Saturday, January 19, 2013

Seven Devils Wayside to Bullards Beach

The Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club had a scheduled hike from Seven Devils Wayside to Fivemile Point several weeks ago. However, it looked like it was going to be a short hike so, naturally, I began to plot a way to jazz it up. I toyed with the idea of putting on a backpack and making a weekend out of walking to Bandon and back but the weather was not all that nice and I really didn't feel like camping in the cold fog. But, hey, I can day hike in cold fog so a shuttle hike was planned for the 9'ish mile beach walk from Seven Devils to Bullards Beach, near Bandon.

If you like the color gray, then this is your hike
Joined by the usual suspects (John, Edwin, and Merle) we bid adieu to our fellow hikers who were heading north while we set off to the south in heavy fog. The weather forecast had called for a sunny day once the fog burned off but as it turned out, we would never see the sun during the hike. Too bad, because the long winter leaves me pale white like one of those blind cave salamanders that scurry away when a flashlight shines upon them.  I could really use some sun.

Fivemile Point rocks!
A short walk to the south brought us to the only obstacle we would encounter on the day: Fivemile Point. The hike leader had admonished us to be careful, citing dangerous sneaker waves from Japan. However, the sneaker waves were so sneaky we never saw them and we enjoyed a wide beach at low tide all day long. There was a greater likelihood of Beyonce not lip-synching at a presidential inauguration than there was of our being swept away by a Japanese sneaker wave.

It's a Richard Hike!
However, the tide had not finished receding when we hit Fivemile Point and we had to scramble over the mollusk encrusted rocks to get around the point. We quickly learned gray rocks were good, black rocks were bad in nature's color coding system for hiking safety. The black on the rocks was seaweed and algae and slipperier than a booger on cold concrete. Sad to say, barnacles were harmed on the crossing of the point but at least we hikers remained hale and hearty.

I don't know, Tiger, my ball just disappeared
Once around the point, miles and miles of empty beach stretched ahead of us although we couldn't see most of it due to the fog and cloud cover. Bandon Dunes, a local golf course, was on top of the shoreline cliffs and it was common for us to find golf balls in the beach debris.  

Cut Creek awaits Edwin
Edwin's going down

On the way to Bullards Beach, there were two large creeks to cross: Whisky Run and Cut Creek. Edwin leaped across Cut Creek and just as I snapped a shot of his landing he toppled over and fell with a thud. Fortunately, that was the only mishap of the day and he was bemused, muddy, but unhurt.

Bullards Beach is a rockhound's delight
About 7 miles into the walk, the sand became stony and we began to encounter other beachgoers searching for agates and other treasure in a sure sign we were nearing Bullards Beach. Edwin found a fossilized clam, I found a couple of nice chunks of petrified wood, and John found a half-dozen more golf balls.

Welcome to Chateau Bullard, accent on the "ard"
On Bullards Beach, ocean currents deposit a lot of driftwood and some enterprising soul had built what could only be described as an architectural structure for a windbreak. We paused in admiration of the engineering involved in the construction, it really was a pretty elaborate endeavor as far as beach windbreaks go.

The Coquille River Lighthouse
Not long after, the Coquille River breakwater and lighthouse came into view, signaling our hike was over. Chilled, we stopped on the way home at the Coquille Produce and Deli for some Texas burritos.  Let's just say that after two bites we were no longer chilled. We couldn't feel our tongues either and taste buds were permanently scalded into oblivion by the hottest hot sauce this side of the Pecos River. I think those burritos were more dangerous than the Japanese sneaker waves.

For more pictures of this gray hike, visit the Flickr album.

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