Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cape Lookout

Fourth of July weekend.  Four days off from work.  My hubby and I had made big plans to go camping.  But then poor Roger got deathly ill with a sinus and ear infection.  He wasn't going anywhere.  What's a girl to do?

Why, plan a long weekend hike-o-rama!

Ocean view through the trees

Of the four days I had free, I hiked three of them.  First up, on the 4th itself, was a trek around Cape Lookout.  I'd been jonesin' to get back to the coast, and after seeing a post on Facebook showing the wonderful views from here, I decided it would be first on my agenda.

My doggy is rarin' to go

Cape Lookout is a narrow cliff-edged peninsula that juts out into the Pacific Ocean.  Located just south of the town of Tillamook, it's a mere hours drive from my house.  There's a well-used state park campground nearby, which shares the same name. 

Lovely purple trailside flowers

It was a 2.5 mile one-way trek to the cape's western end.  Wanting more of a hike than a mere 5 miles, I also planned a second side trip down to the nearby beach. 

Lots of huge trees here!

After losing Bear the last time he joined me on a hike, I was reluctant to bring my dog along.  But Bear's persistent whining and sad doggy eyes won me over.  Since we'd be hiking on a narrow peninsula, there weren't many places he could get lost.  But I wasn't taking any chances.  To start out, I kept Bear leashed.  However, I soon relented, realizing he wasn't going anywhere.  I think Bear learned from our last outing.  I'm happy to report he behaved perfectly, always staying within sight and never venturing too far ahead of me.

North side view from the cape

My trail began on the southern side of the cape, in a dense forest of old gnarly spruce and hemlock trees.  Ferns and salal bushes added to the jungle-y atmosphere.  After a half mile of hiking, I was treated to a stunning view of the sparkling blue Pacific.  Continuing on, the path provided a few more peek-a-boo vistas between gaps in the trees. 

Cliffside trail

Hikers are then directed to the north side of the cape and another stunning viewpoint.  This overlook gives glimpses of coastline to the north of Cape Lookout.  Three Arch Rocks were visible waayyy out on the horizon.  Closer in, I could see Netarts spit stretching out across the bay, and watched waves crash at the foot of steep rocky cliffs, directly below.

A boardwalk was provided in muddy places

Then it was back into the woods, through more groves of huge old trees.  This thick forest provided welcome shade.  It also created some swampy areas. The dense vegetation prevented sunlight form getting through, and the soil never dried out.  A wooden boardwalk covered the worst of the mud.

The very tip of Cape Lookout is a popular place

Our path then led back to the southern side of Cape Lookout, to an open trail perched precariously on top of a steep cliff.  While the wind was blowing strongly on the north side, here it had totally died down.  That meant the sun, which was getting higher and hotter, beamed down upon us unfortunate hikers.  And if you're a black dog with thick fur, it didn't take long to heat up.

Wonderful view from trail's end

Poor Bear was panting heavily and looking for shade, any shade.  I had a bottle of water in my pack for him, but thinking we were close to trail's end, decided to wait until we arrived to break it out.  But then I got distracted by some pretty flowers growing on the cliff below and tried to get some shots.  And then the trail passed by some truly magnificent viewpoints that begged to be photographed.  Bear waited patiently for me to finish my photo sessions, but if he could talk, he would've told me to hurry up.

"I was here" photo

Finally, Bear and I arrived at trail's end, a patch of dirt with one small bench.  Cables were strung across the clifftops, an attempt to prevent people from getting too close to the edge.  There was only one other woman there, laying across the entire bench, so Bear and I sat down in the grass nearby.  I gave my poor doggy all the water he could hold, and then shared my PB&J sandwich.

Amazing blue sea

Oh the scenery was spectacular!  The Pacific Ocean spread out on three sides, calm and amazingly blue.  I watched seabirds on the cliffs below, darting in and out and soaring above the water.  A few flowers were still in bloom.  A great lunch spot.

My hot, tired doggy heading back

Of course, a place like this doesn't stay vacant long, especially on a holiday.  I'd no sooner finished my sandwich, when three large groups of people and dogs descended upon this small clifftop.  Things got crowded real quick.  One group had a big golden retriever who I could tell was hot and thirsty.  The owners only had one small water bottle to share amongst their group, so I gave the poor dog some of Bear's water.  The people commented they didn't realize the trail was going to be so long (obviously they didn't notice the trailhead mileage sign).

Dainty purple blooms

Having had my fill of crowds, Bear and I started back down the trail.  The scenery was just as fabulous the second time around.  But it was a hot trek back across the exposed clifftops and Bear wasn't too pleased that I kept stopping and snapping yet more photos.

Beach view near the trailhead

Finally, we ducked back into the wonderful cool forest.  Approaching the north side, the wind kicked up again.  This cool breeze was most appreciated!  Afternoon light shining on the coastline made for some stunning colors.  I enjoyed even better vistas as I made my way back to the car.

Another great coastline vantage on the road home

By the time Bear and I reached the parking lot, I realized my dog was done with hiking for the day.  The heat had totally zapped his energy.  So I scuttled my beach side trip, loaded him in the car, and headed for home.

But before leaving the coast, I made one final stop at a paved pullout down the road.  From this perch, I could see north to Neahkahnie Mountain and Three Arch Rock.  The wide, sandy beach spread out below.  Frothy white waves crashed onto the shoreline.  Photo ops don't get any better!

Who needs fireworks?  This was a perfect way to spend the 4th of July.

(P. S.  Stay tuned for my next post and see where I go on hike-o-rama, day two.)

Linking to:  Share Your Cup Thursday and Weekly Top Shot.


  1. Chuckled when I saw the first pic of Bear (with the leash) as I thought, "she's not letting bear get far away from her." So glad you relaxed and he did well. I hate for the pleasure of having him with you to diminish from fear, yet I could fully understand if it did. These pics are just incredible! What a gorgeous day. Hope Roger has recovered. Sinus infections are horrible.

  2. Gorgeous photos Linda! So sorry your hubby was ill and not able to join you -- hope he is better!

  3. Great shots! Staycations are often more fun than travelling!

  4. Oooo I want to visit the coast so bad!!! I haven't been in way too long.

    (PS) you win for most awesome comment ever left on my blog. Put a bird on it! Thanks for the morning laugh ;)

  5. I'm in total agreement, I'd take this over fireworks (or just about anything else) on the 4th of July holiday, or ANY day!!
    We were hear during our exhilarating trip along the Oregon Coast. A few of the views in your photos look very familiar. I love seeing photos taken from somewhere in this big world, knowing I stood in that very spot! When we were there, however, it was April, and the day we were in that area, we had fierce winds & bursts of sideways rain. We did not hike as far as you did. I believe we may have blown off the cliff. ;)
    I look forward to see where you went next!

  6. Your images are breathtaking! I just love all the ocean shots - gorgeous! I'm glad Bear behaved on this hike. When I saw his photo on the trail I thought of your last post and got scared, but I'm glad he stayed close this time!

  7. Ouch-I hate ear infections! Your poor hubby:(
    I am SO thankful that you love Cliffside trails...and that you love to post photos from them! The views were amazing--the photo from the tip almost got my heart racing and the wildflowers were beautiful!

  8. Sinus/ear infections...yuck. So happy Bear was back to his usual hiking self. It seems the heat is falling on everyone these days - we are looking forward to a cool front moving in tomorrow night...78on Sunday! You make me miss the Pacific Northwest - loved this post and the photos!

  9. You certainly live in a beautiful part of the world, coast or mountain, summer, winter or fall!!!

  10. So gorgeous Linda! I agree, what a perfect way to spend a holiday!!

  11. Magnificent shots ~ what a place ~ Love your dog! Happy Weekend to you ^_^

  12. A beautiful spot not that different to the North coast of Cornwall in England where I am.

  13. That's some wonderful scenery! Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

  14. Hiking and ocean views - love it!!

  15. Great scenery . . . . . Great lens!

  16. Gorgeous views! Your hiking companion sure is a cutie.

  17. What beautiful photos. It looks like a marvelous place for a glad Bear came along. :)

  18. Wow! Stunning shots.. I love the OR and WA coast... Thanks for sharing on WTS!

  19. Spectacular views . Glad Bear stayed safely by your side.

  20. Very nice. I ,of course, liked seeing your dog in many pictures.

  21. Oh gosh Linda, I didn't know that Bear had gotten lost last time. So glad he learned his lesson and stayed close by. So sorry that your hubby was ill and unable to enjoy this beauty. Stunning views and oh my, your flower photography could win awards! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  22. How gorgeous. You live in such a beautiful part of the world.


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