PCT Trail Angel Hike North Past Gillette Lake

Hike Distance: 8.3 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1061.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 1377 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 112293 feet

Cooler temps and less smog, from the wildfires in BC, made for a nice day of hiking and providing trail magic on the PCT north of Bridge of the Gods near Gillette Lake, in WA! We met so many fantastic Thru and Section hikers. In order, we met:

1) SOBO Section hiker “Winky”
2) NOBO Thru-hikers “Boomerang & Crikey”
3) SOBO Thru-hiker “Hurl Goat” originally from Mexico
4) NOBO Thru-hikers “Carebear & Oreo” from Israel
5) NOBO Section hiker “Sparkles”
6) NOBO Section hiker “Bilbo”
7) NOBO Thru-hiker “Jupiter” from New Zealand
8) NOBO Thru-hiker “Mountain Rabbit” from Austria – He is the only hiker we’ve met, this year, that has completed the entire trail up to where we met, including the Sierra’s!
9) NOBO Thru-hikers “Moho & Sateless” from Germany

So many wonderful people and we wished them a safe and fun journey!   I’ve also included some scenic pictures of this area of the PCT.

Bayocean Peninsula Loop Hike

Hike Distance: 8.5 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1053.4 miles

Elevation Gain: 229 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 110916 feet

At the last moment we decided to hike this Bayocean Peninsula loop, and it was a great decision!  This is perhaps the last time we will flee to the coast to avoid the high temperatures and smog in the Portland/Vancouver area.

The parking area is at the end of a long dike, and there is plenty of space for vehicles.  Thankfully, not many people were there on this day.  We started out by heading west on the trail, over the dune area, and onto the beach.  There was plenty of fog but the views of the ocean and peninsula were still nice.

We headed north along the coast until we reached the jetty, and saw only a half dozen people along the way.  We rested along the boulders on the jetty and had a snack. Unfortunately, the jetty isn’t hike-able as it is only composed of large boulders, and no crushed rock surface, like on forest roads.

We then took a poorly marked sandy trail east and ended up on a crushed gravel road.  The crushed gravel road took us all the way back to the trailhead.  Along the way there are great views of Tillamook Bay.  Unfortunately, there was a large clear-cut opposite our trail, on the north side, that was an eyesore.  There were several trails, we could have taken, to cut across the peninsula to the beach, but we didn’t on this hike.  It was along this section of the trail that we saw the most people, towards the end of the hike.  There is also a nice forested area along this stretch.

Another observation about this trail is that the non-indigenous plant, Scotch Broom, has taken over this peninsula! 😦   It’s quite the eyesore and is crowding out the indigenous plants.  Quite a shame to see this, and I suspect it would cost a fortune to remove it at this point.

A very nice hike that we’ll come back to, to complete the other trails, at a future time.   When we got to Portland the sun was setting and the sky an eerie orange color!

Tillamook Head Hike to Viewpoint in Ecola State Park

Hike Distance: 9.3 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1044.9 miles

Elevation Gain: 2046 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 110687 feet

We decided on a non beach hike for this trip to the coast.  Tillamook Head is a hike I heard about and have wanted to try for a while!    We’re still avoiding the heat and smog in the Portland/Vancouver area.

The Tillamook Head TH has plenty of parking and begins with great signage.  Today it was quite foggy and we didn’t expect any views from the viewpoint that was our destination.  There was so much fog that the water vapor was condensing on the trees and dripping down heavily onto the trail.  As such, the trail was very wet and slick.  The fog also gave an eerie effect during the entire hike, which just added to the ethereal atmosphere!

The trail basically ascends for the first several miles.  There is mud on the trail but it doesn’t really get bad until the trail levels out at about three miles out.  There are also plenty of boardwalks along the way to help keep off the soft and saturated soils, but many of the boards are rotted or missing completely.

At about 1.5 miles out there is a slide that can be circumvented, but it’s quite muddy and steep in this area.  I had expected there to be dropoff’s, per some trail literature, but there was only one of real concern, and there was a loose steel cable in this area.  That said, this trail would be a concern for children as there are plenty of opportunities to tumble down steep slopes, but the trail is primarily wide in these areas.

At about 4.5 miles out we reached a trail intersection.  Continuing across the narrow road will continue to take you on the trail to Indian Beach.  Turning right on the trail you’ll find a restroom and camp area for backpackers.  Continuing past the camp you’ll find a viewpoint with steel safety cable restricting you from the cliff area.  We briefly saw the waves crashing onto the beach, very far below us.  We then turned around and investigated the several small trails that will bring you to concrete structures, possibly from WWII?

There are plenty of old growth trees on this trail, and it was a humbling sight to see them.  We took our time getting back down so we didn’t slip and cause injuries.  Carol hurt her knee when coming down the steep trail near the slide, but is okay now!  A fantastic day in the cool, but wet, Ecola State Park!

 

Oregon Coast Trail Hike from Del Rey Beach State Park

Hike Distance: 8.7 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1035.6 miles

Elevation Gain: 204 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 108641 feet

Another excellent day on the Oregon Coast in the humid, windy and cool weather.  Again, a stark difference from the hot smog filled air in the Portland/Vancouver area.

We parked at the Del Rey Beach Recreation site and then headed north.  Despite this beach being available to vehicles, we saw very few vehicles during the day.

 

Sunset Beach & Fort to Sea Trail Hike

Hike Distance: 9.0 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1026.9 miles

Elevation Gain: 329 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 108437 feet

This is the first of many days spent on the coast, due to hot temperatures (in the 90’s) and smog from the BC wildfires.  We drove out on Hwy 30 through Astoria and then south to the Sunset Beach trailhead.

We started our hike by starting out on the Fort to Sea Trail.  We only needed to complete two miles of the trail, to the tunnel under Hwy 101, to connect with a previous hike we had done.  This section of the Fort to Sea Trail passes by some ponds, which were quite photogenic.  We then crossed a large wood bridge over a lake.  There were plenty of water lilies blooming in this thin, long lake.  The remainder of the trail, to the tunnel, felt like we were walking along the edge of fields, next to fences, and crossing onto different properties.  There were even gated areas that we had to go through single file to transition to the next property.  There were very few people on this section of the trail, which gave us some solitude.

After returning to the parking area we headed out to Sunset Beach and headed north.  I forgot to mention.  I forgot to mention that it was nice and cool on the coast with a mild breeze, which was such a nice contrast to the Portland/Vancouver area!  The walk on the beach was quite nice, in spite of the occasional car that drove by.  It was a bit surprising that there were actually so few people considering this is the summer and height of the tourist season.

A great day and well worth the drive to see such beauty and stay out of the hot smog. 🙂