Thursday, July 18, 2019

River View Trail – 2nd Week at Loeb State Park

At Alfred Loeb State Park, Brookings Oregon

Riverview Trail, Loeb State Park

Our first week at Loeb State Park was a bit different than the past three years…it was not busy until Friday.  One could have pulled in and grabbed a spot without any trouble. 

Riverview Trail, Loeb State Park

I was beginning to wonder if less people were traveling this year.  Well, Friday was full, and it has been full every day since then.  Tuesday (two days ago) all the spots were taken by 10 am!  WOW!  So now things are back to how I remembered it…I guess there was just a lull after the long 4th of July Holiday.

Chetco River, Loeb State Park    Chetco River, Loeb State Park
Chetco River, Loeb State Park

The picture above-left was taken last week…only one vehicle along the river.  Today, the picture above-right was taken, along with the larger picture below these two…a good dozen or more.  With day use being free, many locals from Brookings come up, along with people who are camping.  Yep, things are back to summer normal now.

Riverview Trail, Loeb State Park

Yesterday I finally did the River View Trail in its entirety.  I say “entirety” because two days after doing the Redwood Grove Trail, I walked about a quarter of the River View Trail just to get my legs going again.  Didn’t have a camera or even any water on that day…it was just a stretching of sorts.  Very quickly on the River View Trail you come upon the one and only bench ‘on the trail’.  At the start of the trail are a number of picnic tables, with many more at the day-use parking area nearby.  Yep, I used this bench…on my return.  Nice cool river breeze, shade, and peace and quiet from the folks down river swimming and listening to their boomboxes. 

Riverview Trail, Loeb State Park

The River View Trail is very gentle, wide enough path that you don’t fight the bushes, and that tree over the trail is an optical illusion…you don’t even have to bend your head to go under it unless you are 7’ tall.

Riverview Trail, Loeb State Park

Here is the first, smaller bridge passing over a dried up stream. 

Riverview Trail, Loeb State Park

On the bridge you can look up towards the roadway…but you can’t see it.  You can hear cars pass by if you sit there long enough, probably see the top of large trucks...but most of the path is free from the traffic noise.  That picture sure shows the thick growth within this Myrtlewood Grove.

Riverview Trail, Loeb State Park   Riverview Trail, Loeb State Park

It seems that there is always something to photograph along the trail…but I have to admit, the further I went, the less pictures that I took.

Riverview Trail, Loeb State Park

It is called River View for a reason…it has numerous river views, hindered by the thick brush most of the times.  But you typically get a nice river breeze to help keep you cool in the 78 degree temperatures.  (Oh, today hit 80, so we turned the AC on for awhile.)

Riverview Trail, Loeb State Park   Riverview Trail, Loeb State Park

Even halfway up the trail I saw a couple of vehicles (white car in upper left picture) along the river…both anglers, but I have no idea what they were after or if they got any.  Also, I saw numerous floating devices, like this yellow raft in the upper right picture.  (Remember, if you click on a picture you will see a much larger picture)

Riverview Trail, Loeb State Park

Here a dad and young son (I can only assume) were enjoying an easy, lazy float back down the river.

Riverview Trail, Loeb State Park   Riverview Trail, Loeb State Park

The only real hazard on the trail is this tree you ‘can’ go under if you choose…if you choose not to, than take the trail that leads ‘up’ and around it to the left.  I went under on the way, and above on the way back…it is not that steep and going under required me to brush cobwebs off my head.

Riverview Trail, Loeb State Park
When you get to the larger bridge, where the water passes through this pipe that you cross over with the bridge, you know that you are close to the end.  I like this bridge, it is a place to sit again!  Made it this far with just a few ‘lean on a tree’ moments, so I enjoyed a few minutes sitting after I crossed the bridge.  When I got to the road at the entrance to the Redwood Trail, I turned around, crossed the bridge and sat again for just a few minutes.  Made it all the way back to the bench shown in picture at the start of the trail where I took good long break.  Overall it was a nice, cool day, passed a handful of people (including one lady who looked to be in her 80’s…not sure they made it all the way), and it was just a wonderful hike.  Not nearly as sore as with the Redwood Trail, even though this is .7 of a mile one way, so nearly a mile and half round trip.  Today, my legs feel fine, but I do wish I had remembered to take my hiking stick (cane) with me...but when I realized I had forgotten it, I was already headed down the trail so I just continued on.  Didn't need it, but it would have been nice to have.

Today (Thursday) we took the motorhome into Brookings to dump our tanks again.  Tomorrow is laundry day, and Saturday, Sunday and Monday is something we will think about with the time comes.  We sure are enjoying our time here at Loeb State Park.  Thinking on staying here again on our way back to Citrus Heights...perhaps for the Labor Day Weekend...which means we might just come through a week early just to be sure we can grab a spot!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Checto Bar Fire – Two Years Later

At Alfred Loeb State Park, Brookings Oregon

Map of the 2017 Chetco Bar Fire

On July 12, 2017 the Chetco Bar Fire was first spotted, started by lightning.  A week later the fire had grown to 300 acres.  By early August, the fire had grown to nearly 3,000 acres, and then the wind took over.  By mid-August the fire had grown to over 20,000 acres, by August 24th it was over 100,000 acres.  It took into November before the fire was contained…burning over 191,000 acres.  That year we were here at Loeb Park from about the time the fire started through July 30th when we moved to Gold Beach.  We had not heard of the fire while we were at Loeb, but heard about it fairly quick once we got to Gold Beach.  Loeb is just northeast of Brookings (bottom left on above map)…Gold Beach is in the upper left.  By August 7th we were at Huntly Park northeast of Gold Beach.  By the 20th of August we decided the smoke was bad, evacuation notices were going out, and we decided to head north on Monday the 21st, then east to I-5, and eventually back to Citrus Heights.

2017 Chetco Bar Fire

Saturday I drove over 15 miles from the campground and never did come to the end of the fire zone.  The devastation of the trees reminded me of the many areas we have seen that have had fire damage before….Yosemite’s Rim Fire, Yellowstone’s 1988 fire, and many others.  
2017 Chetco Bar Fire

2017 Chetco Bar Fire   2017 Chetco Bar Fire

The ride gave me a good idea of the fire’s magnitude along the North Bank Chetco River Road and National Forest Road 1376, but I could see that the fire continued northwest over the various ridges.  At mile marker 15 I turned back, and that is when I started taking pictures, so many of the pictures are headed south and west…I can’t remember what direction I was facing for all of them...sometimes I got out of the car, sometimes I did not.

2017 Chetco Bar Fire

There were a few areas where loggers have gone in and harvested some of the damaged trees…and this is an ongoing process.  They won’t be able to harvest the entire 191.000 acres, but many acres will be harvested.  Above is a picture of tree stumps where they harvested already.

2017 Chetco Bar Fire

2017 Chetco Bar Fire    2017 Chetco Bar Fire

2017 Chetco Bar Fire

There are many parts along the river that show little to no damage due to the fire.  There are a number of National Forest Campgrounds along the river ($10 per night, $5 with senior pass), and other areas that are free for day use and some boondocking, which may or may not be legal along the river outside of campgrounds.

2017 Chetco Bar Fire

And yes, they park right up to the water.  The rocks along the bank are typically the size of a fist…some bigger, many smaller.  The bank is very hard…although the rocks will move, for the most part the rock bed is very hard, and cars, trucks, trailers move right along it.

2017 Chetco Bar Fire

Evidence of the fire can be seen within 2 miles from the campground.  Here, if you look close, you can see a few trees with fire damage among an area of good healthy trees.  In fact, I can see fire damage on the hill from our campsite on the other side of the river. (no picture of that)

2017 Chetco Bar Fire

The firefighters, once called out, valiantly saved certain areas along the river, and Loeb State Park was definitely one of them.  In the Gardner Bar area there’s around 20 homes which were saved, but 3-4 up on the hill were lost.  I am sure it helped that there was a huge fire break between the small community and the mountain the fire came down…but still, firefighters had to work to save homes from burning ashes.

The fire burned six houses, forced 5,000 people to evacuate their homes and threaten communities from Brookings to Cave Junction..it cost over 60 million to fight.  The strategy by the Forest Service was to allow the fire to burn out.  Other fires in the past had done so.  This one probably would have…except for when the Chetco winds added a blast-furnace of 45 MPH to the flames…things got out of control very quickly.

747 Super Tanker

This is a 747 Super Tanker…it can carry 19,000 gallons of water - and dump it all as fast as 7 seconds … just a few drops from it back in early July, and there would not have been a story.  

At Loeb State Park we were filled to capacity Friday and Saturday, but at 6:30 Sunday there were still 10 sites open.  The past two years we were here it seemed that the park was full just about every night.  Hey, not complaining, the less campsites being used, the quieter the park is.