Took a day off from the usual grind and headed to the three Capes, Kiwanda, Lookout, and Mears on the Oregon Coast. Being the middle of the week still in the off-season, along with overcast skies, I looked forward to a mostly solitary day of hiking in the Siuslaw National Forest. My body and mind needing to experience the wonders and joys of being with nature. I loaded up my photography gear in its backpack and headed out just before dawn to my destination at Cape Outlook.
I have wanted to do this hike for some time but held off due to what I had read about the trail traversing sheer drop offs, not a place for dogs or kids. Having been on a couple of other hikes in the gorge that claimed the same and they didn’t bother me I decided to take this one even though I have somewhat a fear of heights.
I arrived at the trailhead just as the morning light was penetrating the seemingly ever-present morning coastal fog. As I began my trek I saw early signs of spring, such as this delicate trillium wildflower. Amazing how such a little flower can thrive under the thick canopy of old growth forest.
The thick canopy of forest soon gave way to a spectacular view only blocked by sparse trees and shrubs, their roots clinging perilously to the face of the huge rock I climbed. I paused to capture the wonderful view stretched out below me, and since fear had not edged its way into my conscience I decided this was one hike I could do. It was the last image I dared captured on this hike.
Moving forward and up the sparse trees and shrub became sparser and the trail narrower. I pushed on even though the edge, a sheer drop off to the ocean below of several hundred feet, kept me up against the wall of the rock. The wind was picking up as I kept my head down looking at my path and concentrating on my breathing as I vowed to get past this section of the hike. I reached my limit when my tripod got hung up on a root embedded in the rock wall. This knocked me a little off-balance as I grabbed another root and flatten myself against the wall where I remained frozen while my mind went wild with all kinds of devastating events. Earthquake would knock me off the cliff, some mean person will come along and push me over, or I will simply slip and fall. I had to force myself to breath and eventually let go of my death grip on the root embedded in the rock, trying not to think why there was just a root. Finally fear forced me to move and I got turned around and headed back the way I had come. The wind gusting at my back.
Back under the canopy of forest I relaxed somewhat and told myself I had made the right choice for if I had seen something to photograph I probably couldn’t for fear had a great hold on me. I got back into my car at the trailhead and headed for the safety of the low-lying beach that offered a variety of things to photograph.
After a few hours walking the beach I headed to Cape Meares where I captured this view, from a much more manageable height, of the town of Oceanside and it’s coastline.
I then retraced my route to Oregon Islands Wildlife Refuge. This is just north of Oceanside and is a very interesting place to visit. To get to the beach below one follows a trail built, by the looks of it, by several different people over the years. Daffodils, pop their cheery blooms here and there. Thick lumber embedded into the hillside provided steps. Scrap lumber line the trail as a fencing and as benches to rest. One section of the path was completely covered with scrap lumber and underneath it things collected from the beach below, rocks, feathers, buoys,rope along with names carved in the lumber, a place much like shrine filled the area within. Quite interesting.
I found these all quite interesting. The swirl of the wood grain and the rocks embedded in them afford me time to contemplate nature’s design.
The misty rain, high tide and fog made photographing this beach a pleasure as I love photographing the rain, fog, rocks and water for it adds a punch to an image.
I continued retracing my route with a detour to Sand Lake. As the day waned the wind picked up in strength and I wanted to see if I could capture drifting sand at the dunes at Sand Lake. I wasn’t disappointed.
I left Sand Lake with my Yukon half filled with the wind-blown grit.
My original plan was to end my day at Pacific City sitting on the beach watching the sun set before heading home.
Fog and low clouds encroached enough on this idea that I knew there would be nothing to watch so I settled with a Bach CD and a leisurely drive home using the back roads to end another wonderful solitary day appreciating life and the surroundings I find myself in.
I had nightmares all night about falling off that cliff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You can see these images and more on my website www.deebrowningphotography.com