November 4, 2014

Day #2 and #3: Cape Lookout to Beverly Beach

Do not be angry with the rain; 
it simply does not know how to fall upwards.
 - Vladimir Nabokov

Day #2

Lincoln City Beach Houses
I woke up soaked. Like really soaked. Tent, sleeping bag, clothes, backpack, everything and Emy, despite her waterproof tent, didn't fare much better. Our packs began weighing about 25lbs each but with all those soaking wet supplies they felt like we'd added stones. After some trail mix (neither of us had much of an apatite) we hit the road again and hiked two miles uphill and then another two miles down. I thought I was going to pass out, but we kept on trucking and by mile two we'd begun discussing hip displaysia (at the time it seemed like the only logical explanation for the extreme pain in my hip joints).

Emy's feet were really hurting her but our thumbs weren't stopping anyone until finally, past the sand dunes and after a long break to inspect blisters, we were rescued by a very nice older couple from Portland. He was an ex marine and she was a former teacher and they had a very big van. To continue the way we'd meant to go this very nice couple would have only driven us about 1/2 mile, but they were on their way to Cloverdale Oregon for lunch, about 17 miles south east. We decided to gamble on better hitchhiking via rt 101 and 30 minutes later we were standing in a small farming town.

Our original intention might have been to hitch, but on our way out of town we spotted, nailed to a telephone pole near the post office, a bus schedule. It went all the way to Lincoln City, a place I'd spent a lot of time in when I lived in Newport Oregon seven years ago, and I was sure things would look up if we could only get to that point. The bus was only an hour away and it cost a paltry $2 each for us to ride 20 miles in style.

Here it was only the second day and we already had to have a discussion about a possible hotel room. There isn't much camping near Lincoln City at this time of year, but that concern was secondary to the state of our water saturated gear. Emy's feet were blistering and both our shoes were soaked. When you're walking all day your feet have to be ok so once in the "city" (it's really just a big town) we walked to the Econo Lodge and got ourselves a room.

We emptied everything out of our backpacks and laid them on every surface we could find. Chairs, hangers, doors, the TV. Everything was covered in wet gear and the place smelled like a kennel after a rain storm. We left it, walked to The Old Oregon Tavern for some beers, then meandered back for an amazing night's sleep.

Day #3

The Bay at Depoe Bay
The Lincoln City Beach was only 1.5 miles long, but with a strong headwind it took us over an hour
to walk it with our now dry backpacks. Once at the jetty we started hitching the highway portion and got picked up by an older gentleman (maybe 80) named Yune. Yune is from South Africa and in the 1960s he hitched all the way from London to Singapore. It took him 9 months and makes him one of the coolest hitchers I've ever met. 

Yune dropped us in Depoe Bay, a great little town on the ocean with a wonderful boardwalk and lots of personality. Emy and I dropped into Pirate Coffee Company, where I use to work, to visit Barry the owner and have a Spicy Wench (Chai + Espresso = Awesome!). We then walked to Gracie's Sea Hag, a great little bar which my sister use to work at and is kind of a destination spot in that area. We got beers and waited for a bus to take us to Beverly State Park.

Wow we covered a lot of ground each day!

The bus to Beverly Beach State Park was $2 and it dropped us off right at the entrance. Although the weather had been nice in Depoe Bay it seemed to be turning so we set up our tents quickly and went for a walk.
Cool Trees on Beverly Beach

That night I went to bed early, mainly because the forcast called for rain and I wanted to get at least some rest, uncertain if it had been the tent or my set up of the tent that had caused my wet night at Cape Lookout.

It was the tent.

Day #1: First Day Disasters

“If I saw you hitchhiking, I’d smile and return your thumb’s up, just for you doing such a great job of being a positive roadside influence.”
― Jarod Kintz
So on October 17th Pam, who didn't want to see us begin our journey hiking over some huge coastal mountain, drove us down the road to Rockaway Beach. Emy and I shouldered our packs, about 25lbs each, leaned into the wind, which was blowing directly at us, and began trudging down the beautiful (if slightly damp and cloudy) beach.

We loved it! Even when we had to cross our first little river and Emy got soaked in the tide, and three miles later we were at the jetty.

Ah, the jetty.

Now there really isn't a whole lot published about the Oregon Coast Trail, but we did find a short ebook which said we had to call a fishery for a ride across said jetty. Apparently we glazed over the part where it said "Call 24 hours in advance" so, quick to make decisions in the intermittent rain, we decided to hitchhike towards the fishery in town. Emy had never hitchhiked before but we were quickly picked up by five very nice Mexican guys in a pickup out for a day of fishing. They were great, offering us a beer as soon as we got in, and drove us right around the jetty to the town of Tillimuck about 8 miles away where our guide book said we could pick the trail back up.

A wet walk
13 miles. 13 miles in the rain. 13 miles in the rain and on a main road with no shoulder. Our thumbs stayed out but with the rain coming down I figure that either people couldn't see out honest faces or they didn't want two drowned rats climbing into their car. Pavement is not the same as sand or even dirt hiking trail. It hurts! And we were wet and Emy's shoes were still soaked from the tide and now water pooled on the top of her foot at each step. Despite all of these first day obstacles we climbed the mountain on Whiskey Creek Road laughing so hard it became difficult to walk.

The hysterics didn't pass until we were at Cape Lookout State Park and trying to find the hiker biker camping area ($5 each). By then everything hurt, the rain was coming sideways, and we still needed to set up our tents. We ended up sitting in the women's restroom, the only semi dry place in our world, for nearly an hour, eating trail mix and wringing out our socks before venturing back out into the rain.

Now, Emy, the most helpful and accommodating girl I know, lent me her bivy for this trip. A bivy, or "the coffin" as she calls it, is a supper narrow tent that really just has room for one person laying flat, not even a backpack will really fit. I set it up, staked it down, climbed in soaking wet and got into my new sleeping bag.

It was maybe 20 minutes later that I realized I was actually becoming wetter. My first thought was that I had set up the tent wrong, maybe I let too much rain in while I was setting up, maybe the wind was strong enough to blow rain around the rain fly. I woke up many times that night, each time feeling the puddle I was laying in grow. I will say that my sleeping bag was amazing, keeping me warm and pretty dry (the only water got in through the zipper), but really it could only do so much. The hiker biker site was up against the ocean which, at any other time would have been amazing, but that night it sounded like the world was ending.