OCT | Day 6 | Cape Lookout to Cape Kiwanda

Cape Lookout

The rain was steady overnight but it let up briefly in the morning as we made our breakfast. Dark clouds loomed in this distance, however, so we put on our full rain gear to start the day.
As we left the campground, we chatted with the Ranger and he suggested we try the North Trail to get up and over the cape. My directions had similar, so we pulled up our hoods and set out to find the trail

Voila! And an OCT badge as well. Bonus! Those little guys have been a little scarce on some parts of our journey, so we’ve often just had to rely maps or other directions to find our way. Seeing the “official” marker was reassuring.

One we were on the North Trail, the rain started coming down. Thankfully, we had tree cover to deflect some of the raindrops but we got pretty soaked as we moved along.

The forest provided plenty of wonderful sights, including an “A-Frame” tree we could walk through.

We also saw our second long cable-suspension bridge of the week. Unfortunately, I slipped at the beginning of this one and picked up a nice bruise on the underside of my arm as I caught myself. Better than falling on my ass!

Walking through the forest, it often felt like we were passing through a cloud as it moved over the cape.

I don’t have any good pictures to share but there were times we were literally walking up a rushing river as we climbed up some of the trails. Needless to say, we were all drenched. But our jackets and raincovers were working perfectly. Water dripping off the outside but perfectly dry inside.

After a couple of miles, we reached the top. And another badge. We were on a roll today!

At that point, we could take the South Trail down to the beach and around to Sand Lake. That would mean we’d have to cross it, though, which we decided not to attempt. Supposedly, it was possible at very low tide but most descriptions sound iffy to me. We found out later that our caution was right on track.

Around Sand Lake

The rain continued as we started down Cape Lookout Road. Thankfully, we only saw a few cars and had mostly wide shoulders to walk on.

We eventually walked out of Cape Lookout park and turned south on to Sand Lake Road. Here, we started to see more houses and farms.

When we started the day, we were concerned that are food supplies were getting a little low and we didn’t see any stores along our path, at least until the end of the day. As we neared lunch time, though, look what appeared on the side of the road. Hot Pockets and microwave burritos for everyone!

While I was wolfing down my lunch inside the store, I had a nice conversation with Tammy, who was minding the shop. Her parents owned the place and she had been working behind the counter for 33 years. She didn’t look much older than we were, so she’d clearly spent most of her life there. I asked about Sand Lake and she warned that there had only been ONCE in her lifetime that the water had been low enough to safely cross. At other times, even at lowest tide, it was quite dangerous and should be avoided. Good tip. Glad we came the way that we did.

Lunch safely in our belly, we shouldered our packs and started down the road.

At this point, we were still in Tillamook County, so I stopped to have a quick chat with some more of the locals. These fine creatures were critical employees in the county’s famous cheese production.

After a while, the rain clouds passed and blue skies emerged.

We continued south until we were completely around Sand Lake, then found our way back to the beach.

Sand Lake to Cape Kiwanda

After nearly 6 days of walking, we reached our first big milestone — 100 miles! One of the benefits of traveling on the beach is that it makes a handy “message board” for broadcasting big events.

Our destination for the night was Cape Kiwanda but we had to scale an enormous sand dune to get there. This picture doesn’t truly convey how tall this dune was. I had to take a panorama photo to capture it all.

As we attempted to scale this sand mountain, we were suddenly thankful for all the rain as it made the sand tacky and easier to climb. Had that sand been dry and powdery, I think I’d still be working my way up it.

Here we are about a third of the way up.

And here we are nearing the top. You can see how far away the ocean is.

After cresting the dune, I thought we’d drop right into Cape Kiwanda but we had a little further to go.

Camp for the night was a cozy little yurt at the Cape Kiwanda RV Resort. 

Beer:30 included a nice FivePine Chocolate Porter from Three Creeks Brewing.

Day 6 mileage was 15 with 1,324 feet of climbing. Total distance walked to this point — 100.8 miles

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