Saturday, July 25, 2015

Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area

If you are ever traveling to the coast, coming home from the coast, or just making your way along the coast and you happen to be near Reedsport, we recommend taking the time to stop at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area.

Located 3 miles east of Reedsport on Oregon Highway 38, the viewing area makes a nice stop to stretch the legs or take a lunch or bathroom break. There are two restroom facilities, benches to sit on, and a covered informational kiosk with benches.

A view from one of the benches of the stream and grass area.
There are two different herds of elks that call this area home.  The main head is comprised of the main bull elk and his harem.  Then there is the bachelor herd - all the unlucky guys!

View of elk from kiosk area.  Highway 38 is to the left.
On our recent trip to the coast we saw both herds, but unfortunately they were not in the viewing area and there were no pullouts on the highway near their location.  However, on our return trip the bachelor herd was grazing near the informational kiosk, so we stopped for a break and pictures.

Hope you enjoy the view and if you haven't already, maybe you'll stop at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area and get to the see elk in person.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cape Perpetua Loop Hike

We shortened the title of this post to simply the Cape Perpetua Loop Hike, but our route was Oregon Coast Trail - Gwynn Creek Trail - Cooks Ridge Trail - Cummins Creek Trail - Oregon Coast Trail.  Most of the various trails in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area connect into other trails. This allows you to create your own route and distance depending on the amount of time you have and how far you want to hike.  Since one of our hiking goals this year was to hike at least three 10-mile or more hikes, we did some research about the trails and created the route listed above.

And so our hike begins.......
We started at the visitor center and hiked along the Oregon Coast Trail for about a mile.  Along the way we were treated to some incredible views of the Oregon Coast which was in full sunshine already at 9:00 am!  The trail was level and easy and provided a nice warm up for the miles ahead.  At times we passed through areas that were as dark as a tunnel due to the thick forrested area along the coast.  If you visit Cape Perpetua and don't have a lot of time, this two mile round trip hike on the OCT is highly recommended.
First view of the coast from the Oregon Coast trail

Another viewpoint of coast looking south from the Oregon Coast trail
At the junction with the Gwynn Creek Trail, we turned away from the coast and started inland.

So many choices!!!!

Having read reviews of the Cape Perpetua trails and talking to some hiking friends, this trail is considered one of the more beautiful trails to hike.  We were not disappointed.  Although the trail has a steady climb for the 2.6 miles, there are some flat portions and even a few slight descents.  There are also many rivulets that cross over or under the trail. The attraction of this trail is the Giant Sitka Spruce trees and thick forrested area complete with ferns everywhere.  It reminded us of our hikes at Redwoods National Park,

View along the Gwynn

Trees everywhere and a beautiful blue sky too!
 The trail follows Gwynn Creek most of the time before turning away and ascending to it's end at the junction with the Cooks Ridge trail.  For a shorter hike than ours, one could take a left here and head back to the visitor center for about a 6 - 7 mile hike.  We made a right turn and hiked just over a mile along the Cooks Ridge trail.

This segment took us out of the thickly forrested area and continued to climb.  Although it was probably our least favorite section of the hike, the open areas did provide us with various wildflowers like foxgloves - both the purple and white varieties.

Foxglove #1.........

....and Foxglove #2

We hiked just over a mile on the Cooks Ridge trail before we arrived at the junction with the Cummins Creek trail.

This trail would be the longest segment of our hike and it is where we met our first hiker on the trails. After about a mile hike along the ridge, we took a short spur trail to the Cummins Creek Valley viewpoint and made it our lunch stop.  The view was beautiful.  We could even see the blue of the ocean off to the right of the forrested mountains.

Our lunchtime view.  See the ocean off to the right?
 When we hiked the Gwynn Creek and Cooks Ridge segments, we climbed about 1,200 feet or so over the coarse of 3.7 miles -  about 325 feet a mile.  After our lunch break, the Cummins Creek trail splits into a loop and you must choose either a two mile segment or 1.4 miles segment which eventually rejoin into one trail.  We choose the 1.4 mile segment and found it a very tough trail to descend as it covered the 1,200 feet during that 1.4 miles -- making it a descent of about 850 feet per miles --- steep!

One of the beautiful views as we descended the steep portion of the Cummins Creek trail
After that 1.4 miles of knee and back jolting, the trail levels and widens out as it follows what appears to be an old road.  Eventually the trail ends at the Cummins Creek Trailhead which can be accessed from Highway 101.  We hiked a short distance on that access road before intersecting the Oregon Coast Trail and hiking back to the visitor center to complete our loop hike.

Back to the Oregon Coast trail segment...

One last view of the beautiful coast from the Oregon Coast trail 
As we completed our hike (took five hours), we checked our pedometer and found that our distance was exactly 10 miles!  Guess that is fitting since the hike itself was beautiful enough to be a 10.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Friday, July 17, 2015

Beachside State Park

Although beaches most often do not have paths or "official" trails, hiking along the beach is one of our favorite activities.  If you enjoy that too, then maybe you should check out Beachside State Park. 

Located between Yachats and Waldport on the Oregon Coast, Beachside State Park, (or Beachside State Recreation Site as noted on the Oregon State Park website) as the name implies, is right next to the beach. We stayed in one of the two yurts in the campground, but there is a row of campsites for tent or rv's that provide campers with views of the beach and sunset without leaving your site.

Our yurt at Beachside State Park

Amazing sunsets along the beach!

From what we read, this campground is so close to the beach that it is closed during certain months due to winter storms and spring rains which often cause flooding in the campground.  When high tide arrived each evening on our trip, it provided us with the sound of ocean waves as we fell asleep.

Panoramic view of the beach and surf at dusk.

The beach area is one of the widest we've been to on our various camping trips and is wonderful for walking, kite flying, building sand castles, or just relaxing and soaking in the sun and sounds of the surf.  We even saw folks going out each day and surfing.  We tooks hikes along the beach at least once a day and found a few shells or treasure washed up on shore. Katie highly recommends the beach  for dogs too as she loved rolling in the sand, digging holes and running through the water.

One of many easy and quickly reached access trails to the beach.

Carol enjoying the beach on one of our walks along the coast.

Katie highly recommends the beach for dogs too!!

Other activities in the area include the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area which is located just 7 miles south of the Beachside SP which has various hiking trails, a visitor center and multiple coastal viewpoints.  We highly recommend you visit that area as well as the town of Yachats, just 5 miles south of Beachside SP.  If you love coffee, tea and great baked goods, be sure to stop by the Green Salmon Coffee shop in Yachats.  Parking spots may be hard to find, but the visit is worth the effort.  We stopped by twice during our three day vacation and if we ever moved to Yachats, we would probably visit every day they are open.

About 50 cents worth of a sand dollar.

Must be rough out there in the ocean!!!!!

One of the sea stars we came upon and tried to rescue.

So there you have it -  a beach in your backyard with beautiful sunsets, miles of uncrowded beaches to walk along, the sound of surf to put you to sleep, an amazing scenic area minutes aways, plus great coffee, tea and pastries.  You have to love camping along the coast in Oregon!  We sure do!!!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Devil's Churn & Strawberry Hill

On our recent camping trip at Beachside State Park (posting to come), we made stops to hike and view the Devil's Churn and Strawberry Hill and allow Glenn to try out his new camera - yeah!!!!

The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is located just south of Yachats.  It is a beautiful area and if you are ever up that way, make sure to take some time to stop and see the various viewpoints.  Most are only a short easy hike away.  Devil's Churn is one of those viewpoints.

We parked at the Devil's Churn turnout area using a 5-day paid pass to allow us access to the many stops in Cape Perpetua.  There is also a short trail down to this area from the official Cape Perpetua Visitor Center just off Highway 101.

After a short descent down the trail we were greeted to the thundering sound of water crashing against rock.   The best time to see Devil's Churn is at high tide. Despite the tempatation to get close to the edge for that once in a lifetime picture, flashbacks to those warnings of sneaker waves kept us back at a safe distance.

Incoming waves at the start of the Devil's Churn......

...progress down through the channel...... the end where waves meet rock

We also walked the trail around the point which gave us a great panorama view of this area. Beautiful!!

Viewpoint of south coast area on Trail of Restless Waters 

Panoramic view of tidepools and ocean from the point

Our other stop just off Highway 101 was Strawberry Hill.  This quick pullout only has four parking spaces but we got there just as others were leaving.  This viewpoint is best visited at low tide when there are large areas of tidepools exposed and you can get close up views of seals soaking in the sun on the rocks.

Incoming water to the tidepool areas
 We were able to see a few tidepools despite the high tide and there were a few seals visible on the rocks. Even so, this are of the Oregon Coastline is beautiful and makes the stop and walk worth it.

A few seals soaking in the sun

North view at Strawberry Hill......

South view at Strawberry Hill

For more information on these and other viewpoints in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, click here.

Still to come --- Beachside State Park, Dean Creek Elk Viewing (with Elk), and our 10 mile hike along some amazing trails in Cape Perpetua.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol