Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer Vacation Stage 3: The Final Hours Elapse (Part One)

Let's call our trip east Stage One, our foray to CoMO (as short as it was), Stage Two, and this, our current experience in the Beaver State, Stage Three. I sit here, a Rogue Brutal Bitter at my elbow, as the hours in Eugene tick down. Early tomorrow, we will be heading back east, stopping overnight in Twin Falls, Idaho, before continuing on to a short visit with friends (Suh-weet and Queen of Spades, if you recall) in Fort Collins, and then a week's stay with the Ambassadors in Allenspark. I don't know what kind of connectivity we may have once we leave the relative civilization of Eugene, so these my be my last posts this month. We shall see.

Needless to say, this has been a wonderful visit, between seeing old and dear friends, attending a great concert, quaffing some tasty adult beverages (two favorites: Widmer's Belgian Style Ale and Bridgeport's Black Strap Stout), and hitting some longed-for mountain trails, my stay in Oregon will only be topped by the time soon spent in Colorado, I bet. Let me catch you up.

Monday, Monkey and I drove to the coast for a hike around Heceta Head. Monkey and I had been there before, back in 2005, but we hadn't hiked this particular trail. We started in the fog-bound morning, hiking from a day use area, along the beach for a mile or so. It was magical, walking on the beach, which is so different from the East Coast beaches I am used to. The beaches here are much longer from dune to surf, the dunes are much bigger, the flotsam and jetsam at the water's edge is different, and, well, it is almost always (in my short experience) foggy as hell. We could barely see to the breakers from the water's edge, really. It was so foggy that we almost missed the turn off from the beach, up the brush-covered fore dune, to the Hobbit Trail.

We scampered up the trail, and ascended about five hundred feet (maybe more) through foggy, cool, mossy rain forest. At the lighthouse, we paused for a snack, and to look at the Brandt's cormorants and gulls on Parrot Rock. I've seen guillemots and muirs here, too, but, with no binoculars and low visibility, it was hard to make out much. From the lighthouse (the last built on the Oregon coast, by the way), we doubled back on the trail, and then crossed Highway 101, over to the Valley Trail, which was made more daunting than its name implies by the "Cougar Sighting" sign at the trail head.

But, the sign didn't have a date on it, so we didn't know if a cougar was sighted any time recently, or if they just put these signs up because cougars might be in the area. At any rate, I did spend some time on the trail trying to devise a suitable escape plan, should a cougar attack, but the only plan I could devise involved self-sacrifice, and me yelling "Run!" at Monkey. Not much of a survivable scenario there.

The cougar preoccupation notwithstanding, the east side of the highway was beautiful. Lush, green, dotted with foxglove and other flowers. The short loop around the creek was particularly pleasant. Having traversed back to the north, we crossed the highway again, and headed back to our vehicle. The last hundred yards of the trail, a dense canopy of moss-covered pines, twisted and bent into surreal positions, prompted Monkey to wax fittingly poetic, as she said, "It looks like Dr. Seuss in here." And at that moment, I could just imagine the Lorax hopping out from behind a tree.

1 comment:

La Fashionista said...

Oh you take me back: I did enjoy many things about being in Portland last summer - good beer and the great outdoors being two. What a beautiful hike even if uneventful, sans cougars and Lorax.