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27: enchantingly-forested

Updated: Feb 27

Dear Friend,

I hope that you have had a good week. And if it is getting (sunshine-temp) HOT where you are, I hope that you're able to find time to enjoy the cool of the mornings! Even when you are rushing to get to work, the freshness of a summer morning can reassure you that after this very warm day, earth’s sun will set, and the night time sky will bring cooling relief. At least, it will, a little.

When we left Hum Bug Mountain Campground in Oregon last week, we drove on up 101 North, to Coos Bay, Oregon and set up camp at the large and busy Sunset Bay Campground. This place is (on-leash)-dog-friendly, has several bathrooms with flushing toilets and showers, campsite fire rings, quite a few camp hosts, a large, centrally-located trash compactor, sink waste receptacles, and water. It is breezy along the coast in Oregon but this campground is sheltered in a forest of tall trees.

Sunset Bay Beach is a short walk from the campground. The water is shallow, warmish, and has just enough of a surf for new swimmers to practice bodysurfing.

Maybe you know the collective nouns for a group of Pelicans? They can be called a pod, pouch, squadron, pooch or rookery. (You know that I know that you can actually call them anything you want to call them). We watched lots of white pelicans flying and diving as they hunted out in the bay and open ocean. [Note: pelicans can scoop up and swallow fish of many sizes, other birds, reptiles, amphibians and even rodents, (so keep your pet chihuahua close)].

There were also seagulls and cormorants coming and going from the nearby tide pools.

Several well-maintained trail systems run along the cliff to the South of the beach through coastal forest and along the rocky cliffs and headlands overlooking the ocean. From the trails, you have a nice view of Cape Arago Lighthouse. (We were just a tiny bit too late to see whales migrating, that happens between December and June).

Shore Acres State Park is adjacent to the campground. No dogs allowed in the park, but if you’re walking the trail system with your dog, just keep moving on the trail without popping up onto Shore Acre property. In this historical place, once owned by the Simpson Family, it’s mostly about the gardens, well-tended by volunteers. You’ll see roses and other colorful flowers, along with unique plants from all over the world. Volunteer docents will tell you the history of the buildings and of the Simpson family dramas.

The property is available for weddings and other events. It is a very beautiful ocean-side venue, the views from the cliffs are spectacular! But it is very windy most of the time. We imagined photographing a wedding there. The wind would be a very tricky obstacle! Most brides would recoil at the thought of losing their veil over the edge.

Basically, when visiting the coast of Oregon, hold on to your veils, and your chihuahuas.

Frank took some stunning photos in the gardens, and along that rugged, rocky ocean cliffside.


Then, to begin our journey back to California, we drove a few, enchantlingly-forested miles from Gold Beach, inland on Jerry’s Flat Road, and camped along the Rogue River.

Our campsite was in a grove of Oregon Myrtle trees. Close cousins to California Laurel, or California Bay trees, Oregon Myrtle leaves give off a mild, calming scent, so the air was full of bliss. From our peaceful campground, it was a short walk to the river.

There, we met several beautiful friends. Deer and their fawn, gray fox, Bald, and Golden Eagles, Osprey, Heron, Sea Gulls, Crawdads, some beautiful spiders... a friendly, knowledgeable camp host, and his doggy, Sasha.

We also saw a lot of fish splashing, as they swam, making their way up or down the river. Salmon, and a variety of trout, are enticing reasons for hungry fisher-people, bear, river otter, and birds of all kinds to visit the Rogue river as often as possible.

The life-cycle of fish… I won’t go into it here, but it truly seems daunting. Frank and I watched as an Osprey hunted for its river dinner. We were pretty sure that the fish were oblivious; this bird never missed!

Next on our journey South, was an overnight at Tree of Heaven Campground. We were lucky that a site was available. (I wrote a bit about our first stay at this campground in my 24th blog/letter to you). This time, Tree of Heaven was already wearing signs of crowded summer camping. But we were only there for the night and enjoyed every moment, star-gazing and listening to the constant and lovely whooshing sound of the (still high and running) Klamath!

Mt. Shasta and thunder storms hosted us the next night. At just under 5000’, McBride Springs campground was a good, cool, place to stop. They have well-maintained pit toilets, dumpsters, and, just a short hike from the campground, there is a view of snow-covered Mt. Shasta, and a hand-pump with very cold, and fresh, spring water.

“They” say it’s good drinking water. We didn’t try it, just in case the internet report wasn’t accurate. : )

We drove as far as vehicles were allowed to drive up the road toward Shasta’s summit and stopped at a trailhead parking lot called Bunny Flat. Pit-toilet bathrooms are next to the parking lot, and there’s a Forestry Kiosk where you’ll find lots of information about hiking Mt. Shasta.

There were several hikers (solo and small groups) camping at Bunny Flat, gearing up to leave for their hike up the Mountain. Bunny Flat is just under 7000’. Shasta’s summit is 14,180’. Some of the hikers were going to make the climb the next morning and planned to be back down the same day. Others we met were planning to camp after climbing to a predetermined point, giving themselves two days to make it up and down the Mountain. We watched a pair of hikers heading onto the trail late that afternoon, under a spectacular thunderstorm complete with lightning and hail. No matter the weather, Frank enjoyed some amazing photo opps that evening.


To learn more about hiking Mt. Shasta, click HERE

We are always grateful that you take the time to read Tracks by the Post! Thank you!

Please contact me and let me know how you are doing. (I’m really hoping that we will eventually have more consistent cell phone coverage. But, again, if you contact me and it takes me a while to get back to you, please know that I will reply as soon as I can)!

Wishing you a wonderful week!

Gently Be,

Leslie (and Frank).

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