Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day on the Coast with Emily

Today Emily and I decided to head to the coast for some hiking. I had wanted to climb Mt. Thielsen but the weather looked a little iffy so we decided to wait a week and hope for good weather on the coast. To our luck we found the coast to be only partly cloudy and about 60 degrees.

We started the afternoon off by checking out Sutton Creek Dunes just north of
Florence. Our guidebook said to check out the area at the Holman Vista viewing deck first where we got a cool panorama of some smaller dunes near the beach. We then headed off on the 4.1 mile loop trail following the creek and then out to Alder Dune and back. It was a pleasant hike through the woods and we saw a bunch of different critters including the biggest snail I’ve seen in Oregon, multiple banana slugs as usual on the coast and about 8 Valley Garter Snakes ranging in size from 1-2 feet long. The snakes seemed to be all over the place. When we arrived at the edge of Alder Dune we found a rope swing which was fun for a few swings up into the air
and then down into the
soft sand. Both my crocs and Emily’s sneakers soon were filled with sand on our walk back to the car. It wasn’t an overly amazing hike but seeing all the little critters made it fun.

From there we drove into florence for a sub and then up to Cape Mountain for the 2 mile hike up to the summit where there are historical markers from an old fire lookout there in the 30’s. There was an old wheel left over from the garage that was there along with other signs
showing photos of what it used to look like up there. Much had grown back on the summit in the 70 years since. We were afforded some nice views down towards Florence and the
Dunes below from the 1500 foot summit meadow. We saw a few Rough Skinned Newts on the trail and a plenty of horse tracks.

Finally, we drove back towards Carl Washburne State Park for our 6 mile hike past China Creek to the Haceta Head Lighthouse. We moved at a quick pace and made it to the lighthouse by 7pm. I had forgotten that we had to climb up and over the head of land
to get to the lighthouse so both our legs got a workout. We snapped a few pictures of the lighthouse and the beach below as well as the head of land
where Seal Cave is before heading back towards the beach. We nailed the sunset timing perfectly but unfortunately it had begun to cloud over so we didn’t get the amazing sunset that I had 3 years ago when I did it by myself. We did get some great photos of us on the beach though and had fun checking out shells on the 1.5 mile walk back to where we had parked the car.

To finish out the day we stopped at the Chowder Bowl restaurant at Nye Beach in Newport for an awesome bowl of their tasty chowder with
Oregon shrimp on top and garlic bread. We made it there just before they closed and I think they were happy we only asked for two quick bowls of soup which we finished in about 5 minutes. It was a fun day on the coast with my wonderful girlfriend who definitely loves the ocean.

For an Interactive View of of our hikes at Sutton Creek and Cape Mountain click below. At the Every Trail Website do a search for Carl Washburne and you will find the same hike Em and I did that I did alone three years ago (I didn’t want to post the same trip twice):

Sutton Creek Dunes

Cape Mountain

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