Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sam Brown Meadow

Not every hike gets to be epic. This hike wasn't even the planned activity for the day but when Cathedral Hills didn't work out as planned, a quick ad-lib hike in idyllic Briggs Valley became the stopgap Plan B destination. Once on the trail there, things didn't work out as planned, either. "Oh well" he said, sighing resignedly and loudly for theatrical effect.

An old-growth Douglas fir tree
dwarfed all the neighboring trees
So we have this pandemic thing going on and Oregon did not have a mandatory stay-at-home order...yet. But based on what I observed at Cathedral Hills, the governor will have no choice but to issue one because our state is populated with idiots. Because of the coronavirus, we really need to stay apart from each other. From my little corner in the Oregon sandbox, it seems like hiking would be a good way to stay healthy while simultaneously avoiding large groups of virus spreaders, also known as "people". But when I arrived at the Cathedral Hills trailhead in Grants Pass, I was horrified to see the parking lot full, with an overflow of dozens of cars parked along the roadway. In the parking lot there was, and this is no exaggeration, at least thirty people congregating in the small lot, made smaller by the throngs who feel that social distancing does not apply to them. These idiots will kill people with their stupidity and selfishness.

A mossy bed fit for leprechauns
Horrified and scared, I quickly drove away from the trailhead and began thinking about what else to do, since I had driven all the way to Grants Pass. The Rogue River Trail and Rainie Falls were ruled out since it was doubtful that Cathedral Hills had a monopoly on attracting knuckleheads who don't care about public welfare; the Rogue River area was probably a popular place this weekend too. Taylor Creek was ruled out because I'd been there twice last year. So, a hike in Briggs Valley it was, simply because I hadn't been since I hiked there like fifteen years ago.

Never did make it to Elkhorn Mine
I found the trailhead just fine, so I decamped from the car and got ready to set out upon the trail. Because this was not a planned hike, there inherently were a few problems with making a spur-of-the-moment decision to hike here. First, I had no map with me. Well, that's not quite true, I did have a really good map of the Cathedral Hills trail system but that wasn't going to help me with the Briggs Creek Trail. Second, the batteries in my GPS gave up the ghost and I had no spares, so I'd be geographically clueless in terms of where on the trail I was. Third, although I'd hiked this years before, it was so long ago I retained no knowledge of where the trail went, which junctions to turn at, etc. Looks like I'd be hiking blind, and what could possibly go wrong?

Briggs Creek at one of several wet fords
Well, a lot could go wrong so to prevent my getting lost or misplaced in the woods, I decided to stay on a well-defined trail and if I ran into intersections, I photographed them for future reference, just in case. As far as which way to go should there be any trail junctions, I would choose the trail that stayed closest to Briggs Creek. If things got confusing, then I'd turn around instead of blundering on forward. Armed with these precautions and a healthy dose of inconfidence, I set out upon the trail.

The scars from the Taylor Creek
Fire were everywhere to be seen
The Briggs Valley area was right in the middle of the Taylor Creek Fire burn area from a couple of summers ago and while there were plenty of live trees still standing, the fire scars in the form of dead or singed trees were visible throughout the hike. The trail initially was a forest road with a stand of dead trees on the right side and a lush and verdant stand on the left.

Trail through the shade and vegetation
It didn't take long before I had to make a decision. After about a quarter-mile of hiking, the Briggs Creek Trail crossed the road and now do I go left or right? Left was toward the campground area, so right it was where I got to make the first of a couple of fords of Briggs Creek. Once across the creek, the trail basically followed the rushing stream through some lush and shady woods comprised of yew, fir, cedar, pine, laurel, madrone, and oak in what is a typical Siskiyou Mountains mish-mash of tree species.

Oaks toothwort was plentiful along the path

After a half-mile or so of enjoyable walking, the trail exited the woods on a forest road that looked like it hadn't been used much. Again, left or right? I did both, walking on the road in either direction, searching for a continuation of the trail. Never did find it, so it was time to be smart and go back the way I came. After looking on a map later at home, I had needed to go left and walk a little bit further than I did, but that's what happens when you have no map, GPS, or knowledge.

The trees watch me make good choices in the woods
After recrossing Briggs Creek, I took the trail that rambled in back of the campground area. I also ran into another trail junction with the same ongoing right-left choice of trails. I went right and a short walk later, the trail ended at a log jam in Briggs Creek. Behind the log jam, the creek pooled and reflected the surrounding woods nicely. I suppose I could have waded and searched for a continuation of this trail but I'll refer you to my previous comments about making smart choices in the woods.

Sam Brown's Meadow
So back I go, taking the left trail this time and that path led to Sam Brown Meadow. After all this shady forest time, the bright sun and blue sky over the large meadow was a welcome sight. At a large picnic pavilion off to one side of the meadow were a couple of informative signboards. Apparently, when gold was discovered in Briggs Creek in the early 1870's, the boomtown of Briggs sprung up complete with saloons, a hotel, and at least one brothel. Sam Brown was a bartender at the hotel and unfortunately met an early demise when he was shot for getting with the miners' women. No doubt his race (African-American) played a large part in this tragic play, and according to the signboard, he was buried somewhere in this meadow.

Rest in peace, my friend
Intrigued, I went into the grassy expanse to search for his grave and found it under a small tree. Where I had been admiring the natural beauty of the meadow, now it was a wistfully sad place, forever tainted by tragedy, especially since so little is known about the life of Sam Brown, like where he came from, who his parents were, etc. We know more about how he died and where he is buried than how he lived, the only consolation being that he is buried in beautiful Briggs Valley in a meadow that bears his name.

Moss obeys the stay-at-home order
Anyway, after all this effort spent into going out for a hike, I managed to get only a mere two miles of hiking in. But going forward, I'll be back but properly armed with knowledge and maps next time. And as far as all the goobers at Cathedral Hills go, our governor issued a stay-at-home order as I was writing this blog post. As my cousin Monica said about a similar order in her state, "I feel like a kindergartner that got recess taken away because the rest of the class would not stop talking". Fortunately, the order specifically classified hiking as an "essential" activity, something that I agree with even when there is not a pandemic. However, no hiking in groups is allowed so I'll be hiking solo from here on in. The Siuslaw National Forest, who oversee the coastal forests and dunes, has closed all their trailheads because of the insane crush of morons that headed out to the coast this last weekend. Likewise, state and county parks are closed too. Looks like I'll be hiking away from the coast and on the more remote trails for the time being. Wish me luck and in the meantime, may everybody stay safe.

Crystal clear (ultraoligotrophic, even!) Briggs Creek
For more photos of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Crater Lake Rim

What a difference a week or two makes! Glen and I had gone snowshoeing at Crater Lake nearly two weeks prior and the weather was so bad that I left the camera in the car and just snowshoed. That's like only the second time ever I intentionally left the camera behind to protect it from the elements, so you know the weather had to be dire. On that day, the wind was howling, wet snow filled the air, and the lake was hidden from view by inclement weather. It was a great and awesome hike! Because we were both properly clad in snow gear, we were actually quite toasty warm as we trudged in the wind and snow that day.

Paige is prepared for cold weather
Flash forward to this mid-March day and the sun was up, the sky was that deep blue that seems to hover only over Crater Lake, and the crater rim was cloaked in several feet of snow. Oh yeah, there was that lake thingy reposing in the crater itself, the sapphire blue of the water having its own reserved parking spot, so to speak, in the color spectrum parking garage. Lulu enjoyed the snow so much she had to eat it every time we paused in our walk along the crater rim. Of course, Lulu is a dog but there were two other humans in our party besides your merry blogster: Glen and his daughter Paige, who continually referred to Lulu as Wuwu. 

Whitebark pine against an amazing blue sky
Despite the sun, we remained clad in snow clothing and layers as the wind blowing on the rim was downright arctic. The problem was that every time our route dropped down below the actual rim, the wind was blocked and we roasted in the bright sun. However, we mostly kept our gear on because that wind was present at every viewpoint along the rim. Hot, cold, hot, cold, and no happy medium in between. 

Wizard Island, afloat in the lake
Our route was Rim Drive, quite free of tour buses, RVs, and other touristy means of transportation this time of year. In winter, the erstwhile road is well used by snowshoers and skiiers alike and following the well-trod route was eminently easy. The snow was old, having gone through the melt, freeze, remelt, and refreeze process many times over during the winter. For us, that meant the snow was hard and sort of icy, making for easy snowshoeing. You almost didn't need the snowshoes and we did see one couple actually hiking in their boots atop the crusty surface of the snow.

The Watchman and Hillman Peak
rule the western side of the rim
After a mile or so, we hit the first of two main viewpoints, the first being Discovery Point, so named to commemorate the place (sort of) where John Hillman discovered Crater Lake. I get sort of cheesed by the "discovery" of Crater Lake being attributed to Hilllman because the native tribes in the area were well aware of the existence of the lake, but they don't count, apparently. Also, nobody really knows the exact spot that Hillman first spotted the lake but since it could have been at Discovery Point, a plaque commemorating the event marks the hypothetical spot. All this silly and irritating history aside, Discovery Point has an awesome view that was worth the snowshoeing effort to get there.

The peaks of the south end of the lake
Discovery Point lies on the southwestern corner of the lake ("corner" he said, ignoring the fact that the lake is round and doesn't have any corners) and a series of snowy and rugged peaks (Garfield Peak, Applegate Peak, Dutton Cliffs, and Mount Scott) marched in stately procession with Mount Scott leading the charge on the eastern side. To the north was our immediate neighbor The Watchman with fraternal mountain Hillman Peak parked right next to The Watchman. Down in the lake itself was Wizard Island, permanently afloat in the Crater Lake stewpot, with the imposing cliffs of Llao Rock looming over the north side of the lake. Beyond the lake, the tops of Timber Crater and Mount Thielsen were just visible. And always, the stunning sapphire color of Crater Lake itself. Amazing vista and this is why we hike, boys and girls.

Rock 'n roll!
After a round of appropriate oohs and ahs, we continued on up and over a ridge to the next viewpoint. This portion of the snowshoe trek is my favorite non-Crater Lake related part of the short hike. Rim Drive curves up and over the ridge with a steep slope on either side of the road cut. It probably doesn't look like all that much in summer but in winter it's a snow-covered canyon in miniature, replete with cornices, flutings, and other wind-driven snow formations. Rocks had rolled down from above, leaving tracks in the snow that culminated with the body of the culpable party just sitting there, with nowhere else to roll.

Perfectly smooth, like me!
The second viewpoint has a similar vista as Discovery Point, the view changing only in angle of orientation, due to our being a mile further along the rim. Wizard Island was a lot closer though, and we raptly gazed at the magical cone, totally enchanted and entranced at the spellbinding island. Behind us, on the landward side of the rim, was a snowy expanse that I refer to as the "Ski Bowl". Normally, this area is criss-crossed with ski tracks and you can almost feel the skiers' joy as they play in this wintry wonderland. However, today there were no tracks at all, just rolling hills of snow with the most perfect texture. It would have been a shame to mar the perfect smoothness of the snow with our snowshoes so we just looked and did not touch.

Mount McLaughlin and Union Peak have a staredown
After a windy laze taking in the awesome view while one of our quartet ate snow, we turned around and headed back towards Rim Village. Since we had hiked mostly downhill on the way out, it naturally was mostly uphill on the way in. But the grade was not severe, and legs did not complain too much about having to transport our respective torsos to a higher elevation. We stared at jagged and cragged Garfield Peak on the way in, with a nice view of Union Peak and massive Mount McLaughlin well off the crater's rim to the southwest. 

What a difference from nearly two weeks ago!

After the trip ended, we enjoyed a restorative lunch at the Crater Lake restaurant in Rim Village. This would be like the last "normal" activity we'd do for a while as the coronavirus pandemic came in a day or two later for an extended and unwelcome stay. It makes me wish for things as they were, even if it means snowshoeing in severe weather. What a difference a week or two can make, indeed.

Texture on a snow drift
For more photos of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Cooper Creek Reservoir Trail

One of the many hats I wear is that of Treasurer for the Umpqua Velo Club, a local organization that dabbles in all things bicycle. One active branch of the club goes by the acronym of LUMBR, which cleverly stands for Land of the Umpqua Mountain Bike Riders. One of LUMBR's pet projects has been promoting and maintaining a mountain bike trail around nearby Cooper Creek Reservoir. Because of my affiliation with the bike club, I was well aware that a nice mountain bike trail ran alongside the lake, but it never occurred to me to think of the trail in terms of hiking until the Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club went hiking there on a rainy day when snow precluded them from visiting the McKenzie River Trail.

Trail, as it goes through the shady part of the forest
Unfortunately, on that day I had some kind of stomach bug (that was not coronavirus!), and had to sit out that hike. But, after seeing the photos from the club hike and reading the glowing reviews of the trail, I decided I had to experience the Cooper Creek Reservoir Trail for myself. But great minds think alike and the Wednesday group I've been hiking with decided to go there also, and that is the story of how I came to hike this trail for the very first time ever.

Impressionist painting on the lake's surface
Unlike the weekend hike that I did not attend, the weather on this Wednesday was a beautiful sunny day in southwestern Oregon. There wasn't a cloud in the clear blue sky and the temperature was mild, which is always perfect for hiking. We usually number four hikers, but on this fine spring morn we doubled our customary attendance, reaching the lofty number of eight participants.

Dam hikers, pun intended
At the hike's outset, the trail left the parking lot and crossed the reservoir's grassy dam. The lake is finger-like, being long and narrow in shape and form, and we could look down several miles of the reservoir's narrow channel. The air was still and quiet as we hiked across the dam, and the water was like a polished mirror what with the surrounding forest and overlying sky reflecting nicely on the glassy surface. However, the fine spring day sort of came to a screeching halt when the trail entered the forest on the south side of the lake.

The air up there

The trail on the south shore triggered chilly flashbacks to my last hike on the North Umpqua Trail, which had taken place in cold shade the entire day. The Cooper Creek Reservoir Trail had the same vibe as the sun (and the warmth that comes along with it) was just a rumor as we hiked up and down in the forest. The uphill portions of the trail were neither steep nor long so we really couldn't generate our own human-powered heat, so jackets and sweaters remained on.

Trail tunnel through some damp vegetation
If I have any complaint about this trail, it's that logging has taken place fairly close to the trail. On the hillside above us was a large clearcut with an insufficient forest buffer between that and the trail. On top of that, the motor of a bulldozer growled noisily from somewhere above the path. The best thing to do on this hike, was to keep eyes focused to the left, where the blue lake reposed in its scenic little basin.

Oregon grape, all lit up
The forest next to the trail was lush, with ferns growing in frondly profusion. Spring wildflowers were already gracing the trail, the culprits being mainly snow queen, woodland violet, coltsfoot, oaks toothwort, and hound's tongue (which made me think of my ex-wife, for some reason).

A pair of geese warily keep an eye on us
While the lake's shape was basically long and slender, the trail did have to contour around small inlets here and there. By virture of our tromping presence, we irritated several mated pairs of Canadian geese looking to start a family near the lake. The honks of irked geese and the quacking of startled ducks was a common sound wafting across the lake's waters throughout the day.

Lichen hangs from some leafless oaks
Periodically, the forest thinned out and we did get to enjoy the sun on rare and wondrous occasions. But, when we rounded the Cooper Creek inlet on a rustic footbridge at the far end of the lake, the trail ambled through low grassy patches and we were mostly bathed in restorative sunlight. The warm sun replenished our Vitamin D levels and after hiking roughly three miles in a cold and shady forest, it felt so good.

Cooper Creek Reservoir
The trail does not go all the way around the lake, so the logical turnaround point was a boat ramp at about the four-mile mark. From the ramp, we backtracked to a nearby picnic bench on a grassy point and enjoyed a lengthy lunch 'n laze in the warm sun while enjoying the view of the lake ensconced in its wooded valley. But alas, all good things come to an end and we ruefully headed back the way we came.

The trail was freshly maintained
Right now, the trail only goes around about three-quarters of the lakeshore but the plan is for the path to eventually circumnavigate the entire lake. LUMBR has done a great job removing winter downfall (although there was one patch with dozens of fallen trees sprawled partially on the trail) and are to be commended for their fine work. Other hands are also busy restoring this trail however, for we encountered a small trail crew armed with chainsaws heroically toiling to improve the trail. There was also a small bulldozer thingy that was widening the path and smoothing out the rough spots. Apparently, their task is to widen the trail so that two people can walk on it side-by-side. I can't wait to return after the next round of improvements are completed.

Clawing at the sky
For more photos of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

North Umpqua Trail, Mott Segment

I learned something new today. For years I had been taking photographs of a certain lichen which looked less like an actual lichen and more like a film of dry green dust of death spores from a science fiction movie. But while the lichen itself looked like dust, the fruiting bodies appeared to be more like small fungi. Because I had never seen the lichen without the fruiting bodies in immediate proximity, I had always assumed they were organs of lichen reproduction but left open the possibility that the bodies might actually be a true fungus living in a symbiotic relationship with the lichen. But while cruising the internet on an unrelated information quest, I accidentally found out the name of the lichen: Fairy Barf. 

What fairy barf looks like
Really, that's the name! I was somewhat disappointed because I always assumed that fairies farted glowing fireflies and barfed glittering rainbows. Another belief from childhood cruelly debunked! But no, fairies apparently hork up an unremarkable green dusty looking lichen. The lichen does have a scientific name and everything: icmadophila ericetorum, and you can even look it up on the Internet. Just to make sure, I did look up "fairy farts" on the Internet and found out there is a cottage industry of children's books on the subject. I wonder where these books were when I was a kid, they would have been a lot more fun to read than Dick and Jane, but I digress.

The river just looks cold
This was a midweek hike with usual suspects John, Jennifer, and Diane on our old friend the North Umpqua Trail's Mott Segment. Besides lichen, we also got to experience the North Umpqua River (from a dry distance) and springtime in a shady forest. A very shady forest. I swear, that no matter which side of the river the trail is on, it is always on the shady side. And in late winter/early spring, it's a deep cold shade.

Reflections were a thing today
All we could do was to stare wistfully at the other side of the river which was bathed in more sunlight than that side could ever need or want. All that sunlit warmth just lying around over there and they don't even share. However, the hills were bathed in sunlight and reflected poetically upon the quieter parts of the North Umpqua glowing goldish due to the second-hand sunlight. The reflections were a thing and I soon found myself behind the gang because I made frequent stops in a never-ending quest for the perfect reflection photo. I suppose I shouldn't complain so vociferously about the sun-stealing north side of the river, but a little warmth to go along with the reflections would have been nice.

Roll up the sidewalk!
There's a part of the Mott Segment that we euphemistically refer to as "The Sidewalk" because it is paved with cement down close to the river. Over time, erosion has kind of left The Sidewalk hanging a little bit higher above the river than originally intended. I don't know the story of why the need to cement this little piece of the North Umpqua Trail but no doubt hikers and mountain bikers are happy not to have to negotiate the ankle-breaking or rim-bending minefield of jagged rocks next the river. 

A saxifrage pushes up through the moss
At this primitive sidewalk a large cliff plunges straight down, landing right next to the trail. Water seeps down the cliff-face and the moist air in the river canyon also contributes to the ample moss and other water-loving vegetation hugging the cliff's facade. Saxifrage and stonecrop were some of the other flourishing plant specimens adorning the cliff in addition to the moss, the saxifrage already displaying it's dainty white flowers with distinctive pink-tipped stamens.

A platoon of British soldiers
A large log had rolled down the cliff and apparently a woodland sprite had puked on it, because a colony of fairy barf was happily thriving on the decaying log. The fairy barf was surrounded by  a rather large army of British soldiers, also a lichen but with distinctive red-caps, who were faithfully executing their duly assigned mission of capturing and arresting the miscreant fairy barf for some perceived offense.

The trail went up and down all day long
Naturally, I tarried at this spot way too long and it was pretty much a solo hike from there on in. I figured I'd walk until I encountered my fellow hikers on their way back to the trailhead. That point turned out to be within a quarter-mile of Fisher Creek, so Zane Gray's fishing camp site would have to wait for another day and another hike.

The color of the river amazes
As the afternoon wore on, the sunlight edged ever so closer to our side of the river. Whereas the river in the morning had that frigid looking slate color in the shade, now in bright afternoon sunlight the river was lit up into that vibrant and distinctive North Umpqua blue-green. During the last mile or so of the hike, some sun actually filtered down to the trail and I stood in a sunbeam, basking in the light and warmth. "It's so...(sniff)...beautiful" he said, wiping away a tear. 

Peace like a forest
Because I had so much alone time on the trail, a lot of the hike was spent pondering and ruminating upon life and the recent loss of my daughter. As I walked, the river was always nearby as it flowed below the trail. The noise of the river all hike long soothed, and I let the sound wash right over me as I walked. There is just something about the rush of a river, it's a figurative massage for the soul, rubbing out all the sore spots in one's psyche. Just call me a grateful customer of the North Umpqua Trail.

Cougar Creek, as it flows under a bridge
For more pictures of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Bandon Beach

About a half mile into our hike, Daweson just had to stop and do some totally senseless and inane back flips with all the joy and enthusiasm of youth. His ebullience was contagious and there'd be no sadness or wallowing in pity for me this day, I knew there was a reason I brought him along!

Sun, land, and sky
Bandon Beach is awesome, there's no other way to put it. The scenery is world-class and hiking along the beach with its miles of rocky islands and points is one of my favorite things to do. On the day of our hike, the weather was superb, making an already great hike even better. The day could never quite make up its mind whether it was cloudy or sunny, but there was more than enough blue sky to gladden hearts and spirits. While semi-sunny, the temps were cool, just perfect for hiking, and our only small complaint was a pretty good breeze blowing in our faces on the walk back to the car.

Islands, islands, and more islands
Another plus on this day was that the tide was out for most of our hike, making all the islands accessible to curious hikers and tidepoolers alike. Although to be technical about it, should an island be referred to as an island when it really isn't an island during low tide? Does it have to be surrounded by water on all sides 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (366 in leap year) to qualify as an island? Just asking for a friend. At any rate it was cool to be able to walk down among the islands stranded high and dry by the retreating tide.

A perfect day for hiking
As previously stated, the sun was out and the sky was blue with that crystalline clarity that only occurs on a crisp winter day. There were just enough puffy white clouds to keep the day on the sunny side while making for some nice photography as they floated above the beach. A brisk breeze kept an airborne armada of colorful kites afloat as we started. Because of the low tide, there was plenty of beach to walk on and the wet sand reflected the clouds and sun as if it were a low-resolution reflecting pond.


Daweson jumped on a low rock at surf line and did his best one-footed Grandpa pose and I obliged by whipping out the camera. However, through the viewfinder, I could see the wave rolling in behind him and so was able to click off a photo sequence of his being overrun by the surf, complete with comically surprised expression on his face and all. There's two lessons here: never turn your back on the beach and never trust your grandfather. At any rate, his new and previously dry boots had just been properly initiated.

Elephant Island is the largest of the bunch
The last several times I've been at Coquille Point, we've had to scramble over the rocky point due to a high surf. Not today though, we were able to beach stroll around the point, and take in an up-close view of the maze of islands at the point with surging waves snaking their way in between. Elephant Rock has a large ocean-carved tunnel through it and we stopped to watch the ocean flush out the island's lower digestive tract, so to speak.

Oceal: Look at me!
Princess Elwauna: Neverrrr...!
From the point, we enjoyed a leisurely walk along the arcing bay of Bandon Beach, sited between Points Coquille and Grave. The morning sun reflected on a shimmering sea that glittered more than stage lights on a 70's hair band. The islands here resemble all sorts of things from old boots to to lobster claws to my dog leaning back to get her neck scratched. The star of the phantasmagorical collection of islands and rocks is Face Rock, the face thereof belonging to the native princess Elwauna of legend, forever forced to look away from the ocean.

Crooked Creek sparkles
Daweson's boots were just not going to dry out this day as we had to splash across Johnson Creek and later on, Crooked Creek. Both creeks are fairly sizable and although they both fan out across the beach, the main channels of each still remain an ankle-wetter. Once across Johnson Creek though, the islands thinned out a bit with the last major one, Haystack Rock, looming in the distance.

Haystock Rock afloat in a silver sea
After a mile or so on a beach littered with crab parts and other gull lunch leavings, we walked by Haystack Rock, splashed across Crooked Creek, and touched the last rock on the beach to mark our turnaround point. And back the way we had come we went. And yikes, we were catching a full face's worth of cold breeze!

Wind painting on beach sand
We hadn't really noticed the breeze on the walk out because the wind was at our backs which had been protected by our day packs. The wind was really noticeable when certain hikers who like to photograph, got down on one knee or lower; then the windblown fast-moving fine grains of sand applied a stinging dermabrasion treatment to incredibly handsome faces. But the sand on the beach was the Sistine Chapel to the wind's Michelangelo and the artwork of stripes, swirls, and tie-dye in all shades of tan was beautiful enough to justify the skin pain from the near-ground photography. I just hope everybody appreciates my facial skin's bravery and sacrifice.

Daweson braves the wind inside the cave

By this time, the tide was lazily incoming but would be still relatively low for the remainder of the hike. It did become high enough though, to force us to use the scramble route over Coquille Point. Grave Point presented no such problem, although we did take the cave tunnel through the point just for fun. The narrow passageway funneled the wind into gale force proportions as we staggered our way through.

Just gotta ruin my photo, don't you?

When we arrived at the jetty shepherding the wide Coquille River out to sea, a lone surf fisherman was plying his solitary avocation. The rock Daweson had been standing on when the wave had overrun his little perch was no longer visible, being covered up by the incoming tide. Daweson politely declined my request to reenact the morning photo. He seemed tired at the end of this hike but when I told him I'd buy him a jalapeƱo burger, I daresay he had enough youthful energy left that he nearly did another flip for joy. Such is the enthusiasm of the young, and that's why I brought him along.

More beach abstract art
For more photos of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.