Immediately upon entering Oregon, we found a different culture. A family spending a sunny afternoon playing at the beach had a bucket to pick up trash and leave the shore cleaner than they found it. A man walking on the side of Highway 101 also appeared to have a bag of collected trash. A simple transaction at the Farmers’ Market results in a group conversation (a phenomenon also recognized by other travelers). People are aware of their surroundings, both physical and social, and recognize themselves as a part of a collective, not walling themselves off as individuals.

Oregon has amazingly beautiful coast line, and a prescient governor had the foresight to designate all beaches as state-owned property open for public use . Any long distance hikers out there up for a challenge can hike the length of it along the 382 mile Coast Trail. As slow going as sand-walking is, this would probably take twice as long as the 460 mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail through Oregon. Thankfully, many state parks dot the coast line offering a more conventional camping experience. We stayed at two: Bullards Beach State Park  near Bandon and South Beach State Park near Newport.

Bullards Beach State Park

We arrived at Bullards Beach State Park in the late afternoon, with just enough time to set up camp and take a quick bike ride before dark. Luckily this park offers great roads for riding; the a six mile roundtrip ride to the Coquille River Lighthouse makes a lovely ride. We stayed here only one night, because we were low on supplies and a farmer’s market in Coos Bay was beckoning me the following day. A heat wave hit…at the market everyone was complaining about how incredibly hot it was. I love being back in a place where 80 degrees is a heatwave worthy of complaint! That is hot weather I can live with.

View of the ocean from Bullards Beach State Park.

View of the ocean from Bullards Beach State Park.

Coquille River Lighthouse at sunset.

Coquille River Lighthouse at sunset.

A little early morning ride to the lighthouse before heading off.

A little early morning ride to the lighthouse before heading off.

South Beach State Park

The next stop was South Beach State Park, which offers something for everybody: Frisbee golf (I say Frisbee rather than disc on purpose – this is not a disc golf course), an interpretive trail, biking, hiking, a book exchange, games to borrow, and activities for children. We took full advantage of this park, including a long walk splashing in the ocean (to John’s dismay) and getting the Aerobie (a flying ring thrown like a frisbee) stuck in a tree during a game of Frisbee golf. John had to climb up and throw the disks at it to finally knock it down. The hiking trail was amazing in the spring; it was lined with dense thickets of flowering shrubs, such as rhododendron and huckleberry, adding lovely colors to the view.

Footprints in the sand, leading John to join me in the cold water.

Footprints in the sand, leading John to join me in the cold water.

Looking across the sand.

View across the sand.

Looking down the jetty to the ocean.

Looking down the jetty to the ocean.

A surfer and a kayaker rode the waves next to the jetty. This dog would run out as far as he dared, before getting scared and running from the waves back to shore. Over and over he would run out then back, out then back, until finally the surfer came in and reunited with his loyal pet.

A surfer and a kayaker rode the waves next to the jetty. This dog would run out as far as he dared, before getting scared and running from the waves back to shore. Over and over he would run out then back, out then back, until finally the surfer came in and reunited with his loyal pet.

The park is off the beach in a more wooded area. A crow perches in this tree.

The park is off the beach in a more wooded area. A crow perches in this moss-draped tree.

Sunset over jetty.

Sunset over jetty.

Sunset over boat between jetties.

Sunset over boat between jetties.

Goodnight and goodbye, ocean.

Goodnight and goodbye, ocean.

We had a great time at South Beach State Park, but after a couple days we had to say goodbye to the ocean for a while, and we headed into the “big city”. We will return to the beautiful Oregon coast in future summers.

May 13-17, 2014

2 Thoughts on “Oregon Coast

  1. Patricia Lehne on October 28, 2014 at 5:49 am said:

    Oregon sounds like a wonderful place to live. Your pictures are beautiful. I enjoy your blogs immensely and look so forward to them.

  2. Tom Boyd on October 28, 2014 at 6:35 am said:

    Oh Sweet Memories! Tudy & I so enjoyed the Oragon Coast. Thank you for a wonderful walk down memoriy Lane.

    Blessings & love
    Uncle Tom
    Aunt Naomi

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