take an evening stroll among the sea stacks on the
beach in Bandon, Ore., in August 2015
began my drive southward on Highway 101 along the Oregon
coast in the town of Florence, following breakfast with a
longtime friend in Eugene.
had been more than 20 years since my last visit to the
area, and I decided to make this scenic coastal route a
part of my road trip back to Orange County from Seattle.
first stop actually was a short drive to the north at
Heceta Head Lighthouse, one of the most photographed
scenes on the Oregon coast. It’s a beautiful setting no
matter the season or time of day.
made my way south again, I stopped briefly at Oregon Dunes
National Recreation Area. There, I took a short walk
through the forest and onto the dunes, where I could see
the ocean nearly a half-mile away.
my way back to the car I came across a face that someone
had drawn in the sand. It made me smile; its hair, tufts
of grass poking through the dune, was the perfect touch.
passed by many log woodcarvings standing by the side of
the road as I drove, including a surfer on a wave — it
looked like it would be more suited to Southern California
— a giant fish in the harbor in Bandon, and a large bear
holding a coffee cup in front of a coffee shop in
Reedsport. I laughed as I passed by, and quickly made a
U-turn to get a photograph.
Bullards Beach State Park in Bandon, which sits between
the 101 and the ocean, I made my way to the end of a road
that runs through the park to the Coquille River Light.
into commission in February 1896 on the north jetty of the
Coquille River, at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, the now
120-year-old lighthouse guided mariners until 1939.
seemed to sit in the perfect spot, surrounded by tall
grasses and many sea-worn logs on the beach below.
across the river from the lighthouse is Coquille Point, on
a cliff overlooking the rocks and sea stacks off the
coast. It was a beautiful sight as the sun began to set
while I watched and photographed people strolling between
the towering stacks.
seemed the best way to end the day.
knew my nearly 1,200-mile journey south had to stay on
track early the following morning, but I was already
planning my return trip to this amazing section of coast.
Head Lighthouse: Tours are available daily. For
information on the lighthouse, the keeper's house and the
affiliated bed and breakfast, visit hecetalighthouse.com
or bit.ly/1kTUs8w, or call 866-547-3696.
Dunes National Recreation Area: The area offers hiking,
camping, picnicking, dune riding and other activities.
Beach State Park and Coquille River Light: Facilities
include about 100 full-hookup campsites, 13 yurts and a
horse camp. Lighthouse hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily from
mid-May through September; the tower is closed to
visitors, but the fog/signal room remains open. For
information, visit bit.ly/1mJyJSq or call 541-347-2209.