This summer has been dedicated to landscaping our yard. We bought a brand new house on a bare lot in November of last year. Once the rains let up in the spring, it was game on in turning the stark naked lot into gardens. With the planting of the bulbs last week, gardening season is pretty nearly at an end. Moreover, rainy season should kick off any time now.
Gardening at its fall hiatus, we decided to take advantage of a sunny, clear fall day to head to the coast and hike the 4.8-mile out-and-back trail to Cape Lookout. As you can see in the "sunny" photo below, the gorgeous sunny day lasted until about two miles from the coast when we drove straight into clouds and fog. Such is the nature of the coast.
It has been so long since we hiked that it was kind of weird scrambling around to find simple things such as water bottles and a day pack. After leisurely coffee, we loaded lunch and water into my pack and jumped in the truck for the coast. As the crow flies, we are just under 39 miles from the Cape Lookout Trailhead parking lot. Two and a half hours after leaving the house, we arrived at the coast.
We have had to resign ourselves to the fact that you cannot get anywhere fast in Oregon. This is partially an infrastructure issue (lack of good roads) but more a terrain issue. We have some pretty gnarly mountains, the Coastal Range, between us and the coast. We decided to take a route that we hadn't before, heading west up and over the mountains from Carlton, just north of us. We knew the route would be slower than taking highway 18 towards Lincoln City, but being new to the area, we are still looking around.
We didn't count on 2 and a half hours slow, though. The roads are good for no more than about 35 miles per hour sustained speed and the twists and turns stretch the route to about 70 miles, rather than the 39 that the crow flies. The scenery was gorgeous up past the two reservoirs that slake the city of McMinnville's thirst. Down the western slope of the mountains, naturally, the road was closed for construction. We ended up backtracking several miles to get around the road closure, losing at least a half an hour, probably more.
|At Cape Lookout, Pacific Ocean Way Below|
It's a pretty easy stroll for the first half a mile or so of trail, staying high up on the southern side of the cape, going past a plaque commemorating the loss of a WWII B-17 that was flying too low in the fog and smashed into the side of the hill. There's a decent section of old grown forest here, primarily Sitka spruce and hemlock. By east coast standards, it's really surreal being hundreds of feet above the ocean.
|Plaque Commemorating Crash of a WWII B-17|
|Annie vs Hemlock|
|Deer Ferns (Blechnum spicant)|
|Our Own Native "Shamrock," Oxalis oregana|
|Hemlock Roots Were Tricky|
|Cliff-top Trail is Exposed in Places|
|Those Cliffs are Tall and Steep|
|Small Cove from Way on High|
|Looking Back at the Beach|
|Hard to Tell This is About 400 Feet Above the Ocean|
|Annie Taking in Wells Cove|
|Neat Rock Formation|
|Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis, Hanging on a Cliff|
|Detail of Baccharis pilularis|
|Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)|
|Salal Still in Bloom! Gaultheria shallon|
|Evergreen Huckleberry, Vaccinium ovatum|
While there were no whales to been seen or anything else moving except for some minuscule shore birds below us, at least there were a pair of ravens playing about and croaking at us and each other.
|We had Aerobatic Company/Beggars at the Point|
|Roses Are Hardy Plants, 400 Feet Atop a Sheer Cliff Face|