My husband and I have lived in Oregon for 15+ years. We always enjoy a trip to the coast for its dramatically different environment and long walks on the beach. Recently I had occasion to visit the coast with a lifelong Midwest resident who was seeing Oregon’s coast for the first time. She had seen photos of the coast, had read about it, and certainly has heard me talk about it enough. She’s also traveled and seen other coastlines, including the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Hawaiian coasts. But none of that prepared either her or me for her response to actually seeing Oregon’s coast for the first time. She was quite literally breathless each time she saw a new-to-her section of the coast, saying ‘this is so beautiful that I can’t breathe’.
Our first stop/breathless moment was in Harbor, Oregon, where my friend quickly scrambled over some low rocks to get to the beach and start snapping. Then we went to Harris Beach, experiencing another breathless moment and an extended visit to get photos of gulls, oystercatchers, waves, and seastacks. She was so enthused and engaged that I was happy to wait with her, playing photographer’s assistant and enjoying the fine clear warm day.
After a couple of hours, she was willing to head up the road, sure that she had seen the best of Oregon’s coast. Our next stop was the Arch Rock Picnic Area, in the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. She quickly changed her mind when she saw Arch Rock and the scenes around it.
We stopped for the night in Gold Beach, where we enjoyed a fresh seafood dinner accompanied by Arch Rock Brewing Company’s State of Jefferson Porter. Before heading up the coast the next morning we spent time looking for the glass floats the local Chamber of Commerce hides along the beach for tourists to find. We ended up ‘finding’ ours by spending enough at Woof’s Dog Bakery and Jerry’s Rogue Jets Gift Shop to qualify for receiving ours.
The drive to Port Orford offered lots of scenic views along the way, with viewpoints provided for stopping to enjoy them. I didn’t stop at any of them, though. I kept driving, anxious to get to Battle Rock Park as I remembered having my own breathless scenery moment there when I first saw it years ago. My recollection proved correct, as my visitor had another breathless moment, stunned by the views. Her camera and lenses got another workout in an attempt to capture the best of what she was seeing. I had noticed Redfish when we pulled in, thought it looked a great place to check out for lunch. My traveling companion concurred, fortunately. She wanted to sit on the outdoor patio, which affords a fantastic view of the local scenery. We were very pleased with the menu options and our particular selections.
The ambience, weather, and company were so agreeable that we sat there for quite a while after finishing our brunch. The people enjoying brunch at the table behind us asked if they could stay there all afternoon and get dinner menus when dinnertime rolled around. Our interlude came to an end when my friend noticed a niche in the large rock on the beach below us. She asked our server if that went all the way through the rock. The server said it did and that we could walk down to see it since it was low tide. Off we went, scrambling over driftwood and rocks, down to another magical photo op.
Eventually we continued on to Bandon, past more stunning coast views on the way before heading inland for a bit past cranberry bogs and pastures. At the south end of town we turned off on Beach Loop Drive to go past Face Rock, Bandon’s most famous landmark, on our way to downtown ‘Old Bandon’. The photographer insisted on returning to Coquille Point and to the north end of the beach by the jetty and lighthouse for some sunset shots that evening. Next day we returned to the beach by the jetty to hunt for agates, then stopped by Face Rock to get some shots before leaving town and heading inland back to my home.
Though brief, what a treat this trip was for both of us. I was delighted to witness her response to the area’s scenery. I was impressed with my friend’s passion for getting the shot she envisioned and with her technical expertise that allowed her to capture that shot. I was reminded of things I had learned when using an SLR camera in my pre-point-and-shoot days, and I learned many new things. I would never have predicted that she would turn out to be such a serious photographer. It’s something she took up after retirement, when she finally had the time and energy to figure out what she wanted to do with her own time and to pursue classes and practice. What a treat it was to experience this relaxed, engaged post-retirement version of my friend.
All the photos accompanying this blog were taken by me with my point-and-shoot camera. I will encourage my friend to contribute her version of her coast experience, featuring some of the photos she took. You’ll see the difference that the right equipment, expertise, experience, and passion can make.