Friday, May 4, 2018

Traveling down the South Oregon Coast [6/18]

In this part of our Pacific Northwest travel series we will cover the part of our journey on the South Oregon coast from Shore Acres State Park to Brookings, the last city in Oregon on the coast that we visited. It was an incredible beautiful last full day on the coast, the sun came out in the morning and stayed unburdened by clouds, pretty much the whole day. The next day we entered California and then went inland, but more on that in the next post. In this part we will visit the Shore Acres State Park, which turned out to be a welcome surprise with incredible views, we then went to Bandon, Gold Beach and eventually a hike in the Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor. Come along with us!




A sunny morning at Shore Acres State Park

This wonderful park is 13 miles (21 km) south of Coos Bay where spent the night before. It is one of three state parks along the Cape Arago Highway, which runs along the Pacific Ocean west of U.S. Route 101. It was supposed to be a quick stop before continuing on with our drive, but we stayed longer then we should have. First, the drive along the coast line is really beautiful, and second the scenery at the state park is full of photo opportunities.








Storms from days past had completely ripped a few trees out the ground. The grotesque sights of the roots was fascinating, scary and at the same time unnerving. The power of nature can be felt at each corner. Make sure to tread carefully along the slippery edge (though a wooden fence shields you from most of the tough spots).


Shore Acres Gardens

The park features 5 acres of formal gardens including a rose-testing plot and Japanese lily pond, as well as ocean views and beach access. In the cooler months, you can watch storms and migrating whales from the park's sandstone cliffs. Another seasonal attraction is the Shore Acres Holiday Lights, lasting from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve, when the gardens are decorated with lights and illuminated sculptures.





Shore Acres was originally an estate owned by Louis J. Simpson, a Coos County timber baron and son of shipping magnate Asa Meade Simpson. After fire and financial losses devastated his estate holdings, Simpson sold the land to the State of Oregon for use as a park in 1942. The state, which acquired park additions from other owners between 1956 and 1980, began restoring the garden in 1970. Roaming the gardens is both relaxing and exciting. There is a wonderful sight at every corner and we came at the right time, since most of the flowers were in full bloom, especially the tulips. Very colorful and vivid!






Coquille River Light

Originally named Bandon Light, Coquille River Light was commissioned in 1895. First lit on February 29, 1896, the light guided mariners past the dangerous shifting sandbars into the Coquille River and harbor at Bandon. The beaches next to it were full of people visiting. It was a bit windy and we didn't stay too long. The lighthouse was a small one but we did enjoy it. The town of Bandon was next up.


Entering Bandon

We only made a quick stop in Bandon, which is another charming little town. It was named by George Bennet, an Irish peer, who settled nearby in 1873 and named the town after Bandon in Ireland, his hometown. On September 26, 1936, a fire burned several miles of forest east of town. But a sudden shift in the wind drove the flames swiftly westward. Ignited by the forest fire, the town’s abundant gorse became engulfed in flames. The total loss stated at the time was $3 million USD, with 11 fatalities. There is still gorse in Bandon today, but municipal codes strictly regulate how high and thick it may be allowed to get.



Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor

At Cape Sebastian, the Pacific coastline juts westwards a way and the land rises 700 feet almost vertically, making this one of the highest and most far reaching ocean viewpoints in Oregon. The top of the point is covered by a thick forest of Sitka spruce and other trees, and is crossed by a short trail leading to a series of overlooks, from where the vista stretches 25 miles northwards, as far as Humbug Mountain, and a similar distance south, to the coastal hills of north California.


We started our hike unknowingly how long it would be. After 30 minutes going down the hill and through the forest we reached the conclusion the we wouldn't be able to reach the shore. Going down hill was one thing, climbing back up in the heat and without water another. There is no charge for entry or parking, and few facilities, but the state park is quite popular owing to the spectacular, easily accessed viewpoints.


After we got back to our car, we drove to nearby Brookings, the last town on the Oregon coast heading south. We were only a few miles from California, and we would enter this familiar state next day.



End of Part Six
To be continued...


23 comments:

  1. The differences in weather between Brookings and Crescent City can be amazing... 75 and sunny in Brookings while it may be cloudy, misting, and 50 in Crescent City. I think it has to do with warm currents in the ocean. Brookings is a wonderful place to live I'm told.

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    1. Brookings is a small town, very peaceful and quiet. We went for dinner there, the only thing lacking is a town center or walking lane. Everything is located on a main street which is fairly busy.

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  2. Excellent series of images Mersad. The tree roots pulled out by the storm are like a natural sculpture ✨

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    1. It truly is. I think I have to put that one up on the wall.

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  3. absolutely beautiful, every single place you visited... gorgeous photos, all of them.

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    1. Thanks Sandra. There is so much more to come, but I wanted to linger on the coastline a bit longer.

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  4. I was just in Brookings last weekend! I also spent a day in Bandon, one of my favorite towns on the coast. And Shore Acres State Park is a great place to spend some time. Enjoying seeing my lovely state through your photos.

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    1. So happy to hear you say that. We love Oregon anf Washington State. Of course we will explore your favorite Columbia River Gorge in detail later on.

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  5. Wonderful coastal images. You were blessed with a beautiful day for this part of your trip. I don't like those hikes that start out going downhill. With every step downward, I can't help but think of the steps that will be required on the return trip. It looked like a beautiful hike through the trees, though.

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    1. It wad an amazing hike, but I agree each step down is a step up. And there were a lot of steps down. We hiked almost two hours and it got really steep in places and the road does get narrow as well. You have to come prepared for sure. But the views are amazing.

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  6. I do love the Oregon Coast. Bandon is one of my favorite towns too. Beautiful images
    MB

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  7. I am greatly enjoying your travels down the coast. I see you have not lost your photographic skills.

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    1. Thank you so much. Next post will be the last of the coastline, as we move inland towards Ashland.

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  8. We visited Shore Acres in the 90s and were taken by the rose gardens. It's a lovely spot.

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  9. I'm sure I've told you how much I'm enjoying your voyage through Oregon, and I think I mentioned I have a friend living on the coast. Now I just have to convince my husband that we should take a detour after we visit my family in southwestern British Columbia next month! Thank you for sharing your wonderful voyage with us.
    Kay
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

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  10. Beautiful photos! Have a wonderful week!

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  11. We love Shore Acres ... has been years since we’ve seen it in the Spring, but as you read it is beautiful all seasons. Brandon and/or Brookings were favorite four-day getaways for us , when we were able to take long weekends. Brookings is known as the “Banana Belt” of the Oregon Coast and we know several people who have retired there. Thanks for the memories once again!

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  12. Poor little Brookings was decimated by a forest fire last year. We visited before that event and have not seen it after yet. My husband's sister lives there so I know we will be going back. It also has the distinction of being the only place bombed from the air during WWII by a plane launched from a Japanese sub. In 2015 the pilot of the plane dedicated a plaque at the site and gave the city a samurai sword as a symbol of peace. Any attempts by the Japanese to start fires all along the coast during the war (balloon bombs generally) were unsuccessful because the coast stays so wet! They didn't know about the unending fog and rain! :-) Anyway, we loved seeing these areas...Bandon was a treat. Your photos are absolutely amazing! Beautiful shots, and I enjoyed especially seeing the ones taken on your hikes because we cannot do any hiking anymore and are so limited because of that. Great post!

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    1. Thank you for that bit of trivia Marie, that's very interesting to read. Glad you like our images and the ones from our hike. After the sweat we broke in taking them I really do consider them a public service :D

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