We started the day with breakfast and showers at the Hi-Tide Oceanfront Inn. This was to be our last hotel for a while so we took advantage as much as we could. Then it was back to the beach.
Looming ahead was Tillamook Head. We had seen it in front of us for most of the day before, growing closer and closer. We expected this day to be much different than the previous as we attempted our first real Oregon trails.
It was only a mile down the beach before it ended. We scrambled up the cobbles and into the neighborhood.
Thankfully, we only had a short stretch up the road before coming to the trailhead. It felt like we were entering a completely new world as we crossed the bridge and entered the forest.
And we started to climb. We knew were in for some elevation today but there was virtually no warm-up. We crossed the threshold into the trees then started up.
Even with the big climb, the team was in high spirits. Everyone was glad to be off the beach for a while.
The trail was very muddy. We had a steady stream of reminders of how much it rains here and how little sun sneaks through to dry out the forest floor. We were constantly navigating in and around stretches of sticky mud.
At the top of Tillamook Head is a Hiker/Biker Camp that’s a popular stopping point. Our schedule had us going quite a bit further today so we didn’t camp. It made a great lunch spot instead.
This is where we caught up to a fellow group of hikers that Jill first found on Instagram. They started a couple days ahead of us but were taking a more leisurely pace. We met Janey, her two kids, Asia and Ezra, and Asia’s fiancee, Camden. Funny enough, they were from Cottonwood, in Arizona. Asia and Ezra live in Portland now but Janey runs an shop in Jerome. I snapped a photo of Asia and Camden and sent it to our Azia back in Phoenix. Small world moment.
We finished lunch and climbed back down the trail. We had a couple miles down to Indian Beach and the scenery didn’t disappoint.
At Indian Beach, we got our first bad news. The trail to Ecola Point was immpassable due to winter rain damage so the rangers had closed it.
That was unfortunate. Even more so because our detour was a long climb up an asphalt road that felt like we were scaling Everest. Especially on legs that were still recovering from the previous day.
At Ecola Point, we had a choice. Either continue down the park road into town or climb down to Crescent Beach and try to get around Chapman Point. It was nearly low tide, so we had chance. At the junction, we met a hiker coming up from the beach who said we could make it. More importantly, he said there were caves down there. He had me at caves.
We had to descend a ways to get down to the beach. Here’s a photo looking back up.
At the beach, I switched to my water shoes as I expected to get wet navigating around the point. The others weren’t so sure and elected to make a “game time” decision once we got there.
Here’s a better picture of Chapman Point. You can see that there’s clearly water in the gap. As we walked up to it, I hoped it would be shallow or maybe even dry as the tide receded.
When we got closer, the water was unfortunately deeper than expected. I wish I had a better picture but I completely neglected camera duty as I tried to figure out a way around. What you cannot see above is a small tunnel at the base of the rock that looked like it might work. In fact, we ran into a nice couple there, Kathryn and Dave, that were eyeing the same thing. Kathryn even changed clothes to see if she could make it through. She succeeded. But watching her manuever, on hands and knees at times, to get through the cave convinced me that we couldn’t really duplicate her feat with our packs. Disappointed, we reversed course and climbed back up to the top of the hill.
Once at the top, we made our way back to Ecola Park Road and down into Cannon Beach. Dinner (and Beer:30) was at Pelican Brewing.
After dinner, we shuffled our way to our campsite. Rhonda booked us a great little place called Wrights for Camping. This was our first night in tents, so thankfully we got there with plenty of daylight left to get everything set up.
Day 2 mileage was 15.2 with 2,132 feet of climbing. Even with the ascents, it felt easier than our first day. Spending a lot of the day walking on soft forest floor made a big difference.
We had a very early wake-up call the next morning, so everyone went to bed as soon as they could. Big miles in front of us tomorrow.