So you think you want to be a Lighthouse Keeper

First of all, to all my regular followers I would like to explain why my postings are coming in blocks. Here at Carl Washburne State Park I have no Wi-Fi, and very very limited cell coverage. With that being said it makes it a little difficult to work on these posts. And for the people out there that do their own postings, you know it’s quite a bit of work to sort through the photos. Then decide what you want to write about, research information and then get the post out there, it takes quite a bit of time. And with limited Internet access it even gets more difficult. So I hope you still enjoy what I put out there. And I will do my best to keep doing them in a timely fashion and try not make them too long winded. So that you still want to follow along. So at this time I’m going to post three separate postings. Between getting ready for my lighthouse duties and enjoying this beautiful area, putting out posts have kind of been on the back burner and I do apologize for that. With all my complaining about a little lack of modern communication. You can only imagine what the pioneering lighthouse keepers felt like being miles from any other people. When this lighthouse was first lit in 1894, there were no roads, electricity and it was at least a full day’s trip just to get to the nearby town of Florence just 10 miles away. Back when the lighthouse was being built and until the 1930s the only way to get here was to take the beach at low tide from the city of Florence and then up over the nearby Bluffs on a very narrow trail through the woods. Or the other way to access the lighthouse was by the ocean which is also subject tides and weather conditions which change rapidly along the coast. At that time this would’ve been a very hard lifestyle. Many things have changed in the 123 years that this light has been guiding mariners in these waters. But one thing that has remained the same is to beautiful views and this spectacular lens that lights the way. Here I will share a few views from high up by the light of the spectacular coastline, even on this rainy day that I took these photos.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a few views of this beautiful crystalline lens.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love this photo with the stairs ascending to the lens in a glimpse of the coastline in the background.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a cool one of the two oil houses and the Assistant Lighthouse Keepers duplex home in the background.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI like the way this one turned out with the reflection of the lens and the bright glow of the light shining right above the keepers’ house.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABack originally when the lighthouse was first built and manned there were three light keepers. The head lighthouse keeper had his own residence and the first and second assistance shared a duplex. When electricity was brought in in 1934 there was no longer need for three keepers and the Head Keeper moved into the duplex with the Assistant Keeper so that he did not have to maintain the separate residents anymore. And in 1939 when the Coast Guard took over the lighthouse and the head keepers residents had not been used for five years. They decided to sell it off in an auction, it was sold for a grand total of $10. It was disassembled and the lumber was used to build other buildings in nearby communities. In 1963 when the light was fully automated the last keeper retired and there was no longer need for a full-time resident. But thankfully the duplex was saved and is now a bed-and-breakfast owned by the U.S. Forest Service and run by private enterprise with 20% of the profits going back to the forest service. Part of that 20% can be used for renovations and upkeep of the house. The first floor of the keepers house is open throughout the summer at limited times for visits by the public. So I took a tour to check it out and introduce myself as one of the new host at the lighthouse. Here are a bunch of photos highlighting the first floor. Here’s a picture of the front of the house and you can see both main entrances.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen you enter either one of the entrances to what is now one large residence you have staircases going up to the second floor. This is the staircase on the left side of the house going up to the second floor.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the staircase on the right side as you come in from the front door.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere looking back at the entrance door with the stained-glass window.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd look at the view you get looking through that window of the beautiful coastline.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll these areas that I will show you on the first floor are open to you as a guest of the bed and breakfasts to use at your leisure. Along with the gardens and fenced in yard and beautiful porch to sit and enjoy the views of the coast. Here’s a photo of what used to be the second assistance living room and is now a beautiful sitting room with a large mirror.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis series of photos was taken on the left side of the residence which was the first assistance resident, at the time it was a duplex. This photo looks back at the entrance from their living room.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe same room but the opposite wall with lots of old photos of the lighthouse property. One of the ways you could tell this was the first assistance residents is if you look at the chandelier it has five light bulbs. Where the second assistance residents only has four light bulbs in their chandeliers.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd the beautiful fireplace that warmed this room.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a couple photos of the kitchen area on the first assistance side. Even though it has been renovated it was done in the style as to where it would’ve looked in 1894.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll the artifacts on top of the cupboards are originals items found on the lighthouse property.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn this photo the arch above the dining room table, is where the wall that once separated the two residents.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was opened to allow this to be one large resident long before it became a bed-and-breakfast. Also in this photo you will see the chandelier in the second assistance part of the resident and noticed only four light bulbs. If you stay here as a guest you are served a seven course gourmet breakfast as part of your stay. The door at the back right corner of the room leads to the commercial kitchen now used to prepare these elegant meals and is not open to the guest.

That’s the tour of the first floor that is open to the general public. If you are a guest of the bed-and-breakfast or you arrange a private showing you get to go upstairs and enjoy some of the views of the rooms and the beautiful surrounding landscape. Being a host at the lighthouse the manager was very eager to show me the upstairs and we made arrangements on one of the days when all the rooms were available for showing at a time before check-in. So I got there on Friday afternoon at around 2 o’clock before the 3 o’clock check-in time. All the rooms were empty and ready for the incoming guess. There was a wedding party coming and they had the whole house reserve for the weekend. So here are photos of the second floor bedrooms along with some of the views from their Windows. There are six bedrooms, all the bedrooms have queen-size beds and are decorated with vintage furniture. Four of them have their own private baths, and two of them have a shared bath. Here’s one of the bedrooms it’s the only one with a view of the lighthouse.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a view of the lighthouse from its window.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s another one with a nice four-poster bed and views of the gardens out back.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese two rooms are the rooms that face to the front and have views of the coastline out of their Windows.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a view from one of the Windows.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis room with the large canopy bed has views out to the garden also, it is one of the smaller rooms on the back of the house and has the shared bathroom. But it still quite elegant.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a picture of the tub in the shared bathroom it’s a little bigger bathroom than the other rooms have.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here’s a photo of the last bedroom, it’s also kind of small and you share the bathroom with the room across the hall, but you have beautiful views of the arch bridge and bay out your window. All the rooms are elegantly done and taking care of very well.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One other interesting thing about this house is it supposed to have its own resident ghost living there. But not to worry she is a friendly ghost and is never really bothered anyone but there have been lots of sightings and strange going on’s.

Along with learning about the lighthouse and the lighthouse keepers residents I’ve had a lot of time to do exploring around the area. Maxine loves our almost daily trips down to the beach. Sometimes we go a couple times a day to the beach. There is a beautiful trail from the campground heading through the moss covered trees it is about a half-mile walk down to the beach.20170531_07460920170531_074541The cool thing is as we are walking along the beach enjoying the surf, we also get to see all kinds of cool wildlife. One morning this coyote came out to greet us. It did not act aggressive but it did seem interested in Maxine. It kept its distance and would not let me approach it to close, but it definitely was used to seeing people.20170531_08594020170531_09001220170531_090123On another afternoon I got to see these three beautiful Bald Eagles, they were all feeding on a dead Sea Lion carcass that  has been there for a few weeks now.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey were keeping the vultures a bay while they were feeding, the vultures have been there every day feeding on the same carcass over the last couple weeks. But as I approached one of the Eagles took off in flight, followed shortly after that by the second. Here’s a photo of the second one taking off.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALeaving the one by itself and the vultures started to come back as soon as the first two left, they are much more use to humans.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe third Eagle let me get quite close, but it kept an eye on me.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut then finally he took off too, leaving just the vultures feeding on the carcass once again.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd just this morning when we were on one of our morning walks, I got a quick photo of this dear that came down to the beach to check things out.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo being lighthouse keeper nowadays it is much easier and has much more downtime then it did back in the old days. One of the other things I took in in the last week, was the World Famous Sea Lion Caves.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese caves have been here for thousands of years and known by residents long before it became a private enterprise over 50 years ago. They are America’s largest sea cave, and home to a couple hundred local sea lions that hang out here all year round. You are greeted by this brightly colored fiberglass sea lion and cool looking pole at the front door. (I will have more about this and other sea lions statues in my next post).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt this time of the year most of the sea lions are out on the rocky ledges along the coast feeding, mating and taking care of their young. As you exit out the back of the building to take your walk down the ramp to the elevator to get down to the cave, you are greeted by this beautiful bronze statue celebrating their 50th anniversary.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABefore I headed to the elevator, I headed south along the cliff to the outdoor observation area where most of the sea lions are hanging out this time of year. There are a couple hundred scattered below.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter viewing and listening to these noisy sea lions for a while it was off to the north to proceed down the ramp to get in the elevator to takes you 200 feet down into the cave. In this photo you see the ramp leading down to the elevator shaft, with the beautiful Heceta Head Lighthouse Park in the background. (Notice all the beautiful green trees all around the lighthouse, I will talk more about this in my next post.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter you get in the elevator you take a short trip two hundred feet down into the cave. At this time of the year all but a couple of the sea lion were outside enjoying the nice weather. But in the winter months this cave is home to several hundred sea lions. I can only imagine the noise and the smell would be overwhelming. But even though there’s no sea lions in the cave at this time of year it still worth checking out. And when you’re looking at the sea lions outside they are still quite smelly and loud, as anyone knows that has seen a bunch of sea lions together before.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are several different exhibits in the cave explaining its history and the wildlife that inhabit it. There’s also a film that talks about the preservation of this area. No flash pictures are allowed so I did not take too many photos. But down in the cave there is another brightly painted sea lions statue. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd as you make your way up a ramp to where the original entrance was. Before the elevator was installed, there was a set of staircases that you had to walk down to get into the cave. At this old entrance you are treated to a spectacular view of the lighthouse.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou also get a nice view out to the cliffs with a waterfall on the right, and the lighthouse off in the distance.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere I zoomed in on the lighthouse from that opening. These views alone I think are worth the price of admission.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell that’s it for this post lots more to come in the next two. I hope you keep coming along for the ride, Rick

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10 thoughts on “So you think you want to be a Lighthouse Keeper

  1. Bill and I debated about going into the caves – ultimately decided not to, but very interesting! We also would have loved to see the B&B but it wasn’t open for the season yet! Would love to stay there with the views! Beautiful!

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  2. So has a lighthouse host do you give tours of the lighthouse? Are visitors allowed up into the light at this location? Love the pictures, great views. What does Maxine do on days you’re working? Can she go with you?

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  3. I really liked this post about the lighthouse, the B&B, and the wildlife and the caves. Sometimes I wish I could retire and travel about. Do you know anyone who wants a fun and exciting RV partner?!! Thanks for the postings!!

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