squalls.

By the time we reached Silverton the skies had brightened and we were seeing blue and seized the opportunity to explore the Oregon Garden under dry skies. It was beautiful even though we are ahead of most blooms. We had a good long ramble and then lunch at the resort consisting of  appetizers in the lounge, we missed lunch but no worries, we ordered coconut shrimp and a smoked salmon flatbread pizza with capers, red onions and a dill cream sauce, delicious. We also sampled the Oregon Garden Chardonnay and found it quite wonderful, with a lively taste to our liking. We’ll have to look for it in Eugene.

The resort itself was a lovely place with cabins scattered about the grounds, a first class restaurant, spa and access to the gardens. We thought it would be a fun place to return during one of the garden events . . . maybe the Christmas lights.

Oregon Garden in Silverton, OR

Contorted trunk of a willow tree, reminds me of a dancing lady.

Silver Falls State Park was just 18 miles down the road and a beautiful drive through rolling hills and fields of the bright green of spring. We checked in for 2 nights and did a short hike through the campground and a nature trail before dinner. Tomorrow weather permitting we will walk the waterfall trails. 10 waterfalls in 8.7 miles and with all the recent rains and warmer temperatures they should be spectacular.

Driving the country roads to Silver Falls State Park

On the road again . . .

On 9 days behind schedule but we finally pulled out of the driveway around 1:00 p.m. heading to points south with a goal of Yosemite National Park. We have until the end of the month before we need to be home and this first week the weather does not promise to be much more than rain, no matter whether we take the coastal route, go straight down I-5 or even head to the eastside of the Cascades which also threatens rain/snow. For now we opt for the shortest distance, straight down I-5 as far as Salem or Roseburg and then look at the weather forecast.

 

It was a little disconcerting to see two of the campgrounds along I-5 south of Olympia closed but Seaquest State Park, gateway to Mt. St. Helens was open so that’s where we decided to go, only 5 miles off the freeway it would be easy enough to turn around if we didn’t like it. As we pulled into the camping area we noticed a lot of tree limbs and branches scattered about in fact we backed out of the first camping loop because of the amount of debris on the roadway. A ranger was clearing one of the roads so we stopped and talked to make sure the campground was open for business. He said they had experienced 60 mph winds on Friday, lost 7 trees and countless limbs large and small. He had one section of the roadway cleared so we opted to camp the night in the full hook-up area where it had been cleared.

We set up camp and took a walk through the destruction, what a mess! Exploring one of the closed loops you could barely see the picnic tables. I wanted to see if we could get to the lake without running across a busy highway and sure enough there was an underpass that led to a beautiful walkway through the marshes with a great view across the lake to snow-capped Mt. St. Helens. I had not brought my camera but tried to capture it with the cell phone, not the same.

Water Lily

The Visitor Center was closed by this time but we may stop in the morning and I saw a group of trillium that I would like to shoot with my “real” camera tomorrow.

Trillium

Back in camp another trailer had arrived and we stopped to chat, a nice couple of Mukilteo out on their maiden voyage with a brand new trailer. They invited us over but by the time we finished dinner and cleaned up the kitchen it was getting dark and had started to drizzle, maybe we will see them in the morning.