Saturday, January 10, 2015

Blacklock Point

"The day is cold, and dark, and dreary; It rains, and the wind is never weary"
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Here we are, hiking in the wet; my wife wishing we'd never met"
Richard O'Neill
View to a distant Blacklock Point
Actually, it wasn't all that bad. While it wasn't out and out rain, the air was basically drizzle with attitude. Gills were nearly required, but not quite. The atmosphere, vegetation, and earth were all damp and drippy wet, a driving wind on the cliffs made sure to wet camera lenses and hikers equally. Dollie and I were joined by Coos Bay hiking buddies Toresa, Susan, and Judy. While we all had an enjoyable walk, our enjoyment paled in comparison to the sheer unrestrained joy of our canine companions Sophie and Rosie.
Trail through the rhododendron gardens
The consensus in our group was that nobody besides myself wanted to walk the full 9 mile loop at Blacklock Point, so a shuttle hike was quickly organized where we'd walk a moderate 6 miler from the point to Floras Lake. So off we went, skirting the large bodies of standing water that tends to accumulate on the old road bed that is the trail to Blacklock Point. The dogs did not skirt the ponds, instead splashing through the puddles in boundless doggie exuberance. We all should hike like dogs, I think. At one point Toresa briefly stepped off trail and sunk up to her knees in a muddy sinkhole, causing her to utter the phrase "I just did a Richard!" I've certainly heard that phrase a time or two! 
What fun, Rosie!
Walking like the dainty dry-footed humans we are, we followed the trail along the coastal cliffs to Blacklock Point. We didn't tarry long there as a blustery wind was driving the wet air onto camera lenses and glasses. I could only get a off a shot or two before the camera lens got occluded by the moisture and unfortunately I didn't pack the windshield wipers with me. The dogs didn't care, the whole walking in the wind and rain thing was more fun than a yard full of squirrels.

The Richard Hike section

After the desultory visit to Blackock Point, we returned to the Oregon Coast Trail, gratefully finding drier hiking underneath the leafy shelter of the trees overhanging the trail. Just past a small creek Susan and I had a discussion about how best to obtain an overlook of the waterfall caused when this particular creek plunges over the edge and onto the beach below. Apparently, the South Coast Striders use a different path than my little bushwhack route. 

Damp view of the Oregon coast
The path I normally use is a life and death wrestling match with the chest-high salal and there were a few looks thrown my way that come along with finding out what a Richard Hike is like. Apparently, the South Coast Strider's route is much kinder and gentler, to gather from what I was told afterwards. Anyway, after our mano a mano combat through the salal, we attained the orange colored bluff top with a view for the ages...on a sunny day, that is. On this day, we really couldn't see much in the wind and drizzle. On the plus side, we got to bushwhack back to the trail.

Toresa nimbly hops over a creek
At a small campsite next to a creek, we were mildly dismayed to find the wooden bridge that used to be here apparently had floated away. Fortunately, the creek was narrow enough that we crossed dry-footed with just a small leap across. The dogs, on the other hand, frolicked and cavorted in the creek's waters, they can't understand our obsession with dry feet.

Floras Lake
Normally, the return to Floras Lake would be by way of the beach but it was high tide, the wind was blowing, and conditions were fairly wet, so the inland trail option through the woods was taken. After a couple of miles, we arrived at Floras Lake which was totally devoid of windsurfers, a most unusual occurrence. Apparently, windsurfers don't ply their avocation during wet weather.

A short walk along the beach was taken before following Floras Lake's shore to the end. While we had been hiking in the woods, the drizzle had stopped and the clouds were breaking up, treating us to a tantalizing glimpse of blue sky miles offshore. All in all, this wound up being a nice and easy hike in less than optimum conditions.

Tunnel through the murky woods
For more pictures of this hike, please visit the Flickr album. 


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