I slept in today, recovering from the strenuous hike up Saddle Mountain yesterday. After a continental breakfast at the Microtel I finally drove south to Ecola State Park and arrived at the trailhead at Ecola Point at 10 am.
I decided to hike the coast today, thinking it might be a flat relief from the mountain, but that was not the case. I did about 13 miles of trail today, and all of it was up and down, clambering up about 600 feet on Tillamook Head along the Oregon Coast Trail. This part of the Oregon Coast Trail was originally used by the Clatsop and Tillamook Indians, and during Lewis and Clark’s winter stay in the area Clark came along here from Fort Clatsop up north to see a beached whale at one of the creeks.
Beginning at Ecola Point, I hiked 1.5 miles north to Indian Beach. I’d been here back in 2006, when I did a late afternoon hike partway along the Clatsop Trail until dusk. I caught a nice shot of Ecola Point with the moon overhead back then.
Today I took a gravel service road on north from Indian Point over toward the Tillamook Lighthouse, and then rejoined the Oregon Coast Trail that wound up and around Bald Mountain and Clark’s Mountain towards Seaside. Along the way I passed through the hiker’s camp for backpackers, where I also came across an abandoned radar station from World War II.
The trail wasn’t as well maintained on north beyond the hiker’s camp, with lots of muddy sections. I had taken one trekking pole along, and that helped me navigate the muddy trail, although I do have some muddy jean cuffs.
There were some nice viewpoints looking out to Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, which is now a columbarium (storage for cremain urns). This was a desolate and storm-tossed posting in its day, with a storm in 1896 tossing a 135-pound boulder through the roof into the kitchen!
After hoofing it over six miles toward Seaside, I found a rock where I could sit down for a snack on the trail and then reverse course. This time on the way back south I took the more scenic trail along the oceanside on the Clatsop Loop Trail between the hiker’s camp and Indian Beach.
It was interesting to see how different the Indian Beach area and the natural arch at Ecola Point appeared at 10 am and then later around 5 pm. But after 7 hours of hiking along 13 miles of coastal trail, I was hungry and my feet were beginning to really ache.
So I drove back to the Microtel for a shower and then drove into Seaside for a big tasty lasagna and salad at Guido and Vito’s Italian Cuisine, followed up with a single dip of chocolate mint ice cream at the Dreyer’s shop. Then it was back to the Microtel to blog, prepare today’s slideshow, and rest my weary hooves.
Tomorrow I plan to drive south and hike up Neahkahnie Mountain for what are promised to be spectacular ocean views if the “partly cloudy” forecast isn’t a spoiler, and then mosey on down the coast past Tillamook (where I visited the cheese factory and air museum back in 2006) to the Motel 6 in Lincoln City.