It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done a Mountain Monday post. Today I’ll focus on King’s Mountain in Oregon’s northern Coast Range. But since it’s impossible to visit mountains without also coming across rivers and streams, I’ll also highlight the main river in this area. While it has a modest elevation (3226’/983 m.), King’s Mtn. is nonetheless a steep and rugged peak. I haven’t captured the mountain in a photo before this, at least from a distance. I know it mostly from a loop hike that I’ve done a half dozen times or so. It takes you up a steep few miles to the summit of King’s, then over a very rugged traverse to the equally steep Elk Mtn. You then descend a vertiginous trail to the Wilson River, where you loop back to the car. Next morning you may feel like you’ve been kicked by a mule!
King’s is cloaked in a lovely conifer forest along its lower slopes. In autumn tasty golden chanterelles pop up in dells and behind mossy logs. The golden chanterelle is the official state mushroom (yes, there’s an official mushroom!). This beautiful green forest has grown in from seedlings that were hand-planted after the disastrous Tillamook Burn in 1933 (plus succeeding fires in the 30s). The Burn laid low nearly 450,000 acres of prime Oregon timber, most of that in a hellish 30-hours where huge trees were uprooted and thrown into the air by the winds ahead of the inferno. It’s a big part of Oregon history.
The other part of this image is the beautiful Wilson River, which is famous for its steelhead runs. It rolls swiftly through the forested landscape, and its deep green pools are lined with volcanic rock outcrops that on hot days beg to be leapt from into the cool green depths. The Wilson flows down to the Pacific Ocean at the town of Tillamook (where I’m writing this). You always know you’re approaching Tillamook because of that wonderful (not!) smell of dairy cows. It’s still the best cheddar cheese I know of for a grilled cheese sandwich, on good sourdough bread of course! Make sure and get your free samples if you ever come this way on a tour of their factory.
There are plenty of camping and picnicking sites to enjoy in the Tillamook State Forest where these images were captured. A visitor center is located centrally not far west of the trailhead for King’s Mtn., and there are plenty of easier trails, including a rolling trail stretching 24 miles along the Wilson itself. You obviously don’t need to do the whole 24 miles! So if you ever find yourself traveling the Oregon Coast, consider a side-trip east along Hwy. 6 from Tillamook into the Coast Range. Have a great week!