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Friday, August 07, 2009
A post about summertime blogging, hiking and abandoned WW2 bunkers
It's officially midsummer, which means things around here have slowed to a crawl. Updates are less frequent, comments have dropped off and all the posts I do write tend to focus on beaches and hikes instead of people, places and things around town. Sorry about that. I know, I know. Some Portland-centric blogger I've turned out to be. Still, what can I say? The annual gravitational pull of the outdoors and day trips makes it difficult to seek out topics centered within the urban growth boundary.
This post, for example? It's going to be about Tillamook Head, a hiking trail that can be found on the edge of Seaside. It follows the same route the Lewis and Clark expedition took as they went in search of whale blubber. A viewpoint that now overlooks both the Pacific Ocean and the "Terrible Tilly" lighthouse is supposedly the furthest spot west the expedition reached before they turned south and wound up buying blubber from Native Americans at Cannon Beach.
Back then, the conditions were probably as muddy, if not more so, than the ones we faced a few weekends ago. Many parts of the trail were reduced to slushy bogs. 30 minutes in, my shins were covered in mud. I was with a friend visiting from the east coast and his tennis shoes were no match for the trail. While they'll live to see another day, his socks, sadly, did not survive the trek.
A few miles in there's a creepy circle of cabins in the woods. Without context, we felt like we were descending into a hidden settlement of monster-fearing colonialists. A sign explained that the cabins are actually available for backpackers looking to spend the night along the trail. Still, one mystery remains: why didn't any of the cabins have doors?
Another highlight of the trail is an old World War 2 bunker buried beneath a hillside near the Tillamook Head viewpoint. Its moss-covered lookouts and ventilation system are completely empty now but, back in the day, the six room concrete structure was used to house a radar installation. While we were there a group of backpackers were camping on top of it and singing along to random tracks from License to Ill.
What if a time quake or an out-of-control DeLorean had come along to send these campers 60 years into the past? I wonder what the soldiers stationed out there would have made of them all yelling "WHAT'S THE TIME? IT'S TIME TO GET ILL!" on top of their bunker.
The viewpoint was fogged in so I was only able to capture a blurry iPhone photo of a few waves. While the hike's payoff was obscured, we did get to watch a pair of eagles duck in and out of the clouds.