South Oregon Coast Trail

May 23-25, 1992

On Saturday afternoon clear skies and the northwest wind we had counted on to push us along the beach below greeted us at the top of Cape Sebastian. Great views on the way down the Cape and along the beach. (Low tide is important for the transition here and also makes for a shallow wade across two streams that cross the beach before one reaches the mouth of the Pistol River, where we had a shuttle car.) We picnicked Saturday night at Whalehead Beach, then checked into the Chetko River Inn in Brookings, an interesting building constructed in 1913. We occupied their last available rooms — campground reservations had been long closed out as Memorial Day weekend is particularly busy here. However, we saw very few people on the trails.

Sunday we hiked Jack’s favorite Oregon trail — the 10 miles that wind through Samuel Boardman State Park between Arch Rock and House Rock Lookouts. A car shuttle at Natural Bridges Lookout cut a ¾-mile hike along the highway, where there is no place for trail on the eroded marine terrace. We began the trail again at West Islands Lookout, and celebrated the beauties of the spot with a long lunch stop. Here as we sat amidst purple flags, daisies, paintbrush and buttercup, we enjoyed an unobstructed view of a flock of feral goats on the steep slope opposite. Wildlife that day included water ouzels under the waterfall at Miners Creek, pelicans in low-flying formation over the beaches and numerous cormorants, ducks and seals. Also a friendly tick carried home by one of the leaders (no ill-effects; non-Lyme variety, luckily!). On the trail south of Whalehead Beach we walked through masses of lupine meeting over the trail in lavender clouds. (The map shows a trail extending past House Rock to Cape Ferrelo, but a slide has rendered it uninviting. Beyond Ferrelo, private land makes is necessary to return to the highway until Harris Beach State Park provides a trail into Brookings. We have used the latter on previous trips, but not this one.)

Monday morning we drove seven miles east along the Chetko River to walk the redwood nature trail in Loeb State Park. Some of us decided to view more of these giants and drove south along California’s Smith River to enjoy the Stout Redwood Grove, whose awe-inspiring trees were set aside early in the century, the cornerstone of Jedediah Smith State Park. Some of our party drove home via Bandon Beach to inspect the Sandcastle Festival. Our Bandon member, Dee Bray, elected to linger along the Chetko and photograph some of the areas she knows so well. She has treated us to a private showing of some of her full-page photos that have been purchased by Oregon Coast magazine. We’re exceedingly proud of this former Obsidian, whose knowledge and high spirits are always a great addition to this hike. Leaders Jack & Dallas Cole also appreciate these qualities in the rest of the gang: Nancie Fadeley, Corinne Hunt, Vi Johnson and Karl Nestvold.

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