This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.
This post is going to be a little different. First: a bit of background.
In 2010, Becky and Margaret started hiking the Oregon Coast Trail, an adventure they recorded on our old hiking blog, 500Hikes. They unfortunately had to cut their journey short because of Margaret’s declining health (from which she never recovered), and weren’t able to finish. It’s been 5 years now, and Becky has always felt that this is one of the larger things in her life that’s gone undone.
This year she decided to start doing something about it. It’s a big commitment, several weeks of hiking, but we decided that it was okay to (a) do it in chunks, and (b) not camp the whole time. We found that we could arrange for at least one 4-day block of time this year to start chipping away at the missing mileage.
This post is different because it won’t be my (Ben’s) words. Becky’s big on journaling, so she brought along a tablet, and whenever she stopped she typed in her thoughts. What you’ll read below are excerpts from that journal. She didn’t exactly intend for them to end up here, raw and unedited, but I told her they were perfect. This journey is really emotional for her, and that comes through in her words much better than it would in mine. The only changes I’ve made were to link some of the places she mentioned.
Also, if you’ve never seen this gallery style before: click on the photos! Becky’s a really great photographer, and they’re much better when they’re bigger. NOTE: the only camera Becky brought with her was her trusty iPhone 5c.
Monday, August 17 — Salishan Lodge to Pana-Sea-Ah (3 miles)
Intense amounts of anxiety all day. full-on stomach butterflies and flip flops. I’m taking the first steps back into a long-postponed goal, what if I can’t do it? Hard CrossFit workout, may bite me in the end. Worked on packing, then had Ben help cut down to lighten load. Pack is still much heavier than I anticipated. Dropped by Ben at Amtrak for shuttle bus. Am the last to be picked up, have to sit in the middle seat. It does horrid things to my back. listen to In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume. Helps to pass the time. Dropped off at Salishan Lodge finally. Hoist my pack and walk the mile to Side Door Cafe. Yikes, this is hard, this pack is heavy, my back hurts. Side Door is excellent. Halibut with veg and mash. Blueberry kombucha. Sitting with my pack on a chair gets lots of looks. Huge table of old people. Pack back on, wander the back roads two miles to Pana-Sea-Ah. Get checked in, tell my story, grab a glass of wine and a couple cookies. Time for pj’s and relaxing. I can do this, but it’s going to be really hard. There’s a ton of simply road walking on this leg. Lots of Gilmore Girls and journal catch-up. Start reading my book. Stay up way too late.
Tuesday, August 18 — Pana-Sea-Ah to Inn at Otter Crest (9 miles):
It’s really real now. I’m up at 6:30 and sneak upstairs for coffee. It’s delicious. More journaling and GG and reading. Shower and repack. Finally breakfast is served at 9:30. It’s awkward being at a small table with 2 couples. Huge slice of quiche, but I force myself to eat it all. Forgot my brush, am issued a tiny cheap comb. I’m finally off at 10:30. follow back roads for awhile. Stop at Fogarty Creek SP for bathroom. The sun is out and I didn’t bring enough sunscreen. I’m sweating through my pink sport tank and capris. Grateful for my hat. Another stop at Boiler Bay SP, Ben calls for a video chat. Whales! Into crowded Depoe Bay. End up with a gross lunch that I just pick at. Need to be more aware. Just south of Depoe Bay I discover small but official hidden OCT trails that parallel 101. They are harder to navigate than the highway but much safer and quieter. Discover a hidden cove where seals and birds abound. Rocky Creek Scenic Viewpoint for another restroom. Get to love up a 7 week old pug puppy and see more whales. Head off 101 for the very hilly and windy Otter Crest Loop. I’m exhausted and hot, the sun beats down. I didn’t bring enough water. It’s unfamiliar to have so much time in my own head. Finally make it to the Inn at Otter Crest as a big overheated sweaty mess. This place is okay, but stuck in 70’s. My room is comfortable. I actually shower for the second time today then head to dinner. The dining room is crummy but has a good view. Awful cocktail, good burger. Needed the red meat. Take a cheesecake to go for breakfast. Today I walked 9 miles, got sunburned shoulders, and one blister under my big toe. No beach walking, just streets, 101, and hidden trails. More GG and reading, chat with Ben. Go to bed at 10pm.
Wednesday, August 19 — Otter Crest to South Beach (14 miles):
I’m not as sore as I expected, but still stiff. Use the foam roller and stretch. Cheesecake and grody coffee for breakfast in the room. Journal, pack up, and hit the road by 9am. Super worried about the 14 miles today. First five miles are on the beach in a fog bank. Strange to not be able to see any distance. People would appear suddenly. Walked and walked and walked. Working to stay present in my adventure, yet process the last 5 years and all its’ tumult and change. Pit stop at Beverly Beach SP. Eat some jerky and lime nuts along the way. Finally scramble up to the road when I get too nervous about the impending cliffs. Change into my tennis shoes. 101 for awhile, then onto the side roads of Newport. Pit stop at Agate Beach SP. Talk to a couple and then get myself turned around on an actual trail. Have to back track. Finally stop for lunch 9 miles in at Nye Beach Cafe. Great coffee, sandwich and chowder. There’s still so much further to go. Back on the road, to the bridge. Still tons of fog. Bridge crossing was great, stopped several times to sight see. Lots of seals swimming in groups. Beautiful bridge. The last three miles after the bridge sucked. Hot, 101, trashy. Yelled at by boys in a car with confederate flag. Stopped at janky grocery mart for crappy food stuffs. Hurting everywhere. My left knee hates any bit of downhill. Finally make it to my airbnb after 14 miles. Internet connections are so bad. The room is adorable with an amazing view. Bed is comfy. I can’t get Netflix or Facebook to work. Shower, coffee, snacks, tv. More blisters. Windburn on my face.
Thursday, August 20 — South Beach to Waldport (11 miles):
Up early again. Putter around, stretching, rolling, snacking. On the road by 9am. Road walking for a couple miles until I hit Lost Creek State Wayside and go back to the beach. Back into the cloud. More quiet miles until Ona Beach Wayside. Up into park for pit stop and a snack. Choose roadway to try to find lunch. Along a lonely stretch of highway an old man is relaxing next to a bike. He kindly offers to smoke a bowl of hash with me. I decline. He says more, but I’ve put my headphones back in and am walking away. A couple more miles to Seal Rock. Stop at first diner. It’s hot and full of old people, but ½ a turkey sandwich, salad and a coffee are nice. Splurge on deep fried cinnamon rolls with caramel sauce. Eat maybe a quarter. Stayed on the road due to inaccessible beaches, good views. Sun is back out, feel myself burning. Pit stop and pug cuddles at Driftwood State Rec Site. Back to the beach. Sand is softer here and the going is rough. I am so tired and hot. I get worried about finding access back to the road before I get to the spit, so ask a fellow for advice. Back up into the neighborhoods, intense hills. 101 again, my feet are killing me, I have so many blisters, not from my footwear but from my toes rubbing against themselves. Stop right before bridge to put socks and shoes back on. Over the bridge. The water is so clear I can see probably 100 or more seals hanging out in the water, playing and resting. It’s pretty magical and I stop several times to soak it in. Finally make it to the other side and stop into the visitors center for bus advice. Have to walk another 15 min to stop. The bus is 45 min out so sit on a bench and read. The ride down to Yachats is only $1 with a super cranky driver. As we pass through Waldport I recognize many of the haunts of our break 5 years ago. It feels so right to make even this small dent in this Grand Adventure. I’m so glad I did this.
(Ben here again.) At this point I joined Becky in Yachats for a relaxing weekend (and another Hundred Thing). I’m really proud of her for doing this. She covered 37 miles in 3½ days, entirely on her own. It takes a lot of courage to face the kinds of emotions and difficulty she’s up against, but this is really important to her. I’m lucky to be married to such an amazing woman.
She’s planning on completing the entire Oregon coast over the next few years, so watch for more of these posts.