Thursday, July 6, 2017

Oregon Coast Trail: Lone Ranch Beach & Cape Ferrelo

June 20, 2017

After hiking from Whaleshead Beach to Indian Sands the previous day, we were looking forward to hiking another section of the OCT in the Samuel Boardman State Park area.  The plan was to hike from the Lone Ranch Beach Day Use area up to the Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint and then on to the House Rock Viewpoint and then return.  The key word being "plan".

We drove north on Highway 101 from Harris Beach State Park and within minutes turned off and drove down to the Lone Ranch Beach Day Use area.  Much like the facilities at Whaleshead the previous day, there are picnic tables with an ocean view, a long beach area, and restrooms.  The road to this day use area is even paved!

Samuel Boardman State Park Monument

View as we start up the bluffs.
We followed a paved trail from the parking area past a monument to Samuel Boardman State Park till we found the OCT trail sign.  This took us down to a full creek which now had no bridge -- evidently washed away this past year.  We couldn't even see where the trail was on the other side of the creek if we managed to get across.  So we continued the paved trail down to the beach area, crossed the creek on a large log, and worked our way down the beach till we saw a faint trail heading up the bluffs to the Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint.

View of the lower bluffs with all the grasses.

View of Lone Ranch Beach and the Cape from the highest point of our hike.  Can you see the faint trail in the grass?
This faint trail though faded out as we got higher on the bluffs and we could not see the OCT.  The grasses along the bluffs were beautiful and tall, waving in the wind, but also made it hard to see where you were stepping.  The last portion up the bluffs was very steep and knowing that we would have to try to come down the same way did not seem safe. So rather than make the 6 o'clock news, we hiked back down to the beach.

The OCT route actually goes along the long stretch of beach at Lone Ranch, so we hiked all the way to the other end of the beach and back.  At the far end of the beach was a nice cove where we took a break and refreshments.  Much like yesterday, the blue skies were making their appearance but the wind was also kicking into high gear.

View from the cove at the end of our beach hike.

Once back to our car, we decided to drive up the the Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint and try to hike the 1 mile loop out and around the bluffs.  That worked fine until we left the safe confines of the tree/shrub sheltered part of the trail and ventured onto the open bluffs high above the ocean.  When Carol saw Glenn and Katie get blown off the trail, that was warning enough.  The 6 o'clock news thought came back into our minds and we decided to not hike the entire loop trail, but instead just hike to a few viewpoints of the bluffs and ocean.

Part of the loop trail at the Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint with OCT marker in the distance.
Despite the trail and wind issues, we were treated to some amazing views of the coast and enjoyed the beach hike.  We will keep this section hike of the OCT on our list for a future attempt and if you are ever in the area, we encourage you to take the time and check out the beautiful and amazing Oregon Coast.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Oregon Coast Trail: Whalehead Beach to Indian Sands

June 19, 2017

Since our recent camping trip was to Harris Beach State Park, we decided to do a couple of day hikes on the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT) in the Samuel Boardman State Park area.

Our first hike began at the Whalehead Beach Picnic Area which is accessed via a short rough gravel road from Highway 101.  We later realized that there is a parking area immediately off the highway that also allows access to the OCT.  The picnic area though is a nice place to begin and end the hike as there are tables with an ocean view, lots of beach to enjoy, and a bathroom facility.

Oregon Coast Trail
 From the parking area we began hiking the OCT uphill surrounded by high shrubs and crossed the access road.  We met and briefly talked with a hiker who had begun hiking the entire OCT a few days earlier and was taking a morning break to make entries in her journal.

Tiger Lily

Sticky Monkey

The OCT headed up through forested hills and made us feel like we were hiking in the Redwoods.  Large trees and many ferns lined our path along with some wildflowers like Tiger Lilies and a new wildflower to us, Sticky Monkey as the locals call them.  The name alone makes this flower a favorite!  We crossed over various small creeks and runoffs, some with waterfalls, and at one point hiked a short segment with a creek right next to the trail.  We stayed on the trail but Katie hiked the creek.

People trail to the left, Katie trail to the right.
We finally reached the junction with the trail from the Indian Sand parking area and continuing on the OCT reached Indian Sands.  One moment you are in wooded forests and then suddenly you are out in the open with deep sand.  This area was created by the erosion of the sandstone cliffs by wind and rain.

One of the original OCT markers

Indian Sands

OCT continuing past Indian Sands

We continued on past Indian Sands for a short distance to see a couple of beautiful coves and could have continued to the Thomas Creek Bridge, but instead we turned around and came back to Indian Sands for a break and to do some sightseeing. The clouds had been around during our forested hike, but once we arrived at Indian Sands the blue skies appeared and we enjoyed the views of the beautiful Oregon Coast.

Sea Fig

Arch rock at south end of Indian Sands (you can hike out on it)

Artwork on the sandstone cliff area
Our return trip was along the same trail but now views of the coast were enjoyed since the clouds were gone.  Once back at Whalehead Beach, we hiked down to get some pictures of Whalehead Rock.  We had hoped to hike along the beach area too, but the wind was in full force and hiking while being pelted by sand did not sound appealing.

Whalehead rock and beach
Our entire hike with some roaming at Indian Sands was just under 6 miles.  If you park at the Indian Sands parking lot, the hike is only a mile at most.  Either way, if you get the chance, be sure to check out this beautiful and unique area of the Oregon Coast.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol