I get my balance back when I immerse myself in forests and along the ocean’s crashing surf.
I find both in the Cape Perpetua area of the central Oregon coast.
About a mile up the trail, where few folks go, the Cummins Creek area hikes into deep rain forest with lush ferns, tiny mushrooms and other wondrous undergrowth. The air is soft and sometimes moist with coastal fog. The forest gently envelopes you in its muffled peace. Only the ocean at Neptune Beach can be heard by the sound of its constant, softened roar.
Your trail is soft and matted with many years of pine needles and soft loam underfoot. Waist-high ferns glisten along the trail; there is an earthy, woodsy smell. Tiny flowers hem the bases of mighty trees; younger trees rise in gangly ranks toward the sky, pointing branching fingers at each other and making a living arch high overhead.
Below: Old Growth and Friends
Maybe you will meet a few folks walking along here: maybe a lone walker with a hand-carved walking stick, or the occasional local couple briskly walking their silent dogs. They seem to share the same reverence for the energy and peace here, and smile swiftly and sincerely as they pass.
There are many even quieter side trails leading into and through the forest. Some take you down steep hillsides to the creek below, others hike farther inland. Some offer long yet steady inclines, while others are steep and rocky. Many lead to the silent solitude of spiritual cleansing, brought by the feeling of presence of forest, ocean and weather that combine here like nowhere else.
The center of that spiritual source appears yet farther in. A cluster of trees rises uphill from a cut in the hill at a rising bend along the trail. As you look into this scene, you feel that sense of peaceful power emanate. You relax as you focus within. You immerse, within and without.
And so it is for me, and I will be returning in the spring to refresh and cleanse. To photograph and explore trails I’ve never seen. To head to the ocean, and watch the waves smash into the rocks at Yachats. I will return. I will always return.
Below: Rainbow in the Wave, Yachats
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