Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Heceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon Coast

Heceta Head Lighthouse on Oregon Coast (Julianne G. Crane)
The Heceta Head Lighthouse is one of the most, if not the most, photographed lighthouse in the world.

This breathtaking Oregon State Scenic Viewpoint is located on Hwy. 101, halfway between Yachats and Florence along the central Oregon Coast.

A perfect outing for the entire family, the Lighthouse and Light Keeper’s House were built around 1894 and both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The working 56-foot lighthouse sits midway up a 205-foot-tall headland.  Its “first order” Fresnel lens casts an automated beam visible for 21 miles out to sea. It is the brightest light on the Oregon coast.

Beach below Heceta Head (Julianne G. Crane)
The Light Keeper’s House is perched further back from the lighthouse on a cliff with a magnificent view of the Cape Cove and the beach below.  The Queen Anne style house features an interpretive center, and bed and breakfast facilities.

A 1/2-mile long walking trail leads from the fee parking lot to the lighthouse while gaining 150 feet in elevation. If you are unable to walk the path, sit at one of the picnic tables or stroll along the beach and take in the magnificent scenery and wildlife.

If you go:
The Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint
92072 S. Hwy 101, Florence, OR

Heceta Head (Oregon State Parks)
- Tours daily, March-Oct., 11 a.m. -5 p.m. (double check on times)
- The lighthouse observation area is open year round during park hours; by appointment throughout year. Call 1-800-551-6949.
- A $5 day-use fee is required. (This pass is good for parking the entire day at any state park. Visitors can leave one day-use fee park and travel to another.)
- For more information: Oregon State Parks.

Light Keeper's House (OSP)
Interpretive Center
- Located in Keeper's House.
- Guided tours summer months, Thurs-Mon., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.,  by appointment throughout year. Call: 1-866-547-3696.
- No charge for tours, however donations accepted.

Bed and Breakfast
- 15 guest capacity
- Fully equipped guest kitchen
- Parlors with amazing ocean views.
- Operated by a concessionaire of the U.S. Forest Service and can be reached at 1-866-547-3696.  
- Best time to call: Monday-Friday, noon-4 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time). On the weekends in and out of the office.
URL:  hecetalighthouse.com/

Source: OSP
Located on Hwy. 101 on the central Oregon Coast along the Pacific Ocean.
- About 13 miles north of Florence and 13 miles south of Yachats.
- 1/2 mile north of the world famous “Sea Lion Caves” near mile marker #178.

Camping at nearby Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park.  Click here for more information.

-- Julianne G. Crane
Photos:  Chick on images to enlarge.

To read more articles by Julianne G. Crane go to RVWheelLife.com   

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Four "Out West" BLM holdings -- from sea to badlands

Not long ago, the Weather Channel published a photo-heavy feature called, "Most Amazing Hidden Gems in Every State." Included in the lot were four "gems" under the watch-care of the Bureau of Land Management, all of them Out West.


Black Sands Beach (Humbolt County)

Here's an amazing, "off the beaten track," feature you'll want to visit. Taking its name from the literal black sands, the beach is out-of-the-way, and seldom overrun with tourists. While there's no camping here, just eight miles away Wailaki Campground on Highway 101 provides respite to smaller RVs for just $8 a night.

If you plan a visit to the black sands, beware that the current and tides are treacherous; surfing is great for the experienced, but avoid it in winter when the surf isn't as forgiving. Disability access to the beach is tough; it's a steep path. Still, the views are awesome.

Apart from its breathtaking sights, the convenience of the beach makes it an amazing spot for adults or parents with older children to visit. Although conveniently located, the beach itself is secluded from any major highways by large hills which border the shoreline. This seclusion means the area doesn't get very busy, even during weekends, and it is one of the most appealing features for those looking for a quiet day at the beach. Although Black Sands Beach is a short walk from the parking lot (which offers handicapped parking, drinking fountains, bathrooms and geological information) people with disabilities or small children should be forewarned that the walk down to the beach can be dangerous, as the hills are steep and often contain overgrown shrubbery.


Browns Canyon National Monument

One of America's newest National Monuments, nearly 22,000 acres of canyons, forests, and rivers are co-managed by the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service. Already famous among whitewater rafters, no doubt the new designation will bring others who want to get a close view of wildlife, as elk, golden eagles, bighorn sheep, and peregrine falcons are denizens of this rugged country.

It's pretty early in the process to see how things will shape up in terms of RV recreation. Loosen up your hiking boots and be prepared for rugged.

New Mexico:

It seems strange that one state would have two attractions on a "Gems in All 50 States," but we think somebody at the Weather Channel got confused. Originally, they placed Rio Grand National Monument in Texas – an easy mistake, no? We've properly located both locations in New Mexico.

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

Again, a new entrant into America's National Monument System, this huge tract of land, nearly 250,000 acres got its status in 2013. Volcanic landscapes, bisected by two rivers, the Rio Grande and the Rio San Antonio. Mountains, plains, hot springs, sage brush to stands of pinyon pines, the monument poses a wide variety of landscape and plenty of critters, large and small.

Lots of roads travel through the monument, so getting access with your RV shouldn't pose a problem. Campgrounds from primitive to those with water and electric sites are dotted throughout the holdings.

Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness

This is definitely a "park your rig and hike it," feature, but if you've got the physical capability, the journey into the wilderness could almost be termed a spiritual one.

The landscape rolls along into badlands which, in the words of the BLM, "Offers some of the most unusual scenery found in the Four Corners Region.  Time and natural elements have etched a fantasy world of strange rock formations made of interbedded sandstone, shale, mudstone, coal, and silt.  The weathering of the sandstone forms hoodoos - weathered rock in the form of pinnacles, spires, cap rocks, and other unusual forms."

The wilderness takes its name from the Navajo tongue:  Bisti (Bis-tie) “a large area of shale hills.” De-Na-Zin (Deh-nah-zin) takes its name from the Navajo words for “cranes.”

All photos, Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management