Nehalem Bay from Neahkahnie Mountain
OK, last weekend I was in the ever-green Oregon Coast for some easy hiking. Being from Colorado, I am always impressed by the wet greenness of western Oregon. The coast itself is engrossingly wild, the shoreline is rocky with high cliffs that drop off into the ocean, interspersed with long flat white sand beaches. There is constant wave action that produces an ever-present low roar in the background as the breakers roll over. It is often cloudy with drizzle, and even a dusting of snow this time of year.
The trail starts just above the coast and switches back and forth as you climb up through the rainforest. The vegetation is a bit less dense than summer, but the moss and lichens are as thick as ever. And of course the occasional gigantic old growth fir tree that demands a hug. Tree Huggers were born here.
Neahkahnie is a Tillimook Indian word that means “place of the supreme deity,” possibly because of the summit views, 1600 feet above cliff faces dropping into the wild ocean and glimpses of the dense green forest through whisping fog.
There are also legends of Spanish treasure being buried on the mountain that date from the 1800s. If true, you can understand why it hasn’t been found. Hiking off the trail through thick underbrush looks impossible. Also, the mountain is currently part of an Oregon state park. Hopefully no more hunters try to dig pointless pits in this mountain, the real treasure is obvious from the summit.
After this hike I went down and walked along the beach outside the little town of Manzanita. It seemed to go for miles and the waves were mesmerizing, constantly approaching and breaking in different ways each time.
No trip is finished until you sample the local pub. This time it was the Sand Dune Pub. The variety and availability of local craft beer in Colorado is only outdone by Oregon. But since I am a beer drinking barbarian, I of course opted for an unmentionable brand light beer.