OCT | Day 3 | Cannon Beach to Nehalem

Cannon Beach to Arch Cape

We had an very early start today as we crawled out of our sleeping bags at 3 AM. We had to catch low tide at 5:21 AM to get around three points, one that was nearly 5 miles away. So the tents came down, our packs refilled, and we marched back through town to the beach.

At high tide, Haystack Rock is quite a distance away from the beach and surrounded by 6 feet of water. With the tide fully we could walk right up to it. We didn’t linger though as we had places to be.

We reached Silver Point first and could see how our path would be fully underwater if we waited. It was a surreal experience to walk the beach at that time, with the mist hanging in the air, and the darkness slowly fading away.

As we cleared our first “gate,” we grew more confident that we would make it all the way through and started to explore more. Just past Silver Point is a very large rock called Jockey Cap that Jill and I walked out to. Christy took this picture where you can see us little ants.

And here we are closer. It felt like the deep, dark ocean was right behind the rock, so we manuevered carefully, taking our pictures, then scrambling back to the others.

Here’s a close-up of the side of the rock with all the sea life clinging to it.

Back with the group, we hustled around Humbug Point, then worked our way down to Hug Point.

Supposedly, they used to drive wagons and stagecoaches around Hug Point, which made more sense as we neared the landing and crossed. 

 

There were a few spots where I’m not sure I’d have driven a wagon but perhaps it was wider back then.

Once we got past Hug Point, it was a couple miles further before the beach ran out at Arch Cape. Here, we scaled the dunes and into town. Like clockwork, we found a sign reassuring us that we were headed in the right direction.

Oswald State Park

At this point, the girls decided that they’d had enough for the day and planned to take a taxi to our camp that night. I wanted to keep going, so they took some of the heavier items I was carrying and sent me on my way to climb over Arch Cape.
After a short walk through the neighborhood, I turned the corner and was greeted by one of the coolest bridges I’ve ever seen. It was a suspension bridge that rocked and swayed a bit as I crossed — a perfect gateway into the forest.
 
 
The trail would take me over Arch Cape and around Cape Falcon. The forest was similar to one at Tillamook Head but much more rugged. I started to climb immediately after I crossed the bridge and fought my way though for the next several miles. The scenery was incredible but the trail was very challenging.
 
 
In many places, the trees and bushes have so encroached the trail that it would’ve been impossible for two people to walk side-by-side. In other places, enormous trees had fallen across the trail and I had to crawl underneath on my hands and knees to get through with my pack.
 
 
After a couple hours, I made it through the woods and was rewarded with some great views.
 
 
As I headed south through Oswald State Park, the trail was obvious in most places. At one point though I screwed up and suddenly popped out on the 101 having no clue where I was. And no cell service. Wonderful. 
 
Eventually, I figured it out but earned myself a mile of highway walking as penance for my sins.
 
 
And whew! I’m back in business.
 

Neahkahnie Mountain

Back on the trail, I started the climb up to Neahkahnie Mountain. An endless sea of green filled my view up the long steep switchbacks.

The trail got narrow in places as the flowers multiplied. The fragrance filled the air from Queen Anne’s Lace and a purple flower I didn’t know.

After climbing a mile or more, I ran into a couple of hikers who warned me that the trail ahead had “vanished” due to erosion or some other mishap. They said it was impassable and turned around. Undeterred, I kept on walking. 

Then, I ran into a second group who repeated the warning. They said I could try it myself but they didn’t think anyone was getting to the top that way. Crap. I pondered my fate for a moment, then turned around. More highway walking for me it seemed.

At least the views were nice.

Down the mountain I went, passing into Manzanita. I called Rhonda to see if they’d made it to camp. They were sitting in the grass, enjoying the afternoon. It was Beer:30 and they had my growler waiting for me. Music for tired ears.

My legs and feet were thrashed at this point but I picked up the pace and hustled through town to Nehalem State Park. Feet don’t fail me now!

And, finally, I rolled my tired carcass into camp. We rented a yurt for the night, which looked a lot more spacious than I was expecting. And a nice patio for cooking. Check out Jill’s blog to see how that went — https://orcotrail2017.wordpress.com.

 Day 3 mileage was 24.1 miles with 2,760 feet of climbing. Took me 11 hours.

Where the heck is that growler?!!

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