Friday, January 1, 2016

Point Saint George

It's been getting hard to hike lately. Some of the impediments to happy hiking were self-inflicted like when most October weekends had really cool concerts going on in Eugene. I may have missed a hike or two but on the other hand, I did get to see the Quick and Easy Boys on Halloween night. And all I can say about that is "Halloween in Eugene", no further explanation is needed. The rest of the non-concert weekend travails simply could not be helped, though: illness, holidays, weather, and one very large landslide on Highway 42 all conspired to keep me grounded. Although I was not going to hike 500 miles like I did in 2014, the limp final quarter of 2015 left me at 374 miles for the year. But 2016 is a brand new year and I'd best go hiking or just give it up entirely.

Welcome to sunny California!
New Year's weekend in Roseburg was forecasted to be very cold while on the sunny side. I thought I'd head out to the coast for somewhat warmer temps but that darn landslide meant I'd have to go way north or way south. Since I've hiked everywhere (or so that's what it feels like) on the Oregon coast south of Yachats, I opted to head much farther south and visit Redwoods National Park. 

Bright but cold, just like me!
It was a long and slow drive because all the high points on the drive were all pretty icy. Come to think of it, the low points were equally iced over and the temperature was consistently below 30 degrees until I reached California's Crescent City. There is plenty of snow in the Siskiyous and while the white stuff does not present optimal conditions for hiking, it was nice to look at as I crept along the treacherous roadway. So there I am in Crescent City, half a day spent getting there with half a day left to kill. And that is how I wound up at Point Saint George, a Crescent City landmark.

View to mountainous Oregon
The point sits at the southern end of very large and sweeping Pelican Bay. The view from the top of the windswept and sunny point was stunning, especially since some very large mountains loomed over the northern end of the bay. The mountains in question were Vulcan Peak, Red Mountain, and Chetco Peak, all located in Oregon's Siskiyou Mountains. Hooray for Oregon!

Just watching....
A quick scramble off the point led to the sand below and from there it was a northerly beach walk into Tolowa Dunes State Park. Although the sun was out and the sky was blue, my down jacket stayed on. By all appearances it looked like California but felt like Oregon, or maybe even Iceland. About a mile away from the point, I pretty much had the beach to myself, unless you count the millions of gulls watching me...just watching.

Dead Lake outlet creek
There were several creeks crossing the beach but the outlet creek from Dead Lake was a bit too wide to hop across. Since I was wearing tennis shoes and jeans, it was as good as any other point to turnaround at. So back me and my dry feet go as the sun sank low in the afternoon sky. The gulls moved aside for me as I approached and just watched me...always watching. On the way back, I encountered a couple of beachgoing treasure seekers carrying a fair haul of amber colored agates in a bucket.

The cliffs of Point St. George
Upon my return to Point Saint George, I grabbed a trail that led out to the point and wandered around on top for a bit, taking pictures of the scenic rock islands and stacks just off shore. I called it cold at that point and headed into Crescent City for dinner and lodging. Hopefully, the next day's hike would be just as scenic (it was) but warmer (it wasn't).

Afternoon, in black and white
For more pictures of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

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