Mount Neahkanie

Higher than the clouds


It’s the first fully dry week that we’ve had all year, and the highways were loaded up with beach goers Thursday at 4:10 pm on the dot. I was watching every minute and every road like a hawk for my cue to gtfo and be home in time to pick up my kiddo. 

We decided to skip the camping rush and crowded beaches in favor of a nice little hike in the woods. I have this issue with perception, and if you look up this particular trail, you might get it. I thought about tracking it with my running app, but worried the battery would die before I got the good photo ops. Anyway, I guess the disclaimer to this one is, “Your level of enjoyment may differ.”

I did not envy any campers as we hit the 101 and were socked in with thick fog. I realized I had the whole family layer up in anticipation of cool weather then rocked out with nothing but shorts and tee. My legs paid the price in blood, but the temp was perfect. 

So, it’s been a while and I forgot how the trail was on the north side. We started up through berry brambles and loose flagstone before the path improved slightly and we were flanked by the following. I’ll have to figure out all the names later!

It’s hard to see, but this shot is looking about 50 degrees uphill. 

We bushwhacked for maybe half mile uphill until the slope started to ease up and old growth dominated the scene. So, the thing about the north part of this trail is that the way is easily lost. Coming downhill, there is a clear end of the trail and a suggestive curve downhill. You look downhill and just over a mass of old tree roots, you see the trail switching back just as you’d expect. Approaching from the north, however, you don’t think to look for a switchback because the trail appears to keep going. You follow it innocently until it ends in the middle of thick fern and fallen timber. Now, an intelligent person would backtrack until they found another hiker for direction. This family gets worked up, starts in one direction, changes direction a few times, fights through as much as possible, then finds a hidden meadow well of the trail. 

Ah well, we did find our way back onto the trail and before long we could feel the sea breeze as we approached the summit. 

The Camas lily in the early day fog. 

Ooh, yes! Who isn’t excited for wild berries! 😄  oh? Nobody in Oregon? k

Now, I grew up in the mountains, so inversions aren’t the most remarkable thing to see anymore. However, as we rounded the face of the peak and the trees thinned out, we realized that we had walked above the fog. 

Minds blown! Then, just after that, we hit the wildflower jackpot. 

Well, that just about made the day for us. We hung out on the peak, snacking and taking it all in. On our way back down, the fog lifted and offered us a glimpse of the coast and birds diving in the water. 

Just a couple more native flora to wrap it up. 

It was an exhausting day for everyone, but well worth it. It was certainly the solace we needed and salt air we were craving.

Author: Goose Andeluse

Compulsive maker and fowl carpenter.

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