Last weekend we set farm work aside to get out for an April camping trip at Cape Blanco State Park. It's a favorite spot of our family's, near Port Orford on the Oregon Coast, and we've gone there the past couple of years to enjoy warm Spring days on the beach. This was not quite the case this year, but we still found plenty to do in the rain. You can read my blog post about last year's fair weather trip on this link here: To the Lighthouse.
We spent one morning exploring the Sixes River. We stopped at a Fish and Wildlife gravel bar access, where we found abundant signs of wild occupants, like beaver...
We found several active mining claims farther up the river with little campsites at each one. Always on the lookout for good future campsites, we stopped to check some of them out. This one had an old chimney from a miner's shack of days gone by, surrounded by vinca and ivy. This looked like a great spot to have a campfire! They all had signs up saying don't take rocks. This was very hard for me, but I stayed on my best behavior.
We hiked around the New River Wildlife Area south of Bandon, and found this covered bird watching blind on Muddy Lake.
We stopped there for a rest, welcoming shelter from the drizzly skies.
We saw some strange plants beneath the shore pines.
I was pleased to find this Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) in fruit. The little red berries were beautiful against the shiny green foliage.
Of course, we took some time to play in the mud at the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. The kids invented a new activity called "mud skating." I think it has the makings of a great spectator sport.
In spite of being a little drizzly and chilly, it was nice to spend a little time down on the Southern Oregon Coast again. With the green, hilly sheep pastures by the ocean, cranberry bogs, and sparsely populated rural landscape, it's almost like travelling to some faraway place without even leaving Oregon. I'm so intent on putting roots down on this little acre and a half of land that faraway travel has lost much of its appeal for me. I'd take a campfire on the shores of Wickiup Reservoir over a trip to the Bahamas any day. I must say, however, that modern homesteading and camping make for an interesting balancing act. Sometimes it feels like I'm trying to do two completely opposite things all at once. So, with 50+ chickens and chicks, a half-plowed field and a garden to start planting, I am thankful for nearby adventures.