|Seagull in flight at Seal Rocks|
The dark winter months are a good time to plan future adventures. One February evening, I impulsively chose a weekend in late April, and made yurt reservations at Bandon's Bullards Beach State Park. Months later when the date rolled around, it wasn't the best of timing. I sucked it up and went anyway.
And you know what? Turned out to be a great time to explore this lovely stretch of the Oregon coast.
I left Portland on a Friday, under gray clouds and heavy rain. But a wonderful thing happened on the way south. The precip dried up, and the dark skies began to lighten. By the time I took a pit stop at Seal Rock State Park, the weather had vastly improved. I made a quick ramble to the ocean overlook, and had fun capturing seagulls doing flybys.
|Gorse was in full bloom|
Timing my arrival at Bullards Beach State Park to coincide perfectly with 4 pm check-in, I was unloaded and on the beach by 5:00.
|Boardwalk trail to the beach|
The campground host, a gruff retired lady, warmed up a bit when she realized I was traveling alone and wasn't about to have wild parties or house a bunch of pets in my yurt. She then proceeded to give me lots of great beta about the local trails. She especially recommended taking the new boardwalk to the nearby beach.
The trail was a great way to stretch my legs after nearly five hours of driving. I passed through a coastal forest brightened by colorful yellow gorse flowers. And further ahead were a large bunch of pink wild rhododendrons.
|Coastline at Bullards Beach State Park|
The beach was nothing too remarkable. Lots of driftwood and crashing waves but not much else. It was peaceful, though.
|Old float that washed ashore|
And I did find an old fishing float that had washed ashore. Nothing I'd take home, but it sure made a good photo subject.
|Sea cliffs in Bandon|
Returning to my yurt, I downed a quick dinner, and then set out to explore the town of Bandon itself. Bandon's city limits pushed right up to the ocean beaches where I'd heard there was a fabulous state park with lots of scenic seastacks.
|Sea stacks from Face Rock Wayside|
Boy did I choose the right time to visit! The spring wildflowers were at their peak. Huge swaths of golden gorse carpeted the beachside cliffs.
|Staircase at Coquille Point|
And colorful flowers (I think they were sweet pea) lined parts of the grassy meadows above.
|Beach near Coquille Point|
I stopped at Face Rock Wayside and marveled at the fabulous ocean views from on high.
Then, exploring some more, I drove over to Coquille Point wildlife refuge, and parked in their lot. An extensive trail system meandered out onto a peninsula. A sturdy wooden staircase accessed the beach below, complete with a covered observation platform.
|Photographers at the Wizards Hat|
I wandered down to the water's edge. Some uniquely shaped seastacks anchored the beach's southern end, so I meandered that way to check them out. One of the tall pointy seastacks was appropriately named the "Wizard's hat."
I noticed a couple of photographers had tripods set up here. One guy waded right into the surf, tripod and all, and attempted to get some up-close shots of the Wizard's Hat. The other person lingered at the waterline.
|Lovely evening light on the beach|
Watching those photographers in action was great entertainment. I couldn't believe the man in the water was risking getting his camera doused. The tide was coming in, and some of those waves looked big. It appeared he managed to keep it dry though.
|Sundown by the Wizard's Hat|
The sunset caught me totally off guard. Thinking this would just be a short walk, I'd left my tripod in the car. But noticing the sun's orange ball quickly dropping towards the horizon, I knew there wasn't time to fetch it now. So I did what any lazy photographer would do - simply held my camera as still as I could, and fired away.
|Setting sun reflections|
As the sun sunk lower, a couple other photographers (with tripods) joined the two gathered at the rocks. Standing there, cradling the camera in my hands, I felt like a real tinhorn.
|Last light of day|
It was a spectacular sunset. I thought the clouds might mask the setting sun, but instead, they glowed in lovely shades of orange and pink. I even captured the sun's sinking orange ball reflecting on the wet sand. I was very glad I'd ventured out here!
|Pink hues in the sky|
Finally the vivid colors giving way to dark skies, I left the chilly beach for my cozy yurt. The weekend off to a good start, I snuggled in my sleeping bag, looking forward to another day of exploring this charming part of the Oregon coast.
Check back for the next post - a recap of day two!