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.

Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint… The Oregon Coast Series

The face of the Indian maiden is clearly seen here in the rock. If you start on the right you can see her chin, mouth, nose and eye. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

 

Peggy and I have driven through the town of Bandon several times without stopping on our journeys up and down the Oregon Coast. We decided to correct that oversight this past week. I had googled the small town along Highway 101. Photos of striking rock sculptures at the Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint were included on the site. That alone would have demanded a visit. But there was also the town of Bandon, Bullard Beach State Park, and the Coquille River Lighthouse to explore. Today, I will feature the scenic viewpoint. Next Monday I’ll focus on the town, park and lighthouse.

There’s a native American legend that goes along with Face Rock. It has to do with an evil spirit, a lovely maiden, and her favorite pets. The Indian maiden, Ewauna, had come with her father, Chief Siskiyou, to visit with several chiefs along the coast. In honor of the occasion, a great potlatch was thrown. After everyone had eaten far more bear and salmon than he or she should have and stumbled off to bed, Ewauna decided to go for a swim in the ocean, even though she had been warned not to. The evil spirit Seatka lived in the ocean and had a thing for fair maidens. Naturally, he captured Ewauna along with her dog, cat, and kittens. You can still see them today down among the rocks.

Face Rock near Bandon, Oregon.

Another view of the maiden, Ewauna. This one taken at sea level. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

The maiden with her cat and kittens off to the right. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

We were lucky to visit the scenic viewpoint at low tide, so we followed a wooden stairway down to the beach, wandered around among the rock sculptures, explored some caves, and admired the general beauty of the area.

Stairs led us down to the beach. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

I caught a photo of Peggy making her way down the stairs. Marvelous rock sculptures were waiting for us.

A small stream crossed the path at the bottom of the stairways.

Peggy caught it coming out on the other side of the colorful rocks. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

And I captured a broader perspective.

I promptly name this rock Elf.

Peggy took this for perspective.

Another towering giant caught our attention. I named it Bigfoot.

Peggy and Bigfoot’s toes.

This photo provides a Peggy perspective on Bigfoot’s big foot.

A distant view of Bigfoot looking small— and other rocks— from the scenic viewpoint.

These cliffs rose up dramatically behind the beach.

A pair of eye-like caves had been cut into the cliffs by the pounding waves. I was pretty sure that there would be pirate booty in them. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

One of the caves was filled with rocks. I was tempted to dig.

A view out from inside the cave. We hadn’t been alone in checking out the cave. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

The same rock looking down from the viewpoint.

Looking up at the rock from below.

The other cave provided a view through the rock cliff. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Another view. The yellow plant seen on the other side is gorse. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

George Bennet, the founder of Bandon, brought the thorny gorse with him when he came from the town of Bandon, Ireland in 1873. He saw it as a touch of home. Local Oregonians view it as an invasive plant that crowds out native plants.

It does have a certain beauty, but don’t try to hike through its thorns. The cave comes through the cliff on the right.

Another view.

There were many more rocks to keep us entertained. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

The cat and kittens looked a little more riled up here as the tide began to roll in. (And no, the cat and kittens aren’t obvious to me, either.)

Peggy caught the tide slipping in between thesis giants. Can you spot the misplaced Canadian Goose on top of the rock on the left? It flew off honking. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

I photographed the tide edging around this rock. The bottom of the rock, BTW, is packed with sea life.

Peggy’s close up shows goose neck barnacles, regular barnacles and mussels. Every inch is filled!

Our exploration complete, it was time to head back up the stairs.

 

NEXT BLOGS:

Wednesday: The interview with Bone!

Friday: The beautiful temples of Burning Man.

Monday: It’s back to Bandon, Oregon.