Just off to the other side of the little parking lot leading to the “Big Spruce” is a 1.8 mile hike down to Cape Meares Beach. Easy, we thought. A literal walk in the park. But the trail is actually a lot more technical than it appears to be.
It’s a steady descent through heavy, damp rain forest. The foliage is so thick, the warm glow of early evening light barely penetrates through to the trail. Water is pervasive and slick mud threatens our footing on several occasions. The trail itself seems to be barely maintained. It’s rocky, uneven and all-together washed out in some spots. We actually have to rappel via a thin, dirty rope to get down to the beach. I don’t know who rigged it, but it allows us access to the black sand Oregon beach of our dreams.
A dark, rocky ridge rises high to our left; an endless coastline blurred by sea spray extends to our right. The coastline is covered in large boulders and piles of bleached driftwood. A smashed lobster trap sits near a dead stingray. He lays on his back, wings spread, mouth agape, covered in flies. We’re both fascinated and mortified to find him. Violent waves break a short distance offshore while sand dollars float on the surface of glassy tide pools.
Once again, we are alone in our explorations. There are houses along the beach, so we know human life exists out here. We just happen to be doing a good job of avoiding it at every turn.