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.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Redwood Nature Trail – Loeb State Park

At Alfred Loeb State Park, Brookings Oregon

Chetco River near Loeb State Park

On Wednesday evening I took a ride up the Chetco River about a mile and a half where the North Bank Chetco River Road crosses the Chetco River.  As evening grows near, the shadows along the river can be interesting.  This first picture was taken just as I was exiting the park.

Chetco River 1.5 miles above Loeb State Park

I parked at the bridge and walked across it.  Above is a picture looking up river, while below…

Chetco River 1.5 miles above Loeb State Park

…while this picture is looking down river.

Chetco River 1.5 miles above Loeb State Park

Chetco River 1.5 miles above Loeb State Park

Look at how you can see right down to the rocks down in the river.  Looked for signs of fish, but did not see any…perhaps the birds of prey keep them away from waters like this.  Had a young Bald Eagle swoop right down in front of me the other day as I was driving around.  WOW, what a surprise that was!

Map of the Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park

Well, on Thursday I decided it was a cool enough day to attack the Redwood Nature Trail, just north of the campground.  I discovered this hike last year, and I walked the Riverview trail a few days before the Redwood trail…but this year I decided to do the Redwood Trail first.  It is a mile loop (I know, the map says .9 of a mile, but when you walk from where you park to the red dot it adds up to a mile) with a gain in elevation by about 500 feet.  Last year I started to the left, this year I started to the right.

Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park

Very quickly you cross over a bridge, and stand there listening to the quiet brook that flows down and under the bridge.  Through the entire hike I only saw a handful of people…it was very quiet.

Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park

There is an abundance of plants, like one finds in many coastal redwood areas.  This particular coastal redwood patch shares its home with Douglas Firs, Maple Trees, and lots of plant life…

Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park

…including Poison Oak.

Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park

But you can see the path is wide, and I did not encounter (I hope) any poison oak growing onto the path.

Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park      Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park

Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park

Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park

One can really enjoy this trail.  In fact, I stopped numerous times just sit and listen to the peaceful sound, feel the cool air flow by, and pant like a dog laying out in the summer sun.

Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park

When I came upon this nature-made chair just a third of the way, I thought I was in heaven! 

Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park

Yep, look at that smile on my face.  I don’t take many selfies, but this one seemed appropriate…it is also the last one I took because here I was only 1/3 of the way done…the next third just about killed me.

Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park       Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park

Just about here (picture left) I hear this noise…a very slight rumble.  Suddenly this 50 year old female comes RUNNING down the path right at me.  “NO!”, I said, “IT IS NOT FAIR TO RUN!!!!”   She just laughs as she passes by me…my spirits are dashed.  By now I am soaking with sweat, she is as dry as bone.  Reminded me of when I hiked Pinnacle Mountain with a group of people in Arkansas as this guy runs up and down and up and down passing us many times.  THANK GOODNESS she did not run it a second time, I would have felt like a pea in one of those bounce houses at McDonalds.  In the picture right, I was hoping that I could make a bed along that fallen log…it was sure tempting.

Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park

Near the end of the trail, I sat upon another log and just contemplated about how long it would take to myself to get back up off that log.  At this spot one can just get a slight cell signal, so I texted Marcia to let her know that I would not be too much longer.  It was all downhill from here, and a smooth trail…I don’t think I stopped much more than two or three more times with less than 2/10ths of a mile left.

Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park 

A point of interest or two…here is a shot of a Douglas Fir and a Coastal Redwood.  They are both large trees, but their trunks are very different…with the Fir having large gaps in the bark (left) while the Redwood is a smoother look but a very splintery look.

Redwood Nature Trail, Loeb State Park

Near the end (or beginning depending upon which way you go) you will see this heavy cable.  It was was a logging cable, used to drag cut logs down off the mountain…err….hill. 

I made it back to the car, drove back to the motorhome, and sat in the car with the A/C going (on a 70 degree day) just to cool down a bit.  After getting into the motorhome, I sat for a bit after taking a couple of Aleve, and eventually made my way down to the showers (which they had parking at the showers so that I did not have to walk it!)  Now, 24 hours later, other than a little ache in my knees, I am doing fine.  Next week, the Riverview Trail, which is 3/4 of a mile to the entrance of the Redwood Trail, and 3/4 of a mile back.  The good thing, the elevation change is minimal.  The Redwood Trail, according to the Park’s pamphlet, is Moderate to Steep, while the Riverview Trail is Easy to Moderate.  After doing the Redwood Trail, I think the Riverview Trail will be pretty easy.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Alfred Loeb State Park for 14 Days

At Alfred Loeb State Park, Brookings Oregon

Site 11, Alfred Loeb State Park


We first came to Alfred Loeb State Park, 7 miles east of Brookings Oregon, in late July of 2017…we stayed for about a week.  In 2018 we stayed for 12 nights…this year we plan to stay the full 14 nights.  For $24 per night you get electric, water, and a paved site with lots of room from your neighbor.

Site 11, Alfred Loeb State Park

This time we are in site #11, in the same area we have been each time.  This site has a WONDERFUL isolated picnic bench area right out our entry door.  Great place to let the dogs do their business first thing in the morning without fear of other dogs seeing them, or they seeing other dogs, so barking is not an issue.

Site 11, Alfred Loeb State Park

Also a nice place to sit in my chair, no worry about interruption from passing campers, and shade, shade, shade!  Not that we need the shade yet…it has not been higher than the mid-70’s, and has not been lower than the mid-60’s.  Strange to have your heater on for a short time in the morning.

Typical Site, Alfred Loeb State Park

As a ‘first come – first serve’ park (no reservations), as you drive the 45 minutes from Crescent City in the back of your mind you wonder if you are going to get a place to park.  Well, no worries this trip…there were 9 places when we pulled in, and 2 or 3 more left by noon.  Thought they would all fill up last night, but not at all…the places on each side of us and across from us are still open.  In fact, I went into Harbor (just south of Brookings…the Chetco River separates the two) to get some produce, and when I drove back into the park there were 8 open sites before I got to our site.  I guess the 4th of July was bonkers, but there is a lull for now, a short lull I am sure.

Alfred Loeb State Park

There IS an extra charge for a second vehicle, but A TOW car is NOT an extra vehicle, if it is towed by a motorhome.

Alfred Loeb State Park

There are three individual shower rooms, along with many bathrooms.  This building is centralized with a men’s bathroom, women’s bathroom, a ‘family’ or ‘unisex’ bathroom, and three showers.  The showers are nice, with clean, tiled floors, and they do not cost anything if you are a registered camper.  I took a shower yesterday, and the water was cool at first (like I like it) and hot after a few minutes (too hot for me, hot enough for anyone else.)

Chetco River, Alfred Loeb State Park

The Chetco River wraps around the park from the north, west and south ends of the park.  On a hot, sunny day there are LOTS of folks who come to swim the waters of the river…on this day, no one.  The good thing is that the river is close enough to walk to…far enough away that the noise is totally muffled from the campers…especially where we stay.

Redwood Nature Trail, Alfred Loeb State Park   Redwood Nature Trail, Alfred Loeb State Park

Last year I discovered the Redwood Nature Trail and the River Trail that leads to it…both of which I plan to use again this year. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Life in Perspective

At Alfred Loeb State Park, Brookings Oregon

At Florence Keller Park, Crescent City, CA


Need I say more?  This was yesterday and through the night at Florence Keller Regional Park Campground in Crescent City, CA (we just got to Loeb State Park in Oregon this morning).  We have stayed at this park a number of times over the past few years.  A nice park for $15 per night, BUT, as with most places, they raised their prices to $20 per night.  No electricity, there is water to fill your tanks, no dump station, but $20 per night to camp among the redwoods is still pretty cheap. 

Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park

One thing nice about Keller Park…it is only minutes away from Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park (no day use fee), which is one of four parks operated under the Redwood National and State Parks.  The four parks, together, protect 45% of all remaining coast redwood old-growth forests, trees which are the tallest and one of the most massive trees on Earth.  I was up for a drive…Marcia was not, so off I went.

Hiouchi Info Center, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Just 5 miles away from our campground is the Hiouchi Information Center at the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.  There I got a map, and quickly eyed just what I wanted to do…the scenic Howland Hill route which Marcia and I had taken back in 2013.  It is just the best way to see much of the park without having to do a long hike.  

   Howland Hill Scenic Drive, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park    Howland Hill Scenic Drive, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Howland Hill Scenic Drive, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Notice the dirt road…it was a good dirt road with just a few bad spots, 6+ miles

I absolutely LOVE the Redwoods…have for much of my life.  Back in 2013 THIS BLOG POST covered the drive pretty good, so I won’t waste time talking about it again.  I just enjoyed the drive, and was back to the motorhome within 2 hours.

 Pebble Beach Drive, Crescent City, CA

No sooner did I get back from the Redwoods, and Marcia decides to take her afternoon nap…so Skruffy and I drove to the Ocean along Pebble Beach Drive, another 10-15 minute drive away from the campground.  I LOVE the Ocean…

Pebble Beach Drive, Crescent City, CA
Battery Point Light

Pebble Beach Drive, Crescent City, CA
Looking North

Pebble Beach Drive, Crescent City, CA
Looking south…Battery Point Light is in far distance


Pebble Beach Drive, Crescent City, CA
Well…I guess it is never too cold to surf!

How Cold Is IT?

68 Degrees, Noon and THAT is our Forecasted HIGH 

THAT's Life in Perspective

Sunday, July 7, 2019

June Party, July Escape

At Bear River Casino,


Family Party
Family Party

Family Party
Family Party
Family Party

Family Party

 


Arny and Bubba


Between the time that dad got home from rehab, and we left today, I have had some time to take a few fun pictures.  We always tease Arny that if he stops too quick, Bubba would be 'right up your butt'.  Well, this picture shows that scenario for sure.

Rainy Day

Rainy Day
One day in early June it rained and rained...the pictures above were taken on that day, the top one shows the huge water lake that formed on the patio.  Within 3 hours, the water was all gone, and it made for a nice sunset over mom and dad's old home.


Backyard Birds

Backyard Birds

Backyard Birds

And I took many bird pictures, these three are a few of my favorites.  In the last picture one bird is at the bird bath as another one just arrives.

Today, Sunday the 7th, we escaped Sacramento's heat (especially the upcoming heatwave where Friday is going to be close to 100), and we are sitting at the Bear River Casino in Loleta, California where we have stayed a number of times before.  We pulled out of Arny and Sandy's backyard and hit the road by 9:30.  Filled up our propane tank, emptied our waste tanks, and then headed over to mom and dad's to say goodbye to them and have a very quick visit with cousin Cassie and husband Rick who passing through on their way back home in Missouri.  (We had seen both of them while we were in the KC area for Ryan's graduation).  This past week was very busy for me getting shopping done, laundry (I do laundry on the road, Marcia does it at home but does sort and spot-clean as needed), groomed the dogs, packed up the car, took the driver front tire off the motorhome over to America's Tire (same as Discount Tires) because the stem would not hold air when I put the tire sensor on, changed the oil and checked and added fluids as needed to the motorhome, etc. etc.  For me it escaping the heat and the work...it was a very busy week before we left.

Not ONE picture of today's travels...we have done this so many times.  But as we passed by Clear Lake and saw how high the water level was, we wished we would have at least had the camera within reach.  Being the end of a long weekend, traffic was a concern, but most of it was headed the other way, and it was a long but uneventful trip.  Skruffy even cooperated by staying up on her bed for 75% of the trip!  Bubba, well, he is having 'missing Arny feelings', but little does he know that in 9 weeks we will be back for an even LONGER Stay.