Seven campers met at the hike leader's home at 10 am on a Friday for the 3 hour drive to Bandon on the coast. We had lunch in Bandon before heading another 15 miles south to our turnoff on an obscure county road that took us to a tiny unused rural airfield. There, we found the hidden trailhead where we would backpack in about 2-1/2 miles to a remote campsite in the Floras Lake State Park. The hike leader found this well hidden campsite 30 years ago and has been back at least once a year ever since. There was no evidence that anyone else has used this site. We pitched our tents and filtered water from a nearby stream. By late afternoon, we were ready for our first hike down to the ocean. Our camp is a couple hundred yards into the woods from the ocean, and up on a cliff about 200' above. On our first beach hike, we came upon a dead whale that had washed up onto the beach some time ago. It was badly decomposed but still stinking rather badly. After exploring the beach for a couple hours, we headed back to camp for our evening meal and campfire. As sunset approached, we found a spot high on the cliff to observe a perfect setting of the sun through clear evening skies. The sky stayed well lit for more than an hour after sunset, so 4 of us hiked south on the beach to a distant cliff to view a waterfall. It was too dark to photograph the waterfall by the time we got there, so we hiked back to camp in the dark. The next morning after a camp breakfast, we packed our day packs for a hike south on the upper cliff trail to Blacklock Point and beyond to the Sixes River. The views along the coast were fantastic under clear and sunny conditions with a temperature in the mid 60s. Blacklock Point is an interesting narrow ridge that juts out into the ocean. A lot of erosion has eaten away at much of what once stood here. Five of us hiked the narrow knife edge trail to as far as you could safely go out onto the point. We then continued our hike south along the cliffs and eventually took a path down to the beach where we continued hiking to the banks of the Sixes River. We ate our lunch there and turned around for our hike back to camp through a stiff headwind - overall, about a 9 mile hike. With a few hours of nice afternoon sunshine still left, several of us hiked north to nearby Floras Lake. There, we could watch the distant crowds of people who come out here to para-sail over the lake and catch the stiff breezes off the ocean. We could see dozens of tents pitched on the other side of the lake. This seems to be where most people gather when coming out to this part of the coast. Back at camp, we each prepared our evening meal around a campfire. As sunset approached, we walked through the woods again to the viewpoint high on the cliffs for another great visual experience as the planet rotated and the sun fell below the horizon. It was another blissful night listening to the distant waves crashing on the beach as we all slept soundly in temperatures that fell to about 50 degrees. Sunday morning we slept in a bit and then packed up for our hike back to the cars. Instead of driving straight home, our hike leader suggested that we might want to drive a bit further South to Port Orford to hike and tour the defunct Coast Guard station and historical museum. This now preserved site was extremely important during World War II for monitoring the coast for enemy activity, some of which actually happened close to here during those times. We then started our drive back home but first stopped off in Bandon again for lunch. This was a very nice trip for those of us who like to get away from the typical tourist season crowds that swarm the Oregon coast during this time of year and escape the hot Willamette Valley for the cooler coastal temperatures. Look forward to next year when our trip leader will lead another excursion to this hidden gem. You won't be disappointed.Members: Scott Hovis, David Lodeesen, Mike Smith, Tommy Young, Steve Adey, Steve Cordon. Nonmembers: Jan Danforth.
On Saturday morning, we started our hike to the South along the upper cliff trail.—photo by David Lodeesen
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