Heceta Head, near Florence, is home to a darky and stormy past- a traditional hunting and gathering grounds for the Siuslaw Tribe. It is said that once upon a time 5 ferocious grizzly brothers terrorized the Native Peoples of the area. Great, furry monsters where consuming the tribe for dinner, they had to be stopped! The animal people conspired together and created a great stone wall, the cliffs at Heceta. The cliff walls were used to lead the grizzly bear brothers to a tumbling death in the sea below. Indeed, lush berry bushes hang over steep cliffs here, leading one to believe the trail extends much further than it really does…
Many legends like this exist in Native Cultures- man eating giants terrorize the local people who ultimately sequester them to a cliff or in a cave and defeat them. Some people believe an ancient race of giants really did exist. I have my own ‘Oregon’ theory and that is: giants did exist (and eat people) and they were mostly defeated or pushed into the hills and the descends of those giants are….dun dun dun…Bigfoot. I digress 😉
The lighthouse and bed and breakfast are a bit illusory themselves. Since it’s opening to the public in the 1950’s, visitors to the B & B have witnessed disembodied screams as well as poltergeist activity. Some speculate that the screams belong to the mother who has discovered her daughter lost to the sea, fallen from the cliffs. The mother’s name is said to be Rue, the wife of a lighthouse keeper near the turn of the century. The name was revealed in a Ouija Board session conducted during the 1970’s. Perhaps RUE is the name of the child? It seems to me RUE would be initials and not a name? A cracked and weathered headstone was found on the site, though time has masked it’s identity.
Grey mists and a woman’s face have been seen in the lighthouse and around the grounds. This phenomenon is known as ‘The Grey Lady’. It is unclear if RUE and The Grey Lady are one in the same. Other reports state than once a box of rat poison was replaced with an 1890’s silk stocking. Doors have been unlocked, cupboards rattled, and items moved. During the 1970’s a worker in the attic noticed a face reflected in the window. He turned to see the full apparition of a silver haired woman in a long, dark dress. From that day on he vowed never to set foot inside the attic ever again. Coincidentally, he then accidentally broke a window in the afeared attic. He refused to clean the broken glass inside. That night, the caretakers’ of the building heard a shuffling in the attic. The glass was found neatly swept into a pile the next morning.
Paranormal activity seems to kick up any time the grounds go under renovation. It seems RUE has an opinion on paint color…
Or perhaps it’s the animal people still running off grizzly, man-terrorizing jerks. Who knows.
That said, if you promise NOT to be a man-terrorizing jerk I’ll let you in on a little Oregon secret: The Hobbit Trail (beach). And I’m really only telling you because the secret’s out anyway.
HOBBIT BEACH. It’s the best. No, really, it is. So if you dump your dirty diapers here JUST REMEMBER THE LEGEND OF THE ANIMAL PEOPLE…so OOGA BOOGA, you’ve been warned.
To get there- You can park on the side of the road, just NORTH of Heceta Head Light House and hike the most glorious half mile you’ve ever seen in a wayside, though a boscage of rhododendron dusted NORTHWEST RAINFOREST MAGIC…..OR
you can kick it up a notch and hike through the Grizzly Brother Headland and peer over the legendary cliffs yourself. (carefully…from a far…This is dangerous and unstable terrain, animal people, etc…) The trail sprouts from the (best) viewing area of the Heceta Head Lighthouse. You can park in the parking lot located a half a mile below.
It continues on 1.5 miles into the land of the REAL LIFE GIANTS- up into the headland, past the steep cliffs and into an ancient Sitka stand. On a wet day, at the top of the trail, the clouds literally hang and swirl and push you about. Dew drops cling to ferns upon ferns growing from soil that has formed upon an ancient dune. Deep cross cuts reveal a sandy, salty foundation.
The trail connects with the teeny weeny parking pullout that I mentioned above and then you get to the beach itself (which is really the southern bit of the Carl M. Washbourne State Park). It is a lovely thing….that produces whole sand dollars and shiny polished clam shells. It has tide pools with Hermit Crabs and Sea Stars and there is a waterfall (maybe two) and all the wonderful things you would want in a beach… so, please take care! 🙂