Hike Distance: 8.6 miles Yearly Hike Distance: 1221.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 508 feet Yearly Elevation Gain: 164542 feet
Temperatures in the Portland/Vancouver area were going to be near 100 degF today, so we needed to escape the heat. The coast is always the logical choice, where it is typically cool, when every other inland place is burning up.
So we headed back to Fort Stevens State Park, where there are a multitude of opportunities for hiking. When we arrived the temperature was in the 60’s, and it stayed that way all day, due to a nice marine layer that kept it cloudy all day. We started our hike near Coffenbury Lake and headed south along the eastern shoreline. This is a beautiful lake but there is evidence of pollution by the many people that visit. We saw oil like spills along the shoreline. 😦 Thankfully, today there were very few people in this area and the solitude was nice.
We were heading around the southern boundary of the lake and saw a path going off on an abandoned road. I thought this path would end quickly but it turns out this is an unofficial trail system, and it is very extensive. We know this after bumping into a gentleman that explained that this was originally a bike trail system and it is now used for horseback riding and hiking. This trail system uses both narrow hiking paths and abandoned roads. There is much to explore here and we’ll definitely come back in the future. Also note that this trail system is not on any map!
We returned to the Coffenbury Lake Loop Trail after completing over 3.5 miles of this unmapped trail system. We then completed the western side of the loop trail and then took the path heading toward the beach. I didn’t want to complete our hike until we had a chance to visit the beach, which was our original goal.
The trail from Coffenbury Lake to the beach was about 3/4 of a mile. When we reached the beach it was low tide, and the number of people we saw was large. When you first reach the beach you can see the wreck of the Peter Iredale. We couldn’t take a picture of the Peter Iredale, without people, so we opted to hike south along the beach. The crowd thinned quickly during the beach walk and we saw only a few people randomly walking along it.
The mood on the beach was amazing, with low visibility and the feel of walking in a heavy mist. The temperature was already cool but the wind really made it feel cold. We stopped and just watched the waves but didn’t spend too much time because we became chilled. After making it back to our car we drove off and had dinner at a Subway near Astoria.
Such a wonderful day escaping the heat. The beach is a special place for us and it never gets old or tiring. We’ll be back, and soon. 🙂