Monday, October 13, 2014

Lighthouse Tour Guides

A few months ago, Hubs and I made the decision to spend a month volunteering as tour guides at a lighthouse in Oregon, and our stint begins today.  Having not even seen pictures of the lighthouse where we will be working for the next month, Hubs and I drive the three miles from our campsite to the lighthouse.  Golden haze wraps the coastline, creating beams of light where shadow meets sunshine. 

  We pass a two-tiered arched bridge and see a small bay with a long, sandy beach and a white house with a red roof and perfectly manicured lawn, surrounded by a white picket fence. 

I think I have just landed in paradise.  A short hike takes us up to an immaculate lighthouse and two small buildings, all painted white with matching red roofs.  Our fellow lighthouse guides have had a month of experience already, so they show us the ropes.  Communication is hazy between the paid park employees and volunteer staff, so we have to rely heavily on the experience of the other hosts.  I brought a small book in which to take notes, and my first jot is BRING FLYSWATTER!! 

After following one of the experienced guides for a tour, I decide to jump right in and give the second tour.  My fingers are covered in dates written in pen.  In seventeen seventy smudge, mumble mumble charted the waters you see below.  My first attempt is less than stellar, but I would rather jump into it with both feet than worry about what could go wrong for a whole day.  I am given a khaki vest that has been nicely tailored to fit a sack of potatoes, and give my first tour looking like I am wearing a sandwich board.   

Hubs and I band together and give four more tours, climbing up a total of 425 steps. We meet folks who have been on every lighthouse tour along the Oregon coast and know far more than we do, so we get just as much of an education in lighthouses as we dispense.  

It is a warm and pleasant day, and after our easy shift ends, we drive into Florence and pick up some mail from our forwarding service in South Dakota.  Back home again, we scarf down food and take the dogs across the road to the beach.

This beach starts out in soft sandstone cliffs which give way to lumpy sand dunes.  After nearly a week of being left by themselves in the Airstream for hours on end, the pugs are thrilled to be back at the beach.  Murray is unprepared for the undulation of the sand beneath him and hurtles off a small dune, landing in an ungraceful face-plant in the soft sand.  Unfazed, he shakes himself off and charges after Otis who has a significant lead on him. The pugs have sand in every wrinkle, but they are as happy as can be, and expend all of their pent-up energy chasing seagulls. 

The wind whips sand into small frenzies, like little ghosts chasing each other in circles.  The sun is quickly disappearing as we get back in the car and drive back to camp.  

As we are leaving the beach driveway, we see a large pile of fresh black bear scat in the road.  I hope we don't have any unwanted visitors tonight!

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  1. I've been there! This is my husband's dream job. He loves lighthouses. We stayed in Yachats which I recommend for a visit - some cool coffee shops and when we were there, the fire chief's pet mini goats hung out outside the fire station!

    1. You can make his dream job a reality! They are always looking for hosts at Washington and Oregon lighthouses. We will have to look for those goats!

  2. This lighthouse is one of my favorites on the Oregon coast, and I've been in almost all of them. I hope you enjoy every day from the sunny to the wild, stormy times. -K.

    1. That is high praise! This is the only one we have been to (on the Oregon coast), but I can't imagine how it could get any better.