Hello Again, Oregon
Leaving the Redwoods in search of long stretches of beach I continued north into Oregon, stopping at numerous overlooks as I made my way up the coast. I soon found myself at just south of Gold Beach where I happily set up for the remainder of the day, walking miles along the shore, admiring the sea stacks, and cooking some lunch. Mid afternoon I got back in my car and headed to the local Arch Rock Brewery where I chatted with the Quality Control Manager, Kristen while sampling their mind-blowingly amazing beer. As a production brewery, they don’t bottle or have a fancy taproom but do not let this deter you from stopping by: their beer is some of the best you will ever have, no lie. Their Pistol River Pale Ale is seriously one of the 2 best ales I’ve ever had; it was so good that I purchased a growler which I promptly took back to the beach and drained while reading in the sun (it should be noted that the growler is a 32 oz. and that I did not drink 64 oz. of beer in addition to the pint I had at the brewery). Still I slept parked right next to said beach.
The next morning I stopped for a morning walk at Sisters Rock, a stunning rough basalt outcropping coated in emerald green grass, after which I headed to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse, which boasted a beautiful double-walled brick tower complete with copper vents and an impressive, still-functioning first order Fresnel lens. The volunteer at the top of the tower told me incredible stories of the keepers who fought the constant, brutal winds that whip across the exposed headland, getting to the tower for their shifts by wearing a harness that was clipped to a line between their and the keepers’ quarters. Also relayed to me was the story of a keeper’s widow named Mabel – whose husband had been a keeper at Yaquina Head – and who applied to the Lighthouse Service in 1903 in order to support her 3 young children; her interview consisted of proving she could carry 60-80 pound buckets of fuel up the stairs and of rowing the rescue boat 8 miles out against the surf across the reef and back. After looking at the waves crashing for miles out along the reef on what was apparently a calm day I don’t know how anyone could have rowed the heavy lifesaving boat against that, nevermind dragged in up onto the beach. My visit to Cape Blanco Lighthouse was immediately followed up by a stop down the road at Coquille Lighthouse, which is also a state park that afforded me a place to walk and cook an early dinner. Finally, the following morning I took a peaceful extended walk on a state park beach (possibly Carl G. Washburn Memorial State Park, not sure) where I came across a dozen intact sand dollars over the course of 3 hours.
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Great beer and beaches, what a winning combo!
Gosh, I know!!!!
Not that you are heading back to the California coast, but have you had a chance to hit Point Reyes or the Lost Coast? Other than the coastal stretches of Olympic National Park, those are the only sections of wilderness coastline on the west coast. They are very different from each other but both are pretty awesome. By the way, have you ever been to Mount Shasta or spent much time in the Eastern Sierra?
I didn’t stop at Point Reyes despite a recommendation because I thought it would be crowded. I should go, yeah? Lost Coast was on my list but I ended up bypassing it for no particular reason; I tend to travel haphazardly when I’m alone. Haven’t been to the Eastern Sierras – yet! We’re driving south through CA next month to get to a wedding and I’m not sure what our schedule will be like but your photos are inspiring! If we decide to go I will definitely check out your recommendations and drop you a line. Tom is thinking of going down the coast a bit but we’ll decide once we get closer.