Cape Perpetua

Winter on the Oregon Coast is not for wimps. It left us few days good enough for even a meager hike so most of our steps have been on a treadmill at the gym. We’ve perhaps strolled through the extended neighborhood a half-dozen times, did one muddy and snowy hike in the mountains near Durango, CO in February, slogged down to the beach from our house (a mile-or-so each way) two or three times, and took advantage of an extraordinary clear period in December to visit Yachats and walk on the Smelt Sands Trail.

Overcast, but at least it’s not raining at Cape Perpetua.

My Fitbit primarily reflects treadmill trekking, which is accomplished with the accompaniment of media downloaded to my iPad to help pass the 60 minutes. Shetland, Hinterland, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, and Call the Midwife have kept boredom at bay and, in some cases, the next installment of a series was encouragement enough to make me go to the gym.

Luckily the rains are now less frequent and far less intense (45 mph winds make indoors most attractive) so we have had some excursions lately. Overcast skies still prevail, but our mantra is “At least it’s not raining.”

Stunning views from the Visitor Center.

In late April a break in the clouds at Lincoln City led us south to Cape Perpetua, one of the many features on the Oregon Coast named by Captain James Cook. The name was selected because he arrived on St. Perpetua’s Day in 1778. The Visitor Center is impressive with displays of flora and fauna as well as history. It is also well-situated for whale-watching during the twice-a-year migration of the Grey Whales.

There are 26 miles of trails at Cape Perpetua although in this, our introductory visit, we managed only a couple of short loops. Unfortunately, the sun did not follow us from Lincoln City, so we walked under overcast skies. At least it wasn’t raining.

Those are spouting horns just off the trail. Some areas may be hazardous during high seas.

For the easy hiker, there are a nice series of trails along the shore of the Marine Reserve with some stunning natural features known as Thor’s Well, Cook’s Chasm, and Devil’s Churn. (NB: Go at high tide for the most dramatic water action or at low tide to explore tide pools.) Next trip we will time our visit for high tide and also check out the Giant Spruce Trail.

For those interested in a more strenuous walk, there are longer and steeper trails to entice you.

A day trip would not be complete without a stop for coffee. Green Salmon Coffee in Yachats is a quirky — and popular — little place offering drinks laced with CBD oil. That’s cannabis without the kick. The health benefits are supposed to be myriad, but we stuck with their excellent pour-over coffee (so smooth!) and a fine pastry.

Click on any photo below for a better view and caption.

Until the next time!

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Spello to Collepino along a Roman aqueduct

We had no business taking this hike, but I am proud to say we survived.

An amazingly beautiful and peaceful walk through olive groves and along a path defined by an ancient Roman aqueduct, I had read about this on Rebecca Winke’s blog. When she wrote that “the last half-kilometer push to Collepino takes the wind out of you,” I had no idea of the reality.

Stunning countryside, away from the crowds.

It has been a long time since we did over 1000 feet of elevation gain, especially in so short a distance.

We started the day with a scenic bus trip from Assisi (where we were staying at Rebecca’s beautiful town apartments) to Spello where we met up with friends Justice and Bill Tower. They have an adorable renovated house in Spello where they spend close to half of the year. The trip to Collepino is one they make a piedi quite often. No wonder they are in such excellent shape!

We walked up from the bus stop at the foot of the town — which is quite a good uphill walk itself — and immediately headed to the top of the town and Acquedotto Romano trail. It has only been possible to do this hike for a few years. Previously the aqueduct was buried and debris and rock covered what is now a fine trail. Seriously, it is an easy-hiker hike until you get to the last bit.

A view of Spello and the mountains beyond from the trail. Spello is at 280 meters above sea level. We are above Spello but not nearly to Collepino.

Walking through olive groves along an ancient aqueduct on a fine fall day truly was delightful. The grade is mostly flat for at least 4 km, but we were glad we had brought our hiking sticks for the last push to the summit town of Collepino. The combination of exposure to warm fall sun, a steep grade, loose rocks, and living at sea level with rare opportunity to climb more than a few hundred feet, made this challenging for us.

Notice the wall created by the old aqueduct. Makes for a level path…until the end!

And we are rather slow walkers anyway. I am afraid we held up our more stalwart companions.

On an easy-hiker scale of 1-to-3, this was a 4+. (In our book, Walking in Italy’s Val Gardena, we rank hikes on a scale of 1 to 3.) We were verbally patting each other on the back for making it.

Justice & Bill ahead of us just before the path gets really steep. Collepino is at 600 meters.

At the top there is a cute-as-a-button hilltop village (Collepino) and a charming piazza with a bar run by the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. Flavio and Isa welcomed the four of us (Justice and Bill being long-time friends) and served up cappuccini to help us recover. A nice rest sitting in the shade, chatting and enjoying the peace of this slice of rural Umbria was just what we needed to propel us downhill — on a paved road — to lunch! Along the way, we harvested shoots of late-season (out-of-season?) wild asparagus.

The total hike was a bit over 11 kilometers, but this day we walked almost 18 km with all of the other walking we did. (That’s about 11 miles for our non-metric friends.)

Justice and Bill fed us lunch in their Spello hideaway, featuring a frittata made with some of that wild asparagus. Amazing!

Spello is a charming little town and I wish we had planned more time there. We stayed a few nights several years ago on a winter trip and were quite taken with it. There are great restaurants and it is an excellent place to practice your Italian.

It is also a great place to buy olive oil and we have some Spello d’Oro (Spello gold) on its way to Lincoln City.

We had a delightful visit in Umbria. Over at GoodDayRome.com there’s more about this stage of our two-month Grand Tour.

Here are a few more snapshots from our hike. Please click on them for a better view and caption.

 

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