Thursday, July 14, 2016


Cape Lookout Trails 
Head just a few miles South of Netarts down the Bay Road and up the hill past Cape Lookout State Park and you are there. The parking lot is on the right as you reach the crest of Cape Lookout itself. There are three trails: the South trail (3.6 miles round trip, 840 ft elevation gain) leading to a fabulous beach, the West trail (pictured here, 4.6 miles round trip, little elevation gain overall, but some ups and downs on the trail) leading to the tip of Cape Lookout, and the North trail (5 miles round trip, 2340 ft elevation gain) leading to the camp ground and Cape Lookout State Park. 
Each of these trails offer unique beauty, physical challenges and rewards at the end and along the way. In reading online about each of them I had to laugh a little, because I see that Oregon Parks thinks the South Trail is "easy." It is down hill one way and does provide significant switch backs, but every time I go down there I am with kids and they ALWAYS run and take short cuts, which really aren't what they seem. They are straight up and require far more exertion than staying on the designated trail. I recommend staying on the trail to prevent future slides and trail erosion, and jogging down, then making every attempt to jog/run back up, which is, in my opinion, a great workout. Sky is the limit here! Pick a trail! Walk, jog, run, carry a loaded back pack, or a child (on your back, if they refuse to walk!) 

Really, anything you do here will be worth while. Sunday evenings and week day mornings are a great time to hit these trails in the Summer months and in the off season (Labor Day through Memorial Day) you can pretty much have this place to yourself. The ups and downs of the trails offer a great workout -- again, jogging, running, walking, lunging, whatever makes sense for your body and the conditions that day. When it's raining the South trail seems to stay the driest, but the West and North trail can get quite muddy (bring a box or a bag for your muddy shoes and something to change into if you care about the condition of your car when you return!) The North trail I feel is best done with a start point in the camp ground (so it is downhill on the way back to your car), but keep in mind you have to pay to park if you do it this way. It's free to park in the lot at the top where the three trail heads meet. 

Pacific City Dune Climb 
Off to the right side of this photo is the dune at the North end of the beach in Pacific City. I don't know it's actual height, but it is enormous and when you are trying to walk straight up it you feel like you will never reach the top! As if ascending once isn't enough, climbing this mammoth dune several times in an hour is a killer. You should break it up in 30 second intervals to get the biggest gains and calorie burn. Walk/climb steady and hard for 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat over and over again until you get to the top. Take a longer rest once you get there and soak up the view, then head back down and repeat as many times as you'd like, or dislike. If you are planning to drink beer in the Pelican pub when you're done you might want to do it a couple of extra times! Or, skip the beer and relish in the gains you made that day! You'll go to bed that night and thank yourself I promise!

Soft Sand Cross Training 
This is my all time favorite workout that would be pretty much impossible if I didn't live near the beach. When I first moved here 10 years ago I was a runner. I ran on the beach (in the hard sand) 4-5 days a week between Netarts and Oceanside. I also lifted weights at the local YMCA. Even though I was running on the sand (not pavement), I was constantly fighting injury. In an attempt to figure out something different, and possibly more effective I had the thought that we should be working out (cross training) in the soft sand at the beach -- that it would be more fun and better for our bodies (less impact). This quickly evolved into what we now call beach boot camp, and in my opinion has produced collective gains far beyond all of my years of running. There are three of us committed to it this Summer. We meet three times per week. Required equipment: None, though we each have our own tire (free used tires from Les Schwab) and we wear gloves to protect our hands. We use the tires for shoulder presses and as extra weight for a variety of different things.  Cross training on the beach will require you to come up with a circuit, or a series of exercises to complete while you are there, but truthfully, anything you do in the soft sand is an unbelievable workout -- Basic things, like burpees, jumping jacks, short sprints, planking, long jumps, running backwards, lunges, etc. are all effective.  

Here's why it all works: Soft sand absorbs 100% of the force you apply to it and gives back very little. Great for the joints, crushing to calories. Just walking in soft sand is a difficult task. Running and jumping feels near impossible. Your body is forced to compensate with the core strength it has, and over time that core becomes very strong and capable to do pretty much anything you want it to do. Endurance and strength improves quickly and significantly. Shifting sand beneath your feet forces the body to rethink and compensate starting a virtual fire in your core. It is a full body workout. In comparison, if you were cross training on a hard surface (like a gym floor, grass, or turf) when you apply force to it you get it all back -- like a trampoline, which makes acceleration and changing directions much easier and predictable. Our bodies and muscles are used to hard surfaces. They probably get quite bored doing the same things all the time. If your workouts are boring you, or you just aren't getting the results you hoped for move them to the beach. 

You will either love, or hate this workout. There doesn't seem to be a grey area. It is extreme, but the beach atmosphere, endorphins, and body changes that result are the ultimate reward.  

King's Mountain  
Just 25 miles from Tillamook on Hwy 6, King's Mountain offers a fantastic terrain for those in search of a fun, alternative workout. This trail is somewhat rugged (rocky and mostly dirt, a little gravel near the top) and offers a 2,500 foot elevation gain and is approximately 5 miles round trip. The last quarter mile is my least favorite part, as the incline increases and the hiking surface offers less traction -- just as my quads are telling me they can't do anymore they have to if they want to reach the top! The good news is when you get to this part of the trail you know the reward (the view) will be worth the effort. One caveat: There are no guarantees for visibility. In my adventures on this trail I have experienced snow (which was very cold because I wasn't fully prepared, but lovely), dense fog (which meant no view at all, but the forest on the way up was drop dead gorgeous), drizzle, heavy rain, as well as full sun and heat (be sure to bring plenty of water.) This hike is worth doing more than once -- each time during a different time of the year to experience the seasons and the distinct changes in the forest and weather. 

I see something amazing in nature every time I am there and always leave with the feeling that I got a great workout in. I have never regretted summiting this trial -- view, or no view. A side note and funny story: one time on my way back from Portland I hiked to the top alone to watch the sunset. What I didn't really think about was what it would be like to hike down alone in what turned out to be almost complete darkness by the time I reached my car. I did make it to the top in time for the sunset, which was great, but the truth is, I didn't walk back down the trail, I ran as fast as I could! I had a stick in one hand and a rock in the other to fight off a cougar that might be on the trail ahead of me (as my mind imagined the worst possible scenarios!) In hindsight I think running with a stick and a rock was far more dangerous than any animal, or person I could have encountered! Thankfully I made is safely to my car that night and lived to tell you my story. To this day I still laugh when I think about how ridiculous I must have looked. I am sure there is a cougar momma still telling her cubs about this one.

Surfing, or Body Boarding 

Whether, or not you own surf boards, or body boards, waves and current offer a source of great resistance. Entering the ocean for any of these purposes does require gear, so if you don't at a minimum have a wetsuit, this may not be the workout for you. If you are interested in buying some, you can get them new for as little as $150, which I think is very fair and is a great investment if you plan on spending time on the coast. Water temps, even during the Summer months can be in the lower 50's, which is by no means suitable for bare skin for longer than 4-5 minutes. Another possibility if you don't have the right gear is to sign up for a surf lesson and rent the gear you need from the surf shop -- like Moment Surf Co. in Pacific City. Just bring yourself and a positive attitude and let them do the rest. Surfing for 2-3 hours (or learning to surf) is an incredible full body workout. Fighting incoming waves, duck diving, regulating your body temperature, holding your breath, managing your board, paddling to the surf zone, catching the waves, getting your feet under you, balancing your body weight, standing up on the board, etc. You will walk away from this experience feeling like you killed it out there! It's amazing how much energy and core strength it takes to go from your belly to your feet in just one movement -- and that's after you paddled yourself out to the waves on your surf board.  

If you don't feel up to surfing, body boarding is also challenging and fun. Just getting yourself around in the waves uses a ton of energy. The ocean is a constant force, pushing and pulling you in every direction. It really never gives you a break! Something to keep in mind: If you are going to use the ocean as a medium for workouts be smart about it. Know the tides, know the water temperature, know the direction of the current and know how to spot a rip current and what to do if you get caught in one. If you don't know how to figure this stuff out ask someone that does. Never go in the ocean alone deeper than your knees and always keep your eyes facing the water. I LOVE the ocean and will take any opportunity I have to get in it, but I certainly don't want to be injured, or die out there. If it doesn't look safe it probably isn't. Trust your gut and just come back another day!

Ready to spend more time at the beach so you can do some, or all of these workouts? I can help! Change your pace. Change your life. 

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Patience is an important part of beach adventures. Monday we attempted to access Lost Boy Beach from the South (Oceanside, Maxwell Mountain end), but decided against it after watching the unexpected wave action at our access point. There aren't all that many super low tides (-1.5 or lower) during daylight hours throughout the year, so it's easy to feel a little pressure to "get through" even when your gut says stop. Our decision to wait and give it another try the next morning from the North (Short Beach) end proved to not only be wise, but successful. The tide was at -1.5 and our walk around the rocks to the cave was very easy. We both (Ryan and I) ended up with wet feet, but we could have easily stayed dry by walking up and over the rocks. We had no intention of staying dry once around the other side, so we just walked right through the little bit of water that was there.  

The first time I saw this cave in person about ten years ago I'm pretty sure my mouth dropped open. It is a site you won't soon forget, and my guess is you will find yourself wanting to return here year after year, just as I did and continue to do. I can assure you every time you come here it will look different and you will always see something you have never seen before. It looks small in this picture, but the cave ceiling is at least 30 feet high once inside (where I can see it), and there are dark areas that I have not yet been able to see that I am guessing are much higher. There are three entry points -- two on the North side and one on the South side. The high tide line once inside (marked by a natural light colored line) is several feet above your head. 
Sea anemones flourish in the areas protected from heavy surf action (mostly outside of the cave). Those that you see in the picture above are on the East side of the rocks, where the water would be calmer due to protection the rock itself provides. At high tide the water level would be over all of the rocks pictured here most of the time. Ryan standing off to the left gives you some perspective of how low the tide really is. An extremely high tide in Oregon would be 10 feet (during Winter months), with average high tides being between 5-7 feet during the Summer months. Sea anemones can live several hours without being submerged in salt water, but they need every single high tide to reach them to survive. As a self preservation instinct I am guessing none of them live above the lowest possible high tide mark.
Walking into the cave for the first time is a little eerie. My first thought was bats, though I have never seen one in there, or any droppings that would suggest they reside here (crossing my fingers they don't like ocean caves!) Water drips from the ceiling deeper into the cave. Keep your camera and/or phone covered, as some of the drops can be quite large. 
This is the one and only South entrance to the cave leading to Lost Boy Beach, which would be to Ryan's back in this photo. Water often pools here and has a gorgeous turquoise hue, sometimes thigh deep, but we got lucky today. We were able to exit and enter the cave on this side with ease.
This is Lost Boy Beach! There are a few homes nestled up high on the hill to the left (not pictured) that have deeded access to this beach year round for life. If you want to build a home overlooking this beach and have private deeded access for yourself there is one lot currently for sale -- 1 ocean front Acre for $479,000. (MLS # 16-522). Lost Boy is not a private beach, however the deeded access is. Anyone can come here if they can get here during a low tide, but that means you can't come very often because the tides aren't low enough. You could come by boat, but I don't recommend it unless you are an experienced paddler! If you owned one of the homes above it you could come here anytime you wanted and have the beach to pretty much to yourself!
 The is the inside of the middle (North entrance) to the cave.
 This was taken due West of the Cave standing in the incoming tide facing South.
 This is the East side of one of the taller free standing rocks at the Northern most entrance to the cave.
In between large, tall rocks (East/West facing) seems to be a good choice for "hanging around." 
 I really love the colors and textures living here.
 These slimy creatures have tons of texture (mainly shell bits) when you look at them close up.
 A near perfect artistic composition just waiting to be found.

 This is the largest tide pool we found during our Lost Boy adventure. It's located on the rocks between Short Beach and the Lost Boy cave.
Looking North (below) from the rocks between Short Beach and the cave.

 Looking South (above) from top of the rocks between Short Beach and the cave.
 One lost Vallella Vallella high up on the rocks.
 This agate was embedded in the hillside and was about the size of a fist.
Ryan and I getting ready to head out after some great tide pool adventures!

And finally, the staircase leading back up to the main road. When I was a kid this path leading to Short Beach was a muddy mess, but my mom loved it here, so we came often rain, or shine. I heard a local built these stairs that now lead all the way to the beach -- and we are forever grateful!  

Ryan and I headed to the Blue Agate Cafe in Oceanside on our way home just a few minutes from Short Beach where we enjoyed coffee, hot chocolate, a fresh dungeness crab scramble, cottage potatoes and delicious homemade biscuits in the window seat overlooking the ocean -- not too shabby! Tide Pools, sea caves and a fantastic breakfast -- I can't think of a better way to start the day! 

If you don't have a tide book already, get one and plan ahead for the next negative tides so you can experience Lost Boy Beach for yourself! Take your time when you come. Look closely so you don't miss the amazing detail clinging to the rocks out there. 

I am starting to sound like a broken record, but if you change your pace it will change your life...and I can help!

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Monday, July 4, 2016


You will need to get up early if you want to explore tide pools and caves in the Summer months on the North Oregon Coast. July has nine negative tides. They started on the 1st -0.5 at 4:51am. Today, the 4th was a -1.6 at 7:19am. Tomorrow is a -1.5 at 8am, then the last one is on the 8th, a -0.5 around 10am. If you look in a tide book the negative tides are usually highlighted in red and it simply means the tides are going to be significantly lower than usual, which exposes beaches and areas you can’t typically get to along with sea life you don’t get to see very often. Memorial Day weekend and the Fourth of July always seem to be when the negative (super low) tides hit, which perfectly coincides with an influx of travelers and explorers. 

We met up with some friends in the parking lot in Oceanside at 6:30 this morning then walked North around Maxwell Point hoping to be able to access Lost Boy Beach all the way at the end of the beach. We were ahead of the lowest part of the tide, but the surf action was larger than expected, which made the tide not  as forgiving when it came to getting to hidden places. The surf forecast was a WNW swell 4 feet at 10 seconds. That is a pretty big ocean for Summer time! None-the-less, we weren't able to access Lost Boy Beach today with our crew of adults and kids (Safety first...too much water rushing around the slippery rocks we needed to climb up on), but there was plenty to see on the side we could reach, so changing plans was just fine. 
My husband Kurt (above) did get up on the slippery rocks, but his boots filled with water doing so. He laid his eyes on Lost Boy Beach, but it wasn't safe for all of us to climb up there today.

In my experience a -1.5 tide isn't quite low enough to access Lost Boy for the North (at Short Beach) or South (from Oceanside), rather a -2.0 or greater is needed (-2.2 is ideal, and is also the lowest tide I've ever witnessed.) Today confirmed my theory, though I don't know that I have given up on trying just yet! The beach and sand heights are constantly changing, which does affect where the water goes.

In our hour long adventure this morning, here are a few of the cool things we did see:

There were quite a few sea stars today, which is a good sign. I hope this means they are back in good health and growing in numbers. The sea anemones were plentiful, as well -- big and small, pink and green. We found a couple of waste deep tide pools high up on the rocks that were teaming with life. Ryan even found a live crab (a keeper by size if we would have had a bucket) and caught it with his bare hands! 

If you  didn't make it out there today, you still have time this week! Walk slow, take your time, look around, but don't turn your back on the surf. Get down at eye level with the sea life that clings below where the water level usually resides. You won't be disappointed! Grossed out maybe, but definitely not disappointed! One thing to avoid touching and pulling from the rocks is sea stars, as they are still recovering in numbers in our area. Otherwise, have a blast! And, take the time to appreciate God's amazing creations big and small!

Ready to change your pace? It will change your life! I can help.

See you at the beach!

Monday, June 27, 2016


Ryan, on the far left, is relatively new to the ocean. His first time in (above his knees) was about two years ago. He was sporting a borrowed 5mm wetsuit and body board. Not everyone loves the ice cold waters of the Oregon Coast, but for Ryan it was love at first plunge. As Father's Day approached he came to me and said he thought a surf lesson would be a cool way to spend Father's day with his dad. I called Moment Surf Co in Pacific City about a week ahead of time and we were in luck. They had an opening for our family of five on Father's Day Sunday at 10:30am. 

Something we couldn't plan, or control was the weather and ocean conditions, but to our delight, we were blessed with an absolutely gorgeous day. High, wispy clouds were streaming to the NE, but not enough to block out the vibrant blue color of the sky. The ocean forecast was 2 feet at 14 seconds, which turned out to be pretty close to dead on. The wind picked up in the afternoon and the swell grew to about 4 feet at much shorter intervals, but we played so hard out there in the pre-lunch hours that we didn't need to brave the larger waves and relentless North wind.

Shortly after arrival we found out we would be taking lessons from Gary (pictured above crouching down in front of us You only need to look at Gary for a second to know he is a seasoned surfer and loves the ocean. There is just something about him. He takes what he does very seriously, but at the same time was very interesting to get to know and a lot of fun to learn from. He is a teacher at heart -- very patient and caring. A little added education, prior to hitting the beach he had each of us wax our boards, then load them in our truck.

 We decided to drive down onto the beach, along with a couple hundred other people that appeared to have the same idea that morning. Crowded, or not, the ocean was there, waiting, bright blue and turquoise, calling to all of us to get in! Gary estimated the water temperature to be in the mid, to upper 50's, which is warm in comparison to to the mid-40's it can sometime be. It was warm enough we didn't need to wear hoods, which was nice. To have to submerge your head in a duck dive, or fall and not get an ice-cream headache makes things that much more enjoyable. In my mind, it was perfect.

Ryan and Kurt -- the first timers out there today were up and surfing in no-time. My husband, Kurt is a fourth generation Tillamook Dairy farmer. He says farmers don't surf (or get in the ocean for that matter), but I'm here to tell you they do, and this one loves it! I don't think I'll catch him out there alone, but he had a great time. Ryan on the other hand, said this was the best Father's Day he has ever had out of the 4-5 her can remember and I believe he will be back out surfing at some point in the near future. 
Lighting up the face of your children on a day that American tradition says is about you reveals the true meaning of being a parent -- being selfless, loving and willing to share your heart. This doesn't require being perfect, but instead it means you are willing to share your time, no matter how busy you may be. I think that's all they really want after all, our love and our time.

A little info about Moment Surf Co : They offer lessons I think pretty much year round, weather and ocean conditions permitting. Their surf shop offers just about everything you could need to participate in and embrace the culture of surfing in the Pacific NW. And, the people that run it, well they are pretty awesome, too! Something I didn't know when I signed us up for surf lessons is the fact that you get a free lunch next door at "Ben & Jeff's Burgers and Tacos" the day of your lesson. After surfing for a few hours we enjoyed cheese burgers, amazing fish tacos, beer and lemonade. With full hearts and full bellys we headed back to Netarts aroung 4pm for a restful finish to the day. One last blessing for the day was the sunset once we returned home. I think it speaks for itself! What a wonderful day we had -- Cold water, warm sun, great food, and fantastic company!
Change your pace, change our life. Visit to see homes for sale in Oceanside, Netarts & Cape Meares and  to get better acquainted with what our beautiful area has to offer. You're going to love it.

See you at the beach!