Wednesday, May 20, 2009

China Beach

With the day dawning bright and shiny and fog-free, I once more attempted to find the trail to China Beach, in Samuel Boardman State Park. I'd studied the map and also notes from Sullivan's Oregon Coast Hikes book, but all were fairly vague and I knew that no matter what, this would be a steep trail. I really didn't know what I was getting into, but I really didn't care. I love poking around trails and seeing where they lead. This was my reward.

I found it interesting that Sullivan characterized this trail as a short hike from the highway. That's a fair description, as far as it goes. At .7 mile each way, it's not a long hike, but with about 345 feet of elevation change over that distance, it is very steep in places with some nasty switchbacks and lots of slippery gravel of the kind that makes me nervous on descents. Not a trail for the inexperienced or out-of-condition hiker, in my opinion. And there's the return trip UP those 345 feet! Beautiful, however, and yes, the reward for my efforts was great.

This shot from near the top of the last ridge, near the highway, shows just how far away that ocean is!

Like all the trails in this area, the scenery is magnificent -- often dark and feeling rather like the forest primeval, other times sun-filtered and equally magical.

Hard to describe the feeling of emerging from the forest to be met with this!

The trail follows this wash up to and across the ridge in the distance, then on to one more ridge before reaching the highway.

This is what it's all about -- impossibly blue water, gentle surf washing ashore, cliffs and rocks and nesting seabirds -- and not another human in sight. Works for me! All in all, with all my wandering on the beach and stopping for photos, the hike took 1 hour and 45 minutes and was not particularly tiring. In fact, I felt great afterwards!

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