The Cascade head trail began with a vigorous hike through a mature Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock forest. It is an area protected by the Nature Conservancy-a group dedicated to preserving and monitoring natural areas for future generations. This area is special because it represents the original Oregon coastline before the introduction of foreign plants and other invasions brought about by human occupancy. The area is a preserve of unusual plant and animal species. The large prairie grasslands are huge mounds formed by basaltic lava flows underwater. The grasslands hold many of the once common grasses to the Oregon beach areas:red fescue,wild rye,Pacific reedgrass,coastal paintbrush,golden rod, blue violet and others. 99 percent of the world's population of the Cascade Head Catch fly is found here. Hairy Checkmallow is a gorgeous rare wildflower found here. The Oregon Silverspot Butterfly is found here and is known in only five other spots in the world. This butterfly depends on a single plant species, the early blue violet for its survival. Elk, deer,coyote,snowshoe hare,and the Pacific giant salamander frequent the area. The bald eagle,great horned owl and peregrine falcon are also found here. We broke out of the forest into the beautiful vista of a prairie grassland mound which seemed to ascend to the sky. We hiked the vast prairie to the upper viewpoint which was 1214 feet above sea level.This was a very steep ascent with many switchbacks through the prairie to the top of the mound which overlooked the Oregon coastline which stretched for miles below us in both directions. In the distance inland could be seen the many coastal area mountains and hills. It was a magnificent panorama from a grassland base that seemed right out of "Sound of Music" The air was misty and wet driven by a chilly Pacific wind. The air cooled our exertions in making the steep and constant ascent. We covered a total of 4.5 miles and 1435 vertical feet. That was a good day's workout. We celebrated with a gourmet lunch at The Wildflower Grill.It was a gorgeous cottage surrounded by wildflowers and we sat on a porch overlooking a senic forest and pond. Barb and I had crab salads and Bill and Nancy, grilled Ling Cod. It was an hours drive each way to Lincoln City.

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