Group Leader: Mark Hougardy | Organization: Eugene-based hiking group | Date: in June 2023 | Duration: 3 days | Walking Distance: 17 miles | Participants: 8 | Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,000 feet | Type: Urban Walking
On our first day, after getting settled at the Sutton Group Campground, we drove about 5 minutes to the Darlingtonia State Natural Site. This small botanical park is home, to a carnivorous pitcher plant Darlingtonia californica. The Sutton campground was strangely quiet for the time of year, and the host was out of campfire wood to sell. We recovered some wood from vacant campsites for that evening’s fire. The next morning, we drove about twenty minutes north to Carl G Washburne Memorial State Park. We hiked down the coast while exploring the cliff face and rocks, then up the Hobbit Trail and onto the Heceta Head Lighthouse. The day was surprisingly sunny with little wind. On our return hike, the wind began to pick up. We crossed the coast highway and down to the China Creek Loop, which, unfortunately, was still closed from the year before due to a collapsed footbridge. Continuing our hike, we explored a nearby old homestead. We saw many beautiful rhododendron blooms. In the park, we walked to the far end of the beach trail that took us under the highway and out to the mouth of China Creek. We walked a short distance back to our cars. The Washburne ranger was generous enough to sell us some wood. That evening, we enjoyed dinner around our campfire. On the last morning, we departed camp for the Tahkenitch Campground day-use area. We hiked out to the beach, saw some storm damage, and also a bald eagle. We crossed inland over the dunes to Threemile Lake, where we had lunch. We had a pleasant hike through the woods and back to our cars.