Beaches by Bandon are beautiful – OCT Day 17

  • Bullard Beach State Park to Cape Blanco
  • Mileage – 12.6
  • Accumulated elevation gain – 538 ft
  • Pain status – none!

The last week of our trip through Southern Oregon is a bit of a toss-up on what we are going to do. Cities and state parks are further apart. The beaches south of here are soft sand like the dunes and very slow going (down to 1 mile an hour) so our scheduled 20 and 22 mile days aren’t gonna happen. We moved our end spot for today 5 miles down the coast, assuming we’d take our taxi guy there, so that we could hike a full day tomorrow. At dinner we made a plan to walk from our campground to the beaches at Bandon State Natural Area, then spend some time petting baby tigers at the Wild Game Safari Park that Karen told us about. We’d get about 8 miles in. Mike was up for it, Rhonda was a maybe, and Christy and Miranda were both going to take a rest day to nurse sore feet and knees respectively. 

In the morning, Mike and Rhonda decided that walking into Bandon (about 3 miles) was going to be enough for them. Christy and Miranda agreed they could do that, too. I wasn’t feeling like a rest day, so I set out upon my original plan, keeping in touch with the group so I could meet up with the taxi to go pet the tigers. 

The bridge leading into Bandon has no sidewalks but you can turn on some flashing lights to let drivers know you are there. 

On a side road leading to the beach, I came upon some dinosaurs! Yikes! 

There was a lot of fun art work in Bandon. 

I followed the bay, and a went a bit through the town and got to Coquille Point. There was a path on the bluffs above the ocean. Paths above the ocean are my favorite! (Have you noticed I have a lot of favorites?)

After a short walk I came to the lookout at Face Rock. Now I know why the cheese factory is named Face Rock Creamery. Here is the face:If you’re having problems seeing it, like I was, it’s a profile of a woman’s face looking up at the sky. Of course, my problem was that I was looking at the wrong rock, which a very nice British couple pointed out when I asked them what I was missing. 

There were steps leading down to the beach  and it was just so beautiful that I decided to take them. 

More prettiness ensued. 

The problem with hiking alone is that when you come upon beautiful places you can’t take a photo of yourself in these beautiful places. I really wanted a picture of myself in front of this awesome background. 

When you ask people to take your picture, they always want to zoom. I don’t understand this. The lady on the beach I asked to take this particular photo not only wanted to zoom (which she did!) but also took about 10 steps closer to me, after I took 5 steps away from her after giving her my phone. I am absolutely adorable, of course, but the background is what is worth seeing!! 

The ZoomZoom lady also let me know that if I wanted to exit the beach at Bandon State Natural Area, I would need to wade Johnson Creek. She said it was only calf deep so I decided to go on. She was right; there was a river too deep for shoes but easy to wade. I changed into my sandals with the idea that I’d walk in the surf a bit afterward. It’s weird that we’ve been walking the coast for more than two weeks and we haven’t gone in the ocean yet. 

The creek was ice cold and the ocean was ice cold. The sandals lasted about one minute, and only that long because I was looking for a log to sit on to dry and de-sand my feet before changing into my more  weather-appropriate hiking shoes. 

The weather was the exact opposite today of the previous days. It was cloudy inland and sunny on the beach. 

The next river I came to was near an evacuation point so rather than turn my toes into icicles again, I chose to go back up to the road. Good-bye lovely beach! I’m so glad I didn’t miss out on seeing you today!!

I let the team know I was heading back to the highway and checked in with where they were (eating lunch in Bandon). I figured I’d just walk til they caught up with me. The road ahead didn’t look too fun, though. Good-bye beach, hello hills! 

I made it to the 101 and then another 3 miles down the highway to a tiny grocery store where I bought a chocolate milk. I never drink chocolate milk but for some reason, it tastes so good to me on this hike!

I joined my friends in the taxi and we went to pet baby tigers! Our personal chauffeur, Jim:At the game park:

Mike stayed outside to work on his blog while we went in and pet the wild animals! We got to pet (clockwise) a bobcat, a baby black bear, a baby fox, and a baby tiger who wanted her belly scratched. 

There was also an adult lynx that we pet, but I don’t have a good picture since she only looks at the camera when you aren’t petting her. 

They had a bunch of free roamers, as they called them, that you could feed. I was a favorite of the deer,but the donkey was the favorite of mine. I loved him. I should get a donkey! Here are more pictures of him:The llama kind of thought I was neat, too. He wanted to smile for a picture. 

When we had our fill of wild animals, which for Rhonda was immediately after we walked in, we called our personal chauffeur to take us on our fast forward to Cape Blanco State Park. Cape Blanco is the westernmost point in the continental US. It’s also the windiest place on the coast! Wow, it was so cold and sooooo windy! Our campsite: We had to get all bundled up to eat dinner, which is pretty funny because we had just read all the Facebook posts from home where it is 120 degrees and they had to halt flights at Sky Harbor. We got a good campfire going this night! We huddled around it for warmth til it burned itself out.

Sleeping in my tent was quite the experience this night. I thought I was going to end up swirling through the sky and landing in Oz. Even though it was staked, the rain fly would lift in the wind so cold air kept coming in. I was wrapped tight in my quilts, but realized when I went to take a potty break in the middle of the night that it was only marginally warmer in the tent than outside! 

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