New Years Day, which, yes, happened over a month ago, was spent hiking with my sister. It was a beautiful cold winter day – a perfect day for hiking along the Oregon coast. We hiked the Elk Flats Trail (EFT), a portion of the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT), to Short Sand Beach in Oswald West State Park.
We started at the trail head and parking area (more like a gravel pullout) on Highway 101 where the OCT crosses the highway. On the east side of the highway, we could see the north Neah-Kah-Nie trail signs. We took the trail on the west side, traveling north through OWSP. As we began, we took a short detour to the Devil’s Cauldron Overlook (0.1 mile). Like I said, it was beautiful day – cool and clear – perfect for scenic stops. We then proceeded along the Elk Flats Trail (1.3 miles).
Reaching Short Sand Beach, or “Shorty’s” as called by locals, was a happy moment. I’m not a huge fan of destination hikes, there and back along the same trail, but reaching the beach made the idea worth it. As we approached, we caught glimpses of the beach while still winding through the beautiful coastal forest.
Despite being winter cold, there were still surfers and boogie boarders out enjoying the waves. Photographers were out. Families and groups of friends were hanging out. Happy dogs played with their equally happy people. No doubt about it, it was apparent that this little beach is a popular spot. If it hadn’t been so late in the day, I would have like to walk the whole beach. From the end of the trail I could see a waterfall on the other side of the cove-like area. Maybe during my next visit, I might get a closer look!
If you’re going to hike the EFT, the southern trail head is not as easily found as the northern end. The next time I hike this portion I believe I’ll park my car at the Oswald West Parking lot and hike up along the EFT to highway 101 and then meander back down the trail. Oh, and the trail isn’t flat, despite any ideas from its name! The trail seemed to predominately slope down as we traveled northward. Thinking about hiking back to our car felt like a hike back up. It was rather rough and at times, muddy, along the trail.
We actually didn’t end up hiking back up the trail. Instead we power walked the mile along Highway 101. Stupid idea. Don’t do that. Give yourself enough daylight hours and wear shoes you’ve already worn in (my poor sister was got a blister) to hike to and from along the trail. Yes, it was quicker and slightly (0.3 miles) shorter, but there is no path to speak of and the cars speed by fast. I was quite shaken (literally shaking) by time we got back to the car. Not a good way to end a hike. The next one will be better!
Wow – it sure does fly especially with work, family, friends… While I have been out adventuring, I have yet to share the photos here. Life happened and time got away. Now I’m sick at home, taking a sick day from work and catching up with blogging – reading others’ blog posts and actually posting one on mine. I’ve missed sharing adventures here. If I wasn’t coughing and feeling miserable – I’d go someplace. Looking back over these photos has helped me feel somewhat better though. Along with being sick, I have a bit of the winter blues as well, so I have decided to share a few photos from summer adventures.
At one point way back last summer, I made it to Ivar’s in Seattle for lunch and highly recommend it. While the fresh fish is always tasty, eating it outside with the seagulls makes the experience fun. The signs make me laugh. Whether or not you enjoy sharing your food with the birds, it is entertaining to watch others do so, especially when a by flying seagulls snatch high held French fries.
Traveling further north to see family, I spent a few days in Bellingham, Washington that same trip. Bellingham is a beautiful little city just south of the Canadian border on the Puget Sound. Sadly, the summer haze reminded everyone that forest fires were blazing not too far away in both US and Canadian forests. While there I went on “normal life adventures”, like going to the Whatcome county dump and eating raspberry vanilla swirl ice cream at the local Edaleen Dairy.
Later in the summer, before the warm weather disappeared, I attended the annual Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby, Oregon. For the third year straight, I have entered and won their amateur photo contest. In 2017 I was the only one to enter (my family joked that I was the “featured photographer”), but this year I had some competition, including my work manager and her daughter! I still won a couple entries despite the increase of competitors.
Even though the coast is beautiful any time of the year, it is a quintessential destination in the summer, and I was able to check that destination off my summer list. Canon Beach, Oregon is simply one of my favorite spots along the northern Oregon coast.
By stopping and perusing my old photos, I realized I had forgotten about my afternoon in Rainier, Oregon, “The Spirited City on the Mighty Columbia.” I had driven up there to attend church with friends one Sunday morning, but due to a misunderstanding, we missed each other. They went out of town that Sunday. So there I was about an hour away from home and figured I would just explore the little town. I found myself taking a Sunday stroll through Riverside Park and learning about the Coho salmon that travel up and down Fox Creek to the Columbia River. I had expected to enjoy a lively afternoon with friends, perhaps eating out, talking and laughing, but enjoyed a more calm and quiet afternoon instead. It wasn’t the adventure I set out for, but it turned out great!