Saturday, May 18, 2013

Brookings and Gold Beach road trip

This was a weekend of diminishing expectations. Originally, the plan was for Dollie and I to do a weekend backpack trip. However, in order to keep things relatively happy and calm in the O'Neill household, the destination was moved from the Siskiyous to the Oregon coast. When the weekend weather was prognosticated to be wet, the backpack trip morphed into a dayhiking weekend with a motel involved. When my hip popped while executing the dangerous and tricky getting-out-of-the-car maneuver, the trip became a road trip unless I wanted to hike with a walker.

Add a few throw rugs and call it a home
We began Saturday morning by hobbling through Azalea Park in Brookings. Well, to be honest, Dollie spryly walked while I gimped, dragging my right leg behind me. We were a week early for the Azalea Festival but we could nonetheless enjoy the tree-sized azaleas blooming in the park's manicured grounds. The rhododendrons were putting on a show with a veritable floral rainbow as rhodies of every color bloomed alongside the colorful garden paths.

Dollie considers going for a swim
After our park walk, we headed over to the coast proper, stopping first at Harris Beach. After a brief overlook it was time to head into the beautiful Samuel Boardman State Park. The Boardman park is one of the most scenic and hiker friendly stretches of the Oregon cast and we stopped at Lone Ranch Beach, Cape Ferrelo, and Whalehead Beach. It seemed like I was walking my way out of whatever injury I had accrued so we actually took a short walk on the Oregon Coast Trail on the grassy slopes of Cape Ferrelo. Dollie provided some amusement crossing Lone Ranch Creek on some slick logs but managed to avoid an early spring swim. 

Bowl, at Indian Caves
Feeling "walky" by now, the short hike to Indian Sands was in order. A brief descent through a coastal forest on a trail covered with slugs and mating centipedes brought us onto the sands. The dunes are kind of oddly located, being perched high atop a rocky cliff. The ocean pours into an incredibly scenic rocky bowl replete with waterfall and a rock arch. Wild iris was blooming everywhere, augmented by scarlet Indian paintbrush, white wild strawberry, and purple lupines.

Returning to our rustic cabin room, the last little item on the day was a pre-dinner walk along what I presume is Gold Beach's Gold Beach. The clouds were dark and moody (no sunset on this evening) as the wind gusted, messing up what little hair I have. Lupines and beach peas were blooming away in the dunes but the Scotch broom was the invasive star of the show. Brought to our shores by those darn Scottish settlers from days of yore, the plant has made a happy home for itself in the New Country. Incredibly invasive, the broom crowds out native plants and is not welcome (Curse you, McBroom!). Despite the pernicious aspects of the shrub, the bright yellow flower masses are quite spectacular, unless you are hay-fever afflicted like my wife.

So, despite the lowering of standards for the weekend, we covered quite a bit of ground and managed to get some hiking in...and I didn't even need a walker! 

Visit the Flickr album for more pictures of this wonderful little corner of the Oregon sandbox.
Gold Beach at twilight


  1. When in doubt, the coast is always a great trip - rain or shine. Enjoyed the pictures.

  2. Elaine loved this one!