This July I will make my fifth summer trip to the Pacific Northwest. My love for the area began a decade ago when I won free plane tickets for two anywhere in the continental U.S. as the district teacher of the year. My criteria for that was to a) go as far away from Oklahoma as possible, b) go somewhere cool during the hot Oklahoma summer, and c) go somewhere I had never been before. So a friend and I flew to Seattle and also visited Mt. St. Helens and Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia. It is a lovely region in the summer with bright but cool days, beautiful vegetation, and friendly folks.
I enjoyed that trip enough that I returned to Seattle in 2005 and then visited Oregon in 2006 with drives and dayhikes along the Columbia River and all the way down its coastline from Astoria to the redwoods of northern California. I was lucky on that trip, renting a Taurus with a sunroof to travel down Highway 101 and enjoy the beautiful Oregon coast, which is thankfully entirely open to the public. What a progressive state! Last year I again received the two-free-tickets deal as the district teacher of the year, so a friend and I visited Washington state and British Columbia. This summer I am planning another dayhike-oriented trip to Oregon.
This time I’ll fly into Portland and then drive over to the coast for a series of dayhikes. I prefer staying in motels to camping, with short drives and dayhikes in the morning and afternoon and a hearty evening dinner at a decent restaurant. Since cost is an issue, I’ll be staying at Motel 6s and Microtels for most of this trip. But I have booked more expensive beachfront accommodations for a few days. And around the midway point I booked a room with a hot tub to help me keep pounding the trails.
I’ll be working my way southward on Highway 101 from the Cannon Beach area to hike along the sea and also Saddle Mountain and Neahkahnie Mountain. Then I’ll hit the beautiful Agate Beach area near Newport for hiking at Cascade Head and inland to the Alsea and Green Peak Falls. Another stay at Yachats will let me hike the gorgeous Cape Perpetua area and then I’ll drive inland to Bend for some hiking at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. I’ll complete the loop with a dash up to The Dalles for a day of hiking along the Columbia River on my way back to Portland.
The hotter it gets here in Oklahoma, the more I look forward to my forthcoming escape to the cool northwestern coast!