Taking our first rest day in Neskowin after 7 days of hiking (though yesterday was very short – more on that in a bit). Neskowin is a tiny little place but it has a gourmet grocery, a laundromat, a post office and two restaurants (both serve cocktails – and tonight is Martini Night!).
We left Garabaldi on day 5 with our second boat ride, this one across the mouth of Tillamook Bay, courtesy of Jeffery at the Garabaldi Marina. Jeffery dropped us off on Bayocean spit without getting our feet wet and we proceeded south on the beach.
After 6 miles or so of beach we headed up and over Cape Meares. After a fairly steep climb we arrived at the lighthouse. On the way we saw an 800 year old Sitka Spruce, the “Octopus Tree” and some stunning views.
Coming down the south side of Cape Meares we hit the beach at the lovely beachside town of Oceanside where we had a fantastic lunch of sea scallops (Bert) and smoked salmon sandwich (Jason). Then back to the beach for a couple of miles to Netarts where we left the beach for a long road walk around the bay (no way to get across on a boat). I met a couple at the boat ramp in Netarts and talked them into driving us the five miles around the bay where we walked the final mile or so to Cape Lookout State Park and our home for the night.
This was our first experience with the hiker/biker areas of the state parks. You don’t need a reservation and, for $8.00/person, you get a campsite with a table, warmish showers and a place to store your food. It was quite nice. We only met one other hiker but there were four or five bikers.
Day 6 started with a big climb up and over Cape Lookout – another 1,000 foot plus climb. The big obstacle this day was the water crossing at Sand Lake. Bonnie Henderson (the OCT guru) says you MUST be there at low tide to get across and going around is not an option.
We got to Sand Lake about an hour before low tide after a little over 8 miles of hiking. It did not look wadeable – it looked over 5′ deep in places. We sat down to wait for low tide and hoped it would get a lot better.
We managed to get across but the water was up to nearly the bottom of our packs at the deepest – very scary. Then it was another four miles to the giant sand dune at the neck of Cape Kiwanda. Up and over to reach the RV park we spent the night.
Cape Kiwanda was a hopping place – there were hundreds of people on the beach, a lively brewpub and the RV park was full (for RVs – always room for tents!).
We awoke on Day 7 to a light rain and a 5 mile road walk back to the highway. Not a good hiking day – nearly all of it is on roads or highway. Bert is having problems with her pack so we decided to hitch once we reached the highway. Within minutes the coastal bus stopped and picked us up and took us all the way to Neskowin! Trail magic! And more to come.
We decide to try to get to Salem and the closest REI (about 50 miles east). But there are no cabs, and no car rentals. Donna, the desk clerk at the hotel, introduced us to Larry who drove us to Lincoln (about 9 miles south) where we caught the “Coastal Connector” bus to Salem. $3.00/person for seniors! In Salem we Lyfted to REI where Bert got a new pack.
And we managed to talk someone into giving us a ride all the way back to Neskowin (for $100). All in all a very successful adventure.
The Neskowin Ghost Forest is there 2,000 year old remnants of a spruce forest. Highly recommended reading – Neskowin Ghost Forest
Tomorrow starts with another climb (of course) over Cascade Head as we slowly wind our way south toward California.