Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Took Me a River Walk, 1 1/2 Miles

At Alfred A. Loeb State Park, Brookings, OR

Chetco River as seen from the Riverview Trail, Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings OR

One would think that after Sunday I would not be up for another hike…but I was.  The Riverview Trail is a 3/4 mile hike from the campground to the Redwood Trail along the Chetco River.  The Chetco River is only 56 miles long…so I walked around 1/60th of the length of the river.  The river drops over 3,200 feet over those 56 miles, but thank goodness the drop is very slight for the Riverview Trail hike.  However, this trail is also NOT an ADA trail…so I would be by myself again.

Brochure for the Redwood and Riverview Trails, Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings OR
The good thing is that I found the brochure on the Redwood Trail…at the start of the River Trail, and it covers both trails.  Unfortunately, of the 12 spots of interest, marked on the trail A through L, there were only four trail posts along the path…A, B, C and J…so the brochure did not help me much today.  And although it was a Tuesday, I saw three times the amount of people today than I did on Sunday doing the Redwood Trail…but 8-9 people is still not that many people.  And the noise level was only broken by a young child crying out for mom and dad until they found each other…and that was at the end of my hike.

Start of the Riverview Trail, Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings OR

Above is the start of the trail…the brochure was in a box on that larger sign to the left.  There is a small picnic area here, free to use for day use, along with parking very close by.  I walked to this point from the RV, and that was probably 1/10th of a mile extra…but we will just call it a 3/4 mile hike each way for a total of 1.5 miles.

Riverview Trail, Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings OR    Riverview Trail, Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings OR

The trail was very similar to the Redwood Trail, except for the lack of elevation change, it was only a slight change here and there.  Yes, I did sit on that bench, (picture right above) but not until I had finished the 1 1/2 mile hike (and yes, I did sit in other areas before I sat there, but no real huffing and puffing today.) Today was also much cooler, and…

Arrowhead Sparkling Water, Triple Berry Flavor

…I remembered water….Arrowhead Sparkling Water, Triple Berry flavor.  We love this sparkling water…it has zero carbs, zero sodium, zero calories…and it tastes good, just a hint of berry, for this one, or orange, lemon, lime and cherry for other flavors we have.  You can see the water is 3/4 of the way gone, and I was headed back at this point…

Riverview Trail, Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings OR    Riverview Trail, Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings OR
Riverview Trail, Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings OR     Riverview Trail, Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings OR

The river walk trail is very pretty.  Very few great views of the river, but you see it through the trees much of the way.  My only trouble was going through this “hole” shown in the bottom right picture.  A tree is over the trail, so they dug a path under, and this big boy squeezed through… actually, I fit ok, but seeing down while walking and not hitting my head is hard with transition trifocals.

Riverview Trail, Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings OR

For some reason, the water was glistening with green in this area…especially along the far bank.  In other areas, the water was very clear…don’t know what is up with that.

Riverview Trail, Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings OR

Thought this was a bit strange along the pathway, but they needed to funnel water from one side of the road to the other, and this pipe did the trick, and the stairs, which go up, over, then back down, made a nice bench which I readily used on the way there, and the way back. 

Riverview Trail, Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings OR

When I got to this bridge, I wondered just how old it is compared to that downed tree which could also be used as a bridge…when I was much, much younger, like a teenager, I would have walked across the tree bridge…but I am slightly wiser now…just slightly.

Riverview Trail, Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings OR

Was happy to see this yellow sign up on the roadway…knew I was getting close to using the non-existent crosswalk across the roadway over to the start of the Redwood Trail…and a nice place to sit for a bit before I headed back.

End of Riverview Trail, Start of Redwood Trail, Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings OR

Yep, I was right…and the lady and man I passed near that bridge I sat down on…they were wrong, telling me that I wasn’t even half way done yet.  I did not argue, but I knew I was pass the halfway point, and my estimation now is that I was over 2/3rds done.  Don’t know why she kept saying, “No even halfway yet!”, but she said it over and over.

Parking at the Redwood Trail, end of Riverview Trail

Sat there long enough that all the cars left…maybe 10 minutes max.  Very discouraged seeing a older man, in his 70’s for sure…perhaps upper 70’s…coming down off the Redwood Trail.  “Did you make it the entire way?” I asked.  “Of course, why do you think I wouldn’t?” as he walked by and go in the car.  I just smiled, thinking to myself, “…because it nearly killed me two days ago….”   Anyway, today’s hike was 1.5 miles, the degree of difficulty was easy to moderate according to the brochure. (It says the Redwood Trail is Moderate to Steep…I think they should emphasize the word STEEP.)  All in all, I was back to the motorhome in 2/3rd of the time it took me on Sunday, and I was not tired out like I was on Sunday.  We paid for another 7 days here at the park…I might just hike this trail one more time…

For Nancy….

Loeb Campground

In answer to your question of the other day…here is a motorhome about your size with a truck much larger than your tow car…so YES, there are places you can park your rig here at Loeb.  In fact, a couple came by Monday night and could not get in, came by today and did find a place…they have a 40’ and a jeep, they fit just fine.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Took Me a Redwood Father’s Day Walk

At Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings OR

 Redwood Nature Trail near Loeb State Park

 Redwood Nature Trail near Loeb State ParkJust about a mile east from Loeb State Park along the river road is the Redwood Nature Trail.  This 12 mile hike, I mean 1.2 mile hike (it just felt 12 miles to me) takes you up 2,000 feet (make that 200 feet, just felt like 2,000 feet) into a forest of myrtle woods, ponderosa pines, ferns and other underbrush, and a small grove of Coastal Redwoods.  Some say this is the northernmost grove of Map,  Redwood Nature Trail near Loeb State ParkRedwoods in the United States…but there are reports of other small groves just a few miles north of here, but I can’t find out if they were spared from last year’s fire or not.  The National Forest website says that the trail is “More Difficult”, but I am sure that is a mistake…it should be listed as Very Very Very Strenuous!  The map to the right shows the route, which is easy to follow, just don’t go down the few less used paths, they will probably just lead you into poison oak.  There is SUPPOSE to be a brochure telling you about what to look for at all the numbered locations…but alas, no brochures available, could not even find one on the Internet.

 Redwood Nature Trail near Loeb State Park

So I had hiked about 1/3 of the trail…stopping a few times to admire all the trees in the forest (huffing and puffing) and one time I even laid down to get this picture (took a quick nap and caught my breath)…then this lady comes jogging down the trail in front me headed the other way.  As she passed, I asked if I was near the halfway point…she chuckles, looks back behind her (which is the direction I was headed) and says, “Well…getting close to halfway I guess.”, but I could tell she was just trying to be nice.

 Redwood Nature Trail near Loeb State Park

Every good hiker knows to take water along…I ain’t no good hiker.  I was so thirsty after my first hour I wanted to jump into this stream, but figured I was so tired I might drown in the two to three inches of water passing by.

 Redwood Nature Trail near Loeb State Park
As I got closer to the end of the hike, I heard some talking behind me.  After the humiliating conversations with the “jogger”, I wasn’t about to be humiliated again, so I tried to find me a hole to hide in…this burned out Redwood would do just fine, but they caught up to me before I could slither in on all fours, and I struck up a conversation with this younger couple.  They live in Brookings, but the male had lived in St. Pete and in Clearwater, just down the road from where we live in Florida.  I asked if this misery, I mean wonderful hike would ever end, and they assured me that it was all downhill, and that noise I heard was indeed cars passing along the road just down the ridge.  Well, they were correct, and I made it back to the car, turned on the car’s AC and sat there a bit.

Some of the many Redwoods,  Redwood Nature Trail near Loeb State Park

Rocky Pathway...not a accessilbe hike, that is for sureLooking back, it was a wonderful hike, yes, a bit tiring for this ole 300 pound boy (would have never made it a few years ago), and no…Marcia could not go because it is no where near being accessible.  Picture to the left is a part of the trail…going down a rocky slope.  At times I appreciated the tree roots in the trail as I climbed up and when climbing down…it made for sure footholds.  I only saw the three people, I was gone for 2 hours (It is a long 2 minute drive to the trailhead), and, of course, I had to pick the hottest day of the year to do this hike (camp host told me it was upper 80’s in the park today, maybe even 90).  As Redwoods go, I have seen bigger, seen better, but have never been along such an isolated trail, having the forest to myself…which was appreciated, that way I know people weren’t counting how many times I stopped, how many huffing and puffings it took to catch my breath, nor was anyone around to complain about the trail of sweat I left behind me.  Was able to get a signal now and then to let Marcia know how I was doing, and called her up on my drive back and asked her put a beverage by the door so I could sit outside and cool off.  After that, I headed to showers….what a wonderful Father’s Day it has been.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Why We Like Alfred A Loeb State Park

At Alfred A Loeb State Park, Brookings Oregon

 Loeb State Park, view to front sitting along the side

There are many features about parks that we like….location, space, quietness, safety, friendliness….Alfred A Loeb State Park has these for us.  Located 8 1/2 miles from Brookings, but only around 6 1/2 by the way the crow flies.  The temperatures during the summer are very moderate…today it is 65 degrees in Brookings, probably closer to 70 here at Loeb.  VERY comfortable.

Loeb State Park, view to our right

Here is our closest neighbor right outside our door.  YES, there is really another camper on the other side of these bushes…we don’t see them, they don’t see us.  My camping chair, which surprisingly after 6 years of this lifestyle is new (never carried one before) sits right outside the door, and I took both of the above shots sitting in that chair…in the shade…in 70 degree weather.

Loeb State Park, view behind us

Above is a shot from that same chair of the back of our campsite.  Beyond those bushes is the North Bank of Chetco River Road…not a very busy road, so not much noise.  Typically, if a car goes down the river road, it turns into Loeb, but not always.  Now not all sites here at Loeb are like this…but many of them are.  Get here on a mid-week morning, and you will probably have many sites to pick from.  Doubt you will get in on a Friday or Saturday though….

Loeb State Park, Butterfly on Berry Blossoms

There are lots of berry bushes here in the park.  They are not ripe yet…perhaps when we get back in July…but berries are not yet on our diet, but a taste here and there won’t hurt, right???

Loeb State Park, Bumble Bee on Berry Blossoms

Bumble Bees and Honey Bees are all over these blossoms…but they are not aggressive, just actively going from blossom to blossom.

 Loeb State Park    Loeb State Park
Plaque about Loeb State Park

It cost the same to camp in a tent or in a RV, and there are a few cabins which I showed last year when we were here (Last year’s blogs: Alfred A. Loeb State Park, near Brookings Oregon and Staying put at Alfred A Loeb through the Weekend).  There is an extra charge for a vehicle, but it is defined as follows:
Some campgrounds allow extra vehicles at each campsite. Some allow extra vehicle parking only in overflow areas. Check with campground staff before you park an extra vehicle at your site—a $7 extra vehicle fee for campers may apply . What's an extra vehicle? In addition to the car or RV you drive into the park, you may tow one additional car or truck at no charge. If you drive an additional vehicle, the $7 fee kicks in. (Oregon State Park Link)

Bathrooms and Showers at Loeb State Park

Took a shower in the shower / bathroom building the day we got here.  I normally just shower in the motorhome, but we are hoping to only dump once while here for 12 days, so using public showers area must for me.  As public showers go, these are not bad at all…and free to campers ($2 to non-campers).

Kids Bikes down the way from us, Loeb State Park

Some would be highly turned off by the kids at the park…but both years we have found the kids to be just normal kids, not too loud, and parents set the boundaries as to where they can ride.  Also, both today and yesterday a State Patrol Car came through the park…as they did last year. 

Loab State Park, view to our left      Loab State Park, view to our right

Loab Campground Map

We like sites 9, 10 and 11 because of their location within the park.  However, any of the sites 1-8 also are good sites.  As you go around the loop, the privacy of the sites is not as good…and the closer to the river one gets, the more river noise (folks down at the river) there is.  Many people come up from Brookings to use the river for the day, especially in the heat of July and August (when temps get up to mid-70’s down in Brookings).

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Chetco Bar Fire of 2017

At Alfred A. Loeb State Park

Chetco Fire, Picture by National Forest Service

Last year we stayed at Loeb State Park from July 24th through July 30th.  Little did we know that a MONSTER was in the woods not too far away, a small little fire which started by lightning on July 12th.  By the 15th it had burned 45 acres…by the 20th it had burned 300 acres, and there was no word about it in the news because of its isolated area, it would eventually burn out.  By August 2nd, while we were in Gold Beach just 28 miles north of Brookings, the fire started to worry the folks in charge, it was now 2,900 acres with a heat wave coming on.  By August 7th we were at Huntley Park just 7 miles east of Gold Beach for a two week stay.  By the time we left on the morning of the 22nd, Alfred Loeb State Park was shut down due to the fire, and the fire was heading north towards Gold Beach and Huntley Park.  We were going to go back to Loeb after leaving Huntley, but instead we left Oregon to get away from the fire.  THANK GOODNESS the fire never reached Loeb, Brookings, Huntley or Gold Beach…but it did damage over 191,000 acres!  Just think, one pass over with by a plane with fire retardant would have ended it on July 13th….

Signs for National Forest

Wanting to see some of the fire area, I drove up the North Bank Chetco River Road beyond Loeb State Park where we are staying.  About 3 miles up you come to the National Forest Area sign, a “Low Fire Danger” sign for today (that’s good), and then the first sign of fire…a yellow warning sign announcing that you are entering a burned area, must stay on roads and trails.

Miller Bar River Access   Miller Bar River Access

Miller Bar River Access

There are a number of National Forest River Access areas up here, the closest to Loeb is Miller Bar.  All of these have a camping fee of $10, $5 with senior pass, and for up to 14 days.  The only drawback…I had no phone and I am sure no Internet service at all.  Miller Bar only had two trailers today, and what looked like two or three tent campers.

Chetco Fire    Chetco Fire
Chetco Fire

Shortly after Miller Bar I could see a few signs of the fire.

Nook Bar River Access  Nook Bar River Access

At Nook Bar the fire had burnt the trees as you enter, and they obviously have a new sign up…but down by the river one could hardly tell there had been a fire.

Chetco River

And just a bit further along the road you can see some burned spots, and other nice pristine spots…it is a lovely river, that is for sure.

Redwood Bar River Access     Redwood Bar River Access, Chetco Fire

At Redwood Bar the devastation is much more intense.  A nearby National Forest Park Campground is shutdown, burned out with just a few picnic benches showing where camping spots once stood.  The funny thing…there were more people here, with a view of burned trees, than at the other two river spots.  Probably six trailers, a number of tents, and a number of day use folks.  Who would have imagined…

Redwood Bar River Access, Chetco Fire

Other than a splash of color, much of the area looks like the brown area in this shot above.  Like this and worse from here to 20 miles to the north…it was a devastating fire.

Alfred A Loeb State Park

We left Keller Park at 8:15, went to the Brookings Rest Area north of town to empty our tanks, and arrived at Loeb State park by 10 am.  We could have got into the site we had last year, #9…but chose site #10 next to it instead.  We are level, no use of levelers at all, and have electricity and water.  Paid for 5 nights, but plan to stay for 12 and will pay the difference on Tuesday.  Price is $24 this year, up $2 from last year.  As of 4:00, there were only one or two sites still available…we had our pick of around a dozen sites.  Getting here around 10 or 11 is recommended if you want a site as there are no reservations here.  People who think they are going to get into Harris Beach State Park north of Brookings without a reservation seem to end up at Loeb…Harris does take reservations, and the sign along the highway said they were full.  So here we sit, temps around 75 degrees with a slight wind – just suffering our butts off….life is good.