Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ecola State Park

Yesterday my husband and I went to Ecola State Park. This is just down from Haystack Rock where we visited last weekend. This could be one of our favorite walks because it was a combination of forest walk, steep hiking trails and beach. It was like a secret trail that went to a beach that only had maybe 5 or 6 people on it when we got down there. It was fantastic for the dogs.

You enter a cute little tourist town for either beach. For this beach you take a right and head up this perfectly smooth narrow road that curved its way through some of the most stunning forests I have ever seen. I was grateful for the moon roof on the MINI so that I could look up at the towering trees above me. The giant spruce trees there give their seed then provide a base for the trees to grow on. The roots draped over the rotten stumps of fallen parent trees. The mass of the previous trees was very apparent because some very large trees still had rotten stump remaining beneath them. For the trees the stumps had finished decomposing beneath stood on arching roots like elephant ballarinas. It was fantastic to see.

We emerged from the very dark forest to the very blue coast. The park has set up a place to picnic that overlooks all of the beaches. The fog was rolling out to sea making everything even more dramatic. Giant rocks slammed their heads out of the ocean mimicking the jagged forest mountains on land. We are new to the concept of planning hikes around tidal levels. We tried to get there when the tide went out so we could check out the pools but when we finished the hike to the beach we were a bit late. That did not deduct from the experience in the least bit though. When we entered the trail my husband spotted the biggest slug I have ever seen in my life. It was as long as the tip of my pointer finger to the joint where my thumb starts.

There were also lots of horsetail plants about. I thought at first they were baby trees but was excited to see the prehistoric plants. They are slightly different then the ones found in Upstate New York. They have needle like specialized leaves jutting out of them making them look like baby pines.

There was a gigantic tree carcass that had been sawed to allow hikers to pass. It was as tall as Roger in width and hollowed out like a wooden cave.  Moss was on everything. Ferns grew at the base of trees and even up in the trees. There were large masses on some of the trees that had lots of tinny branches growing out of them. I was not sure if this was caused by a diseased area or if a branch had been knocked off and smaller branches had emerged from it much like a willow tree would do.

It was a full sun day but extremely dark in the woods. The path wound round and round and though it was only a little over a mile it was for experienced hikers with lots of tree roots, steep slops and fallen logs. Our dogs were having the time of their lives. Ozzy the cairn grew up as a pup hiking Clarks Reservation in Syracuse, NY and has always loved rugged trails. Daisy's hound dog instincts kept her nose to the ground transversing the uneven path. We crossed small creeks rushing down the slope to the ocean. The park had built a couple wooden bridges but for the most part it was a dirt trail with rocks or boards in the soggy areas where water may cause erosion on the path.

The path took a round about way but then started the decent zig zagging its way down the slope. No steps till the last 100 feet of trail then we hit the beach. The beach greeted us with a massive rock. The beaches here are cool. You are able to take your shoes off and walk across the sand no problem. This beach was sand but had eroded large rocks near the cliff area and many giant logs and driftwood. The most interesting sea plants wash up on the shore and I saw large clusters of broken off oyster clumps. The rocks are just breath taking. When people act shocked I have moved here from so far away I am shocked by their reaction. I am grateful I was not born here and am able to be blown away by this landscape. It really is quite exotic and rugged. Being able to see these monumental natural wonders after just an hour drive is mind boggling. The beaches on the east coast are nothing like this. Here you just feel more isolated and like you are being exposed the the inner workings of nature. The only east coast beach visit I felt like this was when I went camping with my sister and brother-in-law in a reserve down the coast of Virginia. Still it did not have the massive cliffs and mountain peeks that this coast line does.

We really enjoyed this hike. Today we plan to do a hike by Mount Hood. I will post pictures again and write about the trail we went on. Thanks for reading and I hope you get out there and try these trails!

No comments:

Post a Comment