Walter and Sara On the road to who knows where
Tuesday August 9th, it was sunny from the get go at Harris Beach State Park in Brookings, OR. We were working again and had put on our long johns to start the day since it was still only in the mid 50’s. But my mid-morning we had to stop and change clothes because it had gotten warm! In fact, this was our warmest day yet with highs in the upper 70’s.

We had just under 60 sites to clean (better than the day before at least) and the flow of the campers exiting meant we had time for a break in the late morning which really helps keep our tails from dragging by 1:30. All our campers were out by 1 pm (check out time) and even with a break we were back at the trailer before 2. I changed into my shorts—yippee. Long johns to shorts in one day—welcome to the Oregon Coast! Then we had a nice quiet afternoon that included naps all around.

Wednesday August 10th was sunny again. We happily took the morning off and were rewarded by a visit from a doe who came to feast on the blackberry bushes along the back of our site. She was so tame that she didn’t even flinch when I opened our door and leaned out to take a photo.

Deer at Harris Beach SP

Having completed our wildlife sighting for the day, we headed north again along Hwy 101 for another round of exploration of Samuel H Boardman State Park. First we revisited the Natural Bridges viewpoint (where we’d hiked a long way to the north the week before to see a natural bridge through the trees) and took the Oregon Coast Trail south this time. The first clue that we’d gone the right way was the fact that the trail was paved—duh! Then a nice railing appeared which led us out onto a deck overlooking a pair of lovely natural bridges and a large sea cave to the left. Success!

Natural Bridges Boardman SP

From there we turned south again and drove to the Whaleshead Viewpoint just south of Whaleshead beach where we had lunch last week. Here you can see Whaleshead Island on the right through a forest of dead foxglove. All I could think was how gorgeous this view must have been back in June when they were in bloom.

Whaleshead Viewpoint Boardman SP

I don’t know the name of the island on the left but it made me think of a whale too since it seems to have a tail.

Whaleshead Viewpoint Boardman SP

A couple of miles south we turned into the lot for House Rock Viewpoint. There are big stone stairs that lead up to a flat open area with a sweeping view to the north.

House Rock Viewpoint Boardman SP

In ten years this view may disappear because there were LOTS of small spruces that will get very tall in a few years.

We spent a lot of time trying to figure out which rock was House Rock and finally just gave it up and drove less than a mile further south to the Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint.   

Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint Boardman SP

There’s a nice bench here where you can sit and enjoy the view but we decided we’d take the one mile loop trail to Cape Ferrelo itself. To get to the loop trail (no signage of course) we took the Oregon Coast Trail south a ways. This gave us an even greater view of the cove to the north.

Cape Ferrelo Trail north view

As the trail began to turn west I grabbed a photo of the view to the south, no knowing whether we’d get another view of this gorgeous bay.

Cape Ferrelo Trail southward view

The view to the north kept getting better.

Cape Ferrelo Trail view

And the wind got stronger and stronger. This was one of those hikes where I had to spend part of the time holding onto my hat just to make sure it didn’t take off (even with a chinstrap).

The view to the south of what turned out to be Lone Ranch Beach opened up to a wonderful vista.  

Cape Ferrelo Lone Ranch Beach
The trail became more challenging not only because of the wind but because it was only about a foot-width wide so you had to walk with your feet lined up in a line. It was a pretty deep rut in places and required some serious balance (in the wind) to keep upright. But the reward was that you could now see the complete bay to the north.

Cape Ferrelo Trail view north

In the spring this hike must be gorgeous. There were clumps of Pacific Irises all over the place with plenty of seed pods to prove there had been flowers in June. By the time we got out to the end of the Cape it was a struggle to stay upright in the wind. Neither of us wanted to get too close to the edge...

Cape Ferrelo Trail

But I couldn’t resist trying to capture it all.

Cape Ferrelo Trail

The trail turned back inland and down the headland a ways and gave us a closer view of the sea stacks to the south.

Cape Ferrelo Trail

Along this south-facing hillside there was a huge patch of sedum with its leaves in all sorts of colors. I can certainly understand why some folks call it stonecrop as it clings tenaciously to the boulders here.

Cape Ferrelo sedum

There were little patches of Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) blooming in the dry grass.    
Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

And huge expanses Coyote Bush (Baccharis pilularis) in bloom. This stuff was really fragrant. I’d never seen any before and it took some research to figure out what it was.

Coyote Bush (Baccharis pilularis)

The hillside was also covered with big swathes of Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea).

Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)

This is a fairly ubiquitous plant along the coast and in the Cascades.

Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)

We had a gorgeous view of Lone Ranch Beach from this side of the Cape too.

Lone Ranch Beach from Cape Ferrelo

The trail looped back UP the hill and finally rejoined the Oregon Coast Trail. We saw another bench up the hill a ways and we suspect if you take the Oregon Trail south (rather than the loop) that you’d end up going past that bench. But by that point we weren’t interested in finding our way to it. This one mile loop was a lot of work and it took us over 40 minutes which is sloooooow even for us. We suspect that whoever calculated the trail length didn’t take into account the Oregon Coast Trail portion of it.

By this point we were ready for lunch so we drove south 1/2 a mile or so to the Lone Ranch Picnic Area overlooking Lone Ranch Beach.  

Lone Ranch Beach Boardman SP

There was tons of Queen Anne’s Lace in bloom along the trail to the beach.

Queen's Anne Lace

And we found a great picnic table with a view of the beach and had our lunch. Then I took off my shoes and went for a beach walk while Walter sat and enjoyed the view.

There was a family building a fort from driftwood.  

Dirftwood fort Lone Ranch Beach

Later I spied these same kids at the top of one of the huge rocks, yelling “Dad, Dad, look at us.”

Lone Ranch Beach kids on rock

I set off along the beach, happily taking pictures as I went.

Lone Ranch Beach Boardman SP

It’s a great beach, with lots of sand and lots of great rocks.

Lone Ranch Beach Boardman SP

There weren’t really a lot of folks out but this lady and her dog added to the view.

Lone Ranch Beach Boardman SP

I hiked to the end of the beach and then turned back to join Walter. On the way back up the hill to the parking area I grabbed one more shot of the beach.

Lone Ranch Beach Boardman SP

And of the cluster of rocks on the north end of the beach.

Lone Ranch Beach Boardman SP

Thursday we spent the day doing exciting things like laundry and errands—even in paradise you still need to get the clothes clean.

Friday we were back to work again and wonders of wonders all of our folks left by 12:30! Whoo Hoo, we were done and back to the trailer before 1. After lunch we drove into town to get new gloves (cleaning sites is hard on gloves) and then stopped off at Harris Beach itself for a little beach walk. We parked down in the Day Use Area that’s at the bottom of the hill. The view to the north may look familiar, it’s where I took the sunset photos last week.       

Harris Beach northward view

There was a bit of fog wafting around but that didn’t keep folks off the beach.

The main beach is to the south and I love this particular view from the trail down to the beach.

Harris Beach SP

From the beach you get a great view of Bird Island.

Bird Island Harris Beach SP

Towards the south end of the beach there were folks out with their cabanas and beach chairs.

Harris Beach south beach

And a girl playing in the surf.

Harris Beach girl in surf

I had a great time taking photos of the surf making its way between these huge rocks.

Harris Beach State Park surf and rocks

I worked my way all the way to the end of the beach.

Harris Beach State Park

And played some taking photos of these big rocks.

Harris Beach SP rocks

I climbed up in among the rocks and took photos of the surf that turned out to be nothing special. And then walked back. The super dry sand in the last little bit of the walk was HOT and had me hustling to get across it.

Saturday August 13th, we had so few folks checking out (only 33) that we gave our partners the day off and did the rounds ourselves. People were really really slow leaving and the last two sites didn’t empty out until after 1 so we weren’t done until 1:30 or so. Some day we should count how many trips around and around the campground we make when people are slow getting out. There’s no odometer on the golf cart so who knows how far we go. It’s pretty mazing that it can take the same amount of time to clean 33 sites as it does to clean 50 because it’s all about how fast it takes people to leave.

Sunday it was really foggy when we set out to clean sites. We had a church group that had rented all of the D Loop and part of the C loop (over 50 sites) and some of them were leaving that day. With the fog, no one was moving fast and then the church folks had services that lasted until 11:30. By noon we had managed to clean 8 whole sites. Folks started leaving at noon but we still had a number of folks hanging out in no hurry to leave at 1:30. Luckily, we were told we could quit for the day since the church folks promised to clean their own sites. Of course, the hitch is that they don’t clean the fire pits so we’ll have more work in that loop as they all leave over the next few days.

We’ve completed our first 2 weeks here and are enjoying it. Cleaning sites can be pretty taxing some days when we’re on our own but the good news is that is the end of our week so we get two days off after that. We’ve been really lucky and had great weather (only one day when the sun never made it out at all and one other that it only stayed out for an hour or so. I’m really glad we chose to come here for a month.