It seems appropriate to end my series on Harris Beach State Park with photos of the setting sun like the one above and those below. But first, I would like to cover a striking geological feature: Key Hole Rock.
And now for the promised sunset photos:
Monday’s Blog-A-Book Post from It’s 4 AM and a Bear Is Standing on Top of Me: On a lonely night walk home from visiting her boyfriend, my sister Nancy encounters a ghost from the Graveyard that floats down in front of her. She screams, and screams, and screams…
The pounding surf and towering sea stacks at Harris Beach State Park near Brookings, Oregon tend to pull your view up and outward. It’s easy to skip looking down. So far in this series, I’ve introduced tide pools and sea stacks. Today I am going to feature the beauty and personality of smaller rocks and driftwood.
Monday’s Blog-a-Book… from “It’s 4 AM and a Bear is Standing on Top of Me” : You’ve met Demon the Black Cat, now it’s time to meet MC the White Cat who lived in the Graveyard except for dinner. There was a reason…
I am continuing the exploration of the Oregon Coast on my Friday travel blog. This is part of the Harris Beach series. So far, Peggy and I have given you a tour of the tide pools teeming with interesting sea life. Today I will focus on the sea stacks that adorn the coast. Harris Beach State Park is located next to the town of Brookings, which is just north of the California border. The following photos are taken by both Peggy and me.
Monday’s Blog-a-Book Post… From “It’s 4 AM and a Bear Is Standing on Top of Me” : The shameless shenanigans of Pat the Greyhound and Demon the Black Cat get them fired from ghost guard duty.
It’s more tide pool fun at Oregon’s Harris Beach State Park in my travel blog today. Both Peggy and I took the photos.
Barnacles are a bane to sailors, limpets and anyone else they can hitch a ride with. Latching onto hulls, they seriously interfere with a boat’s efficiency at moving through water and have to be scraped off. Limpets just have to live with their passengers.
Blog a Book Monday… “It’s 4 AM and a Bear Is Standing on Top of Me” : In my last post from the book, I wrote about how I had moved outside in the summer to experience nature up close and personal, a successful venture that was tainted somewhat by the ghosts that lived in the graveyard next door. I ended up hiring the family pets for protection. On Monday I will introduce my top protectors, Pat the Stray Greyhound and Demon the Black Cat.
It’s the first day of spring here in the Applegate River Valley, and behaving like it. I watched two male flickers (woodpeckers) strutting their stuff this morning for a female while she studiously ignored them by pecking at the ground. One very pregnant doe was busy chasing off her twins from last year. She’ll soon have a new fawn— or fawns— to take care of. And, the swallows have arrived back in our neighborhood. Their aerial performances are truly amazing. Before long, they will start checking out our oak trees and bird houses for possible nesting sites.
The first of our daffodils have burst into bright yellow blooms, shooting stars are covering the hillsides, and irises are popping up everywhere. Peggy and her sister Jane dug up our iris bed last year to separate the bulbs that were crowding each other out. Peggy discovered that there were more than she could possibly plant, so she started stuffing the extras into gopher holes and covering them— like you might sweep dirt under a rug. Well, that’s what I thought. The gophers will have a feast. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Each hole is now proudly sporting its own iris and Peggy is giving me an “I told you so” look.
And what else happened this morning? There was snow, rain and sunshine. Sometimes simultaneously. Spring has arrived for sure.
Meanwhile, I have a nasty cold. “We don’t likes it,” as Gollum of Hobbit fame would say. I have a box of Kleenex on one side and a paper bag on the other. I feel like I am an essential part of an assembly line for creating dirty tissues. Pull a Kleenex out of the box, sneeze into it, and stuff it in the bag. Repeat. I filled two bags yesterday. I’d be worried in this age of Covid, but my sniffer is working fine, I don’t have a fever, and Peggy and I had our second dose of Moderna in February.
I was totally out of it yesterday and the day before. Instead of writing, I read a 400-page fantasy novel about a reluctant hero, a kick-ass princess, a unicorn without a horn, and a dragon that collected butterflies instead of virgins and gold. It was just what the doctor ordered. I’m almost human today, which is why I am back to blogging. Today I am returning to the tide pools of Harris Beach for a look at sea anemones.
Monday’s Blog-a-Book Post… “It’s 4 AM and a Bear Is Standing on Top of Me”: I move outside to commune with nature in the summer but the ghosts continue to haunt our backyard. I hire the family pets for protection. They charge a high fee.
We were lucky to find any starfish at all. The population up and down the Pacific coast came close to being wiped out in 2013. A rather nasty virus that melted these attractive creatures from the inside killed millions. Legs would fall off and go crawling away. It sounded like the plot to a Grade B horror flick. Fortunately, evolution came to the rescue. A small portion of the population seemed immune to the virus. Maybe some of the legs got lucky. They came back with a vengeance. We did find a few that were obviously dead. I touched one. It was mushy. Melting.
Here are some fun facts:
These rather amazing five-legged creatures have seawater for blood. It serves the same purpose, delivering nutrients to cells.
Starfish can regenerate an arm lost to a predator. But what if the arm loses its starfish? It can regenerate a new starfish, an exact replica. Pretty cool, huh.
They have very small mouths but like large, tasty morsels, like mussels. Not a problem. They have big stomachs. They send them out through their mouths and wrap them around what they want to eat. They digest their dinner and then suck the nutrients back into their mouths, along with the wandering stomachs.
They move around on tiny little feet that are found on their arms. They fill these little feet with water and mimic walking. They travel slowly, at least I have never seen one move quickly.
The feet also serve another purpose; they work as suction cups. The starfish will wrap itself around a closed mussel, attach their little feet, and pull the shells apart. Not an easy task.
One more thing about their arms, each one comes with eyes. Not eyes like you and I have but photo receptors that allow them to distinguish between light and dark and move around in search of food, or to avoid becoming food.
Following are more of our photos:
As you read this post, Peggy and I are on our way to Pt. Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco. When she asked what I wanted to do for my birthday week, it popped up. The National Sea Shore is one of my all-time favorite places and I have been escaping there for 50 years. So, beyond responding to comments, I will be taking a break from blogging and reading blogs this coming week. Translate: Vacation! I’ll be back to work on March 8. See you then. –Curt
Peggy and I just returned from visiting another of the scenic state parks along the Oregon Coast. This time we followed the Redwood Highway from Grants Pass to Crescent City, which, in itself, is worth the trip. Highlights included following the plunging Smith River as it tumbles down to the Pacific Ocean and winding through the giant trees of Jedidiah Smith Redwood Park. (Smith, BTW, was an early mountain man, explorer, pioneer and author in the western US. His name is on lots of places. Had I been in his boots, those places would be named Mekemson. Grin.)
Harris Beach State Park is a short 26 miles from Crescent City following Highway 101. It’s about three hours from our home. We lucked out and got a campsite overlooking the Pacific that is normally booked months in advance. We don’t do months in advance.
The park is named for George Scott Harris, a native of Scotland. According to the Park website, he obtained the property in 1871 after a lifetime of wandering, which included serving in the British Army in India and spending time in Africa and New Zealand. In 1860, he made it to San Francisco where he worked in railway construction and mining, finally migrating to what would become the park, settling down, and raising sheep and cattle.
While we are always fans of reflection shots, Peggy and I found something else to amuse ourselves with this time: Tide pools. Half of our beach time was spent ferreting out sea life. I plan to feature what we found in this five part series including starfish, anemones, hermit crabs, snails, limpets, chitons and seaweed. Oh my! Plus. Naturally, there will also be sea stacks, driftwood, unique rocks, and sunsets— the types of things one expects when visiting the Oregon coast. Today, I will post a few introductory photos to the park.
Monday’s Blog-A-Book… “It’s 4 AM and a Bear Is Standing on Top of Me“: I discover that the overgrown, jungle-like graveyard next to our house is a great place to play during the day but becomes very scary at night when the ghosts come out.
Tuesday’s Blog-A-Book… “The Bush Devil Ate Sam”: While driving a laundry truck to earn money for college, I meet a young Liza Minnelli in her babydoll pajamas at casino magnate Bill Harrah’s home, and am held at gun point during a laundry takeover at Lake Tahoe. Later on, I was amused by the thought that it was good training for me as a student at Berkeley and as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
When we think of the Redwoods, it is usually about the giant Redwoods. But the Redwoods also have an incredible greenness that is long remembered.
A long trip, especially a long trip where services are few and far between, means you prefer not to have breakdowns along the way. I dutifully took Quivera in to the Ford Dealer and spent the usual obscene amount of money to increase my chances she would behave herself on the way to Alaska. The drive to Alaska isn’t as challenging as it once was (I made my first trip in 1986 over frozen dirt), but it is still challenging.
To further increase our chances of a worry-free trip, Peggy and I– along with our daughter and two grandkids, took Quivera on a shake down cruise to the Redwoods National Park in Northern California, about three hours away. We had introduced our son Tony’s kids to the Big Trees last summer and were eager to have Tasha’s children share the experience.
We dutifully took the kids to see the Big Tree. It is 304 feet tall (92.6 mtrs), 21.6 feet in diameter (6.6 mtrs) and 68 feet (20.7 mtrs) in circumference. The estimated age of the tree is 1500 years. Afterwards, Ethan and Cody along with our next-door neighbor’s son, William, went charging off to look for Ewoks and banana slugs. Star Wars was filmed nearby.
The eight year old Ethan on the left, our nine-year old next door neighbor William, and the five-year old Cody pose in front of the Big Tree in Redwoods National Park.
Looking up at the Big Tree. It is impossible not to feel awe.
Of course Big Tree is just one out of hundreds of the giants found in Redwoods National Park.
It had rained just before we started our visit and this fern was still holding rain drops.
A bright yellow Banana Slug makes its way along the forest floor. The Banana Slug, BTW, is the school mascot for the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Another view of how green it is at Redwoods National Park. I told the boys to look out for Ewoks. The boys are avid Star Wars fans. “You know Ewoks are make believe,” the five-year old Cody primly informed me. Darn. I thought they were real.
The light grey clouds against the dark tees provided an interesting view looking up.
I also liked this shot looking up at leaves.
We also camped out on the Pacific Ocean. This is our daughter Natasha. The tracks you see were made by the boys, running back and forth between the ocean and their driftwood forts.
We spent our last night at Harris Beach State Park in Brookings, Oregon
The fog was rolling in when we packed up to leave. Quivera was ready to head north to Alaska.
NEXT BLOG: You’ll meet our traveling companions, Bob and Linda Bray. Bob and I have been hanging out together and causing mischief since the First Grade… a long time ago on a far and distant planet.
Beautiful weather and early morning sunlight combined for this reflection photo of a rock jutting out toward the Pacific Ocean at Harris Beach State Park just north of Brookings, Oregon where I was camping this week.
Nobuo Fujita had a job to do: bomb the United States. It was September 9, 1942 and his plane was loaded with incendiary bombs. He launched his floatplane from the Japanese submarine that had delivered him to the coastal waters off Southern Oregon, climbed over the ocean, and flew toward the mountains behind Brookings. His bombs were supposed to ignite a massive forest fire.
The forest didn’t cooperate but Fujita returned to Brookings in 1962 and presented the city with a 400-year-old Samurai sword that belonged to his family. In 1967 Brookings made him an honorary citizen.
On March 11, 2011 another intruder from the East came roaring into Brookings. This time it was the remnants of the devastating tsunami that had struck Japan and caused such horrendous loss of life and property. Brookings got off easy but considerable damage was done to the town’s harbor. It was a solemn reminder of what might happen when the next big earthquake hits the West Coast.
It’s hard to imagine this peaceful harbor scene at Brookings, Oregon being disrupted by the remains of the tsunami that struck Japan a year and a half ago.
I was in Brookings this week to camp out at Harris Beach State Park and enjoy the beautiful and rugged coastline. I divided my days between working on a book about my African Peace Corps experience and hiking on the beach. The weather was close to perfect. Naturally, I had a camera along.
The view from Harris Beach State Park looking south toward Brookings, which was about a mile away.
A sandbar created a small lagoon that was excellent for capturing reflections. Note the seagull on the right.
OK, I admit I can’t resist reflections. This shot at Harris Beach State Park, Oregon was taken late afternoon.
This view, similar to the photo at the beginning, was taken early morning.
Another early morning photo at Harris Beach State Park. This one is looking south. The sun has gently touched the rock on the right while those on the left remain in shadows.
The sandbar that separated the lagoon from the ocean.
I liked the combination of dark rock, sandy beach, sky and water.
Looking north up the Pacific Coast from Harris State Beach.
Low tide uncovers an abundance of sea life. When my dad lived on the Oregon Coast, he would gather the mussels for cooking.
And what’s an ocean without a seagull… This guy was hoping I would break out lunch.
The restless ocean and its waves were calm for my visit to Brookings, Oregon.
This large log, bleached white by the sun and sea, is a reminder of stormy oceans. In fact watching storms hit the coast has become a major spectator sport during the winter on the Oregon coast.
I’ll finish off my post on Harris Beach State Park and Brookings, Oregon with a final reflection picture. Next up: A visit to Organ Pipe Cactus National Park in Southern Arizona.