Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cape Arago (new trail)

I recently received an email for an upcoming hike put on by the South Coast Striders out of Coos Bay. The hike was at Cape Arago and interest rapidly waned as I had been there about a month and a half ago on a wildly stormy day. But out of politeness, the email was opened up and this is what the email said, roughly speaking:

"...blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah..."

But there were two words in the middle of all that mundane prose and what I read was:


And just like that, your merry blogster became very excited . The words "new trail" drain all willpower and common sense from my brain and I simply must go, there is no other option. 

A stump bench built for two
One other fun aspect of hiking a new trail is I get to send an e-mail to hiking buddy Ray. Ray is always interested in new trails and as a courtesy I always send him a helpful email along the lines of "Nyah, nyah!" So, imagine my disappointment when his voice called out to me from the hikers gathering at the trailhead, "New trail, Ricardo!" We do think alike!

The thundering herd
It was a pretty large bunch of hikers as 30 or so adventurers took the green flag, so to speak. The trail started next to the Cape Arago Highway and unless you knew a trail was there, you'd never find it. The trail was well hidden and hopefully, a sign will be posted soon. The path headed quickly uphill through a lush forest and soon the woods were filled with the sounds of gasping hikers.

New trail!
Reaching a ridge crest, the forest thinned out and we walked on a level trail through waist high brush. I'n not sure how recently this trail came into existence but it's obvious it wasn't too long ago as the branch cuts on the encroaching shrubbery were pretty fresh, just like me. The trail seemed like it was wandering aimlessly through the woods but we were basically following the Cape Arago State Park perimeter.

Dogs enjoyed the steep parts
Level trails are not overrated, especially when they are such a rare commodity like they were on this new trail. The path returned to the forest where massive stumps showed how big the trees used to be in these parts. Moss, lichen, and mushrooms were everywhere on the muddy trail. While there were skid marks on the muddy track, no hikers (that I know of) actually hit the ground.

And it's not even a Richard Hike!
Larry, our guide, stopped at all intersections which was a good thing because there were a number of unsigned trail junctions that could certainly confuse hikers, especially since this trail is not on any map. The path angled up and down the forested ridges at a grade worthy of a Richard Hike.  It was nice to hike these steep trails and not get blamed, for a change.

While there may not have been a spring in our step as we scrabbled up the steep portion of the trail, there definitely was spring in the air. Yellow wood violets and candy flower were a common sight on the mossy forest floor. Even lichen was in bloom. The spring deal was cinched when I came upon my first, but certainly not the last, trillium of 2014. Let the wildflower photography begin! Camera, are you ready?

View south to Cape Arago
After a couple of miles, the new trail intersected with the Pack Trail, familiar ground to Ray and I. After a couple of mild ups, it was all downhill to the viewpoint at Simpson Reef. Now on our regular and familiar Cape Arago haunts, we grabbed the scenic trail to Shore Acres followed by a short road walk back to the car. 


My only complaint about the hike is that it was on the shortish side, about 5.5 miles or so. However, by combining the usual walk along the shoreline from Sunset Bay with this new trail gem,  the hike can be turned into a walk of proper distance. I'll have to tell my hiking buddies:

"Hey guys, guess what?  "...NEW TRAIL NEW TRAIL NEW TRAIL NEW TRAIL NEW TRAIL NEW....!!!!" 

I'll probably get nominated to lead a hike there!

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

No comments :

Post a Comment