South Jetty at South Beach SP

Fantastical forest between the campground and the beach.

It was our second day at the beach and darned if it didn’t dawn brilliantly sunny with blue skies as far as we could see. We celebrated by walking from our yurt to the beach at South Beach State Park.

We walked paved trails over old sand dunes, long ago carpeted in grasses and brush.
We left the forest behind and made the surprisingly long walk to the sea.
And there it was!

I have loved camping and hiking all my life. When Tara was in middle school, I would beg them to go willingly with me into the wild, but – asserting their newly found independence – Tara would refuse. One year, on Mother’s Day, Tara asked what kind of gift I wanted. I said, “I don’t want flowers or a card or anything you could purchase. If you really want to treat me for Mother’s Day, join me with a good attitude for a night out camping.” “UGH. FINE,” was the response. The following year, Tara was the one who asked, “Can we go camping again for Mother’s Day?” And thus a tradition was born.

This year Tara was the one who suggested two nights instead of one. It’s the first Mother’s Day for 18 years that Tara is not in school, and it feels like a luxury. We reveled in the extended time to catch up and reconnect.

The lovely Pacific Ocean. South Jetty is visible on the right.
We walked along the beach to the South Jetty.
Someone was brave enough to go barefoot in May. The line of something dragging along with them suggests these tracks are likely made by one of the surfers we saw out in the water.
Surfers lounge on their boards in tame swells, waiting for a group of bigger ones.
Here are a couple of waves big enough to play on.
A person heading out from shore, obviously for the first time today, as evidenced by the long, wavy blonde and DRY locks of hair.
One of the surfers exiting the water agreed to have his photo taken.

The jetties are piles of huge rocks that serve to both control the shifting sands of the beaches, and to eliminate complicated currents and allow boats to pass safely into the harbor. We walked to the nearest one, the south jetty. Tara, a recently graduated geology student, got interested in the rocks right away.

Tara makes a warrior face as they prepare to smash a rock.
One the second attempt, it worked, and the rock broke open.

When rocks are weather-beaten, as these are, it’s hard to identify them and apparently geologists can break rocks open to get more information from the inside of the rock. I watched with amusement as Tara began throwing a rock around.

Tara sits to examine the rock pieces.
When Tara was finished, we climbed up onto the top and saw a few people fishing.
And a photogenic seagull
Looking across the channel to the North Jetty.
Lots of birds followed the channel as well.
Looking across the channel again, this time back at the land. There is a large bay behind the bridge, and the small town of Newport, Oregon.
The seagull continued to pose
A memorial. “JE Hemphill 1928-2003”

As I clambered around on the rocks to get photos, I began noticing the memorials. While jetties can make the harbor exit and entrance safer, nothing can make the sea completely safe. These are clearly to remember people who died at sea.

A white cross in remembrance of someone who died.
Tara stands under a gorgeous sky. One of the few days of brilliant sunshine I’ve seen in 2022.
Lots of people on this boat. It might have a been a pleasure fishing trip.
The Umatilla II was soon overtaken by a smaller vessel. On the horizon you can see the Yaquina Head lighthouse that I have blogged about in the past.

After we had had enough sunshine and beach time, we headed back toward the campground. It was such a magnificent day that we delayed our plans to get an early start heading back toward home.

We enjoyed the scenery as we made our way back to the coastal forest.
Obviously, to escape a tsunami, one would head away from the beach.

We found a park bench in the shade of a tree and sat for another half an hour, chatting and watching birds flit through the trees around us.

This one looks like an American Goldfinch
Pretty pink blooms
This one might be a white-crowned sparrow.
Maybe Anna’s Hummingbird? Maybe Sara’s or Chloe’s? haha
Pretty yellow blooms.
Closer to the campground is some tasty grass. We interrupted this rabbit’s meal.
Clearly it is accustomed to campers, and didn’t run off as quickly as other rabbits would.

Finally we had to face the facts that it was time to check out of the yurt and go home. We had packed before we left, so all that we had to do on return was a final sweep to look for anything we missed, and then we locked it up and dropped the key off at the visitor information building at the campground entrance.

We had missed breakfast in order to play at the beach. It was now lunchtime and we were ravenous. We somehow found excellent parking in the rather crowded part of oceanside Newport. The first place to catch our eye was Nana’s Irish Pub and we entered starving. We were not disappointed.

My mouth is watering all over again, looking at the photograph of our meal.

At Nana’s we were seated quickly because we showed up after the typical lunchtime, so there were tables open at this very popular restaurant. Tara ordered the Taigue’s Delight, which is Irish style sausages smothered in seasoned apples and onions sauteed in Magners hard cider, served with mashed potatoes, and a side of mushroom gravy. I ordered Galway Cod Au Gratin, which is wild caught NW cod, topped with Tillamook sharp cheddar, stone-ground mustard and cream, baked to a bubbly goodness. Served atop mashed potatoes. Both with peas and Irish soda bread. We practically licked the plates clean. We took an order of Scotch eggs to go for Cameron.

After we ate, we drove a block away from Nana’s to get one last look at the sea.

With full bellies we turned east to head for home. Newport is an hour and 15 minutes due west of where Tara lives, in Albany, Oregon. I took Tara home and dropped them off. After saying hi to their partner, Cameron, hugs and kisses all around, I then made the hour and 15 minute drive to Pedro’s house in Portland, where I stopped for the day. I made the final one hour drive home the following day. It felt so good to reconnect with my loved ones.

3 thoughts on “South Jetty at South Beach SP

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