Sunday, June 6, 2021

Blacklock Point

With a missionary's zeal, I preach the Gospel of Hiking and to indoctrinate a would-be lifelong devotee, it usually takes one good hike explicitly selected by yours truly for that purpose. However, some converts are more challenging than others. Case in point being long-time friend Anne, who submitted a voluminous pre-hike list of things that could not occur on this outing. Apparently she reads my blog so the list had things like " poison oak, no ticks, no wading of rivers...etc." It also had more esoteric items like " puns, no spontaneous songs, no armpit farts..." Sheesh, I wasn't sure I had any such hike (or behaviors) in my repertoire!

Archway on the beach

Also enumerated on that list were some weather-related edicts like no thunder, lightning, hail, wind, rain, or any combination thereof. Fortunately, a perfect day awaited the three of us (Anne's husband David came along, too) at the Oregon coast. The forecast had called for a cold, windy, and sometime rainy day but the reality was that the sky was cloudlessly blue, the temperature mild, and the breezes minimal. All signs pointed to a great hike for distrusting newbies and one erstwhile jaded veteran.

The Oregon Coast Trail tunnels through a dark forest

The long version of the Blacklock Point hike is a loop route and we opted to do the less scenic portion of the hike first. That meant starting out by walking behind an airport runway while keeping an eye on the sky for any approaching planes (running from airplanes was on Anne's list, too). After that propeller-free travail, the next couple of miles were a gradual descent on a jeep road through what admittedly were beautiful woods, even if there were no big-ticket items to see.

This bud's for you!

It was late spring and accordingly, the rhododendrons were still putting on a show. The large pink flowers festooned branches well above our heads and my two charges soon found out I brake for flowers. Close to the ground, the trail was flanked by blooming trapper's tea bushes and one patch of beargrass, somewhat out of place at the coast, proffered their distinctive white flowery plumes beneath the rhodies for our perusal. 

Our view of Floras Lake

Well, after a nice little three mile stroll through the trees and wildflowers we popped and plopped out onto a bare open area overlooking Floras Lake. This little lake is often busy with gossamer-winged kite surfers but not today, probably due to the lack of wind. David has a friend who lives at Floras Lake and he tried to spot the home from our vantage point. Whether looking for homes or kite surfers, we all agreed this was the first of many grand views on the day.

Fern tentacles

We backtracked a little bit on the Oregon Coast Trail which tunneled through a forest of dense trees twisted into all sorts of phantasmagorical shapes by near-constant sea breezes. The mix of sun and shade dappled the trail and delighted us hikers striding purposefully on the path. Rhododendrons were not as much of a thing in this part of the forest but the trail was graced nonetheless by ample quantities of wild irises ranging from purple to pale lavender in color.

It's a Richard Hike!

So far, I had managed to keep within the bounds of Anne's oppressive pre-hike manifesto, but a foot-deep creek presented the first test of our friendship. I simply splashed through, David walked across on some small branches, and Anne, surrendering to the inevitable, took off her shoes and waded barefoot, the mud presumably oozing between her toes. Expecting to immediately get unfriended, I was pleasantly surprised when she said the cool water felt good. 

Life on the edge

There is a viewpoint atop the coastal cliffs that, in my opinion, presents the Best View Ever. In years past, a bushwhack through dense coastal shrubbery was required to get there but eventually that faint path became overgrown and lost forever. Nonetheless, we tried to use the old path but couldn't get past the impenetrable growth and we all sported scratches as souvenirs of our failed attempt. Fortunately, I knew of an easier way to get there ("Why didn't you go there in the first place?" says everybody) and while that did require some bushwhacking, at least the bushwhacking took place on the edge of a sheer cliff. 

Our reward for the bushwhack

We did attain the intended viewpoint where the cliffs were covered by dense mats of inch-high dwarf lupines. We all plopped down to lupine level to take photographs of the diminutive flowers and their many attendant bumblebees. And of course, there was the epic surf, coast, and cliff scenery curving to the north under an amazingly superlative blue sky. Much nature appreciation abounded.

Cape Blanco presides over this bay

On the latter part of the hike, we stopped at other, and easier to access, viewpoints but none were imbued with the very secretness enhancing the vista seen from the special hidden overlook we had visited. However, the ever evolving coastal panoramas were still worthy in their own right. The last of these viewpoints was atop Blacklock Point itself, with a row of islands stretching west like an oceanic chain of pearls. Wind-stunted wildflowers grew on the point's summit while Cape Blanco presided at the end of a long curving beach to the south and we just sat and soaked in the view for a while.

One hiker is warier than the other

While I profusely apologized to Anne for the scratchy bushwhack thing, she said that if that was the worst thing that happened to her, then this had been a good day. Deciding to push my luck, I whipped out Anne's weighty tome of hiking don't-do's and found out that eating ice cream was not included in that interminable screed. So we did that very thing in Bandon to close off what had been an awesome 9.7 mile hike with some awesome friends.

Best View Ever

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

No comments :

Post a Comment