Tag Archives: Lincoln City Oregon

A Year of Living Adventurously

25 Jan

It’s been a grand 14 months on the Oregon coast, but my time in the Pacific Northwest soon will end.

I moved to Lincoln City, Oregon, in November 2015, and Barb followed a few months later. But a new job, family and friends are calling us back to the Midwest. Barb has already re-settled in Keokuk, Iowa, and by Super Bowl Sunday, I hope to be beside her again.

If you want to fully explore a place, get yourself a VW camper van. That’s what we did. And we saw as much as we could of this great state in a few short months. Most of those adventures — and the friends who accompanied us along the way — are captured in the video above. Some of the other adventures can be found in other blog posts.

Oregon has magnificent trails for running, and I hate to leave them behind. Although I saw many of them, there are many left unexplored. I hope to return to do more someday. There’s another 100-miler I’d like to do. But those adventures will have to wait.

We’re keeping the Eurovan Camper. We plan to explore more places in the Midwest. I’ve got my eye on a few epic runs there.

Part of the adventure for me is a change in occupations. The job that brought us back to Keokuk is Barb’s. She’s been named market president of the bank she left when we headed to Oregon. But I have no firm plans. I’ll see where life takes me.

For now, there’s one more issue to publish at the News Guard, and then it’s back to Iowa. The good lord willing and the creeks don’t rise (or more appropriately in this case, the snow doesn’t fly), I’ll be watching the Super Bowl in Keokuk.

Look us up if you’re in the area. But be sure to call ahead — there’s a good chance we’ll be out exploring the Midwest in the Eurovan.

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Run Oregon: Pioneer-Indian Trail, Mt. Hebo area, Siuslaw National Forest

28 Feb
The clouds were rolling in at the summit.

The clouds were rolling in at the summit, which sits at 3,153 feet — a climb of about 1,400 feet from the Hebo Lake Campground.

There were some wet, sloppy areas along the Pioneer-Indian Trail on my late February run, but this is definitely a trail worth visiting.

Hebo, Oregon, is just 30 minutes or so north of Lincoln City, and the trail takes off from the Hebo Lake Campground, just a few miles further up Forest Road 14.

The Pioneer-Indian Trail runs 8 miles from the campground to South Lake, which offers dispersed camping. I ran just 5 miles of the trail, making for a 10-mile out-and-back workout. I’ll have to run the entire length of the trail another day. The trail never strays too far from Forest Road 14, and many folks leave vehicles at both ends to avoid the out-and-back hike.

Mount Hebo vertical

Mount Hebo elevation profile

From the Hebo Lake Campground, the trail climbs steadily for 4+ miles, winding through Douglas fir that were planted in 1912 after a massive fire. The trail is mostly single track, covered alternately in rocks, roots and forest trash. Hikers do share part of the trail with equestrians.

I saw just a couple patches of snow, but they say that the roads can become impassable due to snow in the winter. Traffic signs say the road is not maintained in the winter. Officially, the high point is 3,153 feet, although my GPS registered 3,159. The campground was situated at about 1,750 feet, which means the trail averaged a 6.5% grade.

Forest Service map, Mt. Hebo area trails

TRAIL MAP

Lincoln City to Hebo map

LC to HEBO

The top of the mountain features a long, open meadow; the temperature dropped noticeably, and there was nothing to stop the wind.

The trail itself gets its name because it was originally the route for Indians and then settlers to cross the Coastal Range from the Willamette Valley.

On a clear day, you can see the Cascade Mountain Range to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west or Tillamook Bay to the north. But there were enough low-hanging clouds during my visit that the view was limited.

Getting there: To reach the trailhead at Hebo Lake Campground, head 24 miles north of Lincoln City to Hebo. Turn east on Highway 22 and go just .2 miles to the Hebo Ranger Station. Turn right before the Ranger Station, and take the winding Forest Road 14 a little more than 4 miles to the campground. On the day I visited, the campground was closed, so I parked along the road, and ran to the trailhead, which was only about a quarter mile.

 

 

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.

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Hike Oregon: Harts Cove

4 Dec

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The hike to Harts Cove is an easy one — mostly downhill on a good trail that was marred in November by just a couple of muddy spots and washouts. The hike back out is when you’ll pay for the satisfaction of seeing a stunning ocean vista, watching the waves crash into a hidden cove and listening to the barks of unseen sea lions. 

The trail descends 800 feet in about 2.5 miles from the trailhead to a meadow that overlooks Harts Cove. It would have been another 150 feet down to the shore; while the main trail to the overlook was easy to follow, finding a path down to the shore was not so easy, and I decided to pass on that trip on this chilly but sunny early winter day.

You’ll cross Cliff Creek and Chitwood Creek along the trail. On this day, a small bridge over Chitwood Creek was washed out, but the creek is small at this point and was still easily crossed without the bridge.

All in all, the scenery was spectacular — including Chitwood Creek falls that spill into Harts Cove — and the trail is easily reached from Lincoln City. This is a hike well worth your time.

Getting there: Head north out of Lincoln City on Highway 101. From the intersection of 101 and Highway 18, go another 4 miles, which will be shortly after mile marker 102. Look for a gravel road to the left — Cascade Head Road 1861; there will be a yellow gate at the road. From Jan. 1 to July 15, the gate will be closed, keeping vehicles off the road. From the gate, go 3.5 miles to the end of the road, where you’ll find the trailhead.

Harts Cove vertical

Harts Cove elevation profile

Hike Oregon: Drift Creek Falls

28 Nov

A 240-foot long suspension bridge that hangs 100 feet over Drift Creek and overlooks the falls is the highlight of this relatively easy hike. The groomed path that leads from the trailhead to the falls is wide and accommodating, but you will descend more than 300 feet in the 1.5 miles or so it takes to reach the falls.

On the return trip, you can take the north loop, which is not as wide or as well groomed and will add about .7 miles to the hike.

The trail is in the Siuslaw National Forest. There is a fairly large parking lot at the trailhead, and there is a good vault toilet there.

To reach the trailhead, head south out of Lincoln City on Highway 101 to mile marker 119. Turn east at Drift Creek Road. In about 1.5 miles, you’ll come to a “T” intersection. Turn right. Proceed for about a quarter mile, take a slight left onto a narrow, one-lane blacktop road. Follow this for 10.3 miles to the trailhead parking lot. This is a good road, but winding and narrow and there is two-way traffic. The way is well marked with signs to Drift Creek Falls.

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