Monday, February 25, 2008

Cape Perpetua Weekend

Last February when I led a group of Adventurous Young Mazmas to the Oregon Coast, it was raining hard when we arrived at the trailhead.  This year I am pleased to report the sky was blue as we assembled.  Our trip started out at Baker Beach with a short hike through the woods and then onto the beach with its crashing surf.  Then we drove north, past Sea Lion Caves, to a point with views of Heceta Head Lighthouse.  
I know that I had been in this area as a boy.  I remember taking the elevator into the caverns of Sea Lion Caves.  What I am uncertain about is which area beaches I have visited in the past.  We parked the cars at Carl Washbourne State Park and hiked inland through the groves of Stika Spruce.  Then our trail climbed up the north side of Heceta Head, giving us great views of the beach down below.  We lingered at the Lighthouse and marveled at our fortune to have such good weather at a prime location.  Then we retraced our steps over the head to take the Hobbit trail through the dense Stika Spruce groves and onto the Hobbit Beach.  Several in our group thought the walk along this beach to be the highlight of the trip.
With the hiking for the day behind us we we retired to the Yurts.  We followed the usual tradition of having a potluck dinner.  I had been expecting rainy weather, so I had kept it simple and left my Dutch Over behind.  We spent the rest of the evening playing board games, full from the potluck and the wonderful experiences of the day.
The next morning there was light rainfall.  When I asked the Camp Hostess for the tide tables, she thanked us for not making a racket last night.  We parked the cars at Cooks Chasm and explored the tidepools, keeping a close eye on the incoming tide.  Then we hiked up to the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center.  The plan was to hike the Saint Perpetua trail to the stone shelter at the top of the cape.  Before crossing Cape Creek I saw Skunk Cabbage, which reminded me of last year's hike around Lake Marie at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park.  As we made our way up the switchbacks the weather was improving, people were starting to shed their raingear.  When we made it to the top the blue sky had returned.  We ate our lunches soaking in not rain, but the views of the beach and Heceta Head to the south.

We managed to return to the Cooks Chasm just before high tide.  This was well timed because we got to witness the Spouting Horn, which is a ocean geyser that put on a great show.  We lingered at this point for some time, watching the surf pound the rocks and then cascade back into the ocean.
Our final destination was the Seal Rock Wayside, just north of Waldport.  Here we had a mellow walk along the beach.  It was a fitting way to end this fine weekend.

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