Sunday, May 19, 2013

Blacklock Point

Blacklock Point is one of my favorite places on the Oregon coast.  The trail gets plenty of cliff time which makes my inner mountain goat happy and there are splendiferous views of the rugged coastline from Cape Blanco to Bandon. A variety of loop and trail combinations caters to hikers of all stripes when it comes to distance and destination.  And in spring, 10 foot rhododendron trees provide a pink hallway for hikers to walk through. Dollie was having a hankering for some quality rhodie time so we stopped here on our way home from Gold Beach.

Looks like one of my Sunday hats!
Beginning next to the Cape Blanco Airport under gray skies we headed down "Rhododendron Alley" on a trail flanked by 10 feet of tall vegetation.  Rhododendrons were blooming and we literally walked on flower petals strewn on the path, I would have felt more honored had the petals been strewn by fair maidens before me but I think those days are past. The trail, an old road actually, is often covered by large puddles in the spring but on this day only one of the regular wet spots forced us to do a walk-around.

Let there be light!
After a mile through lush forest with the wind sighing in the branches, we took the spur trail to Blacklock Point and began to feel like we had been unfairly treated on this hike. We were hiking under thick gray clouds but the ocean was relaxing under a clear blue skies. Just as I was about to file a complaint with management, somebody turned on the lights and we enjoyed the grassy cliffs in broad daylight.

Blacklock Point
There were prodigious views to be had from our clifftop vantage point:  to the south was the rock-infested bay arcing out to the Sixes River and Cape Blanco; to the north was the view towards Bandon, partially blocked by Battleship Bow; and right below our feet was the craggy point of Blacklock Point with its chain of islands seemingly tossed out into the sea in a fit of pique. Such magnificent views just require a contemplative sit-down and we obliged.

Candidate for "Best View Ever"
Returning to the Oregon Coast Trail junction, we continued north on a trail that ambled through dense coastal woods atop the bluffs. On occasion, we'd bushwhack to a cliffy viewpoint to admire and re-admire the views. Stars of the show were Blacklock Point, seen from the north this time; Battleship Bow, with a small waterfall leaping off nearby; but mostly, it was the cliffy ramparts marching north under some dramatic cloud cover.

Vancouver ground cone
Returning to the trail and forest, we stumbled across some ground cones. In the Siskiyou Mountains, the California ground cones are a common sight but these particular specimens were smaller and darker. Plus, the California ground cones are parasitic on madrone trees and there was nary a madrone in these woods. After some post-hike research, I've concluded that these were Vancouver ground cones, which are parasitic on salal and there was plenty of that around.  We do learn something every day, don't we?

Cleared for takeoff
At a campsite near a small creek (Where grandson Aiden and I had camped on a backpack trip last year), we opted to take the overland Oregon Coast Trail instead of the beach walk to Floras Lake. So the rest of the hike was through pleasant woods with rhododendrons blooming like little pink fireworks throughout the coastal jungle. Suddenly, there was no more jungle as the trail spit us out onto the airport runway, which was our "trail" back to the car.  Good thing no planes landed while we were on the runway!

For more pictures of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

Coastal huckleberry, in bloom

1 comment :

  1. You'll have to tell us how to get to this hike. We like to camp at Cape Blanco State Park and usually go up and over to Bandon, then south to Cape Blanco. Didn't know about this coastal trail. Sounds and looks like a great hike!!