The first weekend of May made a good excuse to travel to the Clatsop State Forest on the west side of the Coastal Mountains.
The first stop was the Oregon Fish Hatchery on the North Nehalem River. It was too late in the year to fish for winter steelhead in the walk-in area above the hatchery. Instead, I took the short hike to the very pretty 35-foot Umbrella Falls.
The next stop was several miles north of the hatchery at the Soapstone Lake trailhead. This is a relatively easy hike – – – three miles roundtrip with 475 feet of elevation gain.
The area was logged around the turn of the last century. Some of the stumps are over 10 feet across at their base. It’s also good habitat for elk, deer and bear. In fact, I saw fresh bear sign on the trail in several locations.
And, as usual this time of the year there were many rough-skinned newts on and along the trail. Every step needed to be watched carefully.
Once I arrived at the lake I broke out a sandwich and enjoyed the wilderness experience. Surprisingly, not one other person was seen on the outing.