Umpqua Lighthouse State Park

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Coastal Contemplations day 13

Saturday, June 18th, 2016
Umpqua River Lighthouse

Umpqua River Lighthouse

dancing butterflies—
my journey forgotten
for a while

-Issa

the butterfly flies anyway
Umpqua Lighthouse State Park was the southern most extent of my journeys.  In fact I had gone beyond the road where I needed to start heading east.  So this day requires back tracking north for a ways.  But I was going to camp just before the turn east so this was going to be a short days ride.  I began by heading down to the Umpqua River Lighthouse.  This was the sixth lighthouse I’ve checked out this trip.  Almost a lighthouse themed tour, which one could easily do in OR as they continue to be present as you move down the coast.

Clearcuts with the coast in the distance

Clearcuts with the coast in the distance

From the lighthouse I found a backroad that let me skip the climb out of the campground, which on reaching 101 would just descend. In steam I took a nice pleasant road to the banks of the Umpqua and rode along the river to Wincehester Bay.  Then it was on 101 with its rolling hills until Reedsport where I stopped at Jitterbug N’ Java. A really interesting coffee shop it had a dance floor and stage fully loaded up with instruments. They did live music and jam sessions along with dancing.  I lingered over lunch there before returning to the road.

the shadow of a bird
crosses my path —
yellow wild flowers

Apart from the typical northerly winds this was excellent riding weather.  Blue skies, clouds blowing by, warm but not hot.  There was the long climb up to the clearcuts and along the way I noticed a tiger swallowtail struggling on the shoulder.  I pulled over and grabbing a stick helped it walk onto it.  Then I transferred it to a stalk of grass – these big winged butterflies can’t take off from the ground.  It immediately flew off and crashed right into the road. I rescued it again, and this time holding the stick aloft it flew off and wobbled across the road. On the other side it randomly encountered another Tiger Swallowtail and they began that timeless dance.

at the far end of the lake
amidst the trees
a lone cabin

At the top of the hill I stopped to look at the clearcuts.  On the other side of the road I go down a short access road and there, beyond the clearcuts is woods and hills as far as I can see.  Nestled in a valley is a lake, the north end completely wooded with the exception of a train trestle running across and one solitary cabin.

Dunes and the last glimpse of the Pacific

Dunes and the last glimpse of the Pacific

Now it was the descent from the hill, and riding in the National Forest land amidst the lakes.  There was also a long stretch of roadwork in progress but like yesterday they were actively working on it.  Then pretty early still in the afternoon I came to Honeyman State Park.  This is on the Oregon Dunes and after situating myself I hiked to the edge up the dunes and up the fine sands.  Far in the distance I was able to see the ocean.  The last sighting of the pacific this trip.

amidst the devastation
stands one lone
pine

Photos on Flickr: todayall days

Posted from Florence, Oregon, United States.

Coastal Contemplations day 12

Friday, June 17th, 2016
Fingerpaint the sky

Fingerpaint the sky

where I saw
a pretty bird…
they burn the mountain

-Issa

without intentions
This day was mostly clear, with an unusual southerly wind blowing white streamers of clouds across the blue canvas. On the road I almost immediately reached Yachats where I stopped at the Bread & Roses Bakery and lingered over their fine coffee and baked goods.  Departing I found my rear tire flat.  I fixed that in Yacharts but all of this found me fairly late on the road.  And this was going to prove to be one of the most memorable stretches of the coast.

Devils Churn

Devils Churn

The route entered the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and while the traffic was higher, the shoulder smaller, it was just stunning. I climbed for a a spell and was on these rocky outcroppings right on the wave cut edge of the mainland.  The first stop would be at Devils Churn (with Devils Lake,  Punchbowl and now Churn the devil is well represented on the Oregon coast). The last time I was in these parts I was running late so I just took a picture of the churn and moved on. Not this time. I walked the trails right down to the rocks and looked into the narrow passage where white water would shoot up.  There was a little food counter at the info booth where I was able to get a sandwich for lunch which I eNyogen as a picnic at the Churn. On the menu for the counter they had posted a favorite quote:

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.

-Lao Tzu

I continued to crawl up the cape, which went up and down and had an overlook every quarter mile or so.  One of these had a rocky sealevel shore with a hole in it where the wave action made a natural waterspout.  Another area sealions would come in to rest.  Everywhere there was these stunning views of the rocky shore, the blue ocean, and the white streaked sky.

blue sky
blue waters
no seperation

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Making my way to Heceta Head, there was the turn off for the lighthouse.  This road descended right down to the water and then there was a half mile trail right back up to the headlands.  “No motor vehicles” was posted but it said nothing about bicycles. So I rode the gravel trail up to the lighthouse.  As I arrived the volunteer tour guides noted that was the smart way to do it.  A classic lighthouse right on the edge of the coast, it cuts a dramatic figure against the blue sky. Leaving the lighthouse I found there was a back road from the keepers house to 101 that let me avoid the long descent and climb back up!

The route ahead

The route ahead

Just past the lighthouse 101 crosses a stone bridge and then goes into a short tunnel. Uphill of course!  Then it hugs the coast line for a spell and then climbs up to the Sealion Caves.  I was able to check out the sealions and a lot of birds before the official attraction so I didn’t go in.  But from here the coast dramatically changes. It becomes quite linear and all sand dunes.  101 goes inland and I would be away from the coast for a while.

at the summit of the forest climb –
clearcuts

It had taken me hours to do this 20km stretch of coast so it was pretty late when  came into Florence.  I got some supplies and then had to really make time to my destination.  The road was all through trees now and coastal forest lakes.  A long stretch of National Forest Land there was quite a few campgrounds, boat launches and recreational areas.  There was a good long climb through the trees which culiminated in a massive clearcuts. But then it was a descent to the Umpqua River which I crossed via two bridges into Rockport.  A couple more ascents and descents as 101 cut off the mouth of the river and I came to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park where I would rest after this epic day.

whits cranes
fly away
as I draw near

Photos on Flickr: todayall days

Posted from Reedsport, Oregon, United States.