Tag Archives: Cummins Creek Trail

Steady rain changes trail, but training run still possible

15 Feb
Cummins Creek Trail on Jan. 23, 2016, (left) and on Feb. 14. A little rain turns the trail into a shallow creek.

Cummins Creek Trail on Jan. 23, 2016, (left) and on Feb. 14. A little rain turns the trail into a shallow creek.

It’s amazing the difference a little rain will make on an Oregon coastal trail.

I made my second visit to the Cummins Creek Trail in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area in the past month (the first run can be found here). I had planned a different trail run for Sunday, but there was a fairly steady rain overnight — nothing heavy, just the typical Coastal Oregon rain. And since it was still raining in the morning, I decided to revisit a trail I did know rather than risk a trail I didn’t know.

The narrow, rocky single-track near the highpoint of the Cummins Creek Trail was running with water on Feb. 14, 2016.

The narrow, rocky single-track near the highpoint of the Cummins Creek Trail was running with water on Feb. 14, 2016.

It misted or sprinkled on me throughout the run, but for the first hour or so, the trails didn’t really show any negative effects. Under the towering pines, the forest floor was needle-covered and soft. In flatter areas, the water accumulated in a series of small puddles. But in the steeper sections, the elevation change resulted in water running down the middle of the narrow, rocky, single-track trail.

In fact, one area (shown in the photo above) had turned from a rocky trail in January to a shallow, rocky stream in February. Faced with a 20-yard stretch of rushing water, I wasn’t sure how I’d get down the trail and stay dry. But I found a nearby branch — like a walking stick — and I thought I could pick my way across the high spots. And that worked for about two steps, until the branch shattered, plunging me into the running water. Oh, well. If you’re worried about getting wet, you’re in the wrong place.

I’m learning more about the navigational abilities of my Suunto Ambit2. If you can find GPX versions of your trails, you can download those onto the watch, and let it guide you. TrimbleOutdoors has been a good source of GPX files; I had to sign up for a trial membership to download a few, and I haven’t yet decided that I want to pay the $30 annual membership. AllTrails.com might be another good source, but it, too, has a membership fee.

Cape Perpetua vertical

Cape Perpetua elevation profile, Cummins Creek loop

 

At long last, let the Oregon trail runs begin

26 Jan
The ridge along the top of the Cummins Loop Trail at Cape Perpetua Scenic Area near Yachats.

The ridge along the top of the Cummins Loop Trail at Cape Perpetua Scenic Area near Yachats.

Never did I imagine that it would take me 10 weeks to recover from my first 100-mile ultramarathon, but — maddeningly — it has.

I moved to Oregon just two days after completing the Tunnel Hill 100 on Nov. 15, and at that time, I thought I would be cruising the Oregon trails within 3 weeks, 4 weeks tops. In the meantime, I have taken a number of gorgeous hikes — like Drift Creek Falls and Harts Cove — and a few short runs on the streets of my new home of Lincoln City. But I haven’t hit the trails in earnest … until this weekend.

Finally, my muscles and joints no longer ached, and the ligaments in my knee were less inflamed — not perfect, but good enough to test on the trails.

For weeks, I’ve been like an impatient child paging through the Sears Wish Book and pining for Christmas day. Except in my case, I’ve been clicking through digital calendars of Oregon trail races. As a child, I’d write out my Christmas wish list, complete with corresponding page references in the Wish Book. In the past couple weeks, I put together an Apple Notes listing of area races, complete with dates and distances. Talk about growing older but not up.

Located on the Pacific Ocean, Lincoln City offers 7 nearly uninterrupted miles of beaches that invite walkers and runners, and I have done a couple of beach runs. But it’s the adjacent Oregon Coast Range, covered in Sitka spruce and Douglas fir, that has been my siren song for 70 days.

It was hard to pick among the many options, but the 26 miles of trails at the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area held the most allure, plus they were in an area that I had not yet explored. And they did not disappoint.

Forest Service trail map

Forest Service trail map

Cape Perpetua is located about 52 miles south of Lincoln City on Highway 101 and 3 miles south of Yachats (pronounced, Yaw-hots).

South of the Visitor Center, there are several looped trails, offering different choices. I headed south on the Oregon Coast Trail and then went east/inland on the Cummins Creek Trail.

The Oregon Coast Trail parallels Highway 101 and offers glimpses of the ocean crashing against the rugged shore. Pine trees provide a canopy above and a tangle of roots cover the single track below.

The Cummins Creek Trail also accommodates mountain bikers, so it’s wider and rock covered. I didn’t see any bikers on my run, but I saw a number of hikers. According to my Suunto Ambit2, the trail rose from a low of 23 feet above sea level to nearly 1,240 feet in about 3 miles, with most of that climb coming in the last mile or so.

Including the extraneous jog down the coast, the trail measured about 9.6 miles.

A few words of caution about the trails:

First, the trails are fairly apparent, but route-finding can be a bit tricky at times. I missed the turn from the coast trail down the Cummins trail, heading too far south along the coast. If you’re heading south from the Visitors Center, it makes the turn east on the Cummins trail on a small rock road. There are signs at most trail intersections, but still…

And second, there are enough interweaving trails that it’s easy enough to take a wrong turn. I read about another hiker/runner who took a wrong turn and went several miles out of her way. I, too, took a wrong turn and headed back down the Cummins Creek Loop Trail — when I actually meant to head north and hook up with the Cook’s Ridge Trail. The resulting mileage was about the same for me, but I did more of an out-and-back run than I had intended.

Despite a couple of unintended challenges, the many trails at Cape Perpetua offer a variety of options, and I look forward to exploring every one of those options in the coming months.

♦ ♦ ♦

There’s a parking area at the Visitor Center, but it is a $5 fee for a day pass. For $35, I purchased an annual Oregon Pacific Coast Passport, which is good for many sites up and down the coast, including Drift Creek Falls, Yaquina Head and Marys Peak. I’ll be frequenting all of these spots, so the annual pass makes sense for me. There is also a small, free parking lot up that rock road where the mountain bike trail begins.

On the trip home, I stopped for a burger and beer at Brewer’s on the Bay, located inside the Rogue Ales Brewery on the Newport bayfront. Great beer, great burger, great service. This is one reason I run — and I’ll run even more if it means a return trip to Brewer’s and Rogue beers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Must Hike Must Eat

Trail stories and recipes from life as a paleo inspired outdoor adventurer.

Poetry In Motion

I'll stand before the Lord of Song / With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen

Running with Scissors

Careening through life as a mom, runner, ecologist, and writer

Pacific Northwest Life in Photographs

Image your Life with shaneFx

Omni Running

Running for the fun of it

A trail running guy

A journey into running trails and ultra marathons

No Paine No Gain

Runner, writer - follow the adventure.

Hike Mt. Shasta

Exploring the Mount Shasta Region

Just Call Me Shortcut

thoughts from an ENFP who can't seem to stay on course

distance ahead

Ultramarathons.

In the Shadow of the Rockies

Running the trails of Calgary, and beyond

Teton Romeo

Tails from Teton Valley, Idaho

Elevation Trail

ET - STFUP

Racing Through My Life

My Race Reports

wonderjess

where I do it all

Beaverhead 100K and 55K Endurance Runs

Run the remote and rugged Continental Divide National Scenic Trail in the Beaverhead Mountains dividing Idaho's Lemhi River Valley and Montana's Big Hole Valley.

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

One and a Half Runners

Don't be dumb in the first half, don't be a wimp in the second

amy c writes

words from a writer, runner and mama of twins

andrealinares

A topnotch WordPress.com site

Tim Tollefson

Trail junkie for Hoka One One; 2014 U.S. 50k Trail Champion; Physical Therapist, Mammoth Performance Lab Director; Coffee addict; Powered SRA Elite and GU; My wife and I have an open relationship with running...

Tasharama_A_Go_Go

Musings of a musician turned ultramarathon runner trying to pursue my dreams whilst juggling a professional career and bipolar

iowagirlontherun.wordpress.com/

Running down a dream.

Ultra Runner Girl

Writing about running, war zones, and everything in between

Dan's Marathon

Running long distances across the country

Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

Ultrarunner Joe

My experiences and insights from out on the trail

Short Distance Runner. Grumpy old man.

Anything longer than 5k is a silly idea

Jack & Viv

Running, reading and raising a family

Bryan Odeen

give your soul some breathing room

%d bloggers like this: