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Jul 17 2015
autumnstars
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 Guides 25
 Routes 19
 Photos 558
 Triplogs 1,385

female
 Joined Jan 04 2011
 Las Vegas, NV
Bandon to Humbug Mtn - OR Coast Trail Sec 8South Coast, OR
South Coast, OR
Backpack avatar Jul 17 2015
autumnstars
Backpack31.44 Miles 598 AEG
Backpack31.44 Miles3 Days         
598 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
My niece selected something completely different for our annual backpacking trip this year. None of us had ever hiked along the coast for an extended time, so it seemed like an interesting new experience.

Day One
11.6 miles

We started from Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint in Bandon, a bit south of the official start of this section of the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT), and hiked south. Most hike the coast north to south based on the prevailing wind direction, but this day remained chilly and with a substantial headwind. In spite of this, we experienced relatively easy hiking by sticking to the firm, damp sand near the waves. We quickly realized two things about hiking along a beach: first, you can't hear one another talking over the surf; and second, everything gets covered with salt spray. While the first might be good if your companions really annoy you, the salt spray means that your sunglasses quickly get to the point you can barely see. We all secretly thought something was wrong with our eyes until we figured that one out :lol:

Some stared at us a little oddly with our packs, but we quickly left the beach crowd behind. Our later start time meant that high tide met us at our first river crossing - the New River. We snacked and relaxed for an hour or so, allowing the tide to start out before scouting a route across. With the tide going out, we didn't want to cross too close to the mouth (outgoing tide accelerates the river current), so managed to find a perfect spot at a shallow meander a little upstream. With summer river levels low, we probably could have crossed even at high tide, but it proved hard to judge river depth with none of the normal cues like rocks along the bottom.

From here, the rest of the day was many miles of straightforward beach hiking, bird watching, and zero people. The post for the designated campsite was easy to spot, and we were all happy to see it. Turns out hiking along the beach can be pretty monotonous - there are no off-shore rocks along this section of the coast once you leave Face Rock and not much driftwood or polished ocean rock on the sand. The campsite was small but serviceable, protected from the ocean wind up in the dunes. We could also hear one another a little better away from the waves.

Day Two
11.5 miles

Today's wind was as relentless as the day before, but changed direction to a tailwind all day. :y: The morning started out with more hiking along the featureless beach, but we quickly found a long washed-up boat to catch our interest. We also started counting western snowy plovers and tried to imitate their running style, which proved very entertaining. Shortly before reaching the end of the plover fencing, we encountered a BLM volunteer who was out to do nest surveys and very excited to hear what we had seen. By now, more interesting coastline was visible ahead as we approached Blacklock Point.

Passing Floras Lake, we misinterpreted our directions, missed the trail, and ended up having to bushwhack up to the top of the bluff on an old, very overgrown trail. Bushwhacking here was very, very, very difficult and exhausting. In places, we had to all push as one to get through. Thankfully, we shortly met up with a woodland trail that took us to the Cape Blanco State Airport. The airport was originally built during WWII for the navy, but is now owned by the state for public use and appears well-maintained. A few trail junctions after the runway, we finally saw our first official Oregon Coast Trail sign - those could have really helped a few other times :lol:

A quick jaunt through the dense woods to Blacklock Point, where we enjoyed the views and then headed back down to the beach. The beach south of the point was piled with driftwood - huge pieces, full tree trunks. There were also more interesting rocks as we headed along this section toward Cape Blanco. Crossed Sixes River easily near low tide (2 guys were fishing there and asked us what we were doing), then looked up to see the Cape Blanco lighthouse completely shrouded and a dense bank of fog rapidly moving in. It was difficult to see more than 20-30 feet ahead for the rest of today's hike, as we worked our way up to the campground in Point Blanco State Park. The hiker/biker site was just one of the normal sites, but it was quite luxurious to us. We didn't make it in time for the lighthouse tour, so maybe another time.

Day Three
8.3 miles

Our last day was oddly still and sunny, and therefore pretty hot. We probably should have started before the fog cleared out, but that's not how it went. The plus side was better views and extra sleep, so I'll take it! :D

After a slight false start down a trail instead of the beach access road, we were back to beach hiking. Some stretches this day were dry and loose, as the beach is steeper and not as wide in this section. The Elk River crossing was no problem, again near low tide, and the beach was gradually hemmed in by cliffs on the inland side. The sand became more and more coarse as we made our way south toward Port Orford, eventually almost reaching the size of fine gravel. This made hiking more difficult, so we were glad to have a shorter day today. Reaching Port Orford, we took the trail up off the beach to Tseriadun State Recreation Site and then walked into town.

We had convinced my parents to set up a vehicle shuttle for us, and after a short walk along US101, we reached our car at Battle Rock. :y:
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
In the woods away from the ocean, iris flowering.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Coquille River Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Elk River Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max New River Medium flow Medium flow
As of 17 July, mouth was far north of where it appears on topo maps.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Sixes River Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Twomile Creek Medium flow Medium flow
As of 17 July, was meeting up with New River before New River mouth.
_____________________
"Let it ride / Let it roll / Let it go"

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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