Wednesday, 22 June 2016

South Coast to California and Jedediah Smith State Park

We left Florence on Monday morning to finish off the Oregon coastline. Our first stop was Bandon, a little over an hour away, where we planned on doing horse rides on the beach with Bandon Beach Riding Stables. As it happened, we were late leaving--having finally got into the Pacific time zone--and missed the ten o'clock ride with two hours to wait until the next one. So we passed that time by going to the West Coast Game Park Safari. Here they had an abundance of animals--goats, donkeys, sheep, deer and llamas--roaming around to be fed, plus some exotic animals in pens. The exhibits weren't great, but the draw of the park was that they let you pet whatever baby exotic animals they currently have. On our day, it was a baby bear, lynx and a tiny eight week old bobcat--plus a skunk, possum, two ferrets and a fox cub.
At one point, they handed out bottles for the baby goats.
Big lynx kitten.
Afterwards, we headed back to the stables for our ride. This was the one thing our daughter had wanted to do, remembering when we went to Yellowstone and her brother (then five) had gone on a pony trek with me. As far as she was concerned, she was now old enough to go for a horse ride of her own. Not many stables offer that sort of ride for five year olds, but this stable was willing to do it with her horse on a leading rein.
Down the beach
None of us had ridden on the beach before, so that was a novelty, but as we are not riders, the hour was more than enough time for us all to struggle walking afterwards. The ride took us down the beach to see the rock formations and back again. Bandon's most famous rock is Face Rock, resembling a head lying back with nose pointing upwards, while Cathedral Rock has caves you can explore at low tide--as per usual, we were there at the wrong time, tidewise.
Face Rock is the top left; Cathedral Rock, top right.
And then onwards, driving right down the Oregon Coast and into California. We did this partly to complete the Oregon Coastline, and partly because my husband wanted to see some of the giant redwood groves. For the latter, we headed to Jedediah State Park which was both on the route back to Oregon and the home of some of the largest known redwoods (though the locations of these are a secret, and we weren't going to figure out some unmarked hike to find them.)

Yup. Tall.
We opted to do the Stout Grove trail, since it was a short hike with some giant redwoods and looked best in the late afternoon--not only that, but it was along the Howland Hill road which takes you past some giant redwoods in the comfort of your car. The trail was great. The kids were hideously reluctant to do it: "What's so interesting about trees?" but ended up having a great time, climbing and running along fallen redwoods.

No balancing required.

Our rule of thumb for walks is that if there is something that is safe to climb, we are almost certainly going to do so. Similarly, if it's safe to get our hands and feet wet, that's going to happen. We deviated from the trail at one point to pay our respects to Smith River.

And then it was back to Oregon, and onwards to our next stop: Treehouses at Cave Junction. That's going to be an entire blogpost in and of itself.

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