Oregon Coast Adventure

Just a forewarning – this is more of a collection of notes than a trail journal. Since there’s not too much information about the Oregon Coast as a thru hike, we took notes we thought may be of help to other hikers. We are also hiking at an EXTREMELY slow pace, enjoying our wind down from PCT life. We are also hiking this pace to time meeting up with friends for the solar eclipse, within the totality zone. The thru hike could be done in 20 days easily if pushing it, but the frequent towns and beach walks are a constant temptation to slow you down and enjoy all the Coast has to offer.

Day 1 (8/11/17) Lot C to Fort Stevens State Park Hiker/Biker Camp. Taxi, Astoria to Warrenton. Hitch Warrenton to Hammond. Road walk Hammond/Bouy 9 to Lot C. Gates to Fort Stevens close at 6pm. Started trail at official point around 6pm. Easy beach walk at lowering tide ~3.75 mi to Peter Iredale. Follow trail at Peter Iredale 1 mi to campground. Hiker/biker campsites available for $6/person. Picnic tables, fire rings, close to restroom and free showers. Busy park on weekends.

Day 2 (8/12/17) Fort Stevens State Park Hiker/Biker Camp to Del Ray Beach State Rec Area.Started hike around noon. Checked out Coffenbury lake before continuing to beach. Sunny morning/afternoon, lots of people and vehicles on beach. Walked beach from Peter Iredale access point to Del Ray Beach State Rec Area/Highlands Ln and camped nearby.

Day 3 (8/13/17) Del Ray Beach State Rec Area to Ebb Tide Oceanfront Inn/Seaside. Hiked another few miles to Pacific Way beach access and into Gearhart. Used Google Maps to guide through town avoiding 101 when possible and continued into Seaside. Met up with Ian, spent the night a the Ebb Tide Oceanfront Inn.

Day 4 (8/14/17) Ebb Tide Oceanfront Inn/Seaside to Hug Point State Park. Hiked out of Seaside along the beach before following neighborhood road up to tillamook head. 1000ft gain through muddy forest up to head. Nice backpacker site with three structures, large picnic table, fire pit and vault toilet. Hiked down to Indian point, trail washout forced roadwalk out of park. Hitch from from friendly couple to Cannon Beach, guy hiked PCT. Beach walk rest of the evening to Hug Point. Tide too high to get around, set up camp and waited to cross in am.

Day 5 (8/15/17) Hug Point State Park to Nehalem Bay State Park. Hiked around Hug Point at lower tide and beach walked Arch Cape beach, heading inland on south end of beach on East Shingle Mill Lane. Hiked down this road until the suspension bridge down a driveway on the right. There’s an OCT blaze and typically a truck with a boat in the driveway, according to a local. The trail resumed here and took us through Oswald West State Park. Near the south end of the park where the trail crosses 101, we road walked (there is a sidewalk most of the way, only about 0.25mi without) to Sunset Drive on the north end of Manzanita. Keeping right down Meadow Loop, there was a beach access trail. We continued along the beach a couple miles, stopped for dinner, then headed inland at Horizon Lane which took us to the registration booth at Nehalem Bay State Park. Camped in the hiker/biker camp.

Day 6 (8/16/17) Nehalem Bay State Park to Barview Jetty Park. Beach walked a few miles to the end of Nehalem Bay, tried to hitch across bay, but after 2 hours with no success, started walking the bay. At the north end of the bay, we hit a road and hitched south to Rockaway Beach. Grabbed dinner in town and walked the beach to Barview Jetty. Camped at the county park.

Day 7 (8/17/17) Barview Jetty Park to Cape Lookout State Park. Walked railroad tracks from park to docks at Garibaldi. No luck with boat hitch, grabbed lunched and started road walk around bay. A local picked us up and drove us across the bay. Walked the old road on the spit to the beach trail, then the beach to Cape Meares. Trail up through park was easy to find, wouldn’t be bad even at high tide to access. Walked through Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge and State Park, by Octopus Tree and road walked Cape Meares Loop road to Oceanside. Beach walked Oceanside to Netarts, follow 131 to Netarts Bay Drive. Road walk until hitch to Cape Lookout State Park. Beautiful hiker/biker camp! Just to the left from entrance; away from other camping loops.

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Northwest Roadtrip Spring 2015

In April of 2015 I had been working as an IT Field Engineer doing all sorts of high stress system/network troubleshooting.  After the third Saturday in a row of on call night work, I could see this work/life imbalance was just going to continue.  Around that same time I visited an old coworker at the paddle shop I used to work at, she asked what I’d been up to.  The conversation went something like this:

 “Work.”

“That’s it? No trips or anything interesting?”

“Yup.”

Followed immediately by me thinking about how I hadn’t had a vacation in two years.  And noticing just how boring it is if all you have to talk about is work.  So I put in my two weeks notice, the company ended up getting me to work another four weeks to finish up projects and then I’d do something.  I’d never been further west than the Ozarks in Arkansas so I decided to drive around the lower 48 for a while.

My goals for this adventure were:

  • Sleep in the truck when possible to save money
  • Visit friends and family
  • Make it to Colorado, Oregon, and Washington
  • Not return home for at least a month

The Route

I had a rough idea to drive out to Colorado as fast as I could, stay with a friend there, then make my way over to the Pacific Northwest to stay with another friend.  From there I’d take a northern route back to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to end the trip.  While I didn’t end up recording my exact route, I did stick pretty close to my plan.  Below are most of the places I stopped on the trip, with friends places removed for privacy.

Gas was cheap that summer and my Ram 1500 has a V8 gasser in it, so the fuel economy was relatively low, but for the truck I was satisfied.  It was especially fun driving manual in the mountains.  I tracked the gas in a Google Sheet for no particular reason.

Photos

Favorite photo from the trip:

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Wreck of the Peter Iredale at Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon.

Other photos from the trip, grouped by location:

Garden of the Gods

Colorado

 Lucky Peak State Park

Ecola State Park

Crater Lake National Park

Smith Rock State Park

Fort Stevens State Park

Misc. Oregon/Washington

Hoh Rainforest

Cape Flattery

Olympic National Park

Glacier National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Grand Tetons

Black Hills National Forest

Mount Rushmore

Badlands National Park

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And finally back home to Lake Superior.