Sunday, September 20, 2009

Whalehead Beach to Indian Sands

Whalehead Beach and Whalehead Cape in the distance.

My body and spirit were calling for a good workout this morning. The weather is fabulous -- warm and sunny and perfect. I opted for a hike that's close to home, since I had other things to do today. I'd intended to walk all the way from Whalehead Beach to the Thomas Creek Bridge, which would have been a round trip of a little over 5.5 miles, but once I set out I knew I was too lazy for that one, so I decided to go as far as Indian Sands, a round trip of around 3 miles. Nobody seems to know when the name Whalehead originated, but it has apparently been in use since the pioneer days. Whalehead Island is hollow to seaward and has a hole in the top. At just the right tides, water surges into the cavity and spouts out the top and is said to resemble a whale in those moments.

I never really know what to expect when I head off on the Coast Trail, but I've never been disappointed with what I find. In this instance, the trail led sharply uphill for awhile before reaching a lovely viewpoint, above. There are plenty of long uphill stretches in this first portion of the hike, which William Sullivan says is only a half mile. I'm sure he's correct, but because of all the long up and down stretches, it feels a lot longer! Great to get the body warm and the heart racing, however. At the half mile point the trail reaches and parallels the highway for a short distance, just long enough to bypass a deep, steep chasm. After that, the terrain is comfortable, with gentle ups and downs, passing through a lovely forest and paralleling a small creek for awhile, before reaching Indian Sands.

Views along this section were also lovely. Hidden coves abound along this coast.

This plaque was atop a mass of concrete at the above viewpoint. I love the wording on it. You can click on the photo to enlarge and read, but this is what it says:

Stan the Man
Husband, Dad, Granddad
Hard Worker Who
Loved and Cared for


Went Flying

I'm guessing this mass of concrete contains his ashes. What a lovely tribute!

Indian Sands is an interesting place. I couldn't find any information regarding the origin of that name, but I'm sure it would be interesting. The Coast Trail skirts the edge of it along the forest, but the sandy bluff is huge and offers expansive views. I hiked around for awhile, following the path of deer and other smaller critters. I gravitated towards this rocky outcropping with the natural bridge on the left. You may need to click on the photo in order to enlarge and see that it really is an opening, not just a small inlet. This bluff is hilly, and walking uphill in loose sand is great for the legs and heart. After satisfying all my curiosity, I headed back to my car. All in all the trip took about two hours -- a perfect start to my day.

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