Saturday, December 16, 2017

Cape Mountain 12/2017

Normally, it's a simple idea: Hop in the car and drive to the trailhead. However, the drive to Cape Mountain was more like a bus route than a simple put-it-in-gear-and-go. Not too many of my hiking buddies had ever been to Cape Mountain and I had only been once, so this hike was penciled nto the Friends of the Umpqua hike schedule with your merry blogster designated to lead the way. Well, my friends from South Coast Striders wanted to join us so we arranged a pick-up stop in Reedsport; and Lane was coming over from Springfield, so another stop in Florence was arranged. Who knew leading a hike could be so complicated? However, we managed to get all 13 hikers from all their disparate towns and walks of life to the trailhead, in spite of all the logistics. Surely, things would be simpler on the trail.

Moss and trees
Well, maybe not. First we had to hike uphill on the Princess Tasha Trail, then continue on the Scurvy Ridge Trail ("Aargh" he said, in his best scurvy buccaneer pirate voice), take a left on the Berry Creek Trail, followed by a right onto the Nelson Ridge Trail. And all that involved ignoring trail junctions with trails named Lookout, Wapati, Berry Lane, and Cape Mountain. No small wonder we started out with 13 hikers but only wound up with 10 when the hike was over. Spoiler alert: everybody eventually showed up, so all was well.

Eight miles of coastal forest
The scenery is pretty basic at Cape Mountain. Elegantly simple (like the hike leader), the "views" consist of dense growths of, ferns, salal, and moss. If you want to experience 8 miles of deep coastal forest, then this is your hike. Of course, all this simplicity came with a price, as  all of us were soon breathing heavily in short order due to a rather brisk climb to the crest of Scurvy Ridge.

Edwin squashes a hitsi-bitsy spider
A couple of miles in, we arrived at the replica hitsi (a primitive Native American shelter) that had been built as part of an Eagle Scout project. I'm not sure how long ago it had been built but the hitsi is falling into a state of disrepair as it should. since they were never intended to be permanent. Since I was the hike leader, I felt compelled to teach my charges what I know about hitsis, mainly that there is a small spider that inhabits these types of structures: it's known as the hitsi-bitsy spider. Sorry, I just can't help myself and for some reason, I hike alone a lot. 

Spooky branches

The vegetation changed somewhat on the Berry Creek Trail as we exchanged tall conifers for leafless alder trees. We also exchanged the uphill hiking for a trail that lost elevation at a dizzying rate. This was a loop trail and everybody was glad we didn't have to hike back up this path but I kept quiet, knowing we'd have to gain all that elevation again, albeit on a different trail. For stats lovers, the trail lost nearly 1,000 feet in 1.5 miles.

We now head up to Nelson Ridge
Berry Creek was waiting for us at the bottom of the canyon and we all crossed the creek on a log with no pratfalls or mishaps. And then the climbing began. In fact, most of the day was spent walking uphill even though we were hiking a loop route with no net gain or loss in elevation, . Accordingly, after a mild wade across a Berry Creek Fork, the trail charged to the top of Nelson Ridge, angling through a stand of homogeneous trees on the way,

Our lunch time view
There were a series of grassy meadows on top of the broad ridge crest, the grass currently brown and dry in preparation for winter. Fresh elk poop dotted the meadow, so we know a) elk come here to visit and b) the grass is well fertilized. There was also a bench in a meadow with a partial view down to the coast, so we plopped down after checking for elk poop, and ate lunch under a gray sky. 

Seemed like we walked uphill all day long
There used to be a forest road atop Nelson Ridge, and the former roadbed inter-braided with the actual trail and it wasn't always clear which way to go. A few more signs here would be helpful, Forest Service, if you are reading this. The road was actually the Berry Lane Trail and basically continues in the same direction as the Nelson Ridge Trail; so if anybody did take the wrong trail, they'd wind up at the trailhead anyway.

Former road, now doing duty as a trail
When we arrived at the trailhead we were short 3 hikers. Dave showed up about 15 minutes later but Lane and Ceresse were missing in action. Turned out they had come up the Wapati Trail but had to turn back to retrieve some clothing left behind at Berry Creek. It's not what you think either, the clothing item left behind was a sweater or similar accouterment that had been removed to adjust body temperature. It was duly noted that the leaver of clothing was not the same person who was appointed to do the retrieving. I'm not saying which was which, but will also note that Lane's GPS had more miles on it than Ceresse's.

Dense growth made sure we stayed on trail
Anyway, Lane and Ceresse did eventually show up, none the worse for the wear. We went to Florence and stopped at Burritos Los Amigos for some post-hike tongue tacos. That was the simplest thing that happened all day.

A nice view to Sutton Lake
For more pictures of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Cape Blanco

If this was not the best day ever on the coast, then it was at minimum, the second best day ever on the coast. In Roseburg, December 2017 will forever be remembered for a protracted air stagnation weather thingy that resulted in dense fog smothering the Umpqua Valley all day and every day, or at least for 57 days of the month. So, by time Lane, Colby, and I drove over to the coast for a hike, the dearth of sunlight had nearly become a medical condition. Probably some kind of neurosis, too. Maybe even a psychosis. At any rate, the lack of sunlight had us all standing under florescent lights in the kitchen, in a vain attempt to remember what sunlight even felt like. Given all that, it was nigh a religious moment when we parked the car at Cape Blanco under a cloudless blue sky.

Needle Rock is the Oregon's largest candle
The temperature was balmy too, hanging around 60 degrees all day. It was absolutely glorious to be able to hike in shirt sleeves under sun and sky. We weren't the only ones enjoying the weather either, as other hikers were also out and about, taking advantage of this miraculous turn in the weather. Even the wildlife were deliriously happy to bask in the sun, as evidenced by a fox skittering into tall grass, its restorative sunbathing rudely interrupted by our drive-by.

A very large Boulder Bar on the Sixes River
We grabbed the trail that follows the Sixes River to the beach, and it's always amazing how the Sixes rearranges itself from season to season, On this day, the river coursed past a boulder bar that had never been as large or extensive on my prior visits to the area. Same old sea lions, though, and one popped out of the cold river to enjoy the sun on the opposite bank, and we could totally relate.

The end of the Sixes's journey
Startled by our intrusive arrival, a bald eagle rose up from the grassy pasture, majestically soaring towards Castle Rock. The Sixes pooled languidly behind the beach and ripples from large watery sea creatures swimming just under the surface had us wondering what kind of creatures they were. I guessed mermaids. Where river met sea, an otter fled the beach and disappeared into the waves, conceding the sand to us humans. Wow, that was quite a lot of wildlife diversity for just a half-mile of hiking!

Castle Rock, looking particularly castle-ish
Castle Rock, a large island in front of the Sixes River mouth, dominated the scene as the beach arced to eminently visible Cape Blanco, the historic lighthouse affixed to it like one of Lane's birthday party hats. The bay between us and the cape was scenically cluttered with random rocks and islands strewn about, with Gull Island and Castle Rock being the only two deemed worthy enough to merit a name by the Oregon Geographic Names Board. 

View towards Blacklock Point
The sand is very soft on the beach and Lane and I were having PTSD (Plenty of Trudging in Sand, Darn it) flashbacks to a past three-day backpack trip along the coast, but the splendiferous sunlight somewhat eased our mental anguish. After a mile of not-so-painful hiking in soft sand, the beach ended at Cape Blanco itself and the soft sand was exchanged for the solid dirt path charging up the grassy coastal bluffs. Getting to the top of the bluffs was work, so a stop-and-gawk at the historic lighthouse was in order, as was an early lunch. Sun, sky, views, lighthouse, and a jalapeƱo sandwich: life was good, indeed.

A giant dragonfly, hunting giant mosquitoes
There was a group paragliding off the cape and we observed them practicing their craft, riding the wind currents like giant dragonflies. Cape Blanco is renown for high winds and holds the record for the highest recorded wind speed in Oregon; the record being 179 miles per hour on what surely must have been a memorable day in 1964 for all the wrong reasons. Don't think the paragliders of the time were riding wind currents on that particular day. If they were, they probably landed in Topeka.

City on a hill
A steep and muddy track down the south face of the cape dropped us on the beach. Fortunately, we all remained upright on the descent, although there were a few near misses. A pointy spire with the descriptive name of Needle Rock marked the start of the next segment of beach walking. I'm not sure why sand is piling up against the imposing cliffs here but perhaps rising sea level is the culprit. My little theory is that the rising ocean is bringing more sand onto the beach and because of the cliffs, the sand has nowhere to go. Trapped between surf and cliff, the sand unhappily accumulates at the base of the cliff. At any rate, the damp sand had been eroded by wind, surf, rain, and sun; the resulting formations were amazing, resembling so many ancient cities carved into mountains.

Deep, dark woods
Less than a mile later, we arrived at the driftwood pile where the Cape Blanco Campground road met the beach, and that was our cue to leave all the sand behind, and burning leg muscles were grateful. But not so fast, leg muscles, you still have a short but steep climb yet to perform. The paved roadway climbed briskly to the top of the coastal bluffs, the keyword being "up". Fortunately, the uphill grade mellowed out a bit when steep pavement was exchanged for mostly level dirt-treaded Oregon Coast Trail. The OCT threaded its way through a dense and dark forest before abruptly spitting us out into the bright sunshine atop the bluffs.

The forest is too dense to bushwhack through
Blinking myopically like blind cave salamanders in the open sunlight, we followed the trail through dense growths of waist-high salal. We had spent most of the day hiking, so by now the sun was sinking low, imbuing the coastal scenery with the soft golden light that heralds the imminent arrival of sunset. At the cape, we enjoyed the epic view towards Blacklock Point, the Sixes River, and Castle Rock in the fading light. Instead of returning by way of beach, we entered the forest and continued hiking on the OCT.

Gull Island in a big ocean
Man, it was dark in them thar woods! The trees are packed so closely together that not much light penetrates the dense tangle of branches. The deep shade would be nice on a hot day but at the end of the day, the woods were darker than a black hole in space. We did reacquaint ourselves with what daylight looked like by taking a short side trip to a viewpoint overlooking the coast.

Not so wild life
We had seen quite a bit of wildlife on this trip and there would be one more wildlife encounter when we inadvertently ambled into a flock of sheep on the descent into the grasslands flanking the Sixes River,  Panicked, the sheep comically ran down the only place they could, which was the trail. So we got to scare them for a half mile or so, good thing I didn't have Luna with me, she would have made sure the sheep got plenty of exercise.

Lane and Colby enjoy a father-son hike
So, on this hike we saw wildlife, experienced awesome coastal scenery, and most of all, enjoyed a superlative sunny day. The only blot on the day, however, occurred on the way back when a pickup towing a trailer in front of us left the road and spectacularly wiped out in a ditch. Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the accident. Hiking is so much safer than driving!

Colby carefully picks his way down Cape Blanco
For more pictures of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Eel Lake

Eel Lake isn't very eely, that I can tell. I did do some cursory research into the small mystery as to how the lake came by its name but while bass, trout, crappie, steelhead, and Coho salmon inhabit the lake, there was nary a mention of a historical eel encounter, story, tale, or legend. After walking on the Eel Lake Trail, my theory is that from above, the lake has lots of arms that wriggle out from the main body like so many eels. I'm open to other theories, by the way.

Eel Lake, in all its eely glory
The lake is part and parcel of William Tugman State Park, with the western shore being the only civilized portion of the lake, what with campgrounds, park, boat ramps, docks, and kiddie swimming areas. The lake is not all that big but with all those eely arms, it would be a 40 to 50 mile hike if one were to hike the entire shoreline. However, that would be a venture with a high degree of difficulty as the Eel Lake Trail only follows the shore for about 4'ish miles; the remaining 35 to 45 miles would be by bushwhack through the densely forested slopes surrounding the lake. 

If Richard were a mushroom
When I started hiking, it was a crisp winter morning where the sun was out in full sunshiny glory that did no good at all, seeing as how it was 27 degrees. Naturally, the swimming area was devoid of any aquatic-inclined humans. The trail immediately crossed over Eel Creek and ducked into a well shaded forest that quickly had me rummaging through my daypack, searching for a few more layers of clothing. That was the only thing that was quick about this hike.

Orange eels emerge from the depths of the black earth
The mushrooms were out in full force on this chilly morn and I spent a lot of time lying on the ground, in search of the perfect photo of the perfect fungus. Not much hiking got done while engaged in this particular activity. Anyway, after photographically cataloging every fungal specimen sprouting from the ample decaying biomass flanking Eel Lake, I was grateful to continue hiking and warm myself up a little. By the way, there was a clump of orange eely fungi emerging from the earthen depths, maybe that's how Eel Lake got its name.

Alder grove
The trail spent about 90% of its time in the well shaded woods but on occasion, brief glimpses of the lake were seen through a frame of cedar and rhododendron branches. About 2 miles in, the cedar and conifer gave way to leafless alder, their bony arms stretching to the heavens in supplication. You could almost hear their anguished cry "Hey, give us our leaves back! We're freezing down here!"

Ankle-breaker bridge
And now a word about the "bridges" and "boardwalks": Numerous creeks crossed the trail and the path also ran through some swampy patches; both of these situations required some kind of human invention to ensure hikers remained dry-footed. The fine folks at William Tugman Park have fashioned crude bridges and boardwalks by laying poles across the various wet spots, with the poles oriented parallel to the trail. The cracks between the poles were then chinked up with mud. Those things were slippery and there was a high likelihood of a an ankle slipping between two such poles if one was not careful. I safely negotiated the obstacle course by keeping with my feet perpindicular to the poles, but sheesh!

Eel Lake, from the trail
The shoreline was quite serrate and the route spent a lot of time weaving around small coves and bays, ducking in and out like a boxer looking to land a punch. Eventually the path rounded an arm of the lake and began heading north, there was much rejoicing at the sunlight slanting through the trees next to the lake. The temperature became relatively balmy and all those additional layers of clothing were soon stowed back in the pack. There were several viewpoints along the way with benches strategically sited for some lakeside contemplation and I partook thererof.  

Fungi was everywhere
The length of the trail is officially advertised as a 3'ish mile long trail. But really, it sort of depends on the mood and ambition of the trail maintainers. Prior to this hike, I had perused a couple of hiking blogs and the consensus was that the trail disappeared into the brush long before 3 miles. However, I shall sing the praises of the trail crews for at the 3-mile mark, I was still hiking on a well-maintained trail. At the 3.7 mile mark though, the trail was following an eely arm that soon became choked with brush and debris. It became downright swampy even, and the trail quickly degenerated into a muddy mire. My brand new boots were sinking into the goo with attendant sucking sounds as I extricated one foot while the other one sunk into the smelly black muck. Past the fetid swamp, the trail disappeared into the brush on a faint track that looked like it was used by deer more than hiker, and that was my cue to turn around and head back to the park.

A mushroom sprouts from a stump
On the return leg, the trail angled up a short but steep incline and I lowered my head and focused on the hard work of hiking uphill. Suddenly and without warning, a wolf entered the limited field of vision underneath my hat brim and I pretty much near voided my bowels. Turned out the "wolf" was a friendly German shepherd whose owner was laughing pretty hard at my discomfiture. He said I squ-eel-ed like a little girl but I also flopped and twitched like a landed eel. Maybe that's how Eel Lake got its name!

Eel Lake, at the end of the hike
For more pictures of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Oregon Dunes

Because I basically did not hike for a couple of months this year, I had pretty much consigned myself to one of my lesser years, in terms of hiking mileage. But then I did the math. Looking at the calendar and considering the remaining days available for the wonderful little avocation of hiking, there was an opportunity to just barely make it over a respectable 400 miles for the year. So, with Luna in mindless happy tail-wagging attendance, back to the coast I went for a moderate hike in the Oregon Dunes: no resting allowed for the mileage addicted.

Kind of reminds me of the time I put too
much detergent in the washing machine
The wise sages at NOAA had foretold a chance of rain and predictably, dark clouds hovered over the dunes when we started hiking on a paved trail tunneling through the ample vegetation. I've hiked at the Oregon Dunes quite a bit and am very familiar with the loop trail north of Tahkenitch Creek, However, as we descended through the coastal forest, I noticed for the first time, a small lake below and well to the left, kind of surreptitiously tucked away in a low spot surrounded by coastal scrub. For the sake of doing something different, dog and human abandoned the sandy track through the dunes and headed cross-country to the diminutive lake.

Off and running

It may have been just a small lake but it was a small lake I'd never been to before, never mind it looked like all the other small lakes peppering the dunes. We walked around the edge a bit before returning to the trail proper. Well, to be precise, I wandered around the edge while Luna eagerly jumped in, fervently swimming figure-eights in the black water.

Happy place on Earth, for both of us
Clearly, Luna was in her element, be it either open sand or marshy water. She was streaking all over the place, ears laid back by the breeze as she sprinted madly in random circles and curlicues with no particular purpose that I could fathom. When we entered the deflation plain forest behind the beach foredunes, she found the puddly trail in the thick forest to be another of her happy places. Come to think of it, everywhere except the vet's examining room is a happy place for Luna.

Might as well initiate my new
boots into a Richard Hike experience
Between the beach foredunes and the deflation plain forest, lie a series of ponds and marshes. As the forest continues to entrench itself behind the foredunes, it encroaches into the marshes or vise versa. What all this translates to, hiking-wise, is a series of long and deep puddles where there normally would be a trail. Naturally, my boots were soon filled with water and a dog was mindlessly running up and down the trail, splashing through each puddle with unbridled canine mania. Wow, it was not at all like hiking with Dollie.

Sadly and truly, this is the trail
All good things come to an end, though, and eventually the trail spit us out of the forest and into the marshes where more wading was required. Was this an awesome hike or what? Although the question was intended to be rhetorical, Luna's answer is in the affirmative.

The beach was littered with dead pyrosomes
The next several miles were on lonely beach, with just Luna, seagulls, sanderlings, and my own idle thoughts for company. One oddity on the beach were some clear plastic tubes a couple of inches long, the whole beach was littered with the stuff. Curious, I picked one up and realized it wasn't plastic but was some sort of animal carcass. I was guessing sea cucumber but further post-hike research revealed the mysterious creature to be many creatures instead; these were pyrosome colonies. Apparently, they tend to inhabit tropical waters and don't visit Oregon much; solving the riddle of their sudden and unexplained appearance in the Pacific Northwest is what's keeping marine biologists from sleeping at night these days.

The stormy clouds were spectacular
To the south, an incoming storm cast the sky with a dark and moody glower. The view to the north was not as dark but mist made it hard to see any distance. It seemed like  the light, clouds, and shadows changed with every step I took, and I now have hundreds of surf and beach photos to prove it. Periodically, sun beams would break through the cloud cover, illuminating some lucky portion of the ocean surf.

Sanderlings, before Luna chased them
Seeing how there were so few distractions for an attention-deficit dog, I slipped the leash off of Luna and let her run free. My mistake. There were small flocks of sanderlings foraging in the wet sand and Luna made it her personal mission to make sure I hiked on a completely bird-free beach. Sanderlings prefer to run instead of fly, so when chased by Luna, they flew only a short distance away. Since Luna could still see them, the chase was resumed, and the birds flew another short distance away. Since Luna could still see get the idea. Luna chased and chased until she was a small black dot on the horizon. Just about the point I was considering driving the car to Reedsport to meet her there, she turned around and ran back to me. Safe to say, she remained on the leash for the duration of the hike.

Tahkenitch Dunes, snaking through the dunes

We walked past the trail entering the dunes, eschewing for now a beach egress for a few more miles of beach walking. There was no logical turnaround point so I picked out a log on the beach in the distance and we walked to it before turning around and exiting the beach. The trail leaving the beach was mostly through grassy dunes next to Tahkenitch Creek. We enjoyed a nice overlook of an oxbow bend in the creek before we entered the world of sand.

Oregon dune, in the Oregon Dunes

Periodically, Luna was set free to splash and frolic in the numerous ponds dotting the dunes. The clouds seemed like they were dissipating and we enjoyed blue sky for a bit. I say "for a bit" because the dark clouds scudded in before we reached the trailhead. But hey, it didn't rain, I'm 7 miles closer to 400 miles for the year, and I didn't have to drive to Reedsport to pick up Luna. All that makes for another successful hike, in my book.

Gloomy, yet incredibly scenic...just like me!
For more pictures of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Bandon Beach

Every year, around this time, rainy weather comes to southern Oregon, ready to hang out for the next 19 months, or at least it feels like 19 months. In the higher elevations and mountains, the rain translates to snow, making it time to search for lower elevation hikes with snow-free trails. Well, you can't get any lower than the beach, so consequently my winter itinerary is heavily weighted towards coastal hikes.

Foam, foam, foam on the range....
Because I've spent a lot of miles on beaches in less than optimal weather, I've entertained many an opportunity to execute a life-saving sprint across the sands with a sneaker wave lapping at my heels. And, after being truly invested in the outcome of the wave vs. human contest, I've learned that prudence dictates a) knowing what the weather forecast foretells, and b) consulting a tide table and generally avoiding high tides.

Postcard moment on the beach
High tide at Bandon Beach was at noon, give or take a few minutes. Accordingly, Luna and I lollygagged at home before heading out to Bandon later than normal, timing the drive for arrival pretty much at the crest of high tide. When we showed up at the Coquille River jetty, waves were marching up the river channel in intimidating fashion and no boats were trying to exit Bandon Harbor. The beach between the jetty and the rocky islands of Coquille Point was awash with waves rolling up into the driftwood below the dunes. But it was a receding tide and would only get better so we set out, braving the mild inconvenience of having to hike in driftwood and run from waves. For some reason, there were no other beachgoers out and about, we had the entire beach strand to ourselves.

High surf pummels an island
Because the tide was still high, walking around the front of Coquille Point wasn't going to happen, so we scrambled over some rocks at the neck of the point. Our reward was the fantastic scenery waiting for us on the other side. Bandon Beach proper curved away from us, culminating in Gravel Point. The bay was filled with roiling white surf peppered with rocky islands and sea stacks. Driftwood covered most of the inland part of the beach, and the clouds were spectacular, allowing just enough sun to leak through, causing the sea to shimmer with a silvery light. Of course, all Luna saw was her people walking their humans, too; she whimpered wistfully, longing to socialize with her kind.

It was a marvelously gloomy view to the south
The pace of our hike slowed noticeably here, as much photography abounded. So many pointy rocks to take pictures of, each affixed with a lordly seagull on top. The tide was noticeably receding by now, so we had enough beach to walk comfortably on. I wasn't sure of it had receded enough to let us walk past Gravel Point but no worries, there was just enough sand to get by with some judicious timing of the waves. Luna was in her element as we sprinted around the point before the next wave came in. She is just a little bit faster than me. More graceful, too.

Rock islands and a silver sea
As we continued to hike along the beach, civilization gradually receded behind us. Accordingly, Luna was set free and she sprinted all over the beach. There were seagulls to chase, creeks to splash in, and an entire ocean readily available for a frolic and caper. We should all hike like Luna. Me, I mostly took photographs of the spectacular cloud bank straight ahead to the south.

A cloud floats above the beach

In back of us, the sky was blue but straight ahead, it was all doom and gloom. The clouds were dark and foreboding, portentous even. Tendrils of black rain hung from underneath and the sun poked holes in the dark tapestry here and there. A storm was in the forecast but apparently it was sweeping in a northeastern direction and pretty much left us alone.

Luna, in her element

Haystack Rock was the last island big enough to have a name and we continued on past until there were no more rocks or islands at all. Just miles and miles of soft sand stretching all the way to Port Orford, if one was inclined to walk 27 more miles in soft sand. Crooked Creek made for a logical turnaround point, although we had to allow for some quality dog-splash time in the creek.

A sneaker wave comes in to make me run
On the way back, it was nothing but blue sky ahead, apparently we were hiking underneath the intersection of blue sky and black clouds. The tide had retreated, leaving us acres of wet sand to hike on while fluffy sea foam marched across the wet strand, propelled by a coastal breeze. A small wave rolled in, catching the light just perfectly, and I stopped to capture the scene. Click, click, the camera was doing its thing when I realized the wave was not going to stop for a while. Darn sneaker wave, even though it was low tide! Normally, you sort of casually jog from the larger waves but not this one, I was running at a full dead-on sprint with the wave literally splashing at my heels. The sprint lasted nearly 100 yards and let's just say that I'm no threat to Usain Bolt as I lumbered across the wet sand like an obsolete Imperial Walker from the very first Star Wars movie. Luna thought it was great fun though, leaping and snapping at her leash, deliriously happy to be running with her lord and master while being totally unclear on the concept of running to safety. For the remainder of the hike, we kept a more respectful distance from the surf.

Looks irritated with my photo-taking
The remainder of the hike was more uneventful as the weather improved over the miles. Good thing too, I'm not sure how many more such sprints I had left in the tank. There was now a healthy population of fair-weather beachgoers out and about, including a group that creates artistic labyrinths on the the sandy beach canvas. They invited us to play in the nascent maze but we still had several miles to go. By the time we reached the Coquille River, the setting sun imparted a soft golden glow to everything. It was a perfect end to a great day on the Oregon coast.

Perfect ending
For more photographs of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.