Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Otter Point

Way back when Oregon was being created, the Grand Terraformer put the finishing touches on the coast, looked upon her handiwork and decided something was missing. But what? "Oh, I know!" she said, brightly snapping her fingers for emphasis "There otter be a point!" And that is my theory as to how Otter Point got its name. Of course, the point could have also gotten its name because otters live there but that would be too easy.

One small piece of the beach treasure chest
Weak puns aside, it was a glorious day at the Oregon coast. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and boy howdy, was it ever cold! The sun was about as useful as a bubble gum machine in a tetanus ward, and five seconds after I removed my jacket, I hurriedly put it back on to stave off immediate hypothermia. A brisk breeze was moving all that cold air around, cutting right through the fabric of all my layers of clothing, rendering them as useful as a sprinkler system in a Fizzie factory. Ok, I'll quit.

The Queen
While I started this hike with chattering teeth, my companion had no issues at all with the chill air as she mindlessly sprinted to and fro on the beach. Luna, my canine hiking buddy of the day, has only one speed and that is a full sprint. Sadly, she's been showing her age lately and I've decided I need to start curtailing her hiking (she gets pretty gimpy the following day). When I informed her she had to stay home today, she just looked at me with those sad eyes which turned out to be way more effective than rubber lips on a woodpecker, and that's how she got invited to come along.

The jetty ends here

The hike began on the north jetty flanking the mouth of the mighty Rogue River where it empties its rather large flow into the Pacific Ocean. A short walk on the jetty delivered us to a beach comprised of rounded pebbles, the surf making a gravelly sound with each pebble-filled wave. This beach (hereafter referred to by its proper name: Bailey Beach) is a beachcomber's paradise but we had a hike to perform, so we didn't stop too much to browse for beach treasure.

Lots of islands dotted the surf
We left the luxury homes overlooking the beach behind when we rounded a small point after nearly a mile of hiking. In front of us stretched the wild Oregon coast all the way to distant Humbug Mountain. Halfway in between, a low brown bluff was Otter Point (today's hiking destination) still waiting for us from several miles away. In the surf, dozens of small rock islands, seemingly flung into the ocean during a divine temper tantrum, provided some photographic stops every now and then. The beach was remarkably free of seagulls, thanks to my four-legged bird enforcement officer.

One creek splits into thousands of braided creeklets
There were a number of small nameless creeks fanning out across the beach, their shallow rivulets as intricately braided as a reggae hairdo. None of them were running deep so only boot soles and the bottoms of paws got wet. The wet sand and trickling creeks sparkled in the noonday sun like a thousand points of light reflecting from a mirror ball in a concert hall. Much photography ensued.

The Oregon Coast Trail heads up to Otter Point
After about three miles of pleasant beach walking as the tide waned noticeably, the cliffs of Otter Point blocked further progress northward. Time to grab the Oregon Coast Trail off the beach, the short climb to the top of the point having legs burning in short order.

Hubbard Mound got its name
because...because...ah, I got nothing
We didn't tarry too long atop Otter Point, for the wind was cuffing us around pretty good. However, we did stay long enough to appreciate the view to Hubbard Mound, the next point to the north. Try as I might, I haven't yet been able to come up with a dumb story as to how Hubbard Mound got its name, but I'm still working on that.

Bailey Beach in the afternoon light
Below and to the south of Otter Point, lay glistening Bailey Beach with nary a soul to be seen on the silver sands. After a quick snack break for Luna and I on a strategically sited bench at a forested overlook, we made the short descent down to the beach and headed back in the direction of the Rogue River.

Luna is off and running

It was low tide and the beach was as wide as two time zones. All the little rock islands were just rocks now, stranded high and dry by the retreating ocean. And as the sun lowered in the sky, the sea glimmered like so many twinkling diamonds. Luna finally gave up on beach running and began walking at my speed, a rarity for her. At any rate, the hike finally came to a close at Doyle Point, which is a good thing because without the point, the end of this hike would be pointless, like the end of this blog.

Abstract art painted by sand and tide
For more pictures of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.


  1. Katie, our canine hiking buddy, had some soreness and was gimpy too for a while. Now it has gone away and she has no problems being gimpy, she just sleeps the rest of the day. A dog's life!

    1. I think I need to watch the mileage with Luna, she did fine for 4 to 5 miles but this hike was nearly 8 miles long. Like Katie, she slept all day and the next day too