Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Cutthroat Climb Trail

The art of humans and the art of nature - both unique and wonderful in their own ways- are found here in a misty valley on the shores of Willapa Bay. Not so long ago, this whole region was blanketed in virgin old growth forest, but now after decades of logging, nearly all of it is gone. Willapa National Wildlife Refuge protects what little is left, as well as forests that will now be allowed to grow until one day they may be as grand as they once were.

The Cutthroat Climb trail goes through some of this recovering forest land, and this gorgeous woodland is testament both to the grandeur of what came before and to the healing powers of time and nature. The work of local artists may be found round every corner - a painting of a bird in flight, a feathered monument to extinct species of bird, a mind bending meditation circle surrounded by standing stones. The variation of ecosystems is enthralling - from a boardwalk undulating above the grassy tide flats, to the vibrant riparian wetlands, to highland forests. The Cutthroat Climb trail sees more landscapes in a mile than most trails do in a dozen.

Short enough to be a brief stop on a road trip, but long enough to feel like a real hike, the Cutthroat Climb trail is one of the nicest trails in Willapa National Wildlife Refuge.