Combining our two loves: pizza and hiking

It’s been a tough season for hiking. Rain, rain, and more rain plagued us this spring: May was one of the wettest Mays on record. The treadmill is where most of our hiking action has occurred.

Road’s End, near our home. A gorgeous morning, June 23, about 62 degrees.

We plodded down to Road’s End — very near our home — a couple of times and took walks at Gleneden Beach, the beach at Chinook Winds, and at D’Sands, but mostly it was blustery if it wasn’t raining when we had time.

We also had a celebratory weekend at our old haunt, Cannon Beach, in March, but the weather was such that we only got in one good walk on the beach! Not the norm as we remember spring at the coast.

Earlier this week we did a nice beach hike and combined it with pizza for lunch at Neskowin, OR. If you follow my blog at Our Weekly Pizza, you know this is huge for us.

You might enjoy reading about our latest hike-to-pizza. Some nice pictures there. We even encountered some folks through-hiking the Oregon Coast Trail. Luckily there was — and is — better weather ahead!

Gleneden Beach on a blustery day

Kite flying at Gleneden Beach. It was a cold wind.

That ocean is COLD!

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Out our back door

I’ll bet Credence Clearwater Revival is in your brain already.

Yesterday we finally had a dry day with sunshine and no wind. This March was the third wettest ever recorded in Portland, and Lincoln City had no better luck. There were only four days out of 31 with no precipitation in the entire month. Many days the rain was light but steady. We might only get a tenth of an inch, but it fell as an annoying mist for hour after hour. That, my friends, is why we are so green and lush in this part of the country. But it does make hiking difficult and even walking in town unpleasant.

Lovely soft morning light filters through the pines. It really is a pretty forest.

It was nice to eschew the treadmill at the gym yesterday and get out to explore. We have not hiked a lot in our new town and we knew there was a vista awaiting at The Knoll without having to get in the car, e.g., out our back door.

The Knoll is well-known around Lincoln City. We are lucky to live within walking distance so no need for the car. Behind our house is an area known as the Villages at Cascade Head, a housing development that failed in 2008 before any houses were built. The city bought it and maintains it as park land.

I stopped to breathe in this exposed spot and as I turned around noticed we could see Devil’s Lake off in the distance. The path is steeper than it looks.

Since we arrived in early February we have occasionally walked up here — on a rare non-rainy day — to walk to Safeway or the gym or to access the beach at Road’s End (a 40-minute walk from home). One day we made it about half-way to The Knoll, but were too pooped from moving in, unpacking, and settling to climb all the way up. Friday was the day! Heading out at 9:00 AM into a 45-degree morning, there was no worry of working up a sweat. Our first 3/4 mile was on a paved road that would have been the main drag for the development.

That’s Ric in the foreground. It’s an optical illusion that makes him appear to be on the shore. The beach is actually 595 feet below.

Where the pavement ends, a narrow path leads through a young woodland to a bridge over Logan Creek. This is a substantial steel bridge now overgrown with moss and caked in muck. There is a barricade to prevent cars from crossing it. It is not clear why such a substantial bridge exists.

We clambered over the lower barricade on the side of the bridge (little kids will need a hand here) and commenced walking up slightly on a gravel road. There are houses here in the woods, which feel quite remote. Some of them near the top surely have a great view of the Pacific Ocean. For our view, we had a lot more climbing to do.

Lincoln City is famous for seven miles of beach. You can see the tide is out.

The next locked gate led to a grassy area and a small footpath winding steeply up through the woods. We were on the backside of the hill known as The Knoll. I have to admit that even after a few weeks of going to the gym and walking on the treadmill in lieu of outdoor fun this climb had us huffing and puffing. We had to stop a couple of times for aerobic recovery.

For the record, we live at 125 feet above sea level and the trek was to 595 feet. My friends, that is higher than the highest hill in Rome, Monte Mario (see “Return to Monte Mario”), which claims an elevation of 456 feet above sea level. (Yes, we hiked a lot in the mountains in the past few years, but in the months since we returned from Italy, our activity level has been abysmal given the horrible winter weather and lack of a gym membership.)

This little bird was not happy to have us disturb the morning.

Finally rounding a sharp curve, we came out into the promised grassy area with a magnificent view of the Pacific. Lincoln City stretched out beneath us. (The city boasts seven miles of beach and we were above the very north end of those seven miles.)

We encountered a woman who had ascended even earlier than we did, but she departed and left us in peace with only the sound of the surf pounding far below and a Stellar’s Jay scolding us from the tippy top of a pine tree. This is the sort of place one could stretch out a blanket and enjoy some time listening to the waves and watching the birds. Perhaps as summer nears, it will be much busier, though. We shall see.

Going down was easier on the heart and lungs, but I always worry I am going to slip on a pinecone, so I wished we’d had trekking sticks along. We held hands to steady each other and ensure we avoided injury. Easy hikers can’t be too careful!

Lincoln City stretches out below us. There was a little fog that morning.

I would like to ascend The Knoll again in a few weeks. I suspect there will be wildflowers in bloom. I can also test if the hike has gotten easier as we get back in action. My hiking book illustrates many prospective paths near here. With sun planned again tomorrow, I hope we can bag another easy hike!

Doo-doo-doo lookin’ out my back door.

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