January in Oregon is usually very rainy, but occasionally there can be a sunny day. They tend to be absolutely beautiful when they happen and a recent day was no exception. So, I headed to the Coast looking forward to new/old adventures there. Was not disappointed as it was not only sunny, but not much in the way of clouds and gorgeous blue skies.
The Historic McCullough Bridge is picturesque from the Veteran’s Memorial Park. The bridge was restored some years back. They found the original molds for the concrete walls and used them for the restoration. At this time, they have aged and look like the originals.
First stop was the bank (with a long wait) in North Bend and then pickup curbside groceries. They tried to give me someone else’s order but I KNEW I didn’t order cottage cheese….got the right order and headed West into a neighborhood I’ve never been. I roamed around there for a while until I realized I was going to have to wend my way back to Newmark Ave and did.
Then it was an easy drive to the bay road with water views and lots of interesting houses and businesses along the route. Did my heart good to see some new businesses that had popped up since the last time I was on this road. It has been a few years.
My first photographable site was what turned out to be a new statue of Charlie the Tuna. He’s popular where he’s located in Charleston Harbor. Several years ago, the original Charlie was stolen by a couple of teenagers and damaged. They were found out, got into trouble, but Charlie was returned and repaired. He sits at the Charleston visitor’s bureau. This photo is of the newer Charlie which is stationed on the north side of the bridge as you cross to enter Charleston, Oregon. There’s actually a lot of fun things to do in Charleston but that’s for another time. We’re off for ocean adventures….
There aren’t a lot of ocean views until you reach the turn off to Basdendorff Beach which I did. Basdendorff is a state park and has a very nice campground up above the beach. One of our family members often stays there. I stopped up top for this photo….
….before heading down to the beach. There are a lot of younger adults that hang at Basdendorff and they were here. There were also surfers. I think it takes a lot of moxey to surf the Pacific Ocean which has a mean temperature of about 55*. But this is the middle of January!!! Beautiful day but chilly. Not sure their wetsuits are all that insulating. Ah, to be young!
On down the road is one of our family’s favorite places, Sunset Bay State Park. When the tide is out, you can go tide pooling to see all the small creatures that live in the tide pools, including purple Sea Stars, Cucumbers, Turban Snails, Mussels and more. And we have. It’s quite an adventure out to the furthest point on the right. There are also picnic tables and the beautiful beach.
Birds abound in this small bay which is more cove than bay in this writer’s opinion. Gulls and Terns…..
And this Black Bird flew right in front of the camera to pose for this one….
Traveling on we pass Shore Acres State Park. It is a fee area so I skipped it today. Shore Acres is where the best Christmas light display anywhere happens when there isn’t any Covid 19. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen this year but hopefully in December 2021! There’s a viewpoint here that is toted as the best place on the Oregon Coast to storm watch because the waves crash against the rocks and shoot up many feet.
Past Shore Acres is another family favorite state park, Cape Arago. There is a lighthouse as this picture demonstrates, but it is closed to visitors. Still quite the photo op….
On down, or rather up as the road climbs at this point up to the cape. A stop to view Simpson’s Reef where the many Harbor Seals, California Sea Lions, Stellar Sea Lions and Elephant Sea Lions hang out at various times of the year. The Harbor Seals have pups here on the beach. If you look closely at this photo, you can see them on that beach out on the reef.
When there are more of the various varieties, the Harbor Seals are often in the cove. At low tide, this is another great place to go tide pooling. One year on the climb back up, we stopped to sit on a handy bench about half way up. A young family member spotted their first whale here. It was feeding just beyond the reef. Real excitement
On the way back up the coast I pulled into Eel Lake. It is a small, inland lake along the coast road. There is a large, public park with a beach, dock, picnic tables and boat launch. On the south side is a campground. But, my favorite part is the hiking trail that goes part way around the lake. It’s a beautiful place to hike with the lake in view all the way.
We never pass up the opportunity to visit the Umpqua River Lighthouse perched up above the Dunes and Ocean view. Just behind the lighthouse is another small, inland coast lake, Lake Marie. This is another great place to hike. A shorter hike than Eel Lake, 3 rounds are great exercise. Here, too, is a small beach and picnic tables. No motorized boats on this lake but a row boat with people fishing can often be seen and canoes and kayaks enjoy paddling along here. There is a lot of fishing from the banks, too. One day I was hiking along the north side of the lake when 4 fellas suddenly appeared out of the forest. It was an abrupt surprise. They were mushroom hunting in the forest. Many people do that to make some extra income.
Parked to enjoy the expansive ocean view, oyster beds and jettys where the
whales can be seen during migrations north and south, behind us is our favorite lighthouse….If you get to this part of the Oregon Coast, don’t miss the chance to visit these ocean places.