Monday, March 18, 2013

Port Orford to Umpqua River Lighthouse

Umpqua River Lighthouse, Oregon

A deer bolts out in front of us on the highway. We see it in plenty of time and wait for it to cross. Still, the jolt of adrenaline lingers.

At the lighthouse we learn that Amos Rogers was the first postmaster of Umpqua City Post Office, established September 24, 1851. This is useful information to know if, for example, you wish to write the preceding sentence.

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area lies just beyond the lighthouse grounds, making this one of the few places along the coast where peace and quiet are scarce. If you like your views accompanied by the rumble of dune buggy engines, this is a great spot.

We do not enter the lighthouse–it belongs to the U.S. Coast Guard and is off-limits to civilians–but mill about the visitors center and learn many other facts that we soon forget. Even the wreck of the Tacoma in 1883 grows fuzzy in our minds as we continue along the coast.

Those who perished in the wreck are buried at nearby Gardiner Cemetery. We are not aware of its existence eight miles north and will pass it unnoticed just across the Umpqua River from Reedsport as we drive toward the next lighthouse, which we will also be unable to enter.

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