Netarts Spit – 1/25/2020

We were down to the last weekend of the month so in order to get our monthly hike in we were going to have to deal with whatever weather we were dealt. Heading into Saturday the forecast was for rain everywhere I checked so we decided to stick to our original plan which was to visit a series of lakes in the coastal range. That plan was scrapped on Friday night when I checked the trail conditions and discovered that one of the ones that we’d be on had been closed this month due to heavy storm damage. Plan B had been a nearly 3 hour drive to Reedsport, but a 100% chance of rain didn’t warrant that long of a drive. I looked to our 2021 hikes and decided on Netarts Spit at Cape Lookout State Park which was a more reasonable hour and a half drive away.

We set off just before 6am with all our rain gear and drove to the Cape Lookout Day Use Trailhead where we purchased a $5 parking pass and noted that it was in fact not raining here.
IMG_2116

We suspected it was just a matter of time and put our rain gear on before starting off. One of the issues with last minute hike swaps is that it limits the amount of time we have to read up on the hike. The Netarts Spit hike is featured in two of our books by Matt Reeder (“Off the Beaten Trail” and “PDX Hiking 365”) as well as in the Oregonhikers.org field guide. I had looked at both and noted that while Reeder’s description indicated to hike along the beach the field guide mentioned an inland route for the first portion. After walking down to the beach near a picnic shelter we walked back up to the shelter and followed a path north through some trees.
IMG_2119

IMG_2122

IMG_2123

The view south from this path was dominated by Cape Lookout jutting out into the Pacific. Several waterfalls could be seen on it’s flanks.
IMG_2124

IMG_2125

When we came to another beach access point just before a gated section of the campground we decided to head down to the beach.
IMG_2128

Had I studied the entry in the field guide more thoroughly I would have known that it recommends following the road through the campground to avoid the cobblestones along the beach here.
IMG_2132

The tide was just high enough that in order to stay out of the Ocean we were forced to walk on these rocks and they are not fun. Ankles were rolling and twisting in all sorts of directions as we stumbled along.
IMG_2136Ocean coming right up to the rocks.

When we got our next chance we popped back up off the beach into the campground following a gravel track past some group tent sites.
IMG_2141

We’d already seen one bald eagle fly overhead and here we spotted another one sitting in a tree ahead.
IMG_2146

While watching the eagle a great blue heron flew over.
IMG_2144

Beyond the group tent sites the road was gated and turned into a grassy path with Netarts Bay to the right and dunes to the left.
IMG_2150

IMG_2151

The grassy roadbed soon ended at a stand of trees where a clear trail continued.
IMG_2153

IMG_2154Trail at lower right with a little standing water.

The field guide had mentioned that sections of this trail may have standing water but we weren’t quite prepared for long stretches of calf deep ponds. Heather was smart enough to find a deer path a little higher up on the left side (Which was something the field guide said you might have to do but in my quick reading I hadn’t picked up on that.) I tried sticking to the trail for a bit, but after a while in the water my feet starting getting cold so I joined her. We made the decision to try and follow one of these paths up and over to the beach which we managed to do.
IMG_2155

Then it was just a matter of finding the best spot to drop back down onto the beach, and more cobblestones, yay.
IMG_2156

IMG_2157

Luckily it wasn’t long before we were able to drop onto the sand.
IMG_2167

There was a lot more blue sky than we’d been expecting which was a pleasant surprise. To the north we could see the Three Arch Rocks although a perpetual fog seemed to be hanging over them.
IMG_2172Three Arch Rocks – one of two wilderness areas in Oregon off limits to visitors.

We were able to spend the next 4 miles to the end of the spit on the beach. There were no other people in sight (until the fishing boats in the bay). There were a few seagulls here and there and we saw at least 8 different Bald Eagles counting at least 6 congregated in a short stretch of trees.
IMG_2190

IMG_2174

IMG_2175

IMG_2192

IMG_2200

IMG_2201

IMG_2204

IMG_2207

A final eagle awaited near the end of the spit.
IMG_2212

IMG_2219

We were hoping that by the time we got to the turn around point we’d have a better look at Three Arch Rocks but the view wasn’t much clearer than it had been all morning.
IMG_2221

IMG_2214

IMG_2217

We had stubbornly kept our rain gear on waiting for the forecast to come to fruition, but we stopped here to remove it since we were way too warm. We then made a short loop around the tip of the spit to look at the bay before starting back.
IMG_2222

IMG_2223

One thing that both Reeder and the field guide agreed on was that it was impossible to travel along the bay due to marshy conditions so we started back down the beach.
IMG_2226

The tide was coming in and we noticed that waves were starting to cover the entire beach and forced us up into the dunes a bit where we followed some deer tracks for awhile.
IMG_2227

We spent the majority of the next three and a half miles staying up as high on the dunes as possible which made for some more difficult travel. The grass on the dunes is surprisingly sharp tipped and it was all pointing north so we were walking directly into the points. The thickness of the grass also meant that you couldn’t really tell what the terrain underneath was like so there were plenty of awkward steps, although no falls. I had done that on the beach when I tripped over a small piece of driftwood.
IMG_2233Looking back north from the dune crest.

IMG_2235Looking north at what was to come.

IMG_2230Thick forest between the bay and the dune.

IMG_2236One of several semi-circles created by grass going back and forth.

Being up on the dune did allow for some views of the bay where we spotted birds including surf scooters and great blue herons.
IMG_2238

IMG_2240

IMG_2242

We were forced down onto the backside of the dune as we neared the point where we had crossed over the beach that morning. Here a maze of game trails led in all directions. The trick was attempting to avoid the thorny rose stalks and blackberry bushes as well as thickets of nearly impassable salal.
IMG_2245

We eventually made it back to the submerged trail and grassy track from earlier which we followed back to the campground and then stuck to the paved road as we returned to trail leading between the campground and picnic shelter.
IMG_2255Cape Lookout from the trail to the picnic shelter.

IMG_2257Seagull atop the shelter.

Our GPS put our hike at 11.1 miles which was in line with the field guides 11.2 and a little longer than Reeder’s 10 miles. We both agreed that it may have been the hardest hike we’d done along the coast due to the tricky terrain, although part of it might also be that it had been over a month since our previous hike and we’re a bit out of hiking shape. In any event it felt like an adventure which was nice and the fact that the rainy forecast turned into just a mostly cloudy day with a couple of sun breaks made for a great start to 2020’s hikes. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Netarts Spit

Progress Report – Oregon Wilderness Areas – January, 2020 Update

At the start of 2019 we posted about our goal of visiting each or Oregon’s legally accessible designated wilderness areas. Since that post we added two areas to our list of visited wildernesses and had one added to the list to visit.

In May we took a trip to Joseph, OR for some hikes including one that briefly entered the Hells Canyon Wilderness. Our brief time in the wilderness consisted of low visibility and some rain/snow mix, but we could at least check it off the list for now and hopefully the weather will better on our next visit.
Summit Ridge Trail

The weather and amount of lingering snow at higher elevations on that hike convinced us change our plans for the next day opting to skip a planned hike at Hat Point with it’s 7000′ elevation. Instead we decided to check off another wilderness area by driving to Troy, OR (at an elevation of 1720′) to hike the Lower Wenaha Rive Trail into the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness .
Wenaha River Trail

A bit of good news in 2019 was the creation of the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness in the Oregon Coast Range east of Reedsport. There are no official trails in this wilderness so whenever we get to visit it should be quite the adventure.

The new wilderness gives Oregon 48 designated wilderness areas (only 46 can be visited). With Hells Canyon and Wenaha-Tucannon crossed off that list it leaves us with a half dozen that we haven’t made it to yet. We had hoped to have visited them all by the end of this year, but changes to our plans in 2019 have pushed completion back to at least 2021. As our plans currently stand we hope to visit 5 of the 6 this year: Boulder Creek, Black Canyon,North Fork Umatilla, Gearhart Mountain, and Devil’s Staircase.

That will leave just the Monument Rock Wilderness for 2021. Happy Trails!

 

 

Progress Report – 500 “Featured” Hikes – January, 2020 Update

Last year we posted about our goal to complete 500 “featured” hikes from William L. Sullivan’s “100 hikes” guidebook series. We made some decent headway in 2019 especially with the NW Oregon/SW Washington area. We picked the newest version of the 4th edition of that book in Spring and completed a 13 more featured hikes from that book during the year.

In all we were able to check off an additional 24 featured hikes which included the 13 from NW Oregon, 6 from the Central Cascades, 3 from the Oregon coast, and 2 from Eastern Oregon. The one book that we didn’t make any headway with was Southern Oregon due to sticking mostly with day hikes in 2019.

At the end of 2019 we had been on 359 of the 500 featured hikes which broken down by book looks like this:
92/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Oregon Coast & Coast Range” 4th Edition 2016

87/100 – “100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades” 4th Edition 2012

85/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington” 4th Edition 2018

53/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Eastern Oregon” 3rd Edition 2015

42/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Southern Oregon & Northern California” 4th Edition 2017

We’re hoping to have the NW, Central, and Coast books completed by the end of 2022 (the coast book hinges on the Salmonberry Railroad reopening). Despite lagging behind at only 42% completed, the Southern book would be next with a tentative completion the following year. In last year’s post I had us taking until 2027 to finish the Eastern Oregon book but after some fiddling with our future plans we have a chance to complete those hikes by the end of 2025.

I’m sure there will be some twists and turns along the way, but eventually we hope to reach our goal. Even if we don’t it should be a lot of fun trying. Happy Trails!

2019 Wildflower Gallery

One of the most challenging things about our hiking trips is attempting to identify the numerous different wildflowers that we see (and knowing if it’s an invasive like foxglove or if it’s native). We love seeing the flowers and spend much of our hikes looking for them but we’re just a couple of amateurs when it comes to knowing much about them. We rely heavily on the Wildflower Search website and more knowledgeable folks in wildflower groups for ids. Asters and fleabanes as well as many yellow wildflowers tend to give us the most trouble. On our own we probably get as many wrong as right. Even when we have a good idea we tend to use a general common name such as “penstemon” or “lupine” instead of attempting to identify the specific variety.

We saw somewhere in the vicinity of 200 different varieties of flowers. We have labeled them on Flickr with our best guesses, but in most cases the id is uncertain so any corrections/suggestions are greatly appreciated.

With that here is a fairly comprehensive gallery of the different flowers that we saw during our 2019 hikes. I’m posting these in the date order in which the photos were taken (with the exception of the first and last) but this is not necessarily the order in which we first saw them during the year.

In February we encountered our first flowers of the year.
Snow queenSnow queen

Red flowering currantRed flowering currant

ToothwortToothwort

Fairy slipperFairy slipper

Glacier liliesGlacier lilies

Chickweed monkeyflowerChickweed monkeyflower

Giant white wakerobinGiant white wakerobin

Giant fawn liliesGiant fawn lilies

Camas and plectritisCamas and plectritis

FringecupFringecup

Bleeding heartBleeding heart

BluebellsBluebells?

DogwoodDogwood

Large solomonsealLarge solomonseal

Vine mapleVine maple

Something in the pea family

Chocolate liliesChocolate lilies

ColtsfootColtsfoot

Wild roseWild rose

Wildflower at Warrior Point

Ball-head waterleafBall-head waterleaf

ArnicaArnica

ManzanitaManzanita

CurrantA currant

Jacob's ladderShowy jacob’s ladder

Oregon anemoneOregon anemone

LupineLupine

Vanilla LeafVanilla leaf

LarkspurLarkspur

Woodland starsWoodland stars

Popcorn flowerPopcorn flower

SalsifySalsify

Deadly nightshadeDeadly nightshade

Rock clematisRock clematis

TwinberryTwinberry?

BluebellsBluebells

CinqufoilCinquefoil

MeadowrueMeadowrue

VioletA violet

Shooting starShooting star

Old man's whiskersOld man’s whiskers

Western stoneseedWestern stoneseed

Blue dicksBlue dicks

BalsamrootBalsamroot

Slender phloxSlender phlox

Cutleaf daisyCutleaf daisy

Large head cloverLarge head clover

KittentailsKittentails

Hariy clematisHairy clematis

Yellow bellYellow bell

Browns peonyBrown’s peony (blossoms hadn’t opened yet)

Small flower miterwortSmall flower miterwort

VetchVetch

YarrowYarrow

HoundstongueHoundstongue

CatchflyA catchfly

Branched hareleafBranched hareleaf

WatercressWatercress

FiddleneckFiddleneck

Rough eyelashweedRough eyelashweed

PenstemonPenstemon

PhloxPhlox

Spreading dogbaneSpreading dogbane

BuckwheatBuckwheat

Scab penstemonScab penstemon

Wildflower along the Wenaha River Trail

Oregon sunshineOregon sunshine?

False sunflowerFalse sunflower?

Sticky purple geraniumSticky purple geranium

Threadleaf phaceliaThreadleaf phacelia

SkullcapSkullcap

Stream globe mallowStream globe mallow

Blue mustardBlue mustard?

ClarkiaRagged robin

Blanket flowerBlanket flower

Cusick's paintbrushCusick’s paintbrush

Wild onionWild onion

Monument plantMonument plant

RockcressRockcress

Hoary balsamrootHoary balsamroot

CamasCamas

White-stem fraseraWhite-stem frasera

Milk vetchMilk vetch

CloverA clover

Dwarf yellow fleabaneDwarf yellow fleabane

IrisIris

Wild irisIris

PaintbrushPaintbrush

Blue-eyed maryBlue-eyed mary

Cats ear liliesCat’s ear lilies

CandyflowerCandy flower

ThimbleberryThimbleberry

StonecropStonecrop

Youth-on-ageYouth-on-age

Wildflower along the Cascade Streamwatch Trail

False lily of the valleyFalse lily of the valley

CoralrootCoralroot

FairybellsFairybells

Scoutler's cordyalisScouler’s cordyalis

CoralrootCoralroot

OokowOokow

AnemoneAnemone

Bunch berryBunchberry

Rhododendron blossomsRhododendron

Wild bugbaneWild bugbane

Avalanche liliesAvalanche lilies

PaintbrushPaintbrush

Western pasque flowerWestern pasque flower

ValerianValerian

Mountain heatherMountain heather

PenstemonPenstemon

ManzanitaManzanita

Dwarf lupineDwarf lupine

PussypawsPussypaws

White dwarf lupineWhite dwarf lupine

Sagebrush false dandelionSagebrush false dandelion?

DaisiesDaisies

FoxgloveFoxglove

Self-healSelf-heal

Tailed kittentailsTailed kittentails

Wildflowers along the Grouse Vista TrailGoldenbanner?

VetchVetch?

LarkspurLarkspur

PhloxPhlox

PaintbrushPaintbrush

LupineLupine

VioletsViolets

LousewortLousewort

Marsh marigoldMarsh marigold

SalalSalal

ThistleThistle

MonkeyflowerMonkeyflower

Probably cultivated radishCultivated radish?

CloverA clover

Beach morning gloryBeach morning glory

GroundconeGroundcone

Wild roseSome sort of rose

Striped coralrootStriped coralroot

PenstemonPenstemon

Arrowleaf buckwheatArrowleaf buckwheat

Star-flower solomonsealStar-flower solomonseal

Raceme pussytoesRaceme pussytoes

BeargrassBeargrass

CoralrootCoralroot

Blue-head giliaBlue-head gilia

PenstemonPenstemon

GroundselGroundsel?

Insideout flowerInside-out flower

StarflowerStarflower

CandysticksCandysticks

Wild strawberryWild strawberry

ColumbineColumbine

Showy phloxShowy phlox

TrilliumTrillium

Bladder campionBladder campion?

CatchflyCatchfly

AsterAster or fleabane

CurrantA currant

Wood violetWood violet

PussytoesPussytoes

LousewortLousewort

Jacob's ladderJacob’s ladder?

WallflowerWallflower

Wild gingerWild ginger

Giant blue-eyed maryGiant blue-eyed mary

ConeflowerConeflower

Cow parsnipCow parsnip

tall bluebellsTall mountain bluebells

Scarlet giliaScarlet gilia

Orange agoserisOrange agoseris

Owls cloverOwls clover

A phaceliaSome sort of phacelia?

HoneysuckleHoneysuckler

Wild onionWild onion

Twin flowerTwin flower

PenstemonPenstemon

PaintbrushTwo types of paintbrush

Stream orchidStream orchid?

Tiger lilyTiger lily

Wildflowers along the Grassy Knoll Trail

PenstemonPenstemon

Field chickweedField chickweed

Wildflowers along the Grassy Knoll Trail

LupineLupine

Wildflowers along the Grassy Knoll Trail

Wildflowers along the Grassy Knoll Trail

Spotted coralrootSpotted coralroot

LupineLupine

AvensAvens?

Farewll to springFarewell to spring

PenstemonPenstemon

Washington lilyWashington lily

WintergreenWintergreen

PinesapPinesap

PinedropPinedrop

PaintbrushPaintbrush

Mock orangeMock orange

Prince's pinePrince’s pine

Bachelor buttonBachelor button

A pyrolaPyrola

Queen's cupQueen’s cup

AsterAster (or a fleabane)?

Bog orchidBog orchid

Elephants headElephant’s head

RainieraRainiera

Ghost pipeGhost pipe

Scouler's bluebellsScouler’s bluebells

MonkshoodMonkshood

MonkeyflowerPink monkeyflower

Creeping wire lettuceCreeping wire lettuce

FireweedFireweed

PenstemonPenstemon

AsterAster (or a fleabane)

SpireaSpirea

Wildflower along the Olallie Mountain Trail

HedgenettleHedgenettle

Scouler's St. Johns wort and pearly everlastingScouler’s St. Johns wort

Wildflowers along the trail to Crabtree Valley

GentianGentian

PennyroyalPennyroal

ChicoryChicory

PeaA pea?

ThistleThistle

The last wildflowers for us this year (we aren’t counting the invasive herb robert seen at Forest Park in December) was some fading pearly everlasting in mid-October.
Pearly everlastingThis pearly is in better shape from an August hike.

Hopefully we aren’t too far off on these. Names aside they are all a delight to see out on our hikes. Happy Trails!

2019 Wildlife Gallery

We had so much fun in 2018 putting together posts of the different species and varieties of wildlife and wildflowers we’d seen that year that we decided to do it again for 2019. While we didn’t see a lot of larger animals this year we did see a lot of pikas, frogs and toads, and a number of new birds.

In the spirit of Leave No Trace principles we do our best not to cause any distress to the wildlife we see by keeping our distance, not feeding them, and doing our best not to disturb or startle them in any way.

Starting out small-
Beetle on a blue dicks

Ladybug on a thimbleberry leaf

Beetle

Beetle in a rose

Green beetle

Green beetle

Dragon fly

Dragon fly

Bug shenanigans

Bee on showy phlox

Bumblebee on thistle

Wasp

Catapiller

Caterpillar

Wooly bear caterpillar

Millipede

Snail and a millipede

Slugs on skunk cabbage

Slug

Wolf spider

Crab spider

Spider on bluedicks

Spider fight

We didn’t see as many different moths and butterflies this year but we saw quite a few of several types.
Moth on the Boulder Lake Trail

Moth on rainiera

Blue copper

Blue copper on aster

Some sort of copper butterfly

Ruddy copper

Skipper

A skipper of some sort or a duskywing

Skipper

Buttefly on the Hertiage Trail

Butterfly on aster

Butterfly on the Tarbell Trail

Butterfly

Fritillary butterfly

Butterfly along the Wenaha River Trail

Butterfly on valerian

Butterfly

Butterfly

Butterfly on stonecrop

Butterflies on aster

Butterfly

Butterfly on a flower

It was a good year for reptiles and amphibians, especially frogs and toads.
Cascade toad

Toad

Western toad at Temple Lake

Frog

Frog

Frog

Frog

Frog

Frog on moss

Tree frog

Tadpole

Rough skinned newt on Amanda's Trail

Northern alligator lizard

Western fence lizard

Sagebrush lizard

Pygmy short horned lizard

Snake with an attitude

Water held a couple of creatures.
Crawdad

Fish in the Clackamas River

We had good luck with birds this year as well, being the one animal where we saw quite a few varieties for the first time (that we know of).
American goldfinch

Bald Eagle

Bird along the Boulder Lake Trail

Black-headed grosbeak

Bullock's Oriole

Canada geese

Chickadee

Clark's nutcracker

Duck on Monon Lake

Duck on Russ Lake

Ducks

Egret and great blue heron

Golden eagle being chased by a smaller raptor

Gray jay

Grouse

Hummingbird

Hummingbird on a mountain ash

Junco

Killdeer

Kingbird

Lazuli bunting

Lewis's woodpecker

Little bird along Trail 5

Mergansers

Merlin

Mountain chickadee

Northern flicker

Nuthatch

Osprey with Mt. Adams in the background

Ouzel at Sawmill Falls

Pied-billed grebe

Pileated woodpecker

Raven

Red breasted nuthatch

Red tailed hawk

Red-breasted sapsucker

Red-winged blackbird

Robin

Sparrow

Stellar's jay

Scrub jay

Swallow and a sparrow

Turkey

Turkey vulture

Varied thrush

White crowned sparrow

White pelicans

Wilson's snipe

Wood Ducks

Woodpecker

Wren

Yelllow rumped warbler

Yellow breasted chat

Yellow warbler

Yellow-throated warbler

Spotted towhee

Black-throated warbler

Small furry creatures included a number of our personal favorites the pika.
Pika

Chipmunk

GOlden-mantled ground squirrel

Ground squirrel

Belding's ground squirrel

Marmot

Squirrel

Rabbit

Finally the larger mamals which included the wildlife highlight of the year, watching a group of big horn sheep roughhousing on the far side of the Wenaha River canyon.
Big horn sheep

The deer near Wallowa Lake got into the roughhousing as well.
Deer in front of the Edelweiss Inn

Didn’t see many elk but these were at Zumwalt Prairie.
Elk

We spotted two coyotes in the brush at the Umatilla Wildlife Refuge. One’s head can be seen here as it was running off.
Coyote in the grass

There are still a handful of animals (that we are aware of) that we haven’t seen yet but continue to keep an eye out for. At the top of that list are cougar, bobcat, beaver, otter (Apparently there was one swimming in Crabtree Lake (post) while we were there this year but we didn’t notice it.) porcupine, wolf, and wolverine. The odds of seeing any of these are not in our favor, but they are out there and have probably seen us. Keeping an out for these and all the other animals we’ve seen or have yet to see is an additional motivation to get out and explore. Happy Trails (and tails)!