Friday, June 10, 2011

June 10 - Hiking Sweet Creek & Heceta Lighthouse Trail

We are fortunate that the weather is holding out and today is perfect for hiking.  The lady at the information booth recommended the Sweet Creek trail which is about a 10 mile drive inland. It is not a long trail, only about a mile each way, but it follows the creek up a gorge the entire way. There were waterfalls just about every 50 yards. Most were small but some were in the 10 foot range and the final one was about 50 feet. The picture below was typical.

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My daughter made a request for a picture with Stuart in it.

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Part of the path was literally bolted to the wall of the gorge.

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There were lots of wild flowers growing on the walls next to us.

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We were not the first  to christen the path today, however we did manage to have a picnic lunch uninterrupted by other travelers that arrived as we headed back to the CRV.

We then went to the next lighthouse on the coast. The Heceta Head Lighthouse is scheduled to close soon (by August) for restorations that could take about 3 years to complete.. It is in rough shape with a lot of the concrete and brick crumbling. We are glad that we are in time to have a guided tour before the closure of this facility.  We climbed the 69 steps and four landings to the beacon that is still operational. 

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The keeper’s old house is now a Bed & Breakfast looking out at the ocean (breathtaking); very private and beautifully kept.  We saw a party rentals truck unloading so I think there might be a wedding or a social event happening.  Our guide says the meals are a gourmet treat and the cost is probably quality too.

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You park down by the beach and climb 200 vertical feet up to the lighthouse.

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After the tour we climbed up an additional 300 vertical feet on a trail behind the lighthouse to the top of the hill you can see behind the keeper’s house.

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The Rhododendrons grow into huge bushes in the wild and are fragrant in so many colours.  I found bleeding hearts, strawberries and walls of berry bushes loaded with blooms. 

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We only did about 1 km of the steep climb. The rest of the trail continued back down for another mile to the beach in the picture above.  We had had enough so we turned around and called it a day. 

On the way to the hike in the morning we saw that the local casino had a Surf & Turf buffet for $18.99 per person and seniors discounts start at age 55, YES!  They had prime rib, turkey and steak grilled to your specification. The turf was shrimp and there was clam chowder, Cod Verdi (spicy), a Mongolian Grill with noodles cooked upon demand, all kinds of pies, √©clairs, brownies, ice cream sundaes, etc…  It was not outstanding but it sure filled us up.

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