One of the coolest things about living where I live is that you’re just an hour or two away from some pretty big, majestic mountains, and you’re only a bit over an hour away from the ocean. How many other places in the country have that going for them?
After heading out on some hiking trips for the last few weekends, I realized that I was missing out on the other side of the state. I love the ocean; why hadn’t I been there yet? I was pretty busy all week so I didn’t have much time to plan, but I woke up early and drove over to Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.
Almost as soon as I hit the coast, I was smack-dab in the middle of what I had hoped for. It was foggy and moody, with steep bluffs and rocky crags overlooking the Pacific. The road wound up and down the hills, which were covered in the tall Douglas fir trees. The roads were lined with stone walls and there was even a lighthouse. I had made it to the Acadia of the west.
After stopping at a picnic area to stretch my legs and breathe in some ocean air, I made my way to the Cummins Creek trailhead, hopped out, and started running. There was only one other car (another 4Runner) in the parking lot so I knew I’d have the trails to myself.
As a kid, I remember thinking people were crazy when they said there was rainforest right here in the United States. No way, thought my little New England self! But as I padded along the soft path and gradually climbed up through the moss-covered firs, I knew that there was rainforest. It was all around me. I never saw Cummins Creek, which was in deep valley below me, but from time to time I could hear it, and I crossed several small streams which emptied into the larger one.
After three or so miles of gentle uphill, I reached an overlook. It was too foggy to see the ocean, but I could gaze out over the ridges and deep valleys of firs. In a few places the trees thinned out to meadows, which were covered in wildflowers. I still hadn’t seen a single other person.
In all, I ran through the Cape Perpetua trail system for about two hours, never pushing myself, but just enjoying the scenery and the birdsong and the solitude. It was cool this early in the morning, and that was the point. I had a great run.
And then – back to the coast, where I went to a different picnic area, ate my lunch, wrote some letters (yes, some people still hand-write letters), and walked on the beach. A little boy was playing with a big, swooping kite, and I spent a silly amount of time trying to capture a good shot of it as it danced above the waves. I didn’t, really.
I wanted to soak up all of the salty air and the cold wind that I possibly could before I went back to Eugene, so I loitered on the beach for a while more, taking more and more pictures and finally just sitting looking at the water.
Then it was off to a coffeeshop to do some work. It’s funny, because I don’t like coffee that much, but I’m finding that I’m becoming a coffeeshop person anyway – it can be a much nicer place to work than my own house, where I am always distracted by things that I’d much rather be doing. After all, there’s bread that needs to get made, berries that need to get picked, and my room has been looking like a bomb went off in it recently.
It was great to finally see the coast and I am sure that I will be back again soon!