The Beautiful and Rugged Northwest Coast… Brookings, Oregon

Beautiful weather and early morning sunlight combined for this reflection photo of a rock jutting out toward the Pacific Ocean at Harris Beach State Park just north of Brookings, Oregon where I was camping this week.

Nobuo Fujita had a job to do: bomb the United States. It was September 9, 1942 and his plane was loaded with incendiary bombs. He launched his floatplane from the Japanese submarine that had delivered him to the coastal waters off Southern Oregon, climbed over the ocean, and flew toward the mountains behind Brookings. His bombs were supposed to ignite a massive forest fire.

The forest didn’t cooperate but Fujita returned to Brookings in 1962 and presented the city with a 400-year-old Samurai sword that belonged to his family. In 1967 Brookings made him an honorary citizen.

On March 11, 2011 another intruder from the East came roaring into Brookings. This time it was the remnants of the devastating tsunami that had struck Japan and caused such horrendous loss of life and property. Brookings got off easy but considerable damage was done to the town’s harbor. It was a solemn reminder of what might happen when the next big earthquake hits the West Coast.

It’s hard to imagine this peaceful harbor scene at Brookings, Oregon being disrupted by the remains of the tsunami that struck Japan a year and a half ago.

I was in Brookings this week to camp out at Harris Beach State Park and enjoy the beautiful and rugged coastline. I divided my days between working on a book about my African Peace Corps experience and hiking on the beach. The weather was close to perfect. Naturally, I had a camera along.

The view from Harris Beach State Park looking south toward Brookings, which was about a mile away.

A sandbar created a small lagoon that was excellent for capturing reflections. Note the seagull on the right.

OK, I admit I can’t resist reflections. This shot at Harris Beach State Park, Oregon was taken late afternoon.

This view, similar to the photo at the beginning, was taken early morning.

Another early morning photo at Harris Beach State Park. This one is looking south. The sun has gently touched the rock on the right while those on the left remain in shadows.

The sandbar that separated the lagoon from the ocean.

I liked the combination of dark rock, sandy beach, sky and water.

Looking north up the Pacific Coast from Harris State Beach.

Low tide uncovers an abundance of sea life. When my dad lived on the Oregon Coast, he would gather the mussels for cooking.

And what’s an ocean without a seagull… This guy was hoping I would break out lunch.

The restless ocean and its waves were calm for my visit to Brookings, Oregon.

This large log, bleached white by the sun and sea, is a reminder of stormy oceans. In fact watching storms hit the coast has become a major spectator sport during the winter on the Oregon coast.

I’ll finish off my post on Harris Beach State Park and Brookings, Oregon with a final reflection picture. Next up: A visit to Organ Pipe Cactus National Park in Southern Arizona.

10 comments on “The Beautiful and Rugged Northwest Coast… Brookings, Oregon

  1. Incredibly beautiful coastline…! Just gorgeous. If you take a peek at seapunk2’s blog, the coastline looks almost identical to her images of Pt. St. George… At times, if I had the wherewithal and opportunity, I would move north in an instant.

    Fujita’s story – thanks for bringing it back up. While the balloon bombs extracted a human toll, it appears Fujita now (although deceased, I believe) is grateful no one was injured. It is also a quirk that he retained his ancestral sword. During the Occupation, the Allies removed all such swords from the remaining households in populated areas as a safety measure. My grandmother on my mother’s side lost similar swords in that fashion.

    • I’ll have to check out seapunk2’s photos on Pt. St. George. I’ve never lived on the coast but I have always been close enough to drive to it in 2-3 hours. And thanks for adding the information on Japan. I thought you might. I found the story fascinating.

    • 🙂 I have always loved the Pacific Coast from Big Sur north. When I lived in Sacramento I made a point of spending two-three weeks a year on the coast. My distance here is about the same… around three hours to get there. (From here, I also have to drive through a section of the Redwoods. Not bad.)

  2. Beautiful, simply beautiful. When i lived in Monterey I used to spend many a weekend driving up the coast (yes, through Big Sur) and I always called it “God’s Country”..Thank you for a wonderful field trip..If only I could live 6 months at a time all over the country, that my friend would be heaven!!

    • Yeah, the beauty is something else… as are the crashing waves, seals, pelicans, elephant seals, otters and the list goes on and on… I love kayaking around Monterey Bay and watching the sea life. And thanks to you.

  3. I was a vegetarian for many years. Once you hit the West coast, it shloud be quite easy to find fresh vegetarian food. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and vege restaurants abound. While you’re traveling by car especially through the midwest your best bet is to shop at grocery stores and pack your meals and snacks. Otherwise you may find yourself stuck with only fast food options. We seemed to be able to hit cities along the way that had plenty of food options. I think you shloud be fine. These days it seems many places are offering vege options.

  4. Oh well, I am an expert in gassetimuting !! Anyways, I hit Maryland (the first one), Pennsylvania, West Virginia (my future home), Ohio (Yay MDG), Indiana, Illinois, Iowa.I guess I just touched midwest and came back to Northeast. But the end of this month, I am going all the way to Utah before the semester starts ..Are you done with your road trip ? or still wandering ??

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