Thursday, June 20, 2024

More From the Southern Oregon Coast

I'd had a wonderful two days reacquainting myself with Bandon's lovely beaches.  (If you missed that post, find it here.)  But I had another yurt reserved farther south in the town of Brookings, so on the third day I reluctantly began to pack up my car for the 80 mile drive.

Morning above Bandon Beach

But check in there wasn't until 4 pm, so with plenty of time to kill, I decided to take one last morning walk on Bandon Beach.

Part of Elephant Rock

The low-angle morning sun was shining from the east, flooding the beach with spectacular light.  Sauntering along the bluff high above gave me a perfect vantage to capture the seastacks glowing in sunshine.

Seastack reflection

Then I climbed down to beach level for another angle.  Some of the seastacks reflected quite nicely in the wet sand.

Face Rock

The churning waves in front of Face Rock were especially photogenic.

Yawning harbor seal

Then I strolled over to Elephant Rock to see if there were any Harbor seals around.  There were!  The blubbery mammals were chilling on some nearby rocks.

Seal pup and his mama

I spotted a seal pup and his mother nearby.  

Giving mom a kiss

The tiny baby seal was adorable, especially when he gave his mama a kiss on the nose.

Table Rock

Then, not wanting to miss low tide again, I headed over toward several prominent seastacks, where I knew from past visits had some great tidepools.

Tidepool life

And the tidepools did not disappoint!

Dueling seastars

Although the alien-shaped anemones were interesting, my favorite tidepool life form by far was the seastar.  I spotted several of these colorful creatures.  Lots of photographs may have been taken....

Lots of colorful seastars here!

I had to be out of my yurt in Bandon by 1 pm, so around noon I packed up the car and slowly headed south on highway 101.  

Cape Blanco Lighthouse

I made a stop at the Cape Blanco Lighthouse.  Although the lighthouse itself wasn't open to the public, it was in a very photogenic location.  A sky full of interesting clouds added drama to the scene.  I even ran into the lady I'd met on Bandon Beach the previous afternoon.  We seemed to have similar schedules - the lady was staying at the same state park in Bandon, and yesterday I kept meeting her in the bathroom!

I sent this pic to my hubby to let him know I'd made it

Then on to the very southern tip of the Oregon Coast and town of Brookings, where I had another yurt reserved at Harris Beach State Park.  After unpacking and having some chill time, I headed back out to seek sunset at a place called "Secret Beach."

A bride and groom were being photographed when I arrived

I'd stumbled upon Secret Beach during my last visit, several years ago.  However, since it had been awhile, I couldn't remember exactly which trail I'd taken or where I'd parked.  Thinking maybe I'd started at the "Natural Bridges" trailhead, I left my car there and followed a path that led northward into thick, coastal forest.  This rough trail roller-coastered through the woods, dodging rocks and large roots.  I walked for over a mile, and was getting very hot and tired.  I was just about ready to give it up when I spied a downhill path leading towards water.  Following an extremely steep trail I came out above a beach sheltered by several seastacks.  This was it!

Cool clouds above Secret Beach

The first thing I noticed was a bride and groom doing a wedding photo shoot.  The happy couple was down on the beach while their two photographers remained perched in the rocks above.  Reaching the beach required navigating a near-vertical, rocky slope that dived about 50 feet from where I stood.  I was impressed that the couple had made it down there.  After watching their half hour photo session, both bride and groom managed to climb back up the steep bank (the bride still in her wedding gown!) and the couple and their photographers left.

Sadly, the skies clouded over right before sunset

Secret Beach was a very scenic place.  A tiny, sandy beach ringed by several large, tree-topped seastacks, it was a popular place for local photographers to capture sunrise and sunset.  Although the beach below looking intriguing, I was too chicken to brave the rock scramble to reach it.  I wasn't even sure I was going to stay for sunset.  Although I'd brought my headlamp and a bright flashlight, the thought of hiking back out in the dark forest by myself wasn't appealing.  Then I met a young couple from North Carolina who were planning to stay for sunset.  I asked if could hike out with them and they replied "yes, of course."

Redwood Nature Trail

I discovered the couple were National Park junkies like me, and we had a great conversation about the parks we'd visited and the places still on our bucket lists.  They had just visited Redwood National Park, and had driven a bit further to see the Oregon Coast while they were in the neighborhood.

At first, the sky filled with small, pebbly clouds.  I got excited - if those clouds lit up at sunset, they would produce an amazing backdrop.  But sadly about 10 minutes before dusk, dull, gray clouds took over the sky.  No light was getting through those.  Sunset was a bust.

Huge redwood tree

When my new friends and I saw that the sunset show wasn't gonna happen, we decided to leave.  I followed the young couple back up the trail.  They had parked in a different pull out than me, one much closer.  We only walked about a quarter mile before arriving at their rental car.  I'd walked way too far!  However, being the nice people they were, the couple offered to shuttle me to my car.  As I settled into the back seat of the couple's car, rain began to pepper the window.  We'd made it back in the nick of time!

More giants

It absolutely poured all night, and I was glad to be in a yurt instead of tent camping, like many other poor souls in the campground.  My yurt had was made of thick canvas, featured a wooden floor elevated from the ground, and electric heat.  I was dry and cozy as a bug.

The redwood trees had such interesting bark

The rain continued well into the next morning, so I waited out the weather reading a book and drinking several cups of tea.  From my past visit, I remembered a small redwood forest just east of Brookings with a short nature trail.  Foggy, rainy days were perfect for photographing these spectacular giants of the forest.  If the rain didn't let up soon, I decided to head there.


The rain finally did let up, but it was still quite foggy so I decided to go check out the redwoods anyway.  Although redwood trees are common on the Northern California coast, Oregon has only a few small groves.  Apparently this is the northernmost redwood grove with a trail through it.  This short, 1.1 mile trail led me through these soaring giants.  My photos don't do justice as to how huge these trees really were.  They were really quite amazing!  As I traveled along the fern-covered forest, the clouds parted and sun began to stream through the tree canopy.

Harris Beach

After my short hike, I returned to Harris Beach State Park and walked down to check out the beach area.  Although it had a couple of seastacks, it wasn't nearly as pretty as Bandon's beach area.  Feeling kind of tired, I cut my walk short returned to the yurt.  I ended up having a lazy afternoon at the yurt, sitting around and finishing my book.  I didn't know it at the time, but I was in the beginning stages of an illness.  Two days later I came down with my husband's nasty cold, which he'd brought home from the office.

Sunset over Harris Beach

Low energy or not, I did manage to wrest myself away from my comfy yurt to capture one last sunset over the ocean.  Not wanting to walk a long distance, I chose a nearby viewpoint overlooking Harris Beach and set up my tripod.

Almost gone....

This night's sunset was the best of all.  A few low clouds provided some drama and the setting sun radiated a bright golden light that reflected in the ocean waves.  After the sun disappeared, it lingered in the sky for several minutes afterward.

Lingering light

It had been a wonderful four days spent revisiting some of my favorite spots on the southern Oregon coast.  But it was time to head home.  I had a memory card full of images to sort and edit that would keep me busy for many days.  And lots of good memories to tide me over until I could visit again.

Until next time!


  1. A wonderful, beautiful post. Superb pictures.

  2. Your words and photos tell me you had a wonderful escape to where there is so much beauty to behold! I have not tried yurting yet but hope to one day!

  3. ...thanks for the tour of God's country.

  4. So lovely, as always! You can't go wrong on the OR coast.

  5. Awesome photos. It takes effort to get to these spectacular places.

  6. Gorgeous photos! Although Secret Beach doesn't look all that secret anymore, it's one I would love to visit and photograph someday. Nice that you were able to make friends with the couple and follow them out. Love the sea stacks!!

  7. Your photos are absolutely beautiful, thanks for sharing and have a great weekend.

  8. You found some interesting places! The seastacks are unique. I can’t imagine climbing in a wedding gown.

    I’m glad you found some people to walk back with and even get a lift in their car.

  9. Your timing for the Redwoods was perfect, and your images give the sense of their soaring magesty. I always enjoy your visits to the coast and its seastacks and sunsets. On this visit the wonder of the tidal pool captivated me.


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