Sunday, November 11, 2018


In my view, one of Oregon's biggest mysteries is why Yachats is pronounced YAH-hahts but spelled like it should sound like YAH-chats. A cursory research conducted over the Internet (because if it's on the Internet, it MUST be true) revealed that the name possibly comes from the Siletz language and means "dark water at the foot of the mountain". OK, Cape Perpetua looms to the south of the small town so I get how that name could have originated. But when the first European first encountered the Siletz people and asked "What is the name of this place?", he probably got the answer "Yah-hahts". So then, said European writes in his journal "Yachats" and then from that point on, generations of Oregonians had to explain to their non-Oregon friends that the "c" is silent and as useful as a bubble-gum machine in a tetanus ward. Makes no sense to me at all, but there you go.

Abstract art found on the beach
Yachats is a quaint small town on the Oregon coast and because of the fantastic coastline scenery, hotels and house preside over shoreline vistas because we all know magnificent natural wonders need more hotels and tall buildings to enhance the view. At any rate, to get some mental health therapy that can only come from being out in nature and wilderness, I set out onto the Oregon Coast Trail and beneath my boots, welcomed the trail tread which felt a lot like...asphalt?

A churn erupts
OK, so this is not your wilderness hike. But one can look to the west and see rugged coast line and spouting churns, or one can look east and see Yachats. I prefer the view to the west. This hike began at Yachats State Park, where one can contemplate Cape Perpetua overlooking a small bay that is the estuary of the Yachats River. Immediately below were some fine tide pools with families enjoying the marine life contained within. Tidepooling is fun but I had a hike to do, so it was off on Ocean View Road, my hiking poles clacking metallically upon the pavement. 

Some of that Yachats shoreline
If I had looked closer at a map of the town, I could have ducked up 4th Street and added a park to my route but as it was, I just followed the Oregon Coast Trail signs which had me walking on public roads.  Suddenly, a dirt track appeared to the left and I grabbed it, thinking this surely must be the Oregon Coast Trail. Wrong, it was just a path down to the rocks and a small beach. Still thinking I was on the OCT, I continued over the rough shoreline terrain where a rambunctious churn at Agency Creek prevented me from safely continuing north. Still, the scenery was enjoyable so I didn't mind the wrong turn.

Yes, this really is the Oregon Coast Trail
The OCT continued north on roads until it became a paved trail that wandered behind backyards and houses. Beyond the Sea, a large hotel, loomed straight ahead but on the plus side, the trail followed the shore at this point without any asphalt being involved. I thought the hotel was oddly named because Beyond the Sea is Japan, which is easier to spell. Beyond Beyond the Sea was an even larger resort by the name of Adobe Resort which was strange, seeing how there are no adobe bricks within several time zones of Yachats. 

A perfect place for yoga and meditation
By the way, a brief moment of thanks to the two aforementioned hotels for allowing the Oregon Coast Trail to cruise between their imposing edifices and the Oregon coast. They didn't have to do that and sharing is appreciated. The next item of interest was Smelt Sands State Recreation Area, with some wild rock formations and picturesque tide pools filling up every dimple in the rocks. I can't say that I smelt anything unusual at Smelt Sands, though. Especially since Lane was not hiking with me, just sayin'.

The beach stretched all the way to Waldport
The trail left a lot of the urban feel behind when it ducked into a forest and dropped down on a beach that stretched out all the way to Waldport, about 10'ish miles away. The only hiking obstacle between me and Waldport was a wet ford across Starr Creek. From here on in, it would be a beach walk all the way to Tillicum Beach, my turnaround point. 

An ocean of silver
The beach was flanked inland by tall cliffs with imposing homes on them and after 4 miles, I had reached my beach saturation point. On the way back, the sunlight reflecting on a silver sea entertained and enthralled the camera, I have millions of photographs to support my claim of entrancement by the glimmering sea.

I had been hiking in a rising tide and apart from an occasional wave chasing me up the beach every now and then, there was so much beach to hike on that that I was pretty much unaware of the incoming ocean. However, once back above the coast at Smelt Sands, the churns were very active with throngs of appreciative observers enjoying the show. Waves would surge up the narrow churns only to seemingly erupt out of the black rock at the end of the churn. It was quite a show and I soon forgot I was walking on an urban trail.

Shadow Man enjoyed the hike, too
All good things come to an end though, and I was tired and happy when I reached the parking lot at the end of the hike. Spending the day on the coast is always a good thing. For more photos of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

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