Friday, September 4, 2009

"boardman park north"

One of the most scenic stretches of the Oregon Coast Trail is the area just north of Brookings, Oregon. William Sullivan (ISBN 978-09677830-2X) does a good job dividing this 12 1/2 mile length into a north and south section. I will defer to him on the southern section (5 miles one-way), as I have only done the northern section (approx. 7 1/4 miles one-way). The south end of this section begins at the Whalehead Beach Picnic Area turnoff, just south of milepost 349, on Pacific coastal highway 101. Park on your left almost immediately after turning off of the highway. The complete 12.6 mile trail is in the designated Samuel H. Boardman State Park (or St. Scenic Corridor). From the parking area, hiking north, travel through coastal forest 1 1/2 miles to Indian Sands, which is very striking landscape. Skirt the dunes here right, or away from the ocean, to find a difficult (I disagree with Sullivan's "moderate" rating here) trail uphill through forest again. There is no trail through Indian Sands due to drifting, so route-find here. You will then travel through several coves to Thomas Creek Bridge, where you must walk the highway. Next, .7 miles through the forest is China Beach, which is great. Be warned that navigation of China Beach cannot be accomplished at high tides. Then uphill again to the highway, and the final 2 1/2 miles passes a wonderful series of rock formations, including bridges and arches. If you are planning an out-and-back on the northern section of "Boardman", it will be a very full day's workout. Consider a shuttle, which would be parked at the northern terminus, Arch Rock Picnic Area.

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