Posts Tagged With: trekking

Oregon coast is a walking dream

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you enjoy walking on the beach near spectacular rock formations, the southern Oregon coast is tough to beat. Harris Beach State Park near Brookings is the perfect base for exploring this area.

Camping with longtime friends Kathy and Doug, we parked a truck at Arch Rock, then returned to Thomas Creek to walk the four and a half miles north. The walk starts on the cliffs and goes down to the beach a couple of times. Some of it travels through deep, dark forest, a treat for Mordor fans.

Kathy and Sue held up the Oregon Coast Path sign for a bit before the sun broke through toward the end of our trek.

The next day, we celebrated Doug’s birthday by driving north to Cape Blanco. We parked at the historic Hughes House and hiked two miles along the Sixes River and the beach to the lighthouse, built in 1870. Perched at the westernmost point in the continental United States, the lighthouse sends a beam 26 miles out to sea.

Tours of the lighthouse and Hughes House capped a beautiful, but very windy, day.

William Sullivan’s Oregon Coast hiking guide has maps and details of both walks. If you are hiking in Oregon, his books will help you find fantastic walks.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Very tall, very old things

On our way to the Boy Scout Tree in California’s Jedediah Smith State Park today, our camera found several other old, tall living things along the trail, including a former Scout!

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Quit is not in this trekker’s vocabulary

What takes 13 pairs of shoes, 6,000 calories day, 252 days while losing 25 pounds?

Check this out.

 

Categories: Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Oregon mountain holds link to WWII bombing

Nubuo Fujita dropped two bombs on a ridge above Brookings, Oregon.

It was a September evening off the Brookings, Oregon coast.

Nobuo Fujita strapped himself into the pilot's seat in his floatplane atop the submarine aircraft carrier.

His spotter gave the thumbs up and their craft was catapulted from the sub into the air, eventually rising to several thousand feet as they headed toward the redwood forest on Wheeler Ridge.

Minutes later it was bombs away as they dropped two incendiary devices, intending to start a massive wildfire and divert American manpower from the war.

Forest Service guards heard a plane approaching their fire lookout. “What is going on?” they wondered.

The men heard an explosion and soon saw signs of a fire.

Forest Service Guard Keith Johnson at the bombing site the day after the attack.

They knew they must get to the fire quickly to prevent a disaster. Rain the previous night had dampened the ground. They summoned help and a wildfire was averted.

That was 1942. Fujita was a Japanese pilot aboard the I-25 submarine. His daring raid aboard the Glen was one of several missions by their submarine off the Oregon coast that year.

Sue and I made our way to the bombing site today, driving about 17 miles inland from Brookings, the last 12 on a gravel road that got more treacherous as we traveled. About 15 inches of rain had fallen in a recent storm, making parts of the road a challenge. A few trees had fallen, but the road remained passable.

After parking, we headed up the rustic trail, past a few markers commemorating Fujita's daring raid. After about a half hour, we arrived at the bombing site, marked by a platform overlooking the place where his daughter had scattered some of his remains in 1997.

Nubuo Fujita and his wife visited Brookings in 1962 and he presented his family's 400-year-old samurai sword in an act of friendship to the Brookings mayor.

Small road signs marked the way up the mountain.

There was no sign of other visitors during our drive and trek.

Sue holds back branches so our truck can pass underneath.

The trail headed up steeply, then down the other side to the bombing site.

Somehow, the Japanese attackers launched the plane from their submarine.

A small clearing provided parking near the trailhead.

A marker for the bombing site, as seen from a small deck.

A viewing platform and historical markers commemorate the World War II site.

 

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Tour du Mont Blanc: Downhill all the way

What a treat it was to enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning, knowing that we had only a short walk back to Chamonix, the starting and finishing point of our Tour du Mont Blanc. Plenty of time for a second cup of coffee!

We chose the path along the River L'Arve for our final 5 1/2 mile walk.

This looked like a tiny strawberry growing alongside the trail.

Clouds prevented us from seeing Mont Blanc in Chamonix when we began our trek. Clear skies today allowed the mountain to dominate. We have yet to tire of this view.

We arrived in Chamonix just in time for lunch, where we enjoyed a Mozza Salad at a little sidewalk cafe.

 

 

Categories: Tour du Mont Blanc | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tour du Mont Blanc: Up through the clouds

We peeked out our curtain this morning with fingers crossed. The sky was gray, but dry. Perfect! We dashed down to breakfast at 7:00 am, eager to get an early start. We walked through a mostly deserted Champex, guidebook in hand, searching for our trail.

We anticipated a bit of a climb today, as we've had every day, and wanted to beat any change of weather over the col. Our day began easily, meandering through meadows and along a wide track through the forest. That soon came to an end and we found ourselves steeply climbing up and sloshing across roaring streams of snowmelt.

We were contemplating whether to climb over or shimmy under the gate when Reg gave it a push...and we easily walked through.

The trail narrowed and began a steady climb up into the clouds.

We spent 6.00€ on two small cups of instant coffee for the privilege of picnicking at the tables at this Refugio. It was perfect!

Trekkers need to pay attention to signposts or risk wandering far off course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We passed fields of cows today. This one was happy to pose for me.

Wild flowers were just beginning to bloom at the top of today's trail.

 

Categories: Tour du Mont Blanc | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tour du Mont Blanc: Weather threatens to halt trek

Our view from our hotel room in Champex, Switzerland. A four-course dinner in a grand old dining room capped the day Thursday.

Lac Champex is just a few steps from our hotel. It offers several bars, cafes and stores. Winter skiing is its big draw.

Our hotel in Champex has a commanding view in several directions.

The blue skies of the past five days have gone and there has been a bit of rain, thunder and lightening today, a rest day in Champex, Switzerland. We met trekkers who had to turn back this morning from the next day's col due to lightening. They faced a 200€ taxi to the next town around the mountains.

Our trek Thursday to this 5,000-foot elevation lake town was advertised as the easiest day of the Tour. It was all downhill from La Fouly to about 3,400 feet. We passed through several tiny Swiss villages that were strangely almost deserted. So far, so good.

The guidebook said there would be a bit of a climb to the lake. Well, 1,600 feet was much less than previous days, but the steep trail featured rocks, roots and steep drop offs. We have learned there is very little easy about the Tour du Mont Blanc, except how easy it is on the eyes.

Switzerland is not part of the European Union, but there has been no passport control, even when we checked into our hotel. The Swiss franc is the official currency, but the euro is accepted here. The cashiers all carry huge wallets with both francs and euros. We have been using credit cards to get the best exchange rate.

French is the main language in this part of the country, just as we had gotten used to our Italian greetings.

We are to walk to Trient Saturday, but the weather might make the high cols impassible, mainly due to the threat of lightening. Our plan B is a bus-train-bus combination. We are very much hoping to be able to walk…we want to complete the Tour! (And we are hoping to avoid buses, trains or 200€ for a taxi.)

Help us solve the mystery at the bottom of this post.

Several pallets of supplies await a helicopter delivery to a remote Alpine refuge or hut.

A helicopter picks up one of several loads in Champex.

The helicopter is off, soon to return for the next load.

Today's cloudy view of the Alps from Champex.

This contraption has eight arms and rotates, but we could not figure out what it was used for.

What is this? We saw this machine a few days ago in a remote Alpine refuge that looked like it had once been a horse facility. Do you know what it is? Let us know by clicking on “comment” at the bottom of this post.

 

Categories: Tour du Mont Blanc | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Tour du Mont Blanc: Switzerland awaits

 

Our starting point this morning was in the valley far below.

Today, our seventh day of walking and our eighth day on the Tour du Mont Blanc, the trail led us 8,300 feet up and over the Grand Col Ferret and down into Switzerland. It was quite a climb!

Our first two hours of walking delivered us to Refugio Elena, strategically nestled into the hillside and sporting a spectacular view of the Glacier de Pré de Bar. Coffee on the deck and then it was time to push ahead.

The original Refugio Elena was lost in an avalanche in the 1950s. The Refugios are only open for the short summer season.

We made it to the top in time to enjoy the view during lunch.

We pose for a quick photo at the top of the col.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is taking us to dizzying heights, testing us every step of the way. It hasn't been easy, but it continues to reward us.

We wish our new friends a safe journey as they continue their trek.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We've met some wonderful people on our journeys. It's one of the things we like most about trekking.

We met Dutch teachers Micah and Anna last night in La Vachey. This afternoon we walked to our destination of La Fouly together, the (mostly) gentle downhill allowing for easy conversation.

 

 

Categories: Tour du Mont Blanc | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The way to Chamonix: Trains and costly surprises

Glaciers are revealed, but the clouds hide Mont Blanc in this view from our hotel this morning.

 

Naïveté, bad luck and good fortune all had parts in our eventful journey from sunny Strasbourg to rainy Chamonix in the French Alps on Monday.

Three trains were to take us on the nine-hour trip, but a bus and a very expensive taxi ride saved the day in the end.

The second train ride, meant to take us from Lyon in southern France to Saint Gervais, started well. But, when we got to the end of the line, we discovered we were in Evian! (Try that word backwards.)

Our hotel, La Chaumiere, in Chamonix. A nice breakfast buffet and a bottomless cup of coffee (our first on this trip) were a great start to the day.

We had lost half our train! It turned out that at one of the stops, the last three cars decoupled and they went to Saint Gervais, without us.

It was 9 p.m. and we were in Evian, a long way from our hotel room. We found the train engineer and he found us a bus, which took us back to Annemasse. He said to tell the folks at the train station what happened and that they would call a taxi to take us to Chamonix. A Japanese photographer in the same boat followed us.

We pulled into the Annemasse train station about 10 p.m. The bus driver spoke little English, but had been told of our plight and waited while we sought help.

However, the station was deserted. Now what? The benches looked like last-resort beds. Ouch!

Sue tried calling a taxi, but the first call went unanswered and the second got a recording in indecipherable French. The driver needed to go. We needed a taxi. A bilingual woman on the bus hopped off and called a taxi for the three of us.

It was nearly 11 p.m. when we pulled into Chamonix. The meter read 240€. As Sue and I approached the locked lobby of the La Chaumiere Hotel, tourists from London unlocked the door. An envelope on the counter welcomed the Spittles, our key inside!

It has been raining all day in Chamonix; our Tour du Mont Blanc begins tomorrow with more rain forecast. We will begin, rain or shine.

In Scotland, they might say “It never rains on the trail!”

 

Categories: Tour du Mont Blanc | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Castle Crags: A granite monument from Jurassic times

The rugged Crags are granite bodies, or plutons, from the Jurassic time.

Like Yosemite's Half Dome, Castle Dome cooled underground.

 

 

 

We headed about 90 miles into California from Oregon for a training hike last weekend. As the challenge of an Alps trek next month nears, Castle Crags State Park gave us a chance to test our lungs and legs in the Shasta National Forest.

The seven-mile walk took us up about 2,500 feet to reach the granite formations more than 170 million years old. A collision of an oceanic plate with North America created the Crags.

The Crags Trail is all uphill and steep scrambling over rocks made the last mile quite difficult.

A food and beer fueling stop on the way home capped a tough, but rewarding day.

 

Crags Trail gets rockier and steeper when it emerges from the forest.

There are about 28 miles of trails in the Castle Crags Wilderness. The Pacific Crest Trail is part of the trail system.

The trail offers hikers several views of 14,000-feet-plus Mount Shasta.

 

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: