Oregon – Day 5 – The Magic of Shore Acres

Starting the day with my usual espresso once again we were visited by our turkey. Apparently this gobbler was a sort of campsite mascot and not that unusual to see around the various campsites. He was wild but habituated to people. Still kind of cool way to start the day. The plan was to head north to Shore Acres State Park locate just SW of Coos Bay. Years ago on a previous visit with the family we had come across Elephant Seals basking on the rocks and I had an unintentional close encounter with one on a small pocket beach.

From there we just see how the wind would blow.

Shore Acres

Well, there were no Elephant Seals to be seen or heard. And even if they had been present it would have been impossible to see them due to the thick fog blowing through the area. And even though the sea was relatively calm the geology of the cliffs and reefs were still causing the small waves to put on quite a show. The fog gave everything a surreal feeling.

We hiked both north and south and found remnants of some of the old structures from when this was a private resident. In a small rotunda is a series of infographics that show historic photos of the different structures that once graced these cliffs. This place had a bit of a curse with fire. Twice flames have swept through leaving little in its wake. But to have seen it during it heyday!

Beach Survey

On a small beach I desire to test the Ocean Observer application and conduct a survey. I had notice that the beach here and down in Bandon seem surprisingly free of debris. I suspect this has more to do with ocean currents precluding this beaches from being collections site then actual debris in the ocean off these shores.

Still, I performed my survey photographing and geotagging each piece of glass, plastic and paper. I was out of cellular range but the nice thing about this application is that it stores your entries until you are back in range then does a data dump of all your sightings. Once I’m back in the office I’ll compare my survey with others, if there are any, around that bit of oregon coastline.

Louis J. Simpson

The park had its origins with Louis J. Simpson from Coos Bay and once spanned 1600 acres. Simpson was the son of wealthy shipping and timber magnate Asa Meade Simpson. Born in Oakland, California, in 1877, he attended Belmont School and graduated from Mt. Tamalpais Military Academy in 1895.

Simpson was able to purchase the entire plot of just $4,000 in 1905. Construction started in 1907 on his mansion which was to be a Christmas gift to his first wife, Cassie. Over the next 14 years he and his wife lived in this paradise by the sea. Roman baths, barns, formal gardens and such were added over the years. Then in 1921 disaster hit hard.

First in April Cassie passed away from a long illness. Then in the early hours of July 4th fire destroyed the mansion.

It wasn’t until 1927 that Simpson was able to rebuilt a second larger mansion and move in with this new wife Lela. But the Great Depression and a second fire forced Simpson to abandon his dream but rather than sell for a high price to an undisclosed buyer from Hollywood, in 1932 he gave his beloved property to the State of Oregon for all to enjoy.

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