Get ready to be blown away…literally;) Cape Blanco-Oregon
It was a short jump, only 66 miles to Cape Blanco State Park from Brookings. It was named in 1603 by the Spanish explorer Martin D’Aguilar because of the chalky appearance of the headland. This prominent headland is the Westernmost point of Oregon and extends further west than any point of land in the contiguous United States (lower 48 states) that is:) At the tip of the cape is a U. S. Coast Guard lighthouse reservation including an 1870 lighthouse. The headland is 245 feet above the sea and the light is visible for 22 miles at sea. Because of many past shipwrecks at this point, a powerful radio beacon for navigators was placed at Cape Blanco. It is the southern most lighthouse in Oregon and it is windy…very windy. They have their own “wind forecast” how awesome is that!
The campground is first come first serve so we thought it might be full over the Memorial Day weekend so we held off until Monday to arrive, although the camp hosts said only Saturday had been completely booked. It is located a good 5 miles West of the US 101 so no traffic noise at all! It is very tree covered, we circled the 52 sites, many were free, once to check for the sunniest spot but even that was 90% shady-great separation from other sites though and beautiful moss-covered trees everywhere, great cat walking spots! Some partial sea views through dense trees on the Western side but incredibly dark. We opted for the Eastern side and backed in with a small view back to the horse camping area. We walked over to the self registration area then down a small paved road to the beach a fair way below.
A much-needed leg stretch, after my scramble down the coastline at Natural Bridges those legs were stiff;) then we needed to take the fur kids for a walk, they were very approving of the heavy cover and grasses as well as climbing trees close to the trailer:) There were berries everywhere. Some bushes were just blooming and there were these incredible orange raspberry-like ones called Salmon berries (rubus spectabilis) not particularly good to eat we read but such amazing colour!
We ventured out to the lighthouse but it is closed Monday and Tuesday so hiked around for it for a while instead being blown about was a better description! At least back at the campground under the trees there was some protection! Beautiful crashing waves and surf though!
Back at the park I took a walk in the late day looking for a path down to the beach on the Northern side. I wanted to try some long exposures but with the wind howling wasn’t sure if the tripod would even hold. Beautiful path down, walking on wildflowers and grass.
The roads in the park are sprinkled with wild azaleas as well as the mountains of berry bushes and so many other delicate small wildflowers. There was a bush that resembled a manzanita as well! Out on the grasslands I caught sight of a Savannah Sparrow being blown around by the wind. It was amazing it could even fly from flower to flower as I was having a hard time even holding the camera against the wind!
I followed the narrow path down to the beach, as small creek trickled beside it. It was overcast when I started photographing the waves breaking on the rocks, tripod anchored in the sand, sitting on a large piece of driftwood, but slowly the clouds parted and gave way to a beautiful blue sky.
This beautiful beach is covered in driftwood and rocks full of fossils. I sat there using my ND filter and trying some long exposures. The tripod was wiggling in the strong wind but it was a fun challenge none the less:) When the sun started to emerge it was even more beautiful.
I told Mike I was only going for a bit so I packed up and headed back to the campground. I took a path walking South that is part of the Oregon Trail that leads back to the campground. A deer was leap frogging over the tall grasses. Spectacular, I was so delighted I made Mike walk back out with me for the sunset and come back via that trail. We stopped to talk to a delightful woman, traveling with her 18-year-old ginger cat that we had run into as we walked about the park, sharing cat tales;) and oddly enough, two spaces down from us was a gentleman from NY traveling with his 18-year-old tuxedo kitty in a car. He was tethered out, not often you see a cat tied up outside, and I saw him as I walked by and smiled and commented on what a lovely cat it was, and friendly, happy for some scratches under the chin. Not often we run into folks travelling with geriatric kitties like our Beezil so delightful to make their acquaintances:) what a world full of wonder we live in:)
After a few days under the forest canopy we were ready for some sunshine. I’d read about many coastal Oregon State Parks but one seemed to stand out as you could back right up onto the beach. Mike looked at some Google earth shots of Beachside State Park and read some reviews, and then I reserved a site that had a view-so excited to get into the light! I had no idea just how dirty the floor in Myrtle was;)….but that, is another tale.
Stay tuned as we go Beachside in Oregon! Saludos amigos