Aug 1, 2014

Hobbit Adventures in Oregon

After our casino stint, and the campgrounds cleared out a bit, we got a spot at Harbor Vista, a Lane County Park. Can I just say that Oregon has the most incredible park systems we've seen? They are outstanding.

All of the infrastructure is so thoughtfully laid out, tastefully designed, and has been well maintained throughout the years. There are almost always flush toilets, drinking fountains, and garbage/recycling cans available nearby. You'll often find recycled plastic bike racks, free-to-use life jackets for kids, and re-usable garbage bags provided for keeping the parks clean. And from what we've seen, they are overwhelmingly clean (which is more than a lot of states can claim *cough-ALABAMA-cough*). The park systems seem to receive good funding and a lot of community support.

Another great thing is the park host system! It's not just for campgrounds, but for day-use areas as well. Bandon even had a host in their city park. The hosts are volunteers who camp for free, and take care of the parks, keeping them tidy, taking care of daily maintenance, and providing a security presence. More info here 

And the rules! There are a lot of rules and safety warnings posted in every parking area, and building. But they are all perfectly rational with clearly explained reasoning, and items provided to help you comply. The courtesy guides are just great, and it all seems to work! I know you cannot make blanket statements about a population, but we've found Oregonians to have especially kind and considerate demeanors. Their campgrounds have been the most quiet and peaceful places we've stayed. Each campsite is clean and private, carved out of the rhododendron forests and the thick shrubbery between the trees.

And on top of all that, there is a trail named the Hobbit Trail, which leads to Hobbit Beach in Carl C. Washburne State Park. So, we HAD to do that one (even though everyone knows that Shire Hobbits are not fond of the water). It was just a short trip up the coast. 

Hodor the Majestic

Bowie awkwardly stalks a seagull  

Instead of parking at the trailhead off the 101, we parked in the day-use area (where there was a free RV dump, Oregon just keeps racking up the points) and walked to the Valley trailhead near the campground. This added 3 miles to the short (½ mile) Hobbit Trail. I definitely recommend this route if you ever visit, it's very Middle Earthy. You do feel small, and the trees sound different.

Along the trail

A Short Cut to Mushrooms

Hobbit tunnels lead to the beach. This one was decorated with seashells and feathers. There is an entire network of them winding around, we could have spent all day exploring.

Hobbit Beach

Strange marine life

Geology - it's happening! Video here

All along the edge, there were little carved-out moss-covered dripping grottos, little waterfalls draining to the sea, and other such strange formations to discover.

Back on the trail. Everything is blanketed in moss

Bowie still loves watching the ocean

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heading back to our campsite down highway 101