Almost the Whole Pacific Coast - Winter/Spring 2016 travel blog

Cape Blanco

Cape Blanco

Cape Blanco

light house

crab traps

flowers

Port Orford dock

Port Orford

Port Orford

Port Orford

restaurant on the dock


It’s been a pleasure to visit state parks in Oregon; they seem to all be free. At Port Orford we visited an old coast guard station. Inexplicably it was built high on a bluff and every time someone was in need of rescue, they had to gallop down the hill with all their gear. For the first thirty years the outpost was there, they also had to haul all the boat fuel down as well. You have to admire people in the coast guard. They go out in the worst weather at times when hunkering down next to a fireplace would be a much better personal choice. We took the loop hike around the head where the station had been, enjoying great views in every direction.

We wanted to go to a seafood place on Dock Street in Port Orford for lunch. We cruised up and down the street wondering where it was. Then we realized it was on the dock, nestled between all the fishing boats. So, why were all the fishing boats up on the dock? The waitress said that typically ports here are where rivers flow out to the sea. While there is no river here, there is a natural deep water dock, so the fishing boats are put in and out of the water with a crane every time they are used. Every so often sand accumulates from the waves and needs to be dredged, but it works for them.

Then we headed to Cape Blanco State Park to see the light house there. Volunteer docents gave tours inside, but it was clear they were still learning the script. There was a campground in the park and we’re guessing they were camping for free by giving the tours. We’ve met many people who have done this. Cape Blanco is a remote spot today and when the light house was built, the keeper there must have had one of the loneliest jobs in the world. There were no roads and supplies were brought in by an occasional boat. Even building it was problematic. The weather can be so fierce that the boats that brought in the building supplies were dashed against the rocks and the building crew had to wait four months for replacements. Nearly everything the keeper ate he had to raise himself so in addition to keeping the light on, he had to farm and hunt. Initially the beacon in the light house was fueled by bacon fat. Hundreds of gallons of the stuff were hauled up the narrow staircase and had to be kept warm enough to pour. It must have smelled mighty good around there.

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