Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cape Meares Beach Trail

July 1st found us surveying BLOY northward and hiking a trail we had not hiked before: the trail to the beach from the Cape Meares trailhead. That trail actually splits soon after the parking area, one going southwestward to the lighthouse and the other going northwestward to the beach that the little town of Cape Meares sits by. There was high fog this day so we could not see the mountains over Tillamook from the trail. But we did see the town of Cape Meares and Tillamook Bay beyond.

 Both trails wind through an old growth Sitka Spruce forest. On the beach trail, many of those huge old trees are on the ground, becoming nurse logs for a new generation of shrubs and trees.

 Some are still standing and plenty big. This one is about five feet across.

 Since my goal was to see if there were any offshore rocks that might hold Black Oystercatchers and not be visible from the viewing platform at Cape Meares, we opted for the trail less traveled when one path headed north toward the sandy beach and the other south toward, I hoped, a view of offshore rocks. I was wrong on all accounts. The trail landed at the very end of the beach, a beach coated with driftwood. One rock was visible way off in the distance. Zoomed up close, it looked promising. However, when we returned to our car and drove to the Cape Meares viewing platform, there was my "new" rock, the same one we have seen on every visit, just from a different angle.

The cliff, though, that the beach ended in, looked fascinating: full of water caves

Getting down to the driftwood stacked beach was on a slippery dirt slide. Ropes had been attached top and bottom to help in the ascent and descent. Johnny watched me from the top.

 One beachwood sea creature leaped into Johnny's backpack after piggybacking a  ride with me up from the beach. What could we do but bring him home?

Other than the rope descent portion, this was one of the most civilized trails we have been on... wide and well maintained.

 The climb back up to the trail head is a little tiring, but nothing like the Hart's Cove trail. We then drove to the viewpoint and saw our rock off in the distance. And zoomed up. Yep, same rock.

Ah well, it's always fun to hike a new trail, no matter what's at the end of it. From the viewing platform, we could see the south toe pair of BLOY with just one of their two chicks. We later learned a Peregrine had taken a chick the previous Saturday. Such is life in the wild.

On the way home, we found our recently discovered BLOY pair tending their nest at Cape Lookout. On the way up, we had found our recently discovered BLOY pair at Short Beach on duty at their nest.

Back at the farm in the evening, we drove into the driveway to find baby California Quail for the first time this year. Two coveys  led us home, one with seven chicks (pictured) and another with fourteen.

It was a good way to start July... and a pleasantly cool way compared to the 90 degrees at home while we were gone.

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