So Close!!! (And yet, soooooo far…)

Those of you who saw my last post, East Meets West – A Room with a View, probably got the impression from my bedroom window photos that I live pretty close to the ocean, right? Yeah, I thought so, too…that is, until I actually tried to walk there. One of the things I’m quickly learning about Oregon is that if it’s easy, it’s not worth it…so they don’t make anything easy, and that includes getting to the beach.

There is a sign across the street and not too far from the end of our driveway that reads, “Nature trail to the beach.” No arrow pointing you in the right direction, no map, no distance…just a sign. My daughter and I walked around for 20 minutes one day trying to figure out just where the freaking trail was, until I finally gave up and went to the management office to ask. As my luck would have it, the office assistant is almost as new as we are, and didn’t know either. My daughter and I gave up, and drove to the public access about a mile away.

A few days later, on a (fairly) warm, sunny afternoon, I struck out on my own, determined to find the beach path. Now, here’s the thing…despite the fact that the sign was across the street, I was looking in that general vicinity on my side of the road – because, after all, the ocean is behind my house, not in front of it…so why on earth would the beach path lead even further away from the beach?

That’s what I get for being logical.

Directly behind the sign, leading away from the ocean, is the path. It starts out by heading towards the back edge of the lots across the street. Because it traverses a large hill, there are about 50 stairs up, and then about 50 stairs back down. Then, you walk a narrow, winding, downhill footpath through the woods that basically skirts around the end of the neighborhood, and gets you to the beach after a good 13-15 minute hike. Oh yeah, and to actually get down on to the beach, you have to carefully maneuver yourself down a huge hill made of mostly sand, that seems like it must be at least a 70 degree angle. I stood at the top of that hill thinking to myself that I could probably get down it without too many problems, but climbing back up afterwards? Followed by a 15 minute walk almost entirely uphill? Fun times…

The walk was not in vain, however. I got some pretty pictures out of it:

The view from the northern side of Fall Creek looking down towards Netarts
The view from the northern side of Fall Creek looking south towards Netarts
I saw many broken sand dollars on the beach, but is the only intact one I've found so far. I promised my 2 nieces I'd find one for each of them, though, so I'd better get to looking!
I saw many broken sand dollars on the beach, but this is the only intact one I’ve found so far. I promised my 2 nieces I’d find one for each of them, though, so I’d better get to looking!
Three Arch Rocks in Oceanside
Three Arch Rocks in Oceanside – I wish those people would get out of my picture!
Oceanside – to the north

For my return trip, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make it back up the steep sand hill, so I debated either walking the 2 miles down to Oceanside and calling my mother to come pick me up, or taking the beach access path at the other end of my community. I chose the path. I chose poorly.

In order to better illustrate this to you, please focus your attention on the photograph below:

2014-03-27 16.18.45

In this picture, my house is the second one from the left. You can see the beginning of the path where it starts on the beach, pretty much directly beneath the house on the far right. From looking at this picture, you’d think that this path would be much shorter than the one that brought me down to the beach…I mean, it’s just a bunch of steps straight up the hill, right? WRONG.

First, you take 113 stairs up the hill, until you reach a platform. You can see the platform here, about halfway up the hill between the beach and that first house. At this point, you get to a path that, while moving slightly uphill, also takes you 190 paces to the left…passing through this gully/valley type thing, and getting further and further away from my house. The path ends at a playground, and next to the playground is another staircase of 84 steps up in order to reach street level. Great. I’ve made it, right? Well, if you ignore the fact that this isn’t the street on which I live, then sure. Otherwise, I then have to trudge to the beginning of the cul-de-sac, hang a right, walk all the way to the end of that street, hang another right, and walk 3/4 of the way down my own street…traversing the neighborhood takes almost as long as all the stairs!

But…if it’s easy, it’s not worth it. If nothing else, I’ll have buns of steel from all these steps before too long!

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