Friday, April 27, 2012

The Plan - Valsetz to the Beach 2012

Last Spring, I wanted to run to the beach.  I didn’t want to run Hwy 22/18 to Lincoln City so I started looking at alternatives.  I wanted a long run, something 30+ miles.  I considered the last 30 or so miles of Hood to Coast ending in Seaside.  I even looked into the last 30 or so miles of the old Hood to Coast Route Ending in Pacific City.  As I asked around, someone suggested that they thought there was a route from Valsetz through the coast range.  

The Upper Valsetz River

I had only heard of Valsetz, the ghost town, from stories.  Valsetz was a company owned mill town in the coastal range.  When Boise Cascade decided to close the mill in 1988 the literally erased the town of Valsetz too.  It had once been home to nearly 1,200 people.  In 1988, the mill and the entire town, houses, stores, the 2 lane bowling alley, everything, were bulldozed and burnt to nothing.  There is plenty more to read and learn about Valsetz, but it seemed like an incredible place to start a journey.   
Where We Begin
 Armed with a cache of maps, and fantastic sidekicks, the best route has been discovered.  

Jeanne and Elliott - The Fantastic Sidekicks

...and he works for pancakes.
 On June 23rd, 2012, we will start at the headwaters of the Siletz river just west of where the town of Valsetz used to be and finish in the Pacific Ocean at Taft, where the Siletz enters the sea.  The Siletz is 70 river miles long, our route will be 34.5.  The first 7 miles will follow the upper Siletz through Valsetz and begin down the Siletz Canyon.  

The North Fork of The Siletz
 At mile 7, we turn up Gravel Cree, which is much more scenic than the name implies, and over the next 3 miles cross the creek several times.  Then comes the biggest climb of the day, up and around Suncrest Point.  From there, it’s across the Black Saddle ridge line and then mostly downhill.  The last 8 miles are on paved roads, until we hit the sand in Taft.  The majority of the run will be on timber company roads, which means some combination of dirt and gravel.  Some areas are still heavily forested and beautiful, other areas have been clear cut and feel like you’re on the surface of the moon (well....if the moon had tree stumps everywhere).  I'm hoping to work out some GPS tracking as almost the entire route is out of cell range.  The route is set, now more planning....and training!

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