Twig Adventures

PCBCRT Days 5 & 6: More Tourisiting and a Reunion

Sunday, July 9th, 2023, 0630-1020
Bayocean Spit to Netarts
10 miles, Gain 600′, Loss 600′, elevation 30

As expected, it was a most peaceful night. In the morning I could hear the fog horn but it was far enough away so as not to be annoying. I drank my coffee with the birds and the distant surf. My only dilemma this morning was whether I walk the bayshore road or beach for a few miles, both equally appealing prospects. It had been awhile since things had been this relaxed and easy. The Hayduke had been a battle with the wind and cold, always seemingly harsh elements plus the difficulty of the terrain. And nearly every campsite on the PNT had been plagued by mosquitoes. Life was a beach on the Oregon Coast. All of the rewards and none of the hardships.

I chose the bayside and was pleased to find interpretive signs about the historic township of Bayocean. The resort was established in the early 1900s and over 600 plots had been sold out of a planned holding of over 2000. There were as many as 50 houses built and the town had a general store, school ,swimming pool, hotel and electricity throughout. Then in the 1930s, a series of severe storms began to cut away at things. By the 1960s, the town was all but abandoned and most traces washed away. It’s a fascinating and cautionary story for our own times, as we are just beginning to struggle with the effects of climate change. My own place of residency in Miami will likely suffer a similar fate someday.

I reached the mainland and the headland of Cape Meares. I walked up another abandoned road, this one more recent. It was closed from landslides, which worked out great for me. It was an easy stroll up the middle of the deserted paved road. The part where it had been slightly washed away was also easy to go past on foot. Sometimes it’s really great not having a car. The road connected to Cape Meares State Park, where I took a half mile detour to check out a bunch of sights.

The first was reported to be Oregon’s largest Sitka spruce tree at 15′ in diameter, 144′ tall and around 800 years old. It was truly an impressive organism. Next I walked out to the old lighthouse, the shortest on the Oregon coast at only 38′. It was cute and enjoyable since I was the only tourist visiting at the time. I had the company of one black-tailed deer. Again I stopped at all the nice display signs, mostly focusing on seabirds. This attraction had some of the best signs yet, which is saying a lot since there have been information kiosks everywhere. I spent a long time reading them all. Lastly I visited the famous octopus tree, with its 8 branches spiraling out and up. No one is quite sure how or why it formed that way.

I followed an nice trail back to the main road, glad for my side trip to the lighthouse. The roadwalk was a little boring, only the first time I’d felt that way this trip. Shortly I arrived the town of Oceanside and was able to get back to the beach. The town was enchantingly pretty, with a neat end-of-the-road kind of feel. I’ve been entertained reading all the kitschy and punny beach house names like ‘Moby’s Place,’ ‘Captain’s Rest,’ and ‘Sea La Vie’. I wanted to get a coffee at the cafe but decided I better press on, given that I was finally meeting up with my PCT friend Skybird and her dad Ray. Recall that her parents had hosted and seen me off at the start of my journey but she had been away on travel during that time. She’d arranged to come out to the coast as soon as she got back. Ray was driving her since she had a hurt foot and he’d also agreed to drive straight to where I was, as it was about the same distance and time from Portland. I walked 2 more miles on the beach to Netarts, then found a cafe for a rendezvous. My timing was perfect, as they arrived just as I ordered my coffee.

It was so great to see Skybird again! We’d chatted online but I hadn’t actually seen her in person since I was last at her parent’s house in Portland, 5 years ago. I decided on a zero in Manzanita so we could catch up. I don’t think I’ve ever taken a zero so early in a thru-hike but this seemed appropriate, given the relaxed theme of this hike. We drove through the town of Tillamook and then of course had to make a stop at the famous Tillamook Creamery. This is a mega attraction in the area because they offer a self-guided tour of their cheese-making factory, free cheese samples, and 30 some flavors of ice cream, plus many other delicious treats. It’s very popular, especially on a weekend. I’d guess there were hundreds of people there and can only imagine how many calories are consumed on site on a daily basis…1 billion?

It was seriously the perfect place for a starved hiker to hang out…too bad I wasn’t quite starved yet, given the ample opportunities for food on this hike! But we still managed to consume our share of calories…I ate a giant chicken sandwich covered in cheese, with a side of fried cheese curds. Then delicious ice cream. Followed by a bunch of free cheese samples (which I saved for later but sadly forgot in the fridge when I headed back to trail 2 days later…darn!). Perhaps my favorite part was viewing the factory from the second level observation deck, allowing a bird’s eye view of the the poor workers laboring away on a Sunday. The factory runs round the clock, 7 days a week, pumping out cheese. It’s pretty incredible to think about, really. It was way more interesting than I thought it would be and the signs were good at describing the process. I already kind of knew about the dairy and cow milking side of things, but this gave a much broader picture. I was very glad I visited!

We passed through more little towns along the bay and a few on the beach as we made our way back to Manzanita. This foray worked out great, since I got to see all the parts I missed when I got a boat ride to the spit. It was much better to see them by car rather than by foot, though. We also stopped at Jetty Marine to buy a crab for dinner later. I looked around for my buddy Karl but couldn’t find him. I also didn’t see any hikers…hadn’t seen any since the first day, in fact. Back at home at the beach house, I got cleaned up and did all the regular hiker chores while I also tried to catch up with Skybird. It was such a fun day!

Monday, July 10th, 2023
Zero Day in Manzanita

Skybird and me

Not much to report about this day off. Physically I didn’t need to take a day but I was in no hurry and really wanted to spend time with Skybird and Ray. We went out to brunch at Wanda’s in Nehalem and then downtown Manzanita for a spell at both the winery and pub for dinner. Ray and I had oyster shooters, which were yummy, and we all had a bowl of clam chowder, which was some of the best I’ve had in awhile. Eating and resting were the order for the day, and we did it in style. I can’t thank Skybird and her parents enough for such a genuine and authentic Oregon Coast retreat. I will always have such fond memories of this place because of their bountiful generosity and hospitality. Thank you thank you thank you!

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