The Devil’s Kitchen at Bandon… What’s for Dinner?

I didn’t have a clue what I would find the old boy brewing up at the Devil’s Kitchen in Bandon. But I was expecting something like the Devil’s Churn, which is found farther north up the Oregon Coast.

I figured the Devil had to cook with ghost peppers, and that got me excited. I like my food spicy hot and it doesn’t get much hotter. A tiny bit goes a long, long way, even for me. Lacking that, I thought I might at least find a churning, boiling sea like you find at the Devil’s Churn. Instead, I found a quiet, bucolic scene. Crooked Creek flowed peacefully out to the ocean.

Crooked Creek flowing out to the Pacific Ocean.

But wait a minute, I thought. The Devil is sneaky, right. Maybe Crooked Creek was indeed crooked. Maybe it tricked people into crossing and then sucked them under with quicksand. With this in mind, I went seeking other subtle reminders of the Devil’s presence.

And found this. If ever there was an example of the Devil’s handiwork… Note the smiley, evil face on the left. And then, Gonzo. Next comes an inebriated Santa, followed by a busty Old Mother Hubbard. And finally there is Tex Ritter. You can tell by the cowboy hat. But just who is Tex Ritter? What? Maybe you can’t see any of the above and you’re thinking Mekemson has gone over the edge. Maybe he is possessed.
Backing up, I realized the truth. I was looking at a sand castle made by a kid who obviously needed some counseling. He didn’t even know that the moat was supposed to go on the outside.
And then I saw it, as clear as the day. A hell hound. Look at those flaring nostrils and bulging eyes. I looked again and saw Goofy needing a haircut. Was this yet another example of the Devil being sneaky?
Something had been eating rock! I looked up and saw an evil turtle glaring at me. I was becoming a believer.
Even the driftwood took on a scary countenance. Look at the snout on this fellow and his hollow, haunting eye. I didn’t want to be around when the sun went down.
At first I thought I saw a face here, maybe George Washington in his dotage. Then I realized that something very big had eaten a chunk out of the rock.
People sometimes fall off cliffs. That seems a devilish thing to do. Usually they are standing on the edge taking a selfie of themselves. Don’t they know that selfies are the creation of the Devil? While I feel sorry for these folks who give their all for a fleeting moment of fame, I can’t help but wonder if something Darwinian isn’t involved. Given that this particular cliff was three inches high and the water was two inches deep, there wasn’t much danger, however.
And finally the ultimate proof. Most people think of this as kelp, but actually, it is the Devil’s bull whip!
In the end, even though I had discovered several hints of the Devil’s presence, I decided that the area was just too pretty to be associated with Hell.
Even the rock with the chunk missing looked harmless from the distance.
And this sea stack caught in the afternoon sun was close to beautiful.
I walked back toward my van through the trees…
And found this sign. Turns out there was nothing devilish about Devil’s Kitchen at all.
No longer fearing for my soul, I hung out on the beach to see a final sunset before I left Bandon heading south. I’ll be back.

NEXT POST: The Wednesday Photo Essay. Four years ago in February, Peggy and I went for a ride on the Alaska Railway from Anchorage to Fairbanks with our son Tony and his family. Join us as we check out Mt. Denali and attend a world championship ice carving contest.

43 thoughts on “The Devil’s Kitchen at Bandon… What’s for Dinner?

  1. When i spotted that dragon/crocodile driftwood, I was about to become a believer, but then I read the sign and was wondering where the menu could be for ‘Everyone’s Kitchen’!! 🙂

  2. I’ve heard that eating ghost peppers can lead to hallucinations, not unlike those associated with certain mushrooms. Now, I’m not suggesting anything particular, but I think you might have gotten out of there just in time.

    Those photos of the smooth water and sea stacks are gorgeous. This is the second time this week I’ve had reason to recall a certain song, with lyrics that ponder the possibility that “this could be heaven, or this could be hell.” You didn’t spot a hotel out there, did you? Or some soaring eagles?

    • Neither a hotel or soaring eagles, Linda. There were plenty of soaring gulls. Will they do?
      Didn’t know about the Ghost Pepper hallucination tie in. Grin. But I was much more likely to find magic mushrooms there. I’ve been reading a fascinating book by Michael Pollan on the history of LSD and mushrooms that traces the history of their use. At one point he goes on a magic mushroom hunt at another Oregon State Park on the coast with one of the gurus of mushrooms and finds one, which he and his wife later eat. He describes the experience. Had I found and consumed one of those fellows on the spot, it might have been a much more interesting post. 🙂 Not something I think I would like to do all alone by myself out there, however. –Curt

  3. This is a great post, Curt. It’s fun to have fun with you. And I beg to differ about the moat: I think if I was a kid building a castle, a swimming pool would be the perfect centerpiece. 😉 I love these shots and love your imagination.

  4. Sounds like you had some fun. As many times as I’ve been there, I hadn’t checked out that sign. Thanks for adding it. Good to know. Heading north out of Bandon, you can also discover Seven Devil and Whiskey Run beaches. If I remember right, it’s even possible to walk from one to the other along the beach, but you can only get around one point that sticks out at low tide. If you go in the 4-wheel you can even drive on the beach (if things haven’t deteriorated in the intervening years since I was there.

      • You need to head west off of 101 (If I remember right, there may be signs.) I think one end of the road comes out near Charleston, but it gets narrow and a little bit hairy though I’ve driven it in the Prius Mini. If my memory is right, the 7 Devils is likely the 7 (?) hills you have to climb over to get from one end of the road to the other. Sorry, I’m not really good on directions. It’s been awhile since I was out that way.

    • Thank you Arati. All my years of wandering in the wilderness, sometimes by myself, have trained my eyes to spot unique forms in rocks and trees. In fact, it is hard for me not to spot fun creatures. 🙂 Appreciated. –Curt

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