I enjoy hiking in the Coastal Mountains, or I usually do. On this particular outing I managed to get in the middle of the 50k Tillamook Burn trail-runners’ race.
It was a comedy of errors. Three miles of my hiking loop turned out to be a portion of the 50k out-and-back race. Who would have guessed?
I parked next to a closed gate near Highway 6 and hiked down the road to the trailhead at Gales Creek Campground. Off I went on the muddy trail along Gales Creek for less than one mile before turning onto the Storey Burn Trail.
As the Trail began gaining elevation, it passed Slide Falls and many small tributary creeks. Along the way I began getting passed by runners, many of them.
At the crossing of Storey Burn Road, there was a first aid tent, water and snacks, and a cheering crowd for the runners. I clearly didn’t fit in with my hiking poles and boots.
After descending on the west slopes of the Coastal Mountains to a path underneath Highway 6, being passed on a regular basis by runners, I crossed (more like waded) the boggy flats by the Devil Fork of the Wilson River. Turning left I began the ascent on a nice hiking trail to Roger’s Pass, and finally parted ways with the runners.
From there it was a two-mile jaunt on a well-maintained trail through the second-growth forest to the original trailhead and to my car.
It was a good way to see many sword ferns, alders, maples, second-growth Douglas firs, a few hemlock trees, calypso orchids and many other wildflowers.