The Bandon, Oregon Series: Part 3… Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint

Peggy and I arrived in Bandon on a stormy day and drove over to the Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint as soon as we had checked into our campground. Face Rock was shrouded in rain and mist. There’s a legend that says you can hear a woman’s voice in the wind if you listen. It all sounds like an appropriate Halloween tale…

According to Native American lore, the beautiful Indian maiden, Ewauna, arrived with her father, Chief Siskiyou, in the Bandon area for a major potlatch. Ewauna had never seen the ocean and immediately fell in love with it. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with the potlatch concept, the object is to give things away to guests, the more you give, the more you are admired.)

What’s not to love about the beautiful ocean beaches near Bandon? This photo is looking south from the Face Rock Scenic Viewpoint. The rock in the distance is Haystack, which I featured in my last Bandon post about the Devil’s Kitchen State Park. The two people among the rocks provide perspective.

“Don’t go near the ocean,” the old men of the tribe warned Ewauna. The evil spirit of the ocean, Seatka, lived in the waters along the coast and apparently had a thing for beautiful young Indian maidens. But what young woman full of life listens to old men? That night there was a great feast as part of the potlatch. After being stuffed with bear and deer and elk and berries, and mussels and clams, everyone drifted off to a deep sleep. That is, everyone except Ewauna.

She quietly got up, careful not to wake anyone, and slipped off to the ocean taking her dog, Komax, her cat, Tenas Puss Puss, and Tenas’s kittens with her. She carried the cat and kittens in a basket. Ewauna ran up and down the beach with joy and jumped into the ocean for a swim, telling Komax to look out for the cat and kittens. Out she swam, farther and farther, as Komax barked louder and louder, warning her of the danger. Suddenly an ugly monster surfaced and grabbed her. It was the evil spirit, Seatka.

Komax stopped barking, grabbed the basket in his mouth and swam madly out to rescue his mistress. Dropping the basket, he sank his sharp teeth into Seatka’s arm. Good boy! The evil spirit screamed in anger and pain, grabbed Komax, and threw him far out into the ocean. For good measure, he also grabbed Teanas Puss Puss and her kittens, tossing them as well. He then increased his grip on Ewauna, squeezing her tight.

“Look into my eyes,” he demanded. He could only possess her if she looked at him.

“Never!” she had replied, staring steadfastly up at the sky and moon. And that is how Chief Siskiyou found her the next morning, still staring up at the sky, refusing to let the evil spirit to possess her. And that is where you can find her today.

Coming back the next day, Peggy and I found Ewauna still staring up at the sky with a smile on her face. Still free. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Her pets, too, have been turned into rocks (shown on the right) and wait faithfully for her.
Later we returned to the beach to watch the sunset and found Face Rock turned orange by the setting sun. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Speaking of faces I caught this photo of Peggy as the wind had fun with her hair at the scenic viewpoint.

While Face Rock gives its name to the scenic viewpoint, there are a number of other sea stacks to admire.

Photo by Peggy Mekemson.
Photo taken from inside a cave by Peggy.
Peggy caught this unique shot of the sun sinking into the Pacific Ocean. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Mine was more traditional.
I’ll conclude my Bandon series with this dramatic evening look of sea stacks at Face Rock. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

NEXT POST: After a thousand posts, it’s time to consider changes in my blog.

38 thoughts on “The Bandon, Oregon Series: Part 3… Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint

  1. Curt, I am totally captivated by your story about the origin of Facerock, about the Indian maiden ….. all of it really. That both you and Peggy are great photographers
    adds strength and mystique to this incredible story.

    Peggy’s photo of the sun setting in the Pacific Ocean is indeed incredible.

    So much beauty nature freely shares!

    Miriam

    • I love legends of how natural things came to be, Miriam. Folklore always adds a unique twist.
      Both Peggy and I have fun with photography and the blog serves as a way for us to share.
      Capturing the beauty of nature is both challenging and rewarding, like writing poems. 🙂 I shared you compliment with Peggy. –Curt

  2. Oh Curt once again a feast for the eyes and ears with your words that grace the page and both Peggy and your pictures. These pictures are just stunning and wordless! I just loved the Native American Indian Lore that you shared with so much passion and was so captuoing of the heartstarting off with this, “you can hear a woman’s voice in the wind if you listen”.
    I was just so sad for the kittens until we got to the end and saw the “kitty rocks” that were awaiting her presence. Ok, that bookstore really needs a cat after reading this.. lol. I can’t wait to visit! Thanks for sharing it with us Curt. 👏👏👏Loved! ❤️ Cindy

    • You will like this Cindy. I hadn’t put the cat and kitten rocks in and Peggy told me I had to so people would know what happened to them. I will pass on your words. And thank you for your kind words. Appreciated. I have always found Native American lore fascinating… and fun. –Curt

  3. I think I’ve seen photos of the ‘face rock,’ but I hadn’t heard the tale, or don’t remember it. It’s quite interesting, and like so many natural features’ ‘backstories,’ it’s as interesting as the rock itself. I’m off to the beach today, to see what I can see. We lost many of our dunes during the storms, and we don’t have any rocks, so there’s no telling — but there will be sunshine, and water, and sand.

  4. You do know how to tell a tale…. best version I’ve heard or seen yet of the Face Rock legend.

    Now that the dust of the last weeks, months (eons?) seems to have settled, I’m making a mighty attempt at catching up! Oddly enough I’ve been sorting through old images taken at Bandon back when I lived closer to it. They make for a great challenge to update them with the wonder of post-processing.

    Still holding my breath for the Senate seat runoffs Jan 5th (Georgia) to see if we can give Mitch a definitive nudge from his hold on Majority Leader… wouldn’t THAT be nice?

    • I always have fun with tales like the Face Rock story, Gunta. Thanks.

      There is beauty up and down the coast but I think Bandon has to be near the top on scenery. The sea stacks are incredible.

      It could change America politics to the better! –Curt

    • I’m pretty sure it will still be waiting for you, Rusha, assuming Cascadia doesn’t decide to pull another one of it #9 earthquakes. They seem to happen every 3-400 years and the last one was in 1700. The first thing I do on each of my trips to the coast is check out the Tsunami escape routes. 🙂 –Curt

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