Sunset Bay, OR 6/24/06
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Sunset Bay (near Coos Bay, OR) was our next destination.  We had a three day weekend and decided to take advantage of it by driving down the coast and camping in a more southern location.

Sunset Bay Campground is a nice place.  We had spot A33, which is fairly private and backed by some interesting swamp like vegetation.  The scenery is beautiful, and there is quite a bit to see and do here.  Hiking trails will take you a number of places, including the Sunset Bay Overlook, Shore Acres Botanical Gardens and on to Cape Argo.  The trails provide fantastic views of the coastline, and Sunset Bay itself is a great spot to catch the perfect sunset.  See our pictures.

Our first full day camping we hiked up to the Sunset Bay Overlook and down the other side to Norton Gulch.  We encountered a number of people hiking with their dogs along the way. Because Marley goes nuts whenever he sees another dog (and Ellie to a lesser extent), hiking with the dogs is slightly stressful.  Here is generally how it goes: Oh, there’s another person. Uh oh, they have a dog.  Does Marley see the dog?  Good, he hasn’t spotted him yet.  Quick, distract him!  Good Marley, good boy, look at the view! Good boy…oh crap, he spotted the dog!  No, no, no- we don’t have to growl at the dog, he’s a nice dog.  No, no- ugh, down boy, down, down, down.  Hi, we’re really sorry…Marley, stop it!   He’s really very nice…he just (ugh, I can barely hold him) really…loves…other…dogs.  Marley, you’re really embarrassing me!  Sorry, sorry! Have a good hike- ha ha!  Oh good, they’ve past.  They looked annoyed.  Oh well.  Oh, there’s another person. Uh oh, they have a dog…  

We got back to camp, exhausted, but we enjoyed the hike.  It’s such a lovely place!  In the evening we decided to walk up to the bay to watch the sunset.  We left the dogs at camp.  They sat in the back of the truck, looking at us mournfully, as we told them that there had been enough excitement for one day.  The sunset was beautiful and Travis took several pictures.  There were quite a few people who had driven here just for this, and the beach was filled with many families and photographers.  They all looked very happy- smiling, skin and eyes reflecting the orange glow of the setting sun.  We stood and watched until the sun was gone, and then headed slowly back to camp. 

Half-way back to camp we heard dogs barking, non-stop, and realized with some horror that they sounded like our dogs.  Worse yet, we heard a couple of people yell, “Shut-up!”  We picked up our pace.  We got to camp and the dogs were barking up a storm.  What they were barking at was, of course, a mystery.  We took them out of the truck and shuffled them, quickly, into the trailer.  We didn’t come out for the rest of the night.

The next morning we were excited to check out the Shore Acres Botanical Gardens.  We drove up, and saw the sign announcing, “No Dogs”.  We told the dogs, “We’re sorry, but we’ll have to leave you in the truck- no dogs are allowed in the gardens”.  I imagine they were probably skeptical, because we use this excuse pretty often, usually when we’re taking them to the kennel. “Sorry guys, we’d take you with us, but they don’t allow dogs in Mexico”, or Bend, or Lincoln City…

In June, the garden doesn’t yet have the variety of flowering plants that it does later in the year, but they made up for it with an amazing assortment of rose varieties.  We took pictures of roses along with some other interesting plants- a couple of our favorites were the lemon bottlebrush and the monkey puzzle tree.  At the gift shop we learned that during the holidays the Botanical Gardens are decorated with thousands of Christmas lights. We agreed that we’d definitely like to come back and see that. 

 Our last evening in Sunset Bay, we took the dogs with us to watch the sunset.  They were grateful, and sat with us quietly, watching the sun dip into the ocean.