Saturday, July 31, 2010

"A cloudy coast is better than no coast." - Kent, 2010

“A cloudy coast is better than no coast,” declared my wise nephew. Of course, he was right about that and about selecting the right poker comrades. (More about that later.)

For a couple of weeks, I had been checking the weather forecasts and the live cameras to find a clear day for a walk out to the end of Cape Lookout, south of Netarts, Oregon. For a couple of weeks, the forecast and the cameras showed some fog, clouds and drizzle. It looked the same yesterday, too. Yet, riding Kent’s encouragement, we made it through the Tillamook State Forest, to Alice’s restaurant, and onto Cape Lookout.

Yes, the parking lot and the trail started foggy. After our hike on the dry hill top near Mt. Adams, walking through this wet forest of ferns, firs, hemlock and other foliage was a good contrast, illustrating the climatic and plant diversity that is Oregon. It completed Kent’s reverse view of diverse Oregon: from “no trees” to a mix of pines and firs, to the wet forest nurtured by rain, clouds and the cool Pacific. On the way out, I described the view we could not see to the south, “Imagine a blue ocean and miles of coastline.” I was hopeful that we’d at least get a bit of a view to the north. Sure enough, after marching down and up the trail of dirt and mud, between the clouds, we spied Three Arch Rock National Wildlife Refuge miles away. (Teddy Roosevelt made it so in 1903, because seabirds should not be used as target practice.)

We hardly noticed the lightening skies as we schemed our way around and through muddy spots on the trail out. Finally, we reached the end of the continent, looking out toward the northern tip of Japan. Low clouds still obscured most of the view south as we walked and tip-toed our way back 2.4 miles (without water to drink). At last, at about mile 4 of the 5 mile hike, we got the big view (above) that distinguishes the Cape Lookout hike from a hike somewhere deep in another wet Oregon or Washington forest.

We each got about one gulp of water from an old bottle in the car before driving onto Oceanside, Oregon, for an up-close view of Three Arch Rocks and paragliders. We then hydrated during our late lunch at Roseanna’s.

In many other pursuits, people use Voltaire’s quote, “The better is the enemy of the good.” From now on, my version will be, “A cloudy coast is better than no coast.”

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