Elk at Reedsport, Oregon Dunes, Heceta Head Lighthouse

June 2000

On a Saturday in June, I woke up with the sunshine, and figured it would be a nice day for photography.  I quickly settled on an itinerary of driving down I-5, then heading over to Reedsport on the coast, and back up the coast a ways and then home.

The drive down was uneventful.  South of Eugene, I turned off the interstate to Highway 38, and made my way to Reedsport.

Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area

A few miles east of Reedsport is the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area.  Here you can stop and see a small herd of elk grazing just off the highway.  This was one of my first opportunities to use a Canon 70–210 F4 lens I bought on eBay.

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Most of the Oregon coastline features steep, rocky cliffs and narrow beaches, but in some areas the slope is more gradual.  Reedsport sits behind the center of about a 40-mile stretch of sand dunes, most of which is encompassed by the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.  It is the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America, and some of them are almost 200 feet tall.  I stopped at one of the viewpoints in the northern section of the park, and took a short walk out on the sand.

Heceta Head Lighthouse and Cape Creek Bridge

Just north of Florence is Heceta Head, at the mouth of Cape Creek.  In 1775, a Spanish Naval ship under the command of Don Bruno Heceta set out from Mexico on a voyage to reach the Arctic Circle and claim everything inbetween for Spain.  Well, they made it as far as the Columbia River before turning back because of a bout of scurvey.  This headland was one of the points along the coast that he made note of, and it now bears his name.  (Note: there are numerous pronunciations, but I believe the most accepted is “Ha-SEE-Ta”.  Unless you’re from southern California.  Those guys can’t pronounce anything right, including Oregon.)

The Cape Creek Bridge was constructed in 1932 for what was then the Oregon Coast Highway.

The Heceta Head Lighthouse, one of the most visited lighthouses in the United States, was built in 1892.  The first-order Fresnel lens was manufactured in London by the same company that made the light for Staten Island, and is visible for 21 miles out to sea.

Down the trail from the lighthouse is the Queen Anne style keeper’s house, now a bed and breakfast so popular there is at least a three-month waiting list.