Florence, Sand, and Hiking with Friends

Florence, OR

For the first few days of our visit to the Oregon coast the weather would be foggy in the morning with sunny skies in the afternoon.  So after doing some exploring we would stop and get something to drink (Seattle based chain in a Safeway) and head down by the Siuslaw River to enjoy some quiet time along the docks.

One afternoon while sitting on the bench the nimble hiker spotted a harbor seal swimming in front of us.

She jumped up to get a photo, knocking her Kindle off the bench.  In a “one in a million” shot, the Kindle found the small gap between boards on the dock and disappeared!

Now this Kindle is a bit old by technology standards, but she likes its large screen.  So retrieving the lost reader became a vital mission.

Looking down through the boards to the Kindle below

It was a bit of a distance to the end of the boardwalk where you could make your way through the weeds to get under it.  Fortunately the tide was out so the area underneath was relatively dry.  But a volunteer was needed to set out on this possibly deadly mission.  Fortunately, someone stepped forward to undertake the task.  OK, it would be more correct to say that someone was drafted (for the second time in his life) for the job!

The Kindle was successfully recovered and, other than few bumps and bruises, is working properly.  Oh, and the leader of the recovery mission survived uninjured!

After the recovery mission we took a walk over to the nearby Old Town section of Florence.  Two years ago the Florence Events Center celebrated its 20th anniversary by sponsoring a Dancing with Sea Lions contest, a celebration of the sea lion and the Florence area.  The twenty colorfully painted fiberglass entries are now on display in various locations around town.  We spotted one sitting along Bay Street in Old Town.

Walking west along the river we passed under the Siuslaw River Bridge to get a view of the Oregon Sand Dunes on the south side of the river.  The dunes are part of the the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area which runs along the Oregon Coast for about 40 miles from the Coos River in North Bend to the Siuslaw River in Florence.

Looking back to the east we had a great view of the bridge.  The Suislaw River Bridge is a drawbridge completed in 1936 with funding from the Public Works Administration, part of FDR’s New Deal during the Great Depression.

The drawbridge section is flanked by two 154 foot reinforced concrete tied arches.  Four Art Deco style obelisks house mechanical equipment as well as living quarters for the bridge operator.  An informational panel near the base of the bridge had a great photo of the bridge with Florence to the north.

Florence is located on the north edge of the Oregon Dunes,  a unique area of windswept sand that is the result of millions of years of wind and rain erosion on the Oregon Coast. These are the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America.

Woahink RV Park is located right on the edge of the sand dunes.  In fact, there is a narrow little road in the park that leads right up into the dunes, making it a popular park for four wheelers who come here to ride in the sand.   One afternoon we hiked up the hill to check out the view.

From the top of the hill, the view to the west is nothing but sand.

The small dots in the distance are four wheelers

To the east is a great view of  the RV park below and Woahink Lake beyond it.

When we realized that our friends Hans and Lisa (Metamorphosis Road) were only about 50 miles south of us, we contacted them to see if they were interested in meeting up somewhere in between for lunch.  Lisa had an even better suggestion.  She was looking at a hike along Eel Lake, located right along US 101 almost exactly between our two locations.  Who could pass that up?

Lisa and Hans

We met mid-morning near the boat ramp in William Tugman State Park and, after a bit of “how are things” conversation, we set out on the trail.

Lisa hikes through the thick forest

The trail is pretty flat, with a few up and downs, as it goes around about half of Eel Lake.  We hiked for a bit over three and a half miles before running out of trail and turning around.

The area around Eel Lake is classic coastal Oregon, with soaring trees above and thick ferns carpeting the ground.  Along the way we saw a variety of interesting things growing and crawling along the trail.

Foxglove

Indian Pipe

One of the many slugs

After returning to the parking lot, we said our good-byes to Hans and Lisa, knowing we will be crossing paths with them again in the near future.

Next up is some coastal hiking north of Florence.  More on that later . . .

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20 Responses to Florence, Sand, and Hiking with Friends

  1. I had one of those original Kindles and loved the larger screen–it finally one day refused to charge. Enjoy those cool temps and foggy mornings!

  2. At least your Kindle didn’t fall into the water. You were lucky to find a volunteer to retrieve it for you. I have a feeling Jim would have told me if I wanted it back it would be up to me to go get it!

  3. I still can’t believe you were able to save that Kindle! Thank goodness it was low tide!

    As always, it was great to hike with you guys again! Till next time…

  4. We aka I dropped my camera lens cover at Congaree Natl. Park in South Carolina this spring. We were out at night watching the fireflies synchronizing. We went back the next day and unbelievably we found the cover under the boardwalk.

    Aren’t the bridges in Oregon amazing? We were there a couple of weeks ago, but only went as far north as Bandon. We found a really nice state park, Quosatana, 14 miles up the Rogue river. $7.50 a night with the national geezer pass. The winds were really bad when we were there and we had to get home for a dentist appointment. I want to stay longer and go farther north.
    Thanks for taking us there!

  5. Gay says:

    So awesome it was low tide and John was able to retrieve your Kindle. And way awesome to meet up with Lisa and Hans. Love the foxglove! And the sand dunes are amazing!

  6. TravelBug-Susan says:

    Planning to see Hans and Lisa in Portland in a couple of weeks. Florence was always one of our family’s favorite places to spend time when I was growing up. We’d rent cabins at a lake and fish. One week, the five of us caught 400 perch. That’s a lot of fish cleaning!! We had perch to freeze and take home. It lasted us a long time!

  7. Jeff Pierce says:

    Hiking in the dunes is a good workout. A much younger me could carry a cardboard slide up and ride it down. Great pictures and hike to Eel Lake.

  8. pmbweaver says:

    Oh that John. What a Kindle retriever he is. lol
    Isn’t the Suislaw River Bridge a great one. Just a super beauty.
    I am sure it was nice to see Hans and Lisa. I am not sure I have ever seen Indian Pipe.

  9. Sherry says:

    THANK goodness it didn’t slide through the gap into the water. I thought for sure that’s what you were going to say. And then the seal retrieved it for Pam the animal lover. The real story is almost as good. Nice that the dropee had a volunteer fetcher. Really love the decorated sea lions. We’ve been in towns that do bears and dolphins and I don’t know what all and it’s always such fun. What a fantastic bridge. We just don’t do anything that might be described as beautiful any more. Really nice pictures. Interesting about the size of the sand dune area. Hiking in them is a challenge as we found at both Sleeping Bear Dunes and Great Sand Dunes NP. Thankfully neither of them allow 4 wheelers. Love your finds on the trail with Hans and Lisa. Nice to meet up with friends along the way.

  10. Jim and Barb says:

    Ahhh, the coastal slugs they do seem to be everywhere out there! We love that area, seeing that bridge brought back memories of traveling through there.

  11. Good ol’ Florence! I love that area! The Dunes are gorgeous!

  12. geogypsy2u says:

    Glad you scored recovery on your Kindle. I just love the art deco bridges in Oregon.

  13. Laurel says:

    (I am so far behind because of our lack of internet. But I’m happy to be catching up with you!) Yay for John retrieving your Kindle! Love the way you guys find a beautiful spot to relax, read, and enjoy your coffee. And how fun that you met up with Hans and Lisa for a hike. 🙂

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