November 4, 2014

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.


  1. I was just sharing your blog with a newbie on the CLRV forums. What a nice surprise to see you posting, again. As always, looking forward to your travels.

    1. Yeah, I'm on the move again! Catching up on the back stories will take a while though:)


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