Next, it was on to the trailhead. The Oregon Coast Trail travels along the beach from Cannon Beach to Arch Cape, then along a gravel road, under Highway 101 and to one of several suspension bridge crossings of the day. Slippery bridge crossings, I might add.
From there it was into the woods with only momentary glimpses of the ocean. The trail descends back to the highway, and picks up about 50 yards south on the other side. If it hadn't been for a small blue and white sign on a post, we would still be looking for it. Here, patches of fog wafted in and out, changing the tone of the forest from the Shire to Fangorn.
It didn't help that the friend that was with me had encountered a bear and her cubs a number of years back. Fortunately, the only wildlife we encountered were salamanders and slugs. After a while, we began to wonder if perhaps we had both misread the instructions. Supposedly at 2.75 miles there there was an unmarked spur trail leading down to a lookout from jutting rock over the ocean. We kept our eyes open but only came across this "viewpoint" (one that would have been greatly enhanced by one well aimed blow of an ax).
At the time I thought that was all I was going to see of the coastline so took this shot as a sort of consolation prize. As we continued on, and on, the terrain changed from green to burned and stark and then back to green. Perhaps there was a fire through here at one time and this part of the forest represents the boundaries of it. Either way, the scenery changed a number of times and kept things interesting.
Finally, we came to what appeared to be a trail to a viewpoint. We realized later that this was the trail we'd been looking for and that we'd both added up the mileage for the hike incorrectly. Instead of 6.75 total miles, it was more like 9.5-10. Oops. It took a little scrambling, but I felt like getting up early on a Saturday was well worth it.