Back in 2016, staff at North Coast Land Conservancy decided to mark the conservancy’s 30th anniversary by spending three days walking the Oregon Coast Trail south from the Columbia River, and we invited 50 hikers to join us. In 2017 we invited a few more folks, this time to walk from Cannon Beach to mouth of the Nehalem River. Thus was born CoastWalk Oregon. By the end of last year’s walk, we were eager to keep going–into the heart of the remote Tillamook Coast. Here is a glimpse of CoastWalk Oregon 2018.
DAY 1: CoastWalk Oregon 2018 began at dawn at the Port of Garibaldi with a train ride on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad north to Jetty Fishery, at the Nehalem’s south Jetty. We scrambled onto the jetty and followed it to the beach, which we walked south past the town of Rockaway Beach under sunny skies. A blue tent signaled the midpoint stop for drinks and snacks. We left the beach at the jetty marking the mouth of Tillamook Bay and walked the Barview County Park road to the bus for the short shuttle back to Garibaldi.
Photo by Kat Ricker
DAY 2: Would the unsettled weather scuttle the boat shuttle? No way! Garibaldi Marina executed the boat ride across Tillamook Bay to Bayocean Spit with surgical precision and hardly any wet feet. We followed the wide path through the woods and along the bay, then crossed over the dune to the beach before hitting the community of Cape Meares. After a stop at Cape Meares Community Center (the old Bayocean schoolhouse), we walked the road–part of it closed to cars–to the top of Cape Meares, where we watched peregrine falcons through a spotting scope and munched on Dancing Spoons macaroons. From there the Oregon Coast Trail led past the Octopus Tree and out to the road, which we followed down to the beach and the return bus at Symons State Scenic Wayside near Oceanside.
Photo by Kat Ricker
DAY 3: Despite a rainy night and a daunting forecast, CoastWalkers showed up Sunday morning suited up and ready to roll. What not everyone knew: the forecast for the coast south of Cape Lookout was improving by the hour. We switched directions, putting the south wind at our backs, and took off from the mouth of Sand Lake estuary, heading north to Cape Lookout in mystical morning light. The last Coastwalkers reached the end of the beach at the foot of the trail up Cape Lookout just as a rain squall moved in off the ocean. It was a drizzly walk up switchbacks to the top of the cape, then a sometimes gnarly walk down a rootbound trail, over a suspension footbridge, and down a little waterfall to the gazebo at Cape Lookout State Park, where we celebrated, snapped pictures (the rain was over by then) and enjoyed box lunches before catching the shuttle back to Tillamook.
Photo by Eric Halperin
Thank you to all our CoastWalkers and to the volunteers and sponsors who made it possible. Special thanks to photographer Carolyn Propst. For participants, CoastWalk Oregon is its own reward. For North Coast Land Conservancy, it allows us to continue to pursue our mission: Helping to conserve Oregon’s coastal lands, forever.