|Beach view from Cape Lookout Trail|
BUT.....my son Cody happened to be in town one Friday in early June, was free, and expressed interest in hiking with his old mother. Of course I wasn't about to pass up a chance to spend quality time with my kid!
|Interesting patterns on these leaves|
Not wishing to fight Friday afternoon traffic through Portland, I suggested heading west instead. It'd been awhile since either of us had visited the beach - time to get our ocean fix! Paging through my hiking book, Cape Lookout Trail leaped to the forefront.
|A lone wild iris|
Cape Lookout's narrow, cliff-edged peninsula juts two and a half miles out into the Pacific Ocean. Surrounded by a state park of the same name, it's a short jaunt past the town of Tillamook. A perfect summer afternoon excursion.
|Lots of salal|
Heading westward, the city's hot weather gave way to cool coastal breezes. Not a fan of high temps, I happily donned a long sleeve shirt at the trailhead.
|Cody admires a huge tree|
The Cape Lookout trail began in dense woods of ancient spruce and hemlock trees. Some of these trees were quite large and mossy. Plentiful ferns and salal bushes covered the forest floor, accented by tiny pink candyflowers.
A half mile in, teaser ocean views could be glimpsed through a few gaps in the trees.
There were lots of unique flowers blooming, and hoping to identify them later, I photographed each one.
|Boardwalk over muddy patches|
Portions of the trail crossed wet, boggy areas. A boardwalk helped keep our feet out of the mud.
About a mile and half in, the trail passed by an impressive overlook. High above the ocean, we looked down into a secret cove with the most stunning aquamarine waters.
|Looking down into a secret cove|
Then, it was back on the trail. This time, we ran into a section of damaged boardwalk, forcing my son and I to tromp through the mud. Oh well, that's what hiking boots are for!
|Lots of mud puddles!|
Nearing the end of the cape, the forest dwindled until we came out onto a wide open grassy slope.
|Nearing the cape's end|
The views over the ocean were fabulous! But don't get too close to the edge.....It was a long way down.
|Blue eyed Mary|
More unique, lovely flowers were blooming on the steep cliff edges.
And then, we came upon trail's end - a wide spot at Cape Lookout's very tip. Despite heavy brush and trees on one side, it still offered an incredible vista. The Pacific Ocean's blue waters stretched out for miles.
|The ocean view extends for miles|
There were a few other groups here - some sitting quietly enjoying the view, while one other group of young people were loudly socializing. Kind of ruined the atmosphere, so we didn't stick around very long.
I usually don't mind out and back trails - you always see something you missed on the return trip. In this case, it was an enormous spruce tree.
|Taking in the views|
And you get the opportunity to take in those lovely vistas a second time.
|Wild lily of the valley|
And photograph unique plants.
After finishing our hike, there was still a bit of time left before dinner, so Cody suggested heading north to Cape Meares State Park. He'd heard about their famous "Octopus Tree" and was interested in seeing it.
|Ocean panorama from Cape Meares|
So I traveled the short 10 miles past the tiny towns of Netarts and Oceanside to the forested bluff of Cape Meares. A quarter-mile trail took Cody and I to the tree's base.
|Cape Meares lighthouse|
It was the most unusual tree I'd ever seen. A 12-foot-thick Sitka spruce, it had big, odd-shaped limbs protruding out from the base. A fence with copious warnings kept potential tree climbers at bay (well, the honest ones anyway).
|View towards Three Arch Rock|
Octopus Tree now checked off our list, Cody and I wandered back towards the lighthouse. Although the tours had ended for the day, and the place was locked up tight, we still enjoyed the marvelous views from it's perch.
Of course no hike is complete without a visit to the local brewpub, so before heading home, we stopped by the famous Pelican Pub in Tillamook for burgers and beer.
|Parting lighthouse photo|
A great change of scenery and wonderful chance to get caught up with my son!