- Turtle Rock RV in Gold Beach to Brookings
- Mileage – 15.5
- Accumulated elevation gain – 1827 ft
- Pain status – a little achilles pain at the end
I am enjoying Southern Oregon so much! Most of the team prefers the northern part, but the wildness of this portion really pleases me! Today was the prettiest day yet, so be prepared to be inundated with lots of pictures in this post. And I’m only sharing a few of what I took!
Our starting mission today was to find Secret Beach, as it’s supposed to be amazing! The bus driver didn’t know where it was. Google has it on the map in one place, and directions online have it a mile or two further north. Using those directions, we had the bus driver drop us off at a mile marker, which very conveniently had an OCT trail marker.
This started a wonderful pattern of trails and highway. It was trail walking, view, trail walking, view. I love hiking the trails the best!! The trails mostly paralleled the highway, but went in toward the ocean a bit further and went up and down a bit, too. Trail:View:Trail:Arch Rock View:Trail:View:Trail:View:
There was a trail off to the left and then one off to the right, as the map showed, so we followed it to this beach view:Maybe this was it! The trail leading down was a bit thin and sketchy. Then it got too sketchy to continue:A rope descent with our packs on was not a good idea! We moved on.
We were able to follow a path to go down to this one. It was amazing!! This was my very favorite spot on the whole OCT! Getting closer:Rhonda and I exploring the north rock and claiming it as our Lunch Rock.There was a waterfall:Rhonda and I exploring the beach:Looking back at the others sitting on Lunch Rock:I might have gotten caught by the surf here, but it was worth it!Lunch on Lunch Rock, the best lunch spot of our trip:Such a lovely view:
Eventually we had to leave, though I would have been happy to stay longer, climbing more rocks and seeing how far we could go on the beach. We decided that this was Secret Beach and the one with the rope was Secret Secret Beach.
More trail. And this is where the OCT starts playing not funny tricks on you. It leads you down this really steep trail, straight down to the beach:
We walked to the end rock, hoping we could skirt it and go around. No such luck. We also looked for trail signs, as this stretch had been very good about marking where to go. No luck there either. On our backtrack, we did see a part of the vertical cliff that had a little plateau that might be a trail. It was! No sign, but it was the trail.
So basically, the OCT took us straight down, then across the beach for just a few feet, then straight back up! That is a cruel joke to play on backpackers!
We were happy to find the second trail that led up, so we wouldn’t have to backtrack to the one we came down. This wasn’t just because backtracking is demoralizing, but because back at the point we skirted, we passed 3 naked men sunning themselves on the beach. That was an awkward experience we didn’t want to repeat!
It was brutal. After that, we decided to stay on the highway at least til we crossed the bridge. The bridge being the highest one in Oregon!!Thomas Creek, however, is definitely not in the running for the “-est” of anything. It was tiny! We could step over it, if we had followed the OCT trail sign and gone down there:
After the bridge we reached Whaleshead Viewpoint, at which point we also reached 300 miles hiked, as a team (counting my long days and Mike’s long days). Christy and Rhonda had been mentioning that they would like a ride into Brookings, so I got them one. A mom and son who pulled into the viewpoint were more than happy to say yes when I asked if they would take some of my friends into town. They said they could fit two, but we squeezed in three. Rhonda, Christy and Miranda getting into their chariot (actually a Patriot):
Mike and I set off to walk the remaining 7 miles. I told him I would try to keep up but I probably couldn’t, so he should just go his pace and then wait up for me every so often. He said okay. And this was the last I saw of him for the next 7 miles:
A little while later he sent a text to the group telling them he was racing the clock to get there to meet them by 6:00. I had been going as fast as I could so that when (if) he stopped to wait for me to catch up, as we had planned, he wouldn’t have to wait very long. I was annoyed but it was good to know I could slow down to my normal pace since he wasn’t actually going to wait up for me. Way to follow the plan, Mike.
But I wasn’t annoyed for long. It was a beautiful day! The forest was beside me with views of the ocean in between the trees. I was having fun walking and I was happy.
The girls had checked into our hotel, the Brookings Inn Resort. It was an okay motel but I think they have a different understanding of the term “resort” than I do. Apparently, the front desk clerk made them check out the room before paying to make sure they were okay with staying there.
They went to a brewery for drinks to wait for me and Mike. They got kicked out of that brewery because Miranda isn’t 21, so they had more drinks and appetizers and waited for me for dinner at the Vista Pub instead. Christy and Rhonda bought my dinner in thanks for hitching them a ride. Habanero Mango cheeseburger!