24 January 2017

Elk Head

Trinidad State Beach

I continued down the coast for another stop at a place rumored to have good tide pools that I would probably not actually visit. Trinidad State Beach is free to visit and is open sunrise to sunset. I missed the sign for the central parking I was aiming at, so parked in the south lot to get started. There do not seem to be trail signs to get started from, but around behind the bathroom is a very official looking trail dropping down toward Mill Creek below.

rock island covered in tall pines
An initial false start down a rather unofficial trail gets a good view of Pewetole Island.

built steps
Nicely built steps look rather official.

The trail winds down the steep canyon side to the creek below. One small section of trail is a gooey clay mud and slipping away that has had boards placed across it to try to improve footing across, but most of the trail is solid. As it hits the creek, there is a spur trail out onto the beach and a view of that island again.

creek mouth and that island again
Down by the mouth of the Mill Creek as it empties into the ocean and there is that island again. It is a very picturesque island.

I continue back along the creek to a bridge and climb back out of the canyon. It seems a smaller climb out than it was in.

trail back along the creek
Wandering back along Mill Creek.

nice bridge crossing in the tall trees
Deep in canyon and moss covered trees with a nice little bridge to cross the roaring Mill Creek.

dark forest
Not so deep into a dark forest.

The trail splits into two wide tracks at the top and I tend left to stay near the coast. The trees here are covered with invasive ivy, but someone seems to be trying to remove at least some of it. Ivy can be particularly detrimental to the surrounding vegetation, so it is a very welcome effort. Thin use trails lead off of the wide, official track and I wander a few of them as well. They are not official, but they get closer to the cliff and the view. Spots along the way are clearly popular places to rest a while and one even has an oversized wooden swing at the edge.

bump at the end of an isthmus
Trinidad Head seen through the trees. This is not an island.

white shelves on a living trunk
A few mushrooms are to be found, sometimes high up on living trees.

Elk Head ahead
The coastline on over to Elk Head and a little of that ivy in the foreground.

sunlight through the trees of the island
Pewetole Island filtering the sunlight through its trees.

College Cove
Elk Head across College Cove.

The trails all come together again as the main trail drops into a smaller creek, then climbs to the central parking. There are a lot more people parked in the couple of lot areas here although the parking is less established.

among the trees
Crossing another creek among the trees.

Wandering through the parking areas, there is another trailhead heading off northerly. A sign warns that if I feel and earthquake, I should think tsunami and get to high ground. This trail has some particularly muddy spots where there is little place to drain. It soon splits to access the beach and I go for that. People are playing music on the beach and there are surfers in the cove.

island reflecting in the moist sand
Pewetole Island reflects in a bit of stream water coming down the beach while the surfers wait for a better wave. There seems to be an arch to the left.

tall trees dominating the cliffs
The tall trees come down to the edge.

rocky coastal edge
It is a rocky coastal edge to the side. Perhaps there are some tide pools here.

Climbing back out and past the tsunami zone sign, I turn west to travel further out on Elk Head. There are a couple points on either side of the head and at the first one, Omenoku Point, there is a short trail that leads to a post and ends. Off to the left is a short tunnel of a trail that continues out onto the point. It requires twisting through branches and near constant ducking to travel. Popping out the far end at the point, I find the most people I have seen all day. The trail continues down lower and I follow it down. This also helps me get out of the way of the large group headed the other way from a different spur.

water churning in an inlet of Elk Head
Water churns away beside a small sheltered beach inlet on Elk Head.

College Cove Beach
College Cove Beach from Omenoku Point.

Elk Head sticking in the ocean
Elk Head as it sticks out into the ocean.

splashing waves on the tree topped island
Waves crashing against Pewetole Island. The island has a blow hole that is not spouting much today.

After taking quite a few photos trying to catch the little spout of water through the blow hole on the side of Pewetole Island, I eventually get moving. One guy sitting at the edge of the trail says he has run down two batteries taking movies of the splashing waves and the blow hole. He was here for high tide, so has been sitting here for hours watching it afterward. I duck back into the long, tight squeeze and head further along Elk Head.

tall and thick but easy to mistake for a meadow
A large break in the trees is full of thick brush.

The trail runs out of land to go northwest along and curls around to end on Megwil Point. Some well bashed steps of wood beams strung along cables tries to secure the footing on the way down. It is another nice spot to stay and enjoy the ocean, but it does lack that picturesque island.

logs on cables
The cabled steps and the rocky shore of the next little cove.

It is getting late and the signs did state the park closes at sunset, not a half hour afterward or something more sensible and it is getting late. Wandering along and out onto the headlands and beaches took quite a while, so I am not sure how long it will take to get back. There do seem to be a couple shortcuts, though. I hurry because I do not know how strict they are about it, but the people I see along the way do not seem to be in a similar hurry.

tunnel in tall brush
The shortcut on Elk Head launches through huge, thick brush in a dark tunnel, then travels through dark trees that lack undergrowth.

Pewetole Island
Pewetole Island in the changing light.

The central parking has fewer cars when I get there, but still nearly half a dozen. I cross through it and cross the little creek. There are people going my way in a very lazy way. It really seems there is no need to hurry. The shortcut near the south end of College Cove is through trees that glow with the low sun.

orange dots of light on trees ahead
A wide and easy path as golden light dances on the trees ahead. More people in no hurry are walking through them.

dropping sun
Sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

I am a few minutes past sunset as I arrive back, but many others are even later. Heading out, there is no gate to worry about anyway. An excellent place to visit even without looking for the tide pools.

©2017 Valerie Norton
Posted 26 January 2017

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