A string of 1,854 wave-washed rocks and islands mirror almost the entire length of the Oregon coast from Tillamook Head to the California border. These precious chunks of land, protected as the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, total only 372 acres, but those relatively few acres provide a nesting habitat for an estimated 1.2 million seabirds, more than nest along the coastlines of California and Washington combined. Beginning in April, black-and-white common murres throng the islands. Summer also brings tufted puffins, rhinoceros and Cassin's auklets, pigeon guillemots, Leach's storm-petrels, black oystercatchers, western gulls, and other species, which nest on the islands and feed in the Pacific Ocean. These rocky islands and reefs also serve as haul-outs for seals and sea lions including harbor seals, northern elephant seals, California sea lions, and the Steller sea lion, which haul themselves up on to rocks to give birth, to rest, and to molt. The Rogue and Orford Reef units of this refuge and wilderness constitute the largest breeding and pupping sites for Steller sea lions in U.S. waters south of Alaska.
NAKED ADVENTURERS, A 420 FRIENDLY NUDIST GROUP
This day was a little cooler and cloudy so I didn’t expect any hiking buddies this time. Expecting high 50’s and sun, I got low 50’s and overcast. Still with in my comfort zone. When I arrived there were 4 cars in the parking lot, 2 people fishing, and a group in their car with large clouds of smoke erupting from their cracked windows. So the trail was fairly deserted. Waited around a bit, see if anyone was going to show up, got use to the cold and smoked a pre-hike bowl. No one showed up, so off I went. Once I losing sight of the parking lot my shorts and shirt where stowed in my pack and the naked adventure began.
The hike started out as a double track trail, with an easy uphill grade which followed the reservoir. This soon turned into a signal track trail and dropped to the shore line and across an earth dam.
Started up a ridge keeping a good pace, still a little cold with the sun poking through the clouds. By the time I got to the top the ridge I no longer felt cold.
A wonderful thing starts to happen when you have no distractions, you’re naked in the forest and alone with your thoughts. Almost total silence except for your footsteps, the birds and the wind passing through the trees. No longer man invading nature but man in tune with nature. The cold in no longer a factor, you have gotten used to it or just numb by now.
Listening to the rhythm your foot wind passing through the trees. Bring your self to a state of self-meditation, self-awareness. Just see where your thoughts take you.
This how the rest of the hike went. Go down the ridge, go up the ridge stop look around, and take some pictures. Since I was by myself I did a little exploring turning a 6 mile hike into a 9 mile hike Go down the ridge, go up the ridge, exc.
I didn’t see anybody on the entire hike. When I reached the end of the trail, you have to fallow the road about a half mile to return to the parking lot. It’s now 4:30pm, everyone must be gone by now? Being naked for 4 hours, let’s see if I can get to the car without being seen? Not so lucky, and motor cycle and 2 cars all in succession spotted thrice. At least I arrived to a deserted parking lot.
Even though this was a solo hike, is was still a great hike.
The payoff on this hike is pretty fantastic. We had a beautiful day today and made it down quickly to the beach. We did plenty of walking and running along the beach and had racked up 6 miles by the time we marched back up to the trailhead. Trail is in good condition, but I doubt it ever completely dries out, so be ready for some mud and wet roots/rocks. Footwear with good traction is a real plus on this one.
Getting around the downed tree at the start of the trail was not too tough. I love the part of the trail that crosses the lake. Watch out for snakes in the tall grass (non venomous). It can be tricky to know which way to go and I ended up walking 6.88 miles instead of 6.2. The abandoned, half buried car is a little creepy, but the overall ambiance is peaceful. I did this hike in April and didn't see a soul. If you don't like walking uphill, this hike is not for you. The 6.88 (a wrong turn here or there) took me 3 hours. Have fun!