Trip Report: Outdoor School Oregon Coast Backpack
The backpacking season is in full swing. The huckleberries are already ripe in the mountains, and things are warm and (relatively) dry on the coast. It is time to get out and hike Oregon's amazing trails!
Next Adventure Outdoor School guided overnight backpacking trips to Olallie Lakes, Hawk Mountain on Mt. Hood National Forest, and the Oregon Coast in July, and more trips are scheduled this summer.
We are leading hiking and backpacking adventures along the Pacific Crest Trail and the Oregon Coast Trail in August and September. Check out nextadventure.net/outdoor-school for more details and to sign up!
Meanwhile, to whet your wilderness appetite, here is the Trip Report from our latest adventure on the Oregon Coast, hiking and camping along the OCT over Tillamook Head:
The sky was overcast on the coast when we arrived at Seaside. After a picnic by the ocean, we fitted and packed our backpacks before heading to the trailhead.
The deep green mossy forest swallowed us almost immediately as we started up the trail. Giant Sitka Spruce towed over us, verdant with lichen and ferns. The trail switchbacked up until an area of blow-down opened up a view of the Pacific Ocean.
Soon we gained the ridge and the going was easier, glopping through muddy sections, but being rewarded with glimpses of the blue sea and thundering waves against the cliffs far below us. We were following in the footsteps of the Corps of Discovery, who crossed this headland in 1806 in search of whale blubber. One viewpoint is known as "Clark's Point of View", which particularly impressed the explorer.
There were other campers at the Hiker's Camp, but we found some level spots to set up our tents nearby, going over the outdoor skills of selecting a campsite, properly setting up a tent, sleeping pad inflation, proper gear care, and leave no trace principles.
Dinner was freeze-dried Mountain House meals. We discussed stoves, water treatment, and more leave no trace principles while we ate.
After dinner, we strolled down to the viewpoint of Tillamook Rock and enjoyed the sunset.
A Bald Eagle swooped and called out far below us as the waves crashed againt the rocks at the bottom of the cliffs.
It rained that night, and not just a usual misty coast drizzle, but real pelting rain. But by morning, the rain had stopped. The trees continued to drip for a few more hours, but the day slowly dried out.
The widlife seemed more comfortable in the damp forest. We saw slugs and snails and even a rabbit.
Before breakfast, we hiked down to Indian Beach. We stopped by Indian Creek along the way to filter water and practice using a Katadyn Hiker Pro pump filter.
Then we strolled the beach and enjoyed the views of the sea stack rock formation off shore.
Surfers and SUPers were out surfing the waves. Everyone agreed that stand-up paddleboarding looked like a lot of fun.
We returned to camp for breakfast: either oatmeal or freeze-dried Mountain House eggs, and then went over how to pack up a wet camp. We used camp towels to dry tarps off as much as possible, then loaded our gear, keeping wet stuff separate from the dry things.
We hefted our packs to our shoulders and bid goodbye to the campsite. We backpacked back up over the headland, glorping through even more mud than on the way there, but also appreciating how much greener the forest had gotten overnight.
Patches of misty fog alternated with sunbeams shining through the trees. We enjoyed the cliff-top viewpoints, and all too soon we were back at the trailhead.
After another picnic at the beach, we drove back to Portland and returned to Next Adventure.
If you are interested in learning how to hike and camp comfortably and safely, come join us on our next guided tour. We offer introductory two and three day trips, as well as more advanced four and five day tours. Find out more and sign up online at:
Greg Hill is Lead Guide, Instructor and Program Manager for Next Adventure Outdoor School, based in beautiful Portland, Oregon.
Next Adventure is a fully-insured licensed Outfitter and Guide with the State of Oregon. Next Adventure is an equal opportunity Recreation Provider operating under special use permit on the Mt. Hood National Forest and Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, USDA Forest Service.