South Coast Trail

April 11-12, 1987

Blue skies, pounding surf, spring flowers blooming trailside and the rugged beauty of the south coast through Samuel Boardman State Park worked their customary magic for sixteen Obsidians and friends. Driving down the coast on Saturday through rain and patchy skies dampened everything but our hopes, which luckily soared when the sun prevailed as we reached Whalehead Beach, our starting place. After picnic lunches here, we commenced walking south on the beach at low tide and where the half-mile of beach ends in cliffs, climbed the twisting trail through the high meadow, found salal and blueberries in bloom, and made our way along the wooded cliffs that led to our afternoon’s destination opposite House Rock, a monolith standing several hundred yards offshore. Shuttled cars took us about five miles further south to Harris Beach State Park for tent-pitching and exploring the rock and driftwood-strewn beach adjacent to the campsite. We found ice plant in bloom on the headland opposite Goat Rock and the first of many “footprints of spring” clusters we were to see over the weekend along with low-lying blue flags, violets, strawberry and more blossoms than most of us, alas, could properly name. The hardy campers among us cooked at camp; others chose to drive into nearby Brookings for an easy supper at The Flying Gull. Bright moonlight from a nearly full moon made the beach perfect for late walking and moonlight photography.

Sunday morning we shuttled cars between Whalehead and Miners Cove and hiked north, through the spectacular rock and dune formations of Indian Sands — with the much appreciated assistance of Dee Bray, our Bandon member whose familiarity with the coast makes her a great and indefatigable guide, permitting us to miss not a single one of her favorite side trails, no matter how steep the climb back. She was rewarded by some wonderful photo opportunities to shoot the feral goats who frequent the cliffs near Natural Bridge, and who had left evidence of being recent visitors at our lunch stop beneath the Sitka spruce on the sunny headland south of the Thomas Creek Bridge. After lunch and an obligatory highway detour, we stopped at Jack’s favorite headland haunt, the pocket meadow on the cliff beyond the Thunder Cove rocks. With or without a camera, everyone was well pleased with the oceanside scenery, and Peter swam in it as well, when we reached our trail’s end where Miners Creek meets the beach, complete with waterfall. Hikers included: Peter Boag, Dee Bray, Barb Elsen, Bob Foster, Shirley Froyd, Gladys Grancorvitz, Maxine Hall, Lee Hatch, Corinne Hunt, Bonnie Ledford, Mary Millman, Ann Montgomery, Erika Wagner, Mary Ellen West and leaders Jack and Dallas Cole.


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