Heceta Head Lighthouse

One of our “must do’s” on our camping trip along the Oregon coast was to hike from our campground at Carl G. Washburne State Park to Heceta Head Lighthouse.  There was supposed to be a trail that lead right from the campground to the lighthouse but it was closed so we had to take a little longer route but it ended up being awesome because the first part of the hike was along the ocean.

The second part of the hike was through the forest and and had a slight incline to the peak and then it was a very sharp decline to get down to the lighthouse.

The lighthouse was pretty cool.  They had volunteer guides that took groups into the bottom of the lighthouse and gave a full history of the lighthouse and the area around.  It was really interesting but unfortunately, this particular lighthouse didn’t allow visitors to climb the stairs and see the lens. 

The worst part of the hike was that the sharp decline that took us to the lighthouse now became a huge incline to get back home.  It was not a long incline but it was straight up and damn near killed me but my wondering about the location of some benches on the way down, made perfect sense on the way up.  In total the hike was 7.3 miles which was longer than I first expected but in all honesty, was totally worth it!

Click here to see more pictures.

Heceta Head Lighthouse Pictures

The Redwoods

Another “must do” on our list of our Oregon coast trip was to take an overnight trip to Crescent City, CA and see the “Redwoods”.  We left the trailer at Carl G Washburne State Park and booked a cheap motel in Crescent City, about 300km south.  We arrived around 5 pm and headed to the National Forest Information Center before checking in to our room to get some tips and info on where to go.  It turned out to be a stroke of luck as the ranger told us that the trail that we wanted to drive was closing that night for construction, so we only had a couple of hours to hit the trail.  It was a 10 mile trail that was only as wide as a vehicle and wound it’s way through the massive trees.  It took us at least an hour to do the 10 mile loop and it was spectacular.

The next morning, we awoke to a steady rain but still headed out to hike the Stout Grove Trail.  It wasn’t a long hike, the roundtrip was less than 2 miles, but it took us into the heart of the forest and walking amongst those giants was impressive.  Even though it was raining (it started as a light rain and steadily got heavier) it didn’t impact our hike one bit.

Both Michele and I agree that this short trip to the Redwoods was the highlite of our trip.  The whole trip was fantastic but this was far and away the day that stands out.  There was so much more that we could have seen and done but we only had a limited amount of time so it is back on our list of places to visit!  Check out the rest of the pictures!

The Redwood Pictures

The Day I Shot 79 – The Back 9

My last post I detailed the front 9 of my magical day.  In this post I will chronicle the back 9 of the day I shot 79!

Front 9 Score – 42

Hole #10 – Par 4

Another dogleg left with bunkers on the inside of the dogleg.  I hit another nice drive but again with too much fade and found the bunkers 138 yards out.  I hit a perfect 8 iron from the sand right at the flag, over the greenside bunker, to within 1o feet of the hole.  My putt just rolled by the hole and I tapped in for par.  Score – 4;  Total – 46

Hole #11 – Par 4

Again, another dogleg left but without fairway bunkers.  Today it was playing directly into the wind and I hit a perfect drive with a little fade into the middle of the fairway about 148 yards out.  My second shot was a 6 iron right into the wind which ended up about 20 feet from the pin.  I was a little wide with my first putt and made a 5 footer for par.  Score – 4;  Total – 50

Hole #12 – Par 5

Long par 5 that was playing longer because it was into the wind.  I hit a great drive with my little fade right into the middle of the fairway.  I hit a hybrid straight up the fairway to about 100 yards.  The pin was at the back behind the greenside bunker and into the wind so I hit an almost perfect pitching wedge that just landed on the back fringe about 10 feet from the pin.  I came up just inches short on my birdie try and tapped in for par.  Score – 5;  Total – 55

Hole #13 – Par 4

I hit my second worst drive of the day, a short pop-up that left me about 210 yards away.  I hit a poor hybrid, another short pop-up, that still left me about 110 yards out.  My third shot was another poorly hit shot that ended up left of the green.  I hit a chip shot to within 5 feet and drained the putt to save a bogey on a poorly played hole.  Score – 5;  Total – 60

Hole #14 – Par 3

A long par 3 playing into the wind making it about a 200 yd shot.  I came up short and landed in the front right bunker (I hit lots of bunkers today).  I didn’t hit a good shot out of the sand and left myself with about a 35 foot putt for par.  I hit the par putt 35 feet but about 3 feet to the right so I had an easy putt for a bogey.  Score – 4;  Total – 64

Hole #15 – Par 4

A shorter par 4 that I hit a nice sweeping fade that ended up in the middle of the fairway, about 75 yards out.  I hit a nice wedge to about 12 feet and just missed the birdie putt and settled for par.  Score – 4; Total – 68

Hole #16 – Par 3

Playing downwind, I hit a nice high 7 iron to about 10 feet.  I just grazed the edge of the hole on my birdie putt and again tapped in for par.  Score – 3;  Total – 71

Hole #17 – Par 5

I hit a nice drive that ended up just in the rough on the left side of the fairway.  I hit a hybrid layup down to about 80 yards out.  As I was walking to my ball that I realized that I had only bogeyed 2 holes on the back and might be having a pretty good 9 hole stretch.  I hit another really good wedge from 80 yards and just landed on the front fringe, about 10 feet for birdie.  Again, I just missed the birdie putt and tapped in for another par.  Score – 5;  Total – 76

Hole #18 – Par 4

On the short walk to the 18th tee box, I did the mental math on my round and was about 99% sure that if I parred 18, I would shoot 80.  I didn’t say anything to Kevin because I didn’t want to jinx anything if my mental math was correct.  I hit a really nice drive down the right hand side but it didn’t fade for me very much and it ended up in the right rough.  Kevin had hit his drive on the left side so we were across the fairway from each other.  I pulled out my range finder and was having trouble picking up the flag so I couldn’t get a yardage.  The pin was on the very left of the green tucked right behind a deep bunker.  I yelled over to Kevin to ask what he had for a yardage (yeah I know by the rules of golf that’s illegal.  I’m a middle aged, stressed out, amateur that gets out once a week at the most.  Some rules can bite me!).  He said that he had 162 so I was probably about 175 so I grabbed my 4 hybrid.  The green is uphill from the fairway so my intention was to aim for the middle of the green and not risk hitting the front bunkers.  I absolutely flushed my hybrid and, not by design, it was right at the flag.  I knew as soon as I hit it, that it was going to be close.  It stayed right on the flag and was helped along by my urges of “GET OVER THAT BUNKER!”  It landed just over the bunker, but because the green was elevated, I couldn’t see it land but I knew it was going to be good.  At this point, my heart is beating out of my chest because I’m pretty sure a birdie gets me 79.  I make the climb up the hill to the green and when my ball comes into view, it’s 7 feet from the pin.  One of the best shots of my life!!!  I marked my ball and waited for Kev to finish putting.  I lined the putt up which was a fairly straight putt, tried to slow my heart down a few hundred beats, and with my trusty Sabretooth, rolled the ball right in the middle of the cup for a birdie.  Now, the moment to see whether my math was reality.  Score – 3;  TOTAL – 79

My goals in golf have always been ever-changing – break 100, break 100 consistently, break 90, break 90 consistently, shoot low to mid 80’s consistently.  A few years years ago when I lived in Dawson Creek, BC, I averaged 4-5 rounds of golf a week and I got pretty decent at the game where the goal of mid to low 80’s consistently was achieved and I set my new goal of breaking 80.  After I moved to Camrose, my frequency of golf diminished and the consistency of my game also diminished so my goal of breaking 80 started to move far out of focus.  At the beginning of the 2015 golf season, I renewed my passion for the game of golf and was determined to start playing better and more consistently.  I had big spurts of good golf within a round but would putt bad, or have a few bad holes that prevented me from scoring low.  On this particular day, I got in that groove and my confidence kept growing hole by hole and it felt great.  It was the day I shot 79!

The Day I Shot 79 – The Front 9

Saturday July 25, 2015…It started off like many other weekends this golf season.  My brother, Kevin, and I had a 7:24 am tee time at our favourite course – Whitetail Crossing.  We hadn’t golfed together since July 4 as Kev was away on a little vacation.  For that reason, I was probably looking more forward than usual to this round as it would also give us a chance to catch up.  AND, because my putting has done a 180 degree turnaround and I wanted to show off a little.

Ok, so before I carry on about the round of my life I will give a little background and context to my putting.  To put it in simple terms, I was a BRUTAL putter on my good days and just embarrassing on the other days.  In 2012 I had bought a new putter and placed my Odyssey Sabretooth in my golf closet to never be seen again.  This putter took me to a whole new level of sucking when it came to putting but, never one to give up, I kept pulling it out, round after round, three putt after three putt.  Finally this season, I decided all that I needed to turn things around was to get one of those cool oversize SuperStroke grips.  I went to Golftown, had the grip changed and the next round I played, my putting still sucked, but I had a cool grip on my putter!  So Kevin politely suggested maybe I should try practising putting someday, which is one of the craziest things I’ve ever heard because it’s usually not me that’s the problem, it’s my equipment.  So I went home, opened my golf closet and way in the back was my old Sabretooth.  Alright I thought, it can’t get any worse, literally!  So I golfed 2 weekends in a row with my buddy Darryl and just as I suspected, it wasn’t me, it was the putter.  My old Sabretooth is amazing and now my putting is the LEAST of my worries!!!

One other point, when Darryl and I golf together we always ask each other beforehand what we feel we’re going to shoot that day.  If he had asked me this particular morning, I would have said that I felt like a mid to high eighties. (by the way, that is my standard answer whether I feel good or not!).

Alright, back to my magical day.  I arrived at the course just before 7 am.  Kevin was already there, so we got our gear and headed to the clubhouse.  We were next on the tee as the one group in front of us had just teed off.  As we stood on the first tee, all of a sudden the wind came up, clouds blew in, and the temperature plunged.  We teed off grumbling about how wrong the forecast was and making idle threats that if it starts raining, we’re done!  As it turned out, the weather sucked for the first 3 holes and then turned perfect for the final 15 holes.  In this post, I will chronicle the front 9 of the day I shot 79!

Hole #1 – Par 4

My tee shot was a low, slight pull that found the fairway bunker down the right side.  My second shot from the bunker, approximately 180 yards from the green, was not a good shot and I left myself about 60 yards with a greenside bunker in-between me and the pin.  I hit about a 50 yard wedge and landed in the bunker.  My shot out of the bunker was decent and I just missed the bogey putt and settled for a double.  Score – 6;  Total – 6

Hole #2 – Par 5

I hit my drive straight down the middle but right into the teeth of that strong wind I described above so distance wasn’t great but this hole is usually a 3 shot hole for me anyway because of the length and all of the trouble around the green.  I hit a nice hybrid layup shot that left me about 135 yards out.  Due to the wind, I hit a 7 iron that ended up on the back left fringe of the green.  My first putt from the fringe ended up about 6 feet away, and now with my newly rediscovered putter and confidence I rolled in the par putt.  Score – 5;  Total – 11

Hole #3 – Par 4

Playing downwind, I hit a nice drive with a nice little fade that found the middle of the fairway.  With the pin in the very back, I had 165 yards and hit a 6 iron that was left of the green where it hit the cart path and took a huge hop into the lateral hazard across the road.  I took a penalty, dropped, and hit a great chip to within 6 feet of the hole.  Stepped up and knocked the putt in, saving a bogey.  Score – 5;  Total – 16

Hole #4 – Par 3

The weather started to improve but the wind was still up and I hit a weak 6 iron into the front left bunker.  Splashed out to about 10 feet and 2 putted for another bogey.  Score – 4;  Total – 20

Hole #5 – Par 4

Again, hit a nice drive with a little fade right into the middle of the fairway, 145 yards out.  I hit a good 7 iron that landed pin high and just rolled up onto the fringe.  My fringe putt ended up 2 feet from the hole for a tap in par.  Score – 4;  Total – 24

Hole #6 – Par 5

I pulled my drive hard right into the hazard that runs along the right side.  After taking a penalty and drop I was lying 2 and hit a lazer hybrid to just over 100 yards out.  My 4th shot was a gap wedge into the wind that came up short of the green, then I hit a chip shot that left me with a 10-12 foot putt for bogey.  I lined it up, hit a solid putt into the centre of the cup saving that bogey.  Huge putt!  Score – 6;  Total – 30

Hole #7 – Par 4

This hole is a sharp dogleg left with bunkers on the inside of the dogleg.  I hit a nice drive but with a little more of an aggressive fade that found the fairway bunkers.  My second shot was 180 yards out and I hit a nice clean hybrid out of the bunker that landed just left of the green but pin high.  I hit a good chip that left about a 15 foot par putt that I just skidded by the hole and tapped in for bogey.  Score – 5;  Total – 35

Hole #8 – Par 3

Nice short little par 3 with bunkers in front.  I hit a high 7 iron that ended up just on the front fringe about 25 feet from the hole.  I lagged the double breaking fringe putt down to 3 feet for a makable par.  Score – 3;  Total 38

Hole #9 – Par 4

I hit my drive with my usual fade to the left side of the fairway about 150 yards out.  My second shot was straight into the wind and I pulled a 6 iron into the right greenside bunker, which with the pin being on the left side of a large green made for a long bunker shot.  I made a great shot that blasted out of the sand and rolled down to 6 feet from the whole.  I rolled the putt in for a huge sand save par.  Score – 4;  Total 42

Front 9 Score – 42 – I was a little surprised at the 42 because I didn’t think it was that good of a front.  I thought I was closer to 45 as I usually don’t keep track in my head of the running score when I’m playing.  I just usually can feel if it’s good or bad.  This didn’t feel like a 42.  We stopped at the clubhouse after 9 to grab a drink and as it turned out, a piece of puffed wheat cake. (Anyone that knows me, knows my love of puffed wheat cake).  Then it was on to #10 to start the back 9.