Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mile 56.3 (Nehalem Bay State Park) to 68.8 (Garibaldi)

Cumulative mileage figures in parentheses refer to mileage in this section only.


One of the best things about hiking the OCT, in my opinion, is catching boat rides across the bay mouths. This first one is the easiest; just wave your arms at the end of Nehalem Spit and, like magic, a boat appears. From Nehalem Bay State Park, head south down the beach 2.5 miles to the end of the sand spit. (There's also a sandy horse trail that leads down the center of the spit, but who wants to walk that? Unless rain is lashing the beach, and then you’re probably still cozy inside your tent on its elevated platform.) From the end of the spit, pick up a rough little trail leading east about 0.5 mile along the north jetty to a little beach; from here, wave your arms to hail a boat from Jetty Fishery, just across the bay mouth (or call them: 503/368-5746); for a small fee ($10 per person in 2013 and for many years before that) they will ferry you across the narrow bay mouth.

From Jetty Fishery, pick your way 0.75 west along the south jetty to return to the beach. It's about 6 miles of beach walking, passing the town of Rockaway Beach, to reach the north jetty at the mouth of Tillamook Bay (9.75 miles). (If you need groceries, Rockaway Beach Market is on the east side of U.S. 101 at S. Second St. and S. Anchor St.; leave the beach halfway to the Tillamook north jetty, just past a little creek entering the beach that might or might not be discernible in summer,  and head east into town to find it.) Leave the beach at the jetty and walk out the Barview County Park road (flush toilets/potable water better in the campground than at the jetty parking area) 1 mile to the railroad tracks or, just past them, U.S. 101. It's a 1.5-mile walk south from here to the Port of Garibaldi; the highway shoulder is very narrow, so I took my chances with another pair of hikers and walked on the railroad tracks (without incident). Approaching the main marina, look for a little paved path leading 0.25 mile off the highway/tracks and toward the boats (12.5 miles). (This photo is not of Rockaway Beach; it's of the beach south of Florence, but I like this wide beach and the clouds and the tiny people way down the beach; they could be you.) 

Overnighting: Consider pitching a tent back at Barview County Park, which has some sweet, woodsy, private campsites, or bivouac at the end of Bayocean Spit (see next post). There are reasonably priced motels in Rockaway Beach and Garibaldi.



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