Tag Archives: hiking

A hike on the coast – 27-Dec-2020

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Sunday, 27-Dec-2020

It had been ages since I’ve hiked out on the Oregon Coast… It’s a long drive, is the problem, but still. The coast is gorgeous, and it was high time that I got back out.

So… I drove. Got going fairly early, for a day off, and was starting in to the Cape Falcon trail by 11:15, give-or-take. Not bad, since it was a two hour drive from my place in Wilsonville, so I was feeling pretty energetic as I hiked through the misty trees, hearing the sound of cars receding behind me and the sound of the breakers growing in the distance.


Once I made it out of the forest and onto the beach… I realized that tides are a thing.

Because there was no beach.

Turns out – high tide does happen, and when it happens at Oswald West, the tide comes all the way up to the trail, nearly. Not so much that it covers the whole area, of course… but the distance between surf and ground was quite small… just a tiny little strip of sand, covered by the waves half of the time, maybe a foot or two wide.

Made it a bit difficult to walk along the coast, as you may imagine, so instead Cape Falcon became the goal of the moment – heading back inland to walk out to the overlook, and give the tides a bit of time to recede so I could get some shore-line walking in later on in the day.

I hadn’t hiked all the way out to Falcon before, so this was an interesting experience… During COVID I’ve been able to avoid crowds pretty well, and having been hiking up on Hood I’d gotten used to the snow and slush of the high elevations.

I’d forgotten just how crowded popular trails can get, and how that can lead to some rather interesting trail conditions… specifically, the fact that I was wading through pretty much constant mud the whole way out to the Cape Falcon overlook.

But hey – that’s what boots are for, right? My boots were still pretty new too, and needed a bit of breaking in… and what better way to do that than to slog my way through deep mud, escaping the forest and striking out onto the cliffside?


The trail was churned up, like a herd of elk had cruised through, but truth be told I didn’t see that many people as I was hiking in. A few groups, of course, but nothing too crazy… Nothing nearly as intense as some of the more popular hikes out in the gorge on a sunny summers day, at least. I was able to make pretty good time, though I did get some added altitude training thanks to wearing my mask so consistently…

Anywho, the hike went well, and the overlook was singularly gorgeous.

In keeping with tradition, after hiking was dinner, or at least a late lunch, out at Cannon beach. I’ve been to the Pelican Brewery a few times, and thankfully they’re still open and kicking during the pandemic… if only for takeout. But you know what? Takeout calamari and seafood chowder is still pretty dang good.

Especially when there was a sunset like that…

A Thanksgiving adventure – Hiking Elk Meadows

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A Thanksgiving adventure – Hiking Elk Meadows

Thanksgiving is going to be different this year. This is my first year being single in half a decade, and thanks to the COVID Pandemic it’s also the first year that I can’t travel, and don’t have any friends still in town. I’m flying solo, have a ton of vacation to burn, and am feeling energetic...


Saturday, 21-Nov-2020


My first adventure of the week was low-key, just a quick hike in the snow up to Elk meadows, on the flanks of Mt. Hood. Somehow, Elk Meadows has become my go-to hike this year… it’s straightforward, a medium-length drive, not too difficult. Something about it just speaks to me, and I’ve embraced this unexpected friendship.

Today’s hike was an out-and-back, not staying overnight and not packing too much gear. It also wasn’t particularly rushed… which is to say, I didn’t leave the house until somewhere around noon thirty or one o’clock. Which… could have been a problem, when the sun sets around four-thirty. But it wasn’t any concern – this is a relaxed week, not a time to stress out. If then sun sets on me as I hike out… so what? I’ve got warm gear, I’ve got headlamps, and I’ve got crampons for when the trail ices over.

It’s all good.

If the sun sets while I’m up, that just means that I’ll get pretty sunset pictures.


By the time I parked at the snowy trailhead, I was pretty confident that I’d be getting those sunset pictures. Parking itself was interesting, but not particularly challenging thankfully. The road in was snow-covered, but the Mustang performed just as well as I knew it would, easily getting me parked nice and close to the trailhead itself.

The hike in?

Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

The trail was heavily snowed in, of course, but had been nicely packed down by the days traffic, so I was able to make quite good time, only post-holing a couple of times. I appreciated those instances though, since they served to remind me just how deep the snow was – hiking, it’d be easy to make the mistake of thinking that the snow was only four or five inches deep… but that was just the difference between the trail and the top layer. Below the packed trail was a solid two or threw feet of snow before you actually made it to ground level.

That snow-cover gave the whole forest a beautiful feeling. “Winter Wonderland” comes closest to describing it, and I enjoyed every minute of the hike up to the Meadow. And when I got to the meadow itself? Wonderland overload.

Seriously – Elk Meadows in the winter is amazing.

The snow was untouched, except for a faint trail etched through the snow heading off into the distance toward Mt. Hood. Mt Hood itself stood proud in the afternoon light like a sentinel, and the trees slowly swayed in their winter coats. It was beautiful, and I’d timed it perfectly to see the first rays of the sunset start hitting the mountain.

I spent quite a while just enjoying the sights and sounds. I had the meadow compleely to myself, as seems to be the norm these days, and I took the time to appreciate the solitude and rustle of the wind before heading out into the meadow itself.

I love walking in the snow – it’s not easy, of course, and breaking trail absolutely builds up a sweat surprisingly quickly… but I still love the feeling of forging into the wilderness. There’s something about it that makes me feel like an intrepid explorer, breaking trail and forging onward to unseen glories.


I forged onward, explored the meadow, and enjoyed the crisp air as the sun dipped down below the horizon. My headlamp came out, snacks were snacked upon, and I was careful to keep sipping water so that my camelback wouldn’t freeze.

In short? Perfect. Simply, absolutely, perfect.

Getting back to the car was no problem at all, and thankfully nor was pulling out from the snow-covered trailhead. The Mustang once again proved its worth… or at least the combination of car & driver proved their worth, and soon enough I was cruising through the mountain roads back toward home. Slowly and carefully, thanks to the slowly icing conditions… but consistently just the same.

That would be the theme to the week – and a good one, to be sure. Slowly but consistently, moving forward and onward.

Exploring Oswald West state park – 12-Sept-2020

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Saturday, 12-Sept-2020

 

Oregon is still burning.

It hasn’t let up much, and Wilsonville’s air quality has been holding pretty steady at “hazardous”, recommending that we wear at least respirators, if not full SCBA face shields.

That… makes trips pretty challenging.

 

But, you know what?  Challenging isn’t impossible.  I have the internet, which has basically any piece of information that I could ever want.  And I have a phone, which let’s me chat with people, and plan adventures.

Marcella and I decided to head to Oswald West – it’s a beach on the Oregon Coast, not too long of a drive, and it looked like the air quality would just be “bad”, instead of in the dangerous ranges.  Coastal breezes, fog, and light rain would hopefully keep the particulate count down, and make the air a bit more breathable.

 

If you’ve never seen Oregon forests through the fog – you’re missing out, and you’ll enjoy the pictures I was able to get.  It’s magical; the forests already have a primordial feel to them, and when you add in a thick fog, with just a hint of smoke, it becomes steeped in some sort of mystic haze.

It’s gorgeous.

The hike into the beach was beautiful, and over nearly before it even began.  Thankfully, it looked like we were some of the only people to come up with this trip plan, and so the trail and beach were almost empty.  There were some surfers, a few beach combers, and maybe half a dozen people walking their dogs… but thanks to the thick fog and rolling surf, it felt like the entire world was completely empty.

 

 

After coming back to the world, hunger set in.  Turns out the empty world of the beach tied into an empty stomach, which led us to the town of Cannon Beach… where we not only met some cowboys (on horses, even), but found ourselves in the Pelican Brewery, eating amazing burgers.

A good day.  A very good day.