Friday, March 26, 2021

Forecast for OCT 2021: Mostly fair (and I'm putting this blog to bed)

Cooks Ridge Trail in Cape Perpetua Scenic Area got hit hard by the windstorm but was cleared and is hikeable. Reports indicate that the OCT over Cape Perpetua is in good shape.

You may recall that the Oregon Coast Trail was officially shut down last year, along with every other long-distance trail. The pandemic was raging, and the best course seemed to be to just keep people off the trails and, in the case of the OCT, out of coastal tourist towns, potentially spreading (and picking up) the virus.

Obviously things are much better this year. No one’s asking hikers to stay home (just to keep their mask handy and slap it on when encountering other people). We are being asked to walk lightly on the land; overcrowding has taken a toll on many recreation sites as people stayed safe and played outside. All the coastal state park hiker-biker camps closed last year, but they are slowly reopening; best guess is that many if not all hiker-biker camps will be back open by around Memorial Day.

Meanwhile, remember that windstorm that started on Labor Day 2020? The one that kicked off all those massive forest fires in the Cascades? That same storm also toppled thousands of trees in the forests along the Oregon Coast. Then there was the Valentines Day ice storm. As a result, a few OCT trail sections on the north coast became impassable and were closed to hikers. Some have already been cleared and are back open (such as the Tillamook Head trail from Seaside to the backpackers camp), but at this writing there are still some closures:

  • In Oswald West State Park, the OCT from Arch Cape north to the US 101 highway crossing.
  • Also in Os West, the OCT from US 101 south to Cape Falcon (just one bad spot, where the trail tops out at Round Mountain, but it may be cleared soon).
  • The trail up the north side of Neahkahnie Mountain (Os West too).
  • Every trail at Cape Lookout State Park.

Coincidentally I’ve just published a new website, hikingtheoct.com, with lots of trail updates, and I’ll continue to update it as I get new information. This blog will continue to be accessible at hikingtheoct.blogspot.com, but I won’t be updating it; all my updates will be on my website.

All this is in anticipation of my new, vastly improved, super comprehensive guidebook, Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail, to be published by Mountaineers Books in September 2021. It will be way more comprehensive than Day Hiking: Oregon Coast, which was just that: a guide to coastal day hikes, with me squeezing in tidbits for thru-hikers where I could. It was never quite adequate, it had a few mistakes (sorry!) and now it’s dated in places. But used in conjunction with my website, it will do for 2021.

Meanwhile my dream has always been to write a guidebook focused solely on the OCT. Now I have. And you can pre-order it now!

Thanks for following my blog, and please stay in touch. I'd love to get your OCT updates and share them with other hikers. 

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