Sunday, July 13, 2014

South Shore Coastal Trail

View from trail to Toleak Beach Shelter

We are still hoping to through hike most of Oregon on the PCT this August.  We are going on longer backpacking trips every week until then.  This trip was only a couple of miles longer than the last one, but the terrain was tougher.  We hiked 22 miles on sand while climbing up and down headlands clinging onto little ropes and half rotten ladders.  This was quite an adventure.

We should have rode the bus to our hike but planning for that seemed too complicated, so the plan instead was to drive to the ocean and back without out using the brakes too much.  My car needs new brakes and an alignment.  I can’t really afford either of those things without taking money out of savings.  I sure wish I could make some money or get some gear donations with this blog, but that's not why I started blogging.

We drove to La Push via the Hood Canal and Port Angeles.  We arrived at the trail head at 4pm and began our hike.  We were lucky to get a spot that was almost on top of the trail.  The hike starts with a 1.5 mile mostly downhill trek to third beach.  I had a heavy load for this trip, since all food has to be in a bear can I had to carry all of the food and the freaking bear can weights almost three pounds when empty.

We are in training so I put extra water in my daughter’s pack to give her something heavy to carry. Also we had to filter water on the beach, so it was nice to arrive at camp with lots of fresh tap water. 

As we hiked down to third beach on a Tuesday we witnessed may people hiking back out.  Some had huge heavy loads; one person was pulling a cooler behind him. 
heavy load
Heavy Load

The beach!  Time to swim.

When we reached the beach we turned south and after a bit we began to look for the trail over the headland at Taylor Bluff.  We were led astray by a different trail when we saw other hikers attempting to go up it, but we turned back and found the correct route.  We never did see those other hikers again and wonder what happened to them.

On the wrong trail

We hiked four miles to Scott’s bluff and found the first campsite to be full.  Two women were camped on the beach with two teen age girls; one of the women showed me where the good campsites off the beach were.  Since my daughter kicks up a lot of dirt, I did not want to camp in the sand with her.  I don’t know why, but whenever I arrive at my campsite for the night I’m a bit disoriented, maybe I’m just tired after giving it my all.

our campsite at Scott's bluff

This did not seal
again after the first time
After a dinner of rehydrated split pea soup and chips we went down to Scott’s creek and filtered our water for breakfast.  I bought a full sized Sawyer squeeze filter for this trip even though I own two of the minis.  I liked the full sized squeeze better. It has a faster flow rate and a push pull cap.  We will only need one full sized filter between the two of us.  At first it mated perfectly with my platypus, but later I could not get it to screw onto my platypus properly.  I will have to get a tube for my platypus and an inline kit for my sawyer. 

My platypus tube broke years ago and all I have is the bag.

I slept pretty well that frist night, I only woke up about twenty times, that's  better than I usually sleep on my first night of camping.  My daughter got covered in sand and suffered from some chaffing by morning.  I treated it as best as I could with sun screen.

Sphagnum squarrosum
Our goal for day two was a 7 mile hike to Mosquito creek.  We knew it would be a challenge to make it so far but as they say no pain, no gain. 

There was a long headland trail that lead to Mosquito Creek and on all the headland trails I found interesting bryophytes.


Goodman Creek on the overland trail
Not too much mud this time of year

We made it to Mosquito creek at about 6 pm.  I could only find campsites on the beach but there was a group of three men camped nearby and they told me that there were campsites in the woods above the creek.  So after dinner on the beach we headed up the bluff and found several very nice campsites to choose from.  It was just breezy enough up on the bluff to keep the mosquitoes away too.  Dinner was rice with vegetables and hamburger.

The men camped on the beach looked to be in a precarious position, wedged between the river bank and the ocean bank and with the tide coming in fast.  The tide was going to be a 9 foot tide, while the tide the night before was only 6 feet.  Would the men have waves wash over their tent?  We sat up on the bluff and watched to see what would happen.  Nothing happened, the water stopped 20 feet short of their tents.
Campsite at Mosquito Creek
Sunset at Mosquito Creek

Full moon at Mosquito Creek

This came in on the tide overnight at Mosquito Creek
My daughter lost her mp3 player at Mosquito Creek, I sure hope we can get it back.

The next morning we re-crossed Mosquito creek and headed back towards Scott’s Bluff, but my daughter had found a campsite that she really liked in front of what I had dubbed wizard rock the day before.  So we opted to look for that campsite. 

 It turned out that the site was on Toleak point, an area I had decided to avoid because it might be crowded, but it was fine on a Thursday night.  Something told me that this area had a lot of Native American history to it, I could just feel it, or maybe I could see it in the lay of the land.

My daughter wanted to sleep in a hammock and I told her it was okay but she changed her mind as soon as it got dark.  I slept pretty well at Toleak.

Camp at Toleak

Sunset at Toleak

Sunset at Toleak

Sunset at Toleak

My daughter lost her camera at Toleak, I sure hope we can get it back. It is a red water proof pentax point and shoot.  It was her Christmas present and I can not afford to replace it.

The next day we hiked back out to our car.  On a clay bank, but not on a rope or a ladder I fell and landed on my butt and the palms of my hands.  As I fell I felt a shooting pain go down my leg almost like I had hit my funny bone, but I don't think there is a funny bone in the leg.  I think I pulled a muscle in my thigh.   It felt like the kind of injury that needed to be walked off, so I kept on walking, but in pain.  Every big upward step hurt.  In time though and as the trail leveled out the pain subsided.  Now the next day there is only a little bit of soreness.
When we got to the trail head the parking was packed and people were starting to park up and down the highway.  As soon as we pulled out someone grabbed our parking spot.  We were glad to be leaving on a Friday rather than arriving.
Everyone we saw on the trail had bigger packs and loads than we did, but still I wish I had been able to carry less weight for this hike.  By the last day the food was gone but I still had that stupid 3 pound bear can to deal with.  I was able to fit my bear can, tent and sleeping bag all into my pack on the last day by shoving all of my clothes into my empty bear can.

As I pulled out a I saw a bus go by.. damn, we could have a caught a bus to the trail head!  On the way home my car’s brakes started to squeal and the next morning I had a flat tire. My car is going nowhere until the brakes are fixed.
This was a fun adventure; I hope my daughter looks back on it with fond memories.
We had great weather for the entire trip and we only got a little bit sunburned.
Most of the Japanese tsnami debris has been cleaned up.

22 miles with some ups and downs I'll call it 500 feet but it was probably a little bit more.

After I got home I found out that my mother was in the ICU again and she did not tell me.  "Same song, second verse" said the doctor.  I feel like there is nothing I can do to help her and the grieving process needs to begin.

I turned my cup upside down to keep mice from pooping in it
but when I turne it back over I found a baby bananna slug pooping in it.

a dog in ONP?

Sand sea stacks

crab tracks

sea side fern

seaside fern

Oyster mushroom on the way to third beach

Same Oyster mushrooms on the trip back, nobody picked them.
I hardly ever pick oyster mushrooms myself, they are too bland and full of hopping bugs.

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