the wandering chick
...the Bay Area
Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston

Not being my destination, I didn't spend a whole lot of time in this area. Instead, I headed out to Cape Arago, out of the cities and closer to the coast.

It's in this area that the Highway 101 is more inland from the Pacific. To get to the coast, one must exit the 101 in North Bend and head west on Highway 540, the Cape Arago Highway.

With that said, the Coos Bay, for which the largest city on the Oregon coast is named, is worth a look-see. The boardwalk on the bay front has an informative billboard on the history of Coos Bay, originally named Marshfield.

And then there's Charleston. If we spent any time inland, it was at the Charleston harbor and boat basin. It's a bustling village of fishing boats, fresh seafood markets and eateries, and harbor seals watching for fish refuse at the fisherman's wharf.

Charleston fisherman's wharf
The fishermen's wharf in Charleston is the place to go in the Bay Area for anything fish and crab related. Tuna was the catch of the day while I was in the area.
Charleston fishermen's wharf and boat basin
Charleston fishermen's wharf area
sea lion catching a tuna handout
It's a hungry sea lion that will jump out of the water for a dangling piece of tuna!
fish cleaning
Here's the tuna cleaning guy who was throuing bits and pieces to the sea lion. This throw and catch game went on for a very long time. Evidently, tuna were really biting out in the deep blue sea because this guy had a LOT of fish to clean!
close up of fish cleaning
There must be a very logical reason for wearing a glove - and only one glove - but I'm pretty sure it's not to keep it clean and from smelling fishy.
The Charleston Boat Basin and fishermen's wharf
harbor seal in water
Charleston boat basin just as the fog is rising
This harbor seal woud have really liked to have some of that tuna, but he was no match for the sea lion who hogged it all.
Empire boat dock and shipbuilding building
Empire district's delapidated pilings
the district of Empire is Coos Bay's oldest part of town. Not much is standing today, yet the community celebrates its history and culture every year with a fest. One of the fest events is a hollering contest. It's said that in its early years, people who needed boat transportation from side of the bay to the other, would simply holler to someone, asking them to provide them transportation. Since then, Empire became known as The Hollering Plaec. Today, a public boat ramp and fishing pier are available in Empire.
Indian-style salmon bake
salmon baking over open fire pit on skewers
One of several gulls lining the pier railing
Coos Bay holds its annual Indian-style salmon bake on the banks of the Coquille River. It includes several activities, but the highlight for me was the huge firepit with salmon equally as huge being cooked. The dinner of salmon, fry bread, rice and a salad hit the spot on this beautifully sunny day.
salmon release from tank
the Conde McCullough Bridge
Near the end of the fest, a salmon release was done, returning the fish to the sea. It was a bit anticlimatic for us viewers, but probably very relieving for the fish!
The Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge crosses the Coos River at the north entrance to North Bend. It was originally called the Coos Bay Bridge, but when McCullough died in 1946, it was renamed after him.
an old-growth forest trail
a wooden bridge on an old-growth forest trail
an old-growth forest trail
a wooden bridge on an old-growth forest trail
The South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is located in Charleston on Seven Devils Road. It is 5,000-acres of salt marshes, mudflats, fresh water and forest, all a natural wildlife habitat. There are some great trails, and my favorite was the North Creek Trail. These pictures, in old-growth forest, were taken along that trail.

The Arago Highway is west of the Bay Area, toward the ocean and well off the 101 which stays inland in this part of Oregon. The link to Cape Arago will take you to that fascinating and scenic area.

To see other areas of Oregon, please return to the Oregon home page.


Please visit some of my other travel locations. Feel free to email me if you have questions or comments.

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