Tag Archives: Oregon Coast

Harris Ranch Trail (Drift Creek Wilderness) – 8/3/19

Our annual family reunion at the Oregon Coast always provides us an opportunity to work up an appetite by starting the morning off with a shorter hike on the way there. This year we chose to revisit the Drift Creek Wilderness.

This would be our second visit to the area with the first having been in 2010 (post), the year we really started hiking. At that point we hadn’t developed the appreciation for old growth forests that we have now so we were interested to see what our opinions of this hike would be compared to that first visit.

We began our hike at the Harris Ranch Trailhead which was located .3 miles down the rather brushy FR 346.
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It was a foggy morning which we expected to keep things a bit on the cooler side but instead it was a warm, humid morning as we set off on a decommissioned road.
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The first three quarters of a mile followed an old roadbed which gradually descended before ending just before the start of the Drift Creek Wilderness.
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Once the trail entered the wilderness it began a steeper 2.3 mile descent along a ridge down to Drift Creek. The trail was in good shape with signs of some recent clearing of brush near the top and only one muddy section (which is saying soemthing for a trail near the coast).
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IMG_5413Fern clippings in the trail showing some trimming had been done.

IMG_5419Whoever had done the brushing hadn’t made it down the whole trail.

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IMG_5433There were a few monkey flowers scattered about.

IMG_5445Obligatory coastal trail muddy section.

Several clumps of Monotropa uniflora aka Ghost Plant or Indian Pipe were present along the upper portion of the trail as well. We’d only seen this plant one or two other times so it was exciting to see so much of it.
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Near Drift Creek the trail reaches the site of the pre-world war II homestead pasture of Harris Ranch. A few campsites now occupy the area.
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Drift Creek was much more inviting from this side. There wasn’t a steep embankment to descend and a shelf of exposed bedrock made exploring easy.
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We watched several crawdads moving around in the water while we rested by the creek.
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The crawdads we saw in the water were greatly outnumbered by the remains strewn about the rocks though. Something had been dinning on them, perhaps the kingfisher that flew past twice while we rested.
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By the time we headed back up the fog had burned off which added a little extra heat to the 1300′ muggy climb back to the trailhead.
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IMG_5526Chickadee

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Approximately a tenth of a mile from the trailhead there was an interesting tree above the road. It appeared that the tree had begun to fall but its root system stayed in tact so a couple of the original trees branches began to grow as their own trees. At first we thought it was a nursery log, but the two vertical “trees” don’t seem to have their own root systems.
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When we got back to the car we picked a handful of ripe thimbleberries to take to the reunion since they are one of my Dads favorites.
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With the creek exploration the hike was just over 6.5 miles and it had been much more enjoyable for us than our first visit now that we understood better what a special place the designated wilderness areas are. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Harris Ranch Trail

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Cascade Head, Whalen Island, and Sitka Sedge – 6/25/2019

As we finished up a four day stretch of hiking to start a week of vacation we were looking for the best chance of decent weather which brought us to the Oregon Coast for our second visit to Cascade Head. I had originally had a grandiose plan to hike from the lower trailhead all the way over to Harts Cove (post) but I hadn’t paid close enough attention to detail and we wound up going with a plan B.

We started the morning at Knight County Park.
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IMG_0776Salmon River at Knight County Park

It had rained throughout most of our drive through the Coast Range but we were pleased to have been able to see the meadows on Cascade Head as we drove to the trailhead. We set off on the Nature Conservancy Trail which quickly crossed Three Rocks Road.
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The trail climbed through the forest along Savage Road popping out of the trees at a field where we could see that the meadows were not nearly as clear as they had been just a bit earlier.
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The fact that we could see the ocean was a bit encouraging though.
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After crossing to the other side of the road the trail passed an active slide and recrossed to the original trailhead.
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The trail continued to climb through the forest before leveling out for a bit as it crossed a series of overgrown streams on footbridges.
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IMG_0801One of the bridges.

IMG_0804Overgrown stream

When we finally popped out of the trees around the mile and a half mark we found ourselves in some pretty thick fog.
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We had hoped to see some of the elk herd that lives on Cascade Head but we couldn’t see much of anything, although we did spot a few birds.
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IMG_0818One of three hummingbirds

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There were just a few flowers scattered about as we made our way through and up the grassy meadow.
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Parsley-leaf Lovage
Parsley-leaf Lovage

IMG_0853Foxglove with a spider web

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With no views from the meadows when we finally reached the upper viewpoint we headed into the forest.
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When we came to Siuslaw National Forest boundary my lack of attention to detail became apparent. I had seen where the road to the Upper Trailhead was closed annually from January 1st through July 15th, but I hadn’t noticed that the entire area starting at the boundary was closed to all traffic during that time period.
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So much for that plan. We gathered under the awning over the Nature Conservancy signboard and mulled over our options. We decided that it might be a decent time to check out a couple of other nearby hikes – Whalen Island and Sitka Sedge. These two hikes would be just a little less mileage than our original plan with quite a bit less elevation gain, plus they were close to Pacific City which gave us a great excuse to have lunch at the Pelican Brewing Company.

With a new plan we headed back to the upper viewpoint where the conditions had improved slightly. We could make out the trees and even a bit of the ocean in the distance through the fog.
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The problem seemed to be that the clouds/fog wasn’t coming in from the Pacific but was instead coming from inland up the Salmon River. We paused for a moment wondering if the view might clear up. While we were watching we spotted a doe walking along the tree line.
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We decided to keep descending figuring that we would still have a good view if the fog did happen to lift.
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As we were headed in the direction of the Salmon River the fog did indeed clear in a span of just over a minute.
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It was a remarkable change. As we were admiring the new, clearer view we noticed a pair of deer feeding in a gully far below us.
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As we continued downhill we were encourage to see an actual pocket of blue sky.
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We stopped to take in the view from the lower viewpoint.
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From the lower viewpoint the trail turned back inland where things were taking another turn. It was now beginning to rain.
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It was a fairly quick, damp, descent back to the car. We were briefly followed by a young fawn who quickly ran the other way when we turned around and spotted it. We had heard a couple of odd noises which caused Heather to turn and notice it. Were aren’t sure what prompted it to follow but hopefully it got back to it’s bed and mother.

The rain had ended by the time we arrived back at Knight Park and we headed north along Highway 101 for 12.7 miles to a sign for Pacific City and Sand Lake where we turned left. This was Brooten Rd. which we followed for 3.5 miles before turning left onto a bridge across the Nestucca River and into Woods. After 2.3 miles on what was now Sandlake Rd. we turned right at a T-shaped junction remaining on Sandlake Rd. for 2.9 more miles to the Clay Myers State Natural Area at Whalen Island on the left.
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It was overcast here but not raining or foggy so that was a plus. We began our loop hike here by taking a trail near the southern end of the parking area.
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The 1.5 mile loop here passes several viewpoints of Sand Lake and the Lillian Parker Craft wetland. Near the first viewpoint we spotted a rabbit.
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The trail was nice and there were a few flowers along with the views.
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IMG_0969Lupine

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At the wetlands a curious hummingbird came to check us out.
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After completing this short loop we drove back south along Sandlake Rd a mile and turned right into the Sitka Sedge State Natural Area. Purchased by the State in 2014 this is a relatively new hiking area offering a couple of loop options.
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We followed the Beltz Dike Trail to the start of the loops.
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With water and wetlands on both sides of the dike we were a bit surprised by the lack of wildlife which was basically just a few ducks, some crows, and a number of smaller birds.
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There appeared to have been quite a display of roses a bit earlier in the year.
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On the far end of the dike we turned right onto the Estuary View Loop.
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This trail passed through a typical coast forest and climbed to a viewpoint above the Sand Lake Estuary.
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We scanned the estuary for any interesting wildlife but didn’t spot anything so we continued on. As the trail looped around and began heading south it became quite a bit sandier requiring a little extra effort.
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At a rise in the trail there was a view south to Cape Kiwanda and Haystack Rock (post).

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We missed the the pointer for beach access where the Woods and Estuary View Loops met and continued south on what was now the Kinnikinnik Woods Loop.
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This section was much less sandy which made it easier to walk on.
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At the next trail sign we did follow the beach access pointer but we mistook it on the map for the one we had already passed.
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This path was a slightly longer route to the beach as it first paralleled it for nearly two tenths of a mile before a short spur trail to the right led out to it.
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Cape Lookout lay to the north while Cape Kiwanda and Haystack Rock were to the south.
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When we left the beach we turned right thinking that this was still the Kinnikinnik Woods Loop but a quick look at the Garmin showed that we were quickly approaching the outskirts of Pacific City so we promptly turned around and headed back to the junction and got ourselves back on the correct path.
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We took a final short detour at the pointer for the Elk Knoll Trail.
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This 500′ long path led to a bench atop a small knoll, there were no elk present.
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After sitting briefly on the bench we completed the loop but not before Heather did one of the craziest dances I’d ever seen as we were walking along the trail. She had suddenly seen something right in front of her and thought it was some kind of big insect coming for her. It wasn’t.
IMG_1087Obstacle hanging over the trail.

We both got quite a laugh out of her fancy moves and chuckled all the way back to the trailhead. Despite our detour the hike here was still under 4 miles bringing the days total to 11.1 miles.

After a quick change we drove into Pacific City and stopped at the Pelican Brewery before heading back to Salem. The food and drink were a nice way to end four days of hikes. With more rain in the forecast over the next couple of days we’ll see when and where our next hike takes us. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Cascade Head, Whalen Island, and Stika Sedge

Progress Report – 500 “Featured” Hikes

As we mentioned in our 2018 year end wrap-up post one of our long term hiking goals is to complete 500 “featured” hikes from William L. Sullivan’s “100 hikes” guidebook series. Sullivan has broken Oregon into five regions, the Coast & Coast range, Northwest Oregon, the Central Oregon Cascades, Southern Oregon, and Eastern Oregon. Each of the five books contains detailed information on 100 “featured” hikes in that area as well as 50 to over 100 listings of additional hikes. Although his focus is on Oregon there are hikes in Washington (coast and northwest), California (coast and southern), and one short hike in Idaho at Hells Canyon Dam in the eastern book.
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When we first decided to give hiking a try we picked up a single book (not by Sullivan) containing 280 hikes covering the entire State. Each hike contained just enough detail to let you know what you needed to know to get to the trail and get going. What it lacked was detailed information about the hike itself and any type of visual reference to assist with understanding the intended route. Due to the fact that the entries encompassed the entire State the number of hikes near us was somewhat limited. We used it for a couple of hikes then began looking for other options and that’s when we discovered Sullivan’s books.

Our first purchases were the coastal and central cascades books in 2010. Many of the hikes in these books were within an hour and half or less drive from Salem. We fell in love with the detailed descriptions that Sullivan provided and the hand drawn maps that went with each featured hike. Having the visual aid to refer to when reading the descriptions made things much easier for novice hikers like us to navigate the trails. In 2012 we added his books for the other three regions and soon after made it a goal to take at least one hike from each book every year.

We also had decided that we wanted to avoid doing the same trails over and over again and instead wanted to focus on visiting as many different places as possible. As time passed I began to toy with the idea of trying to finish all 100 featured hikes from the central cascades book. The hikes from that book were the closest to us and thus were nearly all within range for day-hikes. Thoughts then turned to the possibility of also completing the NW and maybe even the coast book, but with hikes as far away as the the redwoods in California that would require some extra time and planning.

After a couple of off-seasons of planning the next years hikes I started looking ahead to subsequent years. I had begun grouping the hikes that were too far way for day trips into possible long weekends or vacations. The thought of possibly doing all 500 featured hikes began to take hold and by the end of 2016 I had a preliminary outline that included them all. During our 2017-2018 off season I took the outline and completed a full 10 year schedule that incorporated all of the remaining featured hikes as well as some new ones from other sources and some of our favorites so far. With that initial schedule we would finally achieve our goal in 2027.

I have continued to rearrange the schedule and have since managed to bring the completion date up to September, 2025. Still a long ways off but closer. We are hoping to have the NW and Central Cascade books finished by the end of 2021 and the Coast by the end of 2022. With some luck the Southern book will follow in 2023 leaving the eastern book, and more specifically the numerous hikes in the Wallowa Mountains for last.

There are a couple of issues that we are dealing with. One is never knowing until the time comes if the hikes we are planning will be accessible or if weather, forest fires, or some other unforeseen obstacle will deny us a visit. Mount Ireland in the Blue Mountains near Sumpter is a great example. Snow kept us from this hike in 2017 when we spent a vacation in Sumpter (post) so we put it on the schedule again in conjunction with a backpacking trip in the Elkhorns in 2018. A lightning storm canceled that plan (post) and so now it has been add as stop on the way to Hells Canyon in 2022.

An even more complicated issue with this particular goal is that Sullivan regularly updated his books, releasing new editions every 5 or so years which inevitably contain a different 100 featured hikes. In between editions there are often reprints where there can also be changes to the featured hikes. This happens for numerous reasons such as forest fires burning over the area, landslides closing trails, access being cut off by private land owners, or he simply found what he felt was a more worthy featured hike. These changes have left us questioning exactly how to measure our goal. We know it is to do “500 featured hikes” but what 500?

The answer isn’t all that simple. For instance attempting to finish all 100 hikes from the 2011 third edition of “100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington” would mean hiking Mt. Mitchell (hike 21) but a private timber company closed access to the trail several years ago and the hike is no longer a featured hike in Sullivan’s books.

Looking to the most recent version of the books is also problematic, especially in regards to the southern and eastern books where the addition of a single hike in a remote area that we had already been to would require another long trip for that lone hike.

One possible way around this is to count any hike from an area that is/was a featured hike in any of the versions of the book. We are reluctant to do this though for two reasons. First there are a small number of hikes that have been featured hikes at one time in both the central and eastern books, so those could be double counted. If not then we’d have to decide which area to place them in. The biggest reason that we hesitate to go this route though is admittedly a bit shallow. It would most likely mean not having a single book that we could point to and say we had been on each of the featured hikes in it.

In the end I think we will wind up attempting to complete any single version of each area. It may be the most current or the oldest we own, or possibly something in between. Currently we are operating based on the most recent versions that we own save for the NW. The books we are currently using are:
“100 Hikes/Travel Guide Oregon Coast & Coast Range” Fourth Edition 2016
“100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades” Fourth Edition 2012
“100 Hikes/Travel Guide Southern Oregon & Norther California” Fourth Edition 2017
“100 Hikes/Travel Guide Eastern Oregon” Third Edition 2015

For “100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington” we still only have the 2011 third edition but plan on picking up a new edition this April and are basing our progress off of the featured hikes to be contained in it.

With those books as the basis we currently stand at having done at least part of 335 of the 500 featured hikes. A caveat here is that for some of the hikes we have only completed a portion of the hike Sullivan describes either due to a trail being impassable (Lower Rogue River in 2017) or because we’ve combined more than one hike in a longer trip. In the case of the latter we are visiting most of the highlights but aren’t taking the same trail to them as described in the book.

A breakdown of the 335 hikes we’ve checked off is below.

Coast 89/100
Central 81/100
NW 72/100
Southern 44/100
Eastern 51/100

If we were to look at our earlier editions of the Central and NW books those numbers would jump to 84 & 78 respectively but as was mentioned before there are hikes in those that may no longer be possible.

Lastly applying the “featured hike in any version” criteria would put the total number at 365* with the coast and central regions at 93 apiece, NW at 81, southern at 45, and eastern at 53. *This includes a double counting of 5 featured hikes that moved between the eastern and central books so the number really should be 360.

No matter what criteria we apply we still have a couple of years to go before we finish anything so we have some time to mull it over. We’d be interested to hear from others which way they would go or if there is another idea out there we haven’t thought of yet so please comment below.

The one thing that we do know is that we can’t finish anything without visiting more trails. Our 2019 list includes 32 more featured hikes, 8 each from the NW and central books, 4 from the southern, and 12 from the eastern. We could fit a few more in, but finishing the 500 isn’t our only goal. Another goal is continuing to visit different areas in the Pacific Northwest so there are trips to places like the South Warner Wilderness in California, and North Cascades National Park in Washington sprinkled throughout the schedule. The possibilities seem just about endless.

Happy Trails!

The Hikes of 2018 – A Look Back

It’s hard to believe that it’s time for another year end wrap up. This will be our 6th such post since we started this blog in 2013. It’s even harder to believe that we still have so many hikes yet to do before we are finished with our long term hiking goal of completing at least some portion of all 500 of the featured hikes in William L. Sullivan’s five “100 Hikes…” guidebooks.

A goal we are closing in on is visiting all 45 of the accessible designated wilderness areas in Oregon. (Three Arch Rocks and Oregon Islands, both off the Oregon Coast, are off limits to visitors,) We now have just seven wilderness areas left to visit after spending time in the Rogue-Umpqua Divide (post), Steens Mountain (post), Strawberry Mountain (post), and Copper-Salmon (post) wildernesses this year.

With so many different hikes available we were once again able to spend most of our year exploring new trails and areas. We took hikes on 61 different days, 51 of those days were spent on trails (or sections of trails) that were new to us this year. Six additional days were partially on new sections of trail while just four days were repeated hikes.

Many of our hiking days consisted of multiple stops this year which resulted in a nice round 100 separate “hikes” varying in length from a quarter mile at the Pillars of Rome (post) to 20.3 miles in the Waldo Lake Wilderness (post).

Of those 100 hikes 89 were brand new, 6 were partially new, and 5 were repeated. The number of repeated hikes is 5 and not 4 because Saddle Mountain was done on the same day as three new hikes (post). Below is a map showing all of our stops.

2018 Trailheads
Hikers=Trailheads, Houses=Tent Sites, Binoculars=Short Walk/Viewpoint

Although the majority of our hikes were done in Oregon we did manage to spend one day each in Washington (Falls Creek Falls), California (Lava Beds National Monument), and for the first time Idaho (Jump Creek Falls).Falls Creek Falls

Falls Creek Falls

View from the Schonchin Butte Trail

Lava Beds National Monument

Jump Creek Falls

Jump Creek Falls

We did spend more time east of the Cascade Crest this year compared to years past including trips to SE Oregon in June (amazing scenery/horrible roads), the Strawberry Mountains in July (beautiful but HOT), the Elkhorns in August (mountain goats galore), and Klamath Falls in October (lots of wildlife). Our other vacation was a trip to the Oregon Coast in September (Bandon = new favorite coast town). Hiking in so many different areas once again provided us with a wide variety of scenery.Cape Meares Lighthouse

Cape Meares Lighthouse

Footbridge along the Old Growth Trail

McDonald-Dunn Forest

Lower South Falls

Lower South Falls – Silver Falls State Park

Balsamroot

Balsamroot at Memaloose Hills

Lone Wolf Meadow

Perham Creek

Perham Creek – Columbia River Gorge

White River Falls

White River Falls

Deschutes River

Deschutes River near Macks Canyon

Upper meadow of Buck Canyon

Buck Canyon – Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness

Mt. Thielsen

Mt. Thielsen

Cupola lookout on Black Butte

Cascade Mountains from Black Butte

Salmon River

Salmon River

Frustration Falls

Frustration Falls – Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness

Malheur Wildlife Refuge

Malheur Wildlife Refuge

Peter French Round Barn

Peter French Round Barn

Coffee Pot Crater

Coffee Pot Crater – Jordan Craters

Timber Gulch

Timber Gulch

Waterfall at Three Forks Hot Springs

Owyhee River

Pillars of Rome

Pillars of Rome – Rome, Oregon

Chalk Basin

Chalk Basin

Borax Lake

Borax Lake

Borax Hot Springs

Borax Hot Springs

Alvord Desert and Steens Mountain

Steens Mountain and the Alvord Desert

The Island and Lake Billy Chinook

The Island and Lake Billy Chinook

Emerald Pool

Emerald Pool – Bull of the Woods Wilderness

Horsepasture Mountain Trail

Horsepasture Mountain Trail

Footbridge over the Hot Springs Fork

Bagby Springs Trail

Boyd Cave

Boyd Cave

Pine Creek Trail

Pine Creek Trail – Strawberry Mountain Wilderness

Volcanic ash along the Pine Creek Traii

Volcanic ash – Strawberry Mountain Wilderness

Strawberry Mountain

Strawberry Mountain Wilderness

Slide Lake

Slide Lake – Strawberry Mountain Wilderness

Mt. Jefferson and the Pacific Crest Trail

Jefferson Park – Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

Elkhorn Crest Trail

Elkhorn Crest Trail

Summit Lake

Summit Lake – Elkhorns

Rock Creek Lake

Rock Creek Lake – Elkhorns

Diamond Peak and Fuji Mountain from Waldo Lake

Waldo Lake

Rigdon Butte from Lake Kiwa

Rigdon Butte

Broken Top, The Three Sisters, Mt. Washington and Three Fingered Jack

Broken Top, The Three Sisters, Mt. Washington and Three Fingered Jack from South Pyramid Peak in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

Carl Lake at sunrise

Carl Lake – Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

Hole-in-the-Wall Park and Mt. Jefferson

Hole-in-the-Wall Park – Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

Mt. Jefferson and Goat Peak

Mt. Jefferson & Goat Peak – Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

Umpqua Dunes

Umpqua Dunes

Bandon Islands

Bandon Islands

Barklow Mountain Trail entering the Copper-Salmon Wilderness

Copper-Salmon Wilderness

Tahkenitch Creek

Tahkenitch Creek

Huckleberry Bushes

Huckleberry bushes – Diamond Peak Wilderness

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood

Devil's Garden

Devil’s Garden

Sprague River

Sprague River

Tule Lake

Tule Lake

Petroglyph Point

Petroglyph Point

Mt. McLoughlin from Great Meadow

Mt. McLoughlin

Salmon Creek Falls

Salmon Creek Falls

Footbridge over Falls Creek

Footbridge over Falls Creek

View from the Red Mountain Lookout

Washington Cascades from Red Mountain

Klamath Falls

Klamath Falls on the Link River

Spouting Horn

Spouting Horn – Cape Perpetua

Wildwood Trail

Forest Park – Portland, Oregon

Waxmyrtle Marsh

Waxmyrtle Marsh

Sunbeams in the Siuslaw National Forest

Siuslaw National Forest

In addition to the great scenery we saw a wide variety of wildlife and a fair number of wildflowers despite it not being the best year for them. Instead of including some of those pictures here we hope to post a separate 2018 wildlife and wildflower galleries soon.

We’re already looking forward to another year of hiking. If everything works out we will be checking off three more Oregon wilderness areas and a whole bunch of new hikes in 2019. We’ll be doing one or maybe two hikes a month from now until mid-Spring. Since we won’t have a lot of trips to report on during that time we’re hoping to do a few other hiking related posts including a more in depth look at our goals of visiting all the wilderness areas and checking off the 500 “featured hikes”.

We hope everyone has a great New Year and as always – Happy Trails!

Amanda’s Trail to Cape Perpetua

As we approached the final hike of our official “hiking season” (May through October) we were playing a game of cat and mouse with the weather forecast. Our original plan had been a visit to Wahtum Lake between the Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood but on Wednesday the forecast for Saturday was rain there so we began to look elsewhere. Our November hike (we try and do one a hike month in our “off-season”) was going to be a visit to Cape Perpetua via Amanda’s Trail so we checked the forecast for that area and it simply called for mostly cloudy conditions. We checked again on Thursday and the forecast for these locations had basically swapped and now Wahtum Lake looked better. Another check Friday night called for rain in both areas (more at Wahtum Lake) so we decided to check again in the morning before deciding where we would end up. The forecast the next morning was still calling for rain at both locations but not starting until 11am. With less precipitation expected at Cape Perpetua and views being less of a concern there we headed to Yachats on the Oregon Coast.

At the southern end of Yachats, after crossing over the Yachats River, we turned right on Ocean View Road which leads to the Yachats Ocean Road State Natural Site. The road passes along the natural site where there are several pullouts before looping back to Highway 101. We parked at a small dirt pullout near the southern end of the natural site and took our time getting going because we’d arrived a little before sunrise.
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Luckily there was a decent amount of light being provided by the Moon so it didn’t take long before we headed further south along Ocean View Road to a post marking the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT).
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We followed the posts south which brought us to the shoulder of Highway 101.
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A little under a quarter mile beyond the first OCT post the trail crossed over the highway at Windy Way Street. We then climbed a bit away from the highway before dropping back down to a driveway for a bed and breakfast.
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The first sign that this section of the OCT is Amanda’s Trail came on the far side of the B&B when the trail reentered the forest.
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The trail once again climbed away from the highway as it rounded a hillside with a few ocean views.
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Approximately a half mile from the bed and breakfast we came to a statue of two bears representing an Alsea Indian myth that bears dance when the salmon come. Norman Kittle, whose name is on the statue, along with his wife Joanne were the first private landowners to donate a trail easement in the State of Oregon.
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Beyond the bear statue the trail began a slight decent, crossing a gravel road, before arriving at the small grotto with Amanda’s Statue ( a quarter mile from the bears).
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Interpretive signs here told of the blind woman’s forced march to the reservation.
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The present statue is not the original statue as it and a nearby footbridge were washed away in a 2016 flood. The current statue is one of two others completed by the same artist and was provided by its owners when the original statue was lost. This version was placed a bit higher to avoid any subsequent floods. Other precautions to protect the statue have been taken as well.
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After visiting the statue we continued on across the replaced footbridge.
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Beyond the creek the trail climbed nearly 750′ as it turned inland up a forested ridge.
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A mile from the bridge we had left the ridge and traversed around a marshy area near the head of North Cape Creek.
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After a little additional climbing on the other side of the creek the trail began to descend along this ridge toward the ocean. A mile and a quarter from North Cape Creek we arrived at a signed junction.
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Here we stayed right following pointers for the Stone Shelter on what was now the Whispering Spruce Trail.
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We had visited the shelter in 2013 (post) on what was part of the first outing featured in this blog.

A little less than a quarter mile from the junction we arrived at the shelter.
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It was a surprisingly nice morning considering the forecast and we were happy to have a good view from the shelter.
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After a brief rest we continued on passing another viewpoint before reaching a junction with the St. Perpetua Trail.
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I mentioned that we had visited the stone shelter in 2013 but that had not been our first visit to the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. In 2010 we had stopped here to visit the tide pools on the way home from a hike in the Drift Creek Wilderness (post). One thing we had not seen on either of our previous trips was the Giant Spruce, a nearly 600 year old State Heritage Tree.

With that goal in mind we took the St. Perpetua Trail downhill toward the Cape Perpetua Campground.
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Shortly after crossing Overlook Road, which leads to a trailhead along the Whispering Spruce Loop, we arrived at the campground entrance road.
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Behind the restrooms the trail continues across Cape Creek.
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On the far side of the creek we turned left on the Giant Spruce Trail.
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This trail followed the creek upstream for .8 miles to the 185′ high tree with a trunk circumference of 40′.
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We are always awestruck when we visit any of the giant old trees in person. It’s nearly impossible to capture just how huge they really are in photos. In addition to their size their age always forces us to pause and try and picture the timeline of their growth. This tree would have likely been a sapling at the same time Christopher Columbus was lost looking for a route to Asia.

After visiting the tree we returned to the junction near the footbridge at the campground. The weather was holding nicely so we decided to check out the Spouting Horn and Devil’s Churn areas. We followed the Giant Spruce Trail .2 miles to the visitors center where we picked up the Captain Cooks Trails.
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We followed this paved trail under Highway 101 to a viewpoint.
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From the viewpoint the Captain Cook Trail went left making a loop with views of the Spouting Horn and Thor’s Well while the Trail of Restless Waters was to the right leading to Devil’s Churn. We decided to visit them in the opposite order of our 2010 visit and went right first. This trail briefly followed the shoulder of the highway past a small parking area and vista before dropping toward the ocean.
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We crossed over Cape Creek and then followed the trail, keeping left at junctions, to a staircase down to Devil’s Churn.
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There was some decent wave action going on and we watched if for awhile.
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The crashing waves didn’t seem to bother a lone cormorant that was hunting for food in the churn.
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Speaking of food after we climbed back up the stairs we continued on a loop above Devil’s Churn to the Devil’s Churn Day Use Area where we wound up buying a lemon muffin from the concession stand there.
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After splitting the muffin we completed the loop and returned to the Captain Cook Trail.
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We stayed left at a fork in order to complete the loop clockwise.
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The tide had been out far enough on our previous visit that the Spouting Horn had not been spouting but today was different.
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We also hadn’t even noticed Thor’s Well that day but this time we knew what we were looking for and the Ocean was more cooperative.
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It was a bit of a zoo with people in the area though so we didn’t stay long and were soon heading back up the St. Perpetua Trail and past the shelter where the view had become much cloudier.
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The rain mostly held off as we made the two and a quarter mile horseshoe through the forest along the ridges above North Cape Creek between the shelter and Amanda’s Statue.
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By the time we reached the grotto, where we encountered a Boy Scout Troop, a steady light rain was falling. The rain continued to pick up as we made our way back to the Highway 101 crossing south of Yachats.
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Overall it had been an excellent day, the rain had held off long enough for us to get some nice views and stay relatively dry without having to put on our rain gear. We got to finish up the trails in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and had unintentionally timed it better for the Spouting Horn and Thor’s Well. Oh and we also had that delicious lemon muffin mid-hike so yeah it was a pretty good way to end our 2018 hiking season. We do plan on getting a couple more hikes in this year but from November through April we drop down to just one outing (or so) a month. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Amanda’s Trail to Cape Perpetua

Tahkenitch Creek

After three nights in Bandon it was time to say goodbye and head home. We woke up early on Sunday to find that it had rained overnight. As we headed north on Highway 101 we passed through a number of showers and began to think that it was going to be a wet hike at Tahkenitch Creek. In fact the heaviest shower began in Reedsport just nine miles south of the trailhead.

When we arrived at the small parking area we were happy to find that it wasn’t raining there, at least yet.IMG_2960

In 2015 (post) we visited the area on either side of this trail but had skipped over this particular trail. The Tahkenitch Creek Trail set off through the forest on the north side of Tahkenitch Creek which it quickly crossed on a footbridge.IMG_2961

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The wet morning hadn’t kept the wildlife from making appearances.IMG_2973

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Beyond the footbridge there was a short section of boardwalk then we came to a junction with a trail map.IMG_2967

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This junction was only three tenths of a mile from the trailhead and marked the beginning of a couple of loop options. We stayed to the right passing a couple of views of Tahkenitch Creek including the site of a possible ford. We had checked out the ford from the other side in 2015 and were no more interested in doing it this time around.IMG_2986

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Possible ford site

The trail spent quite a bit of time away from the creek before arriving at another junction a half mile from the start of the loops.IMG_2991

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A left here would have created a 1 mile loop and a 1.6 mile hike overall, but we stayed right opting for a longer option. The trail continued through the forest for another .8 miles to the next junction. We had been having to watch where we stepped all morning due to the presence of numerous slugs but along this section we also saw a rough skinned newt in the trail.IMG_3000

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We faced another choice at this junction. Simply turning left would create a two mile loop, but a right hand turn would lead us to the Tahkenitch Dunes Trail in just under a mile. We had hiked the dunes trail to the beach in 2015 so we decided to go to that junction to link up the two hikes.IMG_3005

This stretch of trail remained in the forest until the junction. A brief right hand turn onto the Tahkenitch Dunes Trail provided a bit of a view of the creek and of the Pacific Ocean in the distance.IMG_3006

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It would have been another .8 miles to reach the beach on the dunes trail, and since we had hiked that stretch before we decided to turn back here and get home earlier.IMG_3012

We kept right at junctions on the way back passing briefly though a sandy landscape.IMG_3015

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As we exited the sandy area we met a gentleman who was looking for a good view of sand dunes to the south. He said he was working on a photography book of the Oregon Coast and had hoped to get some photos of the fog on some of the nearby lakes but due to the rain there was no fog over the water. We suggested he try the Oregon Dunes Overlook just north of where we were. We wished him luck and continued on.

The rain finally started to come down as we completed the loop so we hustled back to the trailhead and got into the car before we got too wet.IMG_3022

Even with the side trip to the Tahkenitch Dunes Trail this was only a 4.3 mile hike, and the shorter loop options make it a great leg stretch stop or hike for the younger kids. For us it was a nice way to end our mini-vacation and one more featured hike checked off from William L. Sullivan’s “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Oregon Coast & Coast Range” guidebook. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Tahkenitch Creek

Barklow Mountain and Bullards Beach

When we changed our plans from a backpacking trip in the Diamond Peak Wilderness to a long weekend in Bandon one of the more exciting prospects was being able to check off a visit to our 38th Oregon Wilderness Area – the Copper-Salmon Wilderness. We had attempted to visit that particular wilderness in 2017 but a washed out road denied us access to the Barklow Mountain Northeast Trailhead (post)

For this trip we would be using the Barklow Mountain West Trailhead. We used the Oregonhikers.com field guide entry here to reach the trailhead. The guide mentions that the road is prone to rockfall and slides and that it is best to wait for the dry months of Summer to attempt to reach the trailhead. Based on the conditions we encountered along the roads that is not an understatement.
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Prior to reaching the vehicular obstacle course that was the Forest Service Roads we spotted a small elk herd and a number of deer along Elk River Road. It was still a bit dark for pictures but we did our best from the idling car.
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We parked at the small pullout that is the trailhead after a long drive (time wise) that included stopping a couple of times to remove small trees from the road and also at the junction with FR 390 because the 390 post was in the center of a fork and we didn’t want to be on that road but we couldn’t tell which one the post was referring to. (Hint – The left fork was FR 390 so we went right.)
IMG_2791Barklow Mountain West Trailhead

The Barklow Mountain Trail dropped slightly from a closed road bed and quickly entered the Copper-Salmon Wilderness.
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The forest along the trail was a mix of tanoak and madrone and some sections with fir and pine.
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Not unlike the roads to the trailhead there were a few obstacles to maneuver around.
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After a mile and a half of climbing, the trail arrived at a saddle junction.
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The trail to the left led to Johnson Creek Road.
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The trail to the right was the one we wanted. This trail would lead up up to the old lookout site atop Barklow Mountain.
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Approximately .3 miles beyond the junction we came to an unmarked side trail heading downhill to the right.
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This short spur trail led down to the site of a now collapsed shelter.
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Beyond the shelter the trail steepened a bit as it wound beneath Barklow Mountain.
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We passed through a patch of manzanita where we had a nice view south of nearby Copper Mountain.
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A total of .4 miles from the old shelter we arrived at an unsigned junction on a ridge. Here we turned left to visit the lookout site.
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From the lookout site we could barely make out the Pacific to the SW along with Grassy Knob (post).
IMG_2836Grassy Knob is on the horizon just to the left of the near trees.

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After a break we headed back to the car and navigated the obstacle course again. Fortunately we did not encounter any other cars until we were clear of the mess. We then drove back to Bandon, passed through town, and continued north on Highway 101 for three miles to the signed turn for Bullards Beach State Park.

We parked at the beach access parking lot which is located 1.3 miles from the highway.
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Our plan was to hike a clockwise loop along the Coquille River, the north jetty, and the beach. From the parking lot we headed inland on a paved path signed for the campground.
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We followed this path until we had crossed the entrance to the Bullards Beach Horse Camping Area.
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Just beyond that entrance (.4 miles from the beach parking area) we turned right off the paved path and crossed the paved park entrance road onto a dirt road which led us down to the Coquille River.
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There was no actual trail along the river so we spent most of the next 2 miles walking along the sandy river bank. We were forced inland a couple of times in order to cross water on logs.
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There was a lot of activity on the river between boats and birds.
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As we neared the north jetty across from Bandon’s Old Downtown we turned inland at a sandy gap which led to a gravel road.
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We followed this road for .4 miles staying left at a fork on a grassy track.
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The road bed ended at the Coquille River Lighthouse. An Army Corps of Engineers ship was busily going back and forth near the mouth of the river.
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Once past the lighthouse we continued out along the north jetty for .2 miles.
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It was a much better day visibility wise than the previous one had been and from the jetty we got a decent look at some of the Bandon Islands on the other side of the river.
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The view north was much less rocky.
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After partaking of the view we headed back, hopping off the jetty and onto Bullards Beach.
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After 1.5 miles along the beach we turned inland and climbed over the foredune to the beach access parking area.
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After a shower and change of clothes we found ourselves wandering through the old downtown again. When it was time for dinner we decided to go back to Foley’s Irish Pub. After another good meal there and desert from Pastries and Pizzas we turned in for the night. We had agreed that Bandon had quickly become one of our favorite coastal towns and were already looking forward to our next visit. Happy Trails!

Flirck: Barklow Mountain and Bullards Beach