Our first hikes of 2013 are officially in the books. We headed to Cape Perpetua just South of Yachats on the Oregon coast to visit two trails. One of the things we are always on the lookout for on our hikes is wildlife. We see plenty of birds, chipmunks, and squirrels and a fair number of deer but are always hoping to see something different. On this day we would wind up spotting an owl, a small herd of elk, a deer, and an eagle eating a recently caught fish. The only problem was these were all seen from the car.
The first hike was a loop along the ridges surrounding Gwynn Creek which is located about a mile South of Cape Perpetua in the Siuslaw National Forest. We set out shortly after Sunrise on what turned out to be a nice day. Although there were some clouds and a couple of very brief very light showers, temperatures stayed around 40F for the day. Many of the plants along the trails were showing buds and a few early flowers were starting to bloom. We were also fortunate enough to be able to see the Ocean from the view points along this mostly forested trail. Anyone familiar with the Oregon coast knows there is often a layer of low clouds hanging just at the shore line which have hidden the Ocean from us on several hikes in the past.
After finishing the Gwynn Creek loop we stopped in at the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center to take the short trail up to the stone shelter constructed in 1933 at the top of the cape. We had been to the area in 2011 visiting the tidepools and Devils Churn along the beach, but we hadn’t been up to the shelter before. On our way up the 1.3mi trail we could tell we hadn’t been doing much hiking. The 700ft elevation gain felt a lot worse than it should have. 🙂 The view from the top was worth it though. On a clear day the view extends 37 miles to sea and a good 70 miles to the South and to Cape Foulweather to the North. The only drawback on this day was that the position of the Sun to the South limited the view, but did provide some nice effects as it reflected off the Ocean.
As Heather mentioned at Christmas we have been considering setting up a web page or blog to share our many wanderings along the trails of Oregon and SW Washington. Well we decided to attempt it. We are blessed to live in an area that is packed full of trails exploring some really diverse environments. As we have enjoyed these hikes we have been struck by the beauty of God’s creation and we’d like to be able to share these wonderful places with our friends and family members who are not able to experience them with us. For those who are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit these places we hope this blog will provide some useful information for your own future wanderings. We also hope that this will be a way to establish an ongoing connection with friends and family no matter how far away they are, or how often we have the pleasure of seeing them face to face.
One of the benefits of living in the Pacific NW is that the hiking season never officially ends (if you can handle a little rain) – your options simply shrink. Still it’s been a couple of months since we’ve hit a trail and I for one have been chomping at the bit. I’ve used the time to plan out several hikes for this year. Okay 37 of them totaling a little over 405 miles, but who’s counting? I enjoy the planning phase, maybe a little too much. I find it enjoyable to try and figure out when trails will be open, what the best time of year to view wildflowers or eat berries (yum) is, and most importantly when to avoid to miss the mosquitoes. We get most of our information from William L. Sullivan’s series of Oregon Hiking guides which have proven indispensable.
This year we have hikes planned for the Oregon Coast, the Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, Three Sisters, Mt. Thielsen, and Diamond Peak wilderness areas, the Columbia Gorge, the Mt. St. Helens National Monument, Crater Lake, and the Ochoco & Fremont National Forests. We hope to bring the beauty of this region to everyone who happens to check in on our wanderings in a way that is both enjoyable and informative. First up is Gwynn Creek near Cape Perpetua on the Central Oregon Coast. Happy Trails~