S: Colgan's Calling ~ Hiking Every Inch of the Oregon Coast
FC: Colgan's Calling | Hiking Every Inch of the Oregon Coast
1: Leg One
2: Several miles down the beach our intrepid crew approaches the remains of the Peter Iredale, one of Oregon's most famous shipwrecks.
3: Leg One
4: Leg One, Day One and Two The first leg was very successful. Bob, Judy, Lauren, and John of the Percy/Montgomery family joined me way up there on the north coast to kick off this event. Let it be said that 1) the weather was perfect; 2) the Percys hiked at least ten miles; 3) we were stopped by the military for about an hour and a half because they were having a "live fire" training near the beach. Who knew? Over a two day period I hiked about 26 miles, took a lot of pictures, and ended up about three miles north of Cannon Beach. The coast is an amazing place!!!!! | Leg One
5: “Life is either a great adventure or nothing.” ~Helen Keller | Unfortunately, to complete this hike you sometimes end up on Highway 101.
6: Leg Two, Day One After a long day of packing up and driving from Eugene with Cathy and Dixie, Charles and I hit the trail around 2:30 p.m. We had an extra 1.5 mile trudge right off the bat, as the Indian Beach parking lot was filled to the brim and the park rangers were restricting access. Our wives waved goodbye and we were off. Three miles later we doubled back to the exact spot where we had begun. Such is the price of dedication to the tenet "every inch of the coast". Our terrain for these first five miles or so consisted of about 60% forest trail across the headlands, and 40% road surfaces. We entered Cannon Beach (people everywhere!) and started down the beach itself in the middle of one of the biggest coastal crowds I've ever seen. Another five miles or so of increasingly quiet and isolated beach twice found us bushwhacking steeply up and around points where the high tide did not allow us to negotiate the rocks. Highway 101 runs maybe 300 feet above the water at these points. We had to clamber through thick undergrowth to get to it, up and up a root-bound "path" of sorts. Whew! Just before one of these detours we were awed by the sight of a majestic bald eagle soaring above the trees just off the beach. Minutes later we came across a very strange man reading from a small book, burning pages in a fire, surrounded by an odd collection of stuff; he tried to convince us that there was some sort of passageway through the cliffs to the other side. Yeah, right! As dusk fell we found the highway at a town called Arch Cape. Dixie and Cathy picked us up there. Back at the rental house we thoroughly enjoyed a soak, a shower, and an excellent seafood paella that they had prepared for us. After some wine we hit the sack for a solid night's sleep. A big day of hiking lay ahead.
7: “Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.” -- Steven Wright | “Walking: the most ancient exercise and still the best modern exercise.” -- Carrie Latet | Leg Two
8: “Discoveries are often made by not following instructions, by going off the main road, by trying the untried.” -- Frank Tyger
9: Leg Two | Cathy's Amazing seafood Paella for dinner - yumm!
10: Hiking | Leg Two, Day Two The first nine miles of today's grueling hike (once we found the trail head) is apparently the longest unbroken stretch of forest trail on the entire coast. Some of it winds near 101, but much of it plows up and down ridges, through sometimes dense understory and old growth. We were awestruck at the rugged beauty of Cape Falcon with its stunning panoramas in every direction. We figured out the somewhat confusing network of trails through Oswald West State Park. We encountered quite a few people here, but many other stretches of trail were untrammeled. The last section was a root-bound sweaty hike partway up Neahkahnie Mountain, on and on and on, eventually intersecting the highway. The next three or more miles were on roads. Parts of 101 here have a kind of walkway and great views down to the sea. Other sections provided only a scanty shoulder to separate us from the sometimes intense traffic. These stretches for me are probably the least enjoyable part of the journey so far. We walked westward off the highway through the pleasant unpretentious town of Manzanita and found the beach not nearly as crowded here as points north. A long 4.5 to 5 miles of beach hiking took us down the Nehalem Spit. Charles did this segment in bare feet. I removed my boots with about two miles to go and enjoyed the sand and cool saltwater on my blisters and sore toes. Toward the south end of the Spit there were no people, just the sound of the surf and shore birds and the late afternoon sun shining across the water from the west. From here a boat picked us up and putted across a few hundred yards of bay to the Jetty Fishery on 101. Our gals picked us up here. A long soak in the hot tub and a steak and corn dinner prepared us for a post-hike sleep. Very tired but satisfied, I thank Dixie, Charles, and Cathy for the support, and look forward to Leg Three.
11: "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go." -- T.S. Eliot | Leg Two
13: Leg Three
14: Leg Three, Day One After another Sunday drive to the north coast with camping gear in the trunk, I arrived at the Jetty Fishery north of Garibaldi around two. Dixie stayed home for this one, so I would be connecting with Pat Albright and Mark Laakso for transportation support. I parked near Highway 101, cinched up my day pack and started out on the relatively short hike to Garibaldi. I headed south to find an opening to the beach, trying to use an old railroad bed as a path instead of battling the highway shoulder. About half a mile past a stretch of coastal wetlands there was a road to the beach. It was about 5.5 miles on the sand past the town of Rockaway on yet another beautiful day. At the end of this stretch lay a huge jetty with surf pounding against it, at a place called Barview Jetty County Park. This is the point where Tillamook Bay meets the ocean. I turned eastward, walked through the park full of campers and fishermen, and met Highway 101. I had no choice but to negotiate the sometimes narrow shoulder of the highway. As I have said before, this aspect of the journey is the least enjoyable; but there were some gorgeous views of the bay and the jetty and the blue ocean beyond. About a mile and half of this found me in the salty port town of Garibaldi. I found a pub, phoned Mark for a ride back to my car, and waited over a cold beer for his arrival. We camped at Point Lookout State Park south of here, enjoying a good meal and some laughs and a warm fire. Pat, his wife Ginny, their dog, plus Mark and me, shared two campsites. I slept well in my tent on a firm cot.
15: Leg Three
16: Leg Three
17: "Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake." - Wallace Stevens
18: Leg Three, Day Two This was to be my long challenging day of hiking. After a hardy camp breakfast, Pat and Ginny and Mark hauled me back up the road to Garibaldi to start my trek south to the campground. With Pat's assistance we flagged a small boat to transport me across the bay. The couple was heading out for a day of fishing and crabbing, and they were happy to deposit me at the north end of Bayocean Peninsula. Four or more miles of old dirt road and beach found me on a lovely stretch of coastline with thousands of birds, at the town of Cape Meares. Here I needed to find the trail up and over the cape, and was able to do so with a short walk through this picturesque community. A fairly strenuous forest hike followed by a long and kind of monotonous stretch of road (with virtually no view of the ocean) led me after several hours into the town of Oceanside. I dropped down to the sand and proceeded a couple miles along an increasingly skinny stretch of beach into Netarts. Here it was decision time. There was zero boat activity at this time of the afternoon so I was not going to get shuttled to Netarts Spit. Thus, I had two choices: call it a day or walk around the bay and past the spit on a two-lane road some five miles to our campground. I chose the latter. It was a fairly quiet road but I had to deal with some traffic. Also, at this point my legs were tired and my self-talk was tending more toward how long of a day this was, how slowly the miles pass, etc. I played some mental games to get through these last miles, and finally dragged my sore body back to the campground for some conversation, food, a hot shower, and a good night's sleep (even though rain fell on the tent). I got quite sunburned today on my face and forehead...stupid of me to not be more preventive. | Leg Three
19: “Me think that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” -- Henry David Thoreau
20: Leg Three, Day Three Tuesday I broke camp and had breakfast. Mark shuttled me (and my car) to Sand Lake south of here. Back at the campground I strapped on the knapsack and hiked out. Shortly I was headed up the side of Point Lookout, climbing yet again through a coastal forest. At the top, after exploring the Giant Spruce and Octopus Tree, I did a stretch of road to the parking area where a trail head leads out to the Point. Instead, I headed south, switch backing down, down the side of the hill to a lonely beach. From here it was a little over an hour of brisk hiking, part of it a dune buggy haven, part of it a hikers only beach with no one in sight. Finally the sand curved eastward around some large dunes to Sand Lake. I could see my car parked a few hundred yards inland. Mark met me here and caravanned to Pelican Brewing for lunch before heading home. After three hikes totaling over thirty miles, Leg Three is history. Sand Lake is to be the next leg's start. The lake can only be waded at low tide, so timing in September will be important. After Mark and I enjoyed the ambiance of Pelican's outdoor seating area right on the beach, we bid farewell to the Pacific until next time. | Leg Three
22: Leg Four, Day One This leg of the journey provided me the opportunity to spend significant "quality time" with my dear friend Darryl Eastin, who lives in Seattle, and whom I have known for 45 years. On Sunday he met Dixie and me in Salem in the late morning, and then followed us in his rental car over the coast range, through Otis, then north on Highway 101 to Pacific City. He parked at Pelican Brewing, then Dixie hauled us further north to Sand Lake, where Mark had met me at the end of leg three. | "A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise helathy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world." --Paul Dudley White
23: Leg Four, Day Two This day would turn out to be grueling. I made the mistake of stalling our start until noon, forgetting to some extent how much shorter the days have become. This turned out to be a problem later. We parked Darryl's car again up at Pelican Brewing. The first .75 mile or so today was down the beach past the resort part of Pacific City. We then turned inland and found Brootch Road. Thus began about six (or more) miles of road hiking. Unfortunately the second half was on the shoulder of 101, but at least this stretch of highway had a decent shoulder. We were passed by some bicyclists. Finely we came to the place called Winema where a nice rural road led down to a Christian Camp near the ocean. We were very glad to walk on the beach. We had a nice three miles of beach hiking to Neskowin, where we negotiated the pleasant streets of this little community and back to the Highway. About two miles up the highway shoulder into the coast range and we found the trail head we needed. It would take us up and over Cascade Head through the woods, a total of six miles; since we were starting around four we should be done by 6:30 p.m. easily. Wrong! | For anyone considering this trail, it is truly the Trail from Hell! We had no idea. On the ascent there were between 50 and 100 downed logs across the little-used trail. Some of these were huge. At any rate we had to go over, under, or around each and every one as we switch-backed up the head. At the top, after what seemed like hours, we breathed a sigh of relief, thinking that the landward downhill portion of the trail would be a relative "piece of cake". Wrong again. This nearly three mile "trail" was so overgrown in places that we were thrashing through brambles, cobwebs, and thorny branches. At times the trail itself was virtually invisible beneath the thick undergrowth. I started worrying about the amount of daylight we had left. Darryl was concerned about twisting an ankle. Obstacle after obstacle rose up to greet us, the deep dusk fell. We could hear the highway in the distance but seemed to get no closer. In the last half mile we clambered over an eight foot high root ball and tumbled through the dense upper foliage of a large recently downed deciduous tree! Finally, about twenty minutes ahead of near total darkness, we came to Highway 101. I was never so glad to see it! | Leg Four
24: Leg Four, Day Three We had decided to put some more miles under our feet today. The 3.5 miles of Highway 101 between last night's spot and the beach at Lincoln City went by faster because Darryl and I jogged it. He's training for a marathon so the running mileage benefits him. We slowed to a walk near the casino, found the sand, and had a delightfully long beach hike all the way past Lincoln City, the D River, and on south to the Siletz River at historic Taft. Another excellent day. Darryl immersed himself in the Pacific at the mouth of the Siletz and Dixie picked us up at Mo's by the bridge. We checked out of the beach house and drove back to Eugene after a big meal at the famous Otis Cafe. This concludes the 38 mile Leg Four. October beckons with the final leg of 2009. | Leg Four
25: Leg Five, Day One My family was enjoying our annual coast vacation in the Nye Beach neighborhood of Newport. This provided an ideal staging area for the scheduled hikes. I drove my car north to the community of Taft (south end of Lincoln City), parked at the Mo's where Darryl and I had been picked up in September. I began with a 3.5 mile segment of Highway 101 around the edge of Siletz Bay. The Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge is truly a gem. Luckily there were numerous opportunities to walk well away from the busy highway. At Salishan Resort I cut through via their nature trail (along the edge of a wetland and golf course) to the beach. I enjoyed a beach hike of about three miles past Gleneden Beach to Fogarty Creek State Park. Some of the beach was sharply sloped, making me feel like my left leg was shorter than my right. Once again the weather was ideal. At Fogarty Creek I worked my way inland a bit, through the wooded park, and back to the highway. At this point there was about a mile of narrow-shouldered road, then a mile of sidewalk into Depoe Bay leading past all the new growth north of town. At the end of these nine-plus miles my family met me in Depoe Bay and my son-in-law, Román, drove me back to my car | Leg Five, Day Two This was a short hike (about 5.5 miles). I trudged south out of Depoe Bay on the highway for a bit more than a mile. At this point a scenic two-lane road headed west and south along the bluffs toward Otter Rock. Little traffic, great views...this is my idea of a hiker's road! About four miles later I was at Devil's Punch Bowl, where I had parked my car and gotten a ride to Depoe Bay. It's amazing what a different world the Oregon coast becomes when you get out of your vehicle and experience it on foot. Leg Five, Day Three I was privileged to have my sister Anita and her husband, Kaj, join me for this segment. They were visiting from their home in Mountain View, CA. We drove to the Punch Bowl and headed south toward Nye Beach. The first three-plus miles were right on the beach. The weather was a bit fussy (there had been a storm) and the tide was in. At several junctures we only had a tiny ridge of wet collapsing sand between us and the water. We were able to negotiate these problem areas with only minor difficulties. The beach manifested a number of facets along this stretch; rippled sand, coarse gravel, rock, rivulets. | At Schooner Point the beach disappears, so we clambered up via a motel access to the highway. We walked briskly about 1.75 miles on the shoulder of 101. This proved a bit unpleasant but Anita commented that it was better than she envisioned. Near the entrance to Yaquina Head, a neat little trail leads back down to the beach. A starkly beautiful run of dunes and coastal wetlands leads a bit over two miles to Nye Beach, where we met Dixie, Jenni, Román, and the kids as we ended our more than eight miles of hiking. So on October 20, 2009, I have happily completed something in the vicinity of 40% of the Oregon Coast. What a trip it’s been so far! My thanks to Dixie, the Percy family, Cathy and Charles, Pat and Ginny and Mark, Darryl, Anita and Kaj, and Jenni and Román for the hiking, moral, and strategic support. My goal is to start up again as soon as the weather improves (February?) I believe the project can be completed in 2010. The next leg will be from Newport to Yachats, almost all of which will be beach hiking. | Leg Five
26: Leg Six, Day One After my 9-1/2 mile run Sunday morning with a training group for the Half Marathon, Dixie and I drove over to join our friends, Donna Lee and Ron Terzenbach, at a little motel halfway between Yachats and Waldport called the Terry-a-While. We settled in, had a fabulous meal of lasagna prepared by Ron, and prepared for a long hike on Monday. Leg Six, Day Two Another excellent coastal day awaited Ron and me as we embarked on a long hike from Newport’s Nye Beach down to Waldport. Donna Lee, joined us in the late morning as we strode the mile or so of beach to Yaquina Bay. At this point she bade us farewell. We found our way to the bluff where the lighthouse sits and onto the famous bridge across the bay with impressive views of Old Town Newport. It’s a long bridge! On the south side of the bay we turned back toward South Beach; followed the jetty on a road, cut across a dunes area and began a long walk along the shore. The six miles to Ona Beach would have been peaceful if the tide weren’t at its highest, so we had to skirt around a number of rocks at just the right moment to avoid getting an ankle deep swim in the surf. Actually we failed in this attempt on two or three occasions. Around two-thirty we got to Ona Beach State Park where Beaver | Creek enters the ocean. It’s a fairly substantial stream, but we decided to wade it rather than hike out to the highway and around. It proved daunting because the water was icy cold and the current was swift. We both had trouble keeping our feet under us, and our hearts were pounding when we found solid ground. Another two miles brought us to the spectacular Seal Rock, a cauldron of surging waves and white spray. We marveled at the power of nature for a while before clambering up a steep but short little trail to the Highway 101 overlook area. At this point we had somewhat more than a mile of highway to walk, on a fair but not excellent shoulder. Ron didn’t care for the highway, and I don’t blame him; at this point I’ve gotten kind of used to it. A little road called Quail Street led us back to the beach. We were both feeling some fatigue but still had another 4-1/2 miles of sand. At least the tide was receding. Around 5:30 pm, legs heavy, we could see the Bayshore area north of Waldport to our left, so we cut over to the streets, found our bearings, took a breath, and walked our tired bodies back out to the highway. We called Donna Lee and Dixie to come to get us, and then trudged across the very long Waldport Bridge, and into the little town itself. Our beloved ride arrived and hauled us to the Terry-a-While for cold beers, a hot shower, and good dinner. Our mileage tally for the day was about seventeen. Pretty impressive! | Leg Six, Day Three Today proved my shortest hike yet, and one I guarantee I will never forget. Donna Lee and Ron had to head home early, so my original plan was to simply hike the eight or so miles of beach from Waldport to Yachats and have Dixie pick me up there. However, the weather this morning was atrocious! Ron thought I’d be better served to cancel hiking today, or perhaps hike from south to north to have the wind at my back. But Noooo!!! I had to be a stubborn fool and do it my own way. I decided to do four miles, from Waldport down to our motel, so I would feel like I had accomplished a little something today. Donna Lee gave me a ride back to yesterday’s pickup spot. Next thing you know I’m on a very stormy beach, leaning into the wind, with rain and sand beating my face. Soon my so called “rain gear” might as well have been a wet paper bag. Soaked to the bone, eyes half closed, I made about two miles and cried uncle. Beaten by the force of Mother Nature, I picked my way out to the highway, where it was at least a little less nasty. Here I broke into a run on the wide shoulder and jogged back to the motel. “Wet Rat” doesn’t even begin to describe what Dixie found when she answered the door. Fortunately, I had enough time for a hot shower before we had to check out and head for home.
27: “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” -- John Muir, 1913, in L.M. Wolfe, ed., John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, 1938 | Leg Six
28: Leg Seven, Day One On Sunday evening, April 18, Ron and I got a head start on the mileage by hiking down the beach from the Terry-a-While where we left off last month. It was a pleasant evening walk, except that the tide was in so we had to scramble onto some big rocks to avoid getting wet at one point. The town of Yachats has done a very good job of creating a trail and well-marked route along the bluff and eventually up to Highway 101. We ended our 4.5 miles at the newly reopened market in the middle of town. Leg Seven, Day Two We got started Monday around ten. Across the bridge, through a quiet residential area south of town, and we found ourselves on a fine new addition to the Oregon Coast Trail. It approximately parallels the highway but keeps you safely off the road and in the trees. After perhaps a mile or so it connects with the Amanda trail, which winds somewhat steeply up the north side of Cape Perpetua. Ron and I huffed and puffed our way some 2.2 miles to the top, then down the south side another 1.5 miles to the Visitor’s Center. From here another stretch of trail takes hikers further south and just off the highway. We ended our morning hike at a place called Neptune Wayside. After a lunch break Dixie and Donna Lee hauled us further down 101 some six miles to Rock Creek. We weren’t especially interested in walking this long stretch of highway today (see Day Three). So | we found our way down to the beach and walked a stunning stretch of coastline down to a point where the beach runs out and Heceta Head looms. Here we found the steep Hobbit Trail up the slope, hooked up with another trail over the Head, and descended to the Heceta Lighthouse. The afternoon totaled about 5.5 miles. We got picked up right where the bridge crosses Cape Creek and the highway enters a narrow tunnel just north of Sea Lion Caves. This ended our day at about 12 to 13 miles total. Leg Seven, Day Three I put on my running gear and a very bright reflective vest and tackled the aforementioned six miles of highway. I ended up running 4.7 and walking 1.3, which was very good training for my half marathon next month. This was actually a pleasant experience because the shoulder was adequate and the traffic fairly light. It rained on and off but the wind wasn’t too intense. I finished in almost exactly seventy minutes. Dixie pulled up just as I approached the Rock Creek pullout. We all had a good meal in Florence before driving home, another Leg successfully completed. | Leg Seven
29: Mini Leg Excellent warm day in the valley (rare this spring) boded well for a day trip to Florence to complete a few miles and have dinner in Old Town. Dixie and I picked up our granddaughter Isabella, drove over uneventfully except that Isabella loved it when I honked the horn all the way through the tunnel just this side of Mapleton. We headed up 101 to a point just north of Sea Lion Caves. The weather had changed to windy, dreary, and cold. I put on my reflective vest and jogged briskly down the highway to a point near Milepost 181 where a faint trail led down to the beach. It was indeed cold! Our friends Donna Lee and Ron had driven over to meet us and were joining me on the beach a mile or so south. I had to ford a brisk stream before I caught up with them. We walked together perhaps five miles with a stiff wind to our backs. As long as we kept moving it wasn’t bad. Just before we reached the populated area of north Florence we had to wade across a medium-sized stream called Sutton Creek. The water wasn’t as cold as I expected. Soon we reached Heceta Beach near Driftwood Shores. Dixie and Isabella had found a patch of sand somewhat protected from the wind and nestled in some driftwood. Isabella at five years old loves the beach! After a short break, Ron and I continued toward Old Town on roads, mostly Rhododendron Drive, a moderately busy two-laner through a residential neighborhood. It’s about six miles into Old Town, and the further away from the beach we got the better the weather. We were tired when we found a bench near Mo’s and waited for our girls. It was a great relief to take off those still soggy shoes! After a nice dinner and a tall beer we headed home. Dixie drove. | If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk." -- Raymond Inmon
30: Leg Eight, Day One Dixie and I set out in the early afternoon. She dropped me off at the Siuslaw River Bridge around three. A short distance down 101 found me at South Jetty Road; I headed west and got kind of lost in a maze of ATV tracks. Several miles later (I headed generally southwest) I broke out onto the beach. I hiked fairly uneventfully south for about two hours to the Siltcoos River. Some dune buggies on the beach but fewer and fewer as I moved south. I pulled off the beach at the river after determining that it was able to be forded... Dixie picked me up at a beach wayside in time for a late dinner. We stayed at a little motel in Winchester Bay south of here. Leg Eight, Day Two Today would be a long beach hike (nine miles) with two river crossings. The Siltcoos was an easy wade. Tahkenitch Creek required me to go waist deep and hold my gear over my head. But the water was quite mild. I saw numerous sea lions today. Some were right on the beach and flopped their way into the surf to join their compatriots when I approached. ATVs were evident but their presence was at no time obnoxious. I got offered rides twice but declined. “Every inch of the Oregon Coast” Remember? After the long stretch of beach, nursing a blister on the ball of my right foot, I turned inland at Sparrow Park Road. This fairly lonely little gravel road winds four miles through coastal wetlands, clear-cuts, and wooded hills toward 101. It seemed like a long trek because I was tired and my feet were sore. I reached the highway, called Dixie to come to get me, and proceeded to walk and jog southward another 1.5 miles while awaiting her arrival. My biggest mistake was running with my Mojave hiker’s fanny-pack overloaded with wallet, camera, and water. Since the load was behind me I was unaware that my wallet and camera had popped out of the fanny-pack and into the road. A frantic search was successful in retrieving everything. Dinner sure tasted good tonight! | Leg Eight, Day Two My goal this morning was to simply strap on the running shoes and jog/walk down 101 from yesterday’s pick-up spot to as far south as my sore feet could take me in an hour or so. I did this after we checked out of our room. Dixie enjoyed breakfast while I got 4-1/2 miles down the road, mostly jogging. No fanny-pack. No extra weight. I got all the way through the town of Reedsport and to a point at the south end of town about two miles north of Winchester Bay We headed home with one fabulous stop to enjoy viewing the elk just inland from Reedsport.
31: Leg Eight | "I have two doctors, my left leg and my right.” -- G.M. Trevelyan
32: Leg Nine, Day One I accomplished this leg with shuttle and moral support from my good friends Pat Albright and Mark Laakso. A big thank you to them, and indeed to all who have supported me so far on this adventure. Pat and I got out of town late in the afternoon. He drove us in his truck down to Reedsport. Mark drove his own truck and met us there. Around six Pat dropped me off at the intersection south of town where I left off last time. I walked briskly via side roads and Highway 101 into Winchester Bay, past the little harbor there, and down a two-lane road (used primarily by ATV's) to a beach access area. Here I was met by the guys. We drove into Coos Bay for the night, had late food and beers, and settled into our rental house. Leg Nine, Day Two In the late morning I got delivered to the aforementioned access area. For the next five hours I walked some fifteen miles down the beach, fording one fairly robust creek (chest deep) and then hiking barefoot along the water's edge. I could feel a little rubbing on my right toes, but I had no idea until I pulled up onto the dry sand at Horsfall that I had a deep, ugly blister on my second toe, probably the worst blister I've ever had. Otherwise it was a fine hike. A large portion of it was in dune buggy territory, but some was very quiet. I saw a sea lion | close up and many sea birds. Pat and Mark were waiting for me with a cold beer at the agreed upon spot. Back at the rental house, I nursed my nasty blister and also iced a very sore Achilles on the right side, probably a result of walking for mile after mile along the surf on a sharp slope, with the right foot significantly lower than the left. Leg Nine, Day Three So I wrapped up my blistered toe today, and Pat took me to the Horsfall access area where I began a long road walk into and through North Bend. It was somewhat over ten miles, partly on a road through the dunes, partly along 101 and over the long bridge into town, partly on city streets. The blister did not suffer any setbacks, but the Achilles got very sore by the end of this walk, to the point where I was fairly hobbled. I stopped about three or four miles north of Charleston. Mark picked me up at a market. We stopped for dinner and beers, and this evening I once again iced a very sore right foot and ankle. Luckily there have not been any lasting effects from this tightness. | Leg Nine
33: Needless to say, from a physical standpoint this was not one of my better hikes. But truth be told, my cardiovascular fitness is excellent. It's just the feet that tend to rebel at doing these distances. Overall I was very satisfied to be this far down the coast. August will be a month to camp and entertain family in Eugene. On to September!! Leg Ten, Day One I was quite happy to get some late afternoon exercise after the lengthy drive from Eugene through North Bend to the little community of Empire, where Mark had picked me up back in late July. I decided to “fast track” the five mile strip of two-lane highway into Charleston. So I did a jog/walk combination (about 60% jogging) and completed the short segment in about an hour. I certainly noticed a ton of trash along the side of the road, sad testament to people’s lack of pride. Dixie waited for me in the little hamlet of Charleston and we drove down to Bandon for a fine evening. | Leg Ten, Day Two In the late morning we drove back up to Charleston. I said goodbye to my fabulous wife and started down Seven Devils Road. I started the day in a poor mood, I guess a little burnout had set in. This solitary hiking has its drawbacks. But as I got into the rhythm of walking I felt better and better. Most of this road is a narrow paved road through the Coast Range, except for a graveled section in the middle. Every car that meandered by stopped to ask if I was o.k. I guess it’s a bit odd to see an old boomer out here in the “middle of nowhere” trudging down an isolated road. This was a long hike, some 13.5 miles, but in the end I felt a sense of satisfaction and enjoyed the meditative solitude such a walk provides. I ended the day with Dixie picking me up at a beach access (at the end of Whiskey Run road). No whiskey in sight, so we headed back to Bandon for our own form of refreshment. | Leg Ten, Day Three Before heading back to the valley I completed this leg from the aforementioned access point some 6 or 6.5 miles down a very quiet and fog-shrouded beach to the north jetty at Bandon. Lots of seabirds foraged, and a dead whale on the sand provided a surreal view through the thick mist. Dixie met me by the lighthouse at the north jetty and we headed home, another Leg in the books. The plan for completing this project is to hike in May, June, and July of 2011, reaching the California border just before my 60th birthday. It might be necessary to tip a few cold ones at one of those Northern California microbreweries to celebrate! I’m putting this to bed for the winter. | Leg Ten
34: Leg Eleven, Day One After final preparations Dixie and I left for the south coast, stopped in Rice Hill for food and a milkshake, and arrived in Bandon on an increasingly excellent day around three. We poked around Old Town and waited for Brian Barber and his dog Elliott; I was antsy to get some miles in. Around six Brian and Elliott and I had a splendid evening walk down the beach some four miles from the Bandon jetty to a place called China Creek Beach. After shuttling Brian back to his car, (he was staying in Coquille) Dixie and I drove south to Cape Blanco and settled into our cabin. It was a delightful “Conestoga” style with overhead light, reading lamp, heat, and electrical outlets, with partial ocean view and wonderful quietude. Leg Eleven, Day Two A picture-perfect late spring day at the coast nearly full sunshine and a gentle breeze. It gets no better than this. Dixie and I headed up to Floras Lake, a sparkling gem, and met Brian and Elliott there. I had made the decision to skip a long stretch of beach between last night’s endpoint and here due to potential high water in streams. This stretch will be made up in July when the rivers are down. | The three of us had a high-quality seven-mile hike from Floras Lake down to Cape Blanco. It didn’t go quite as planned we took a wrong turn and ended up on an old jeep road through a sort of hobbit forest (no views), and it was exceedingly muddy. Several miles of this brought us to an old airstrip. At any rate we eventually emerged onto Blacklock Point with its breathtaking views of the rugged southern Oregon coastline. We descended a grassy hillside to a coarse sand beach which took us a little more than a mile south to the Sixes River. Despite our concerns about water conditions we waded carefully across without incident, although Elliott didn’t like it very much his little Jack Russell Terrier legs had to work hard against the current! There were numerous sea lions near the mouth of this river. We hiked upriver about a mile through a dense meadow and met Dixie near the historic Hughes House. After a good visit at our cabin I drove Brian and Elliott back to Floras Lake and bid them adieu. Leg Eleven, Day Three Today was a creature with completely different stripes. Besides the fact that I would now be hiking solo, I awoke to a steady light rain; but I had prepared for bad weather and creek crossings. I decided to save a short three-mile traverse of Cape Blanco itself for tomorrow, and headed south toward | Leg Eleven
36: I dried off so we could enjoy a meal at the Paradise Café (I don’t know why they like that name around here). After lunch I continued down the beach south of town some two miles. The rain had ended. I scrambled up a steep little connecting trail to the highway and walked briskly another mile or so to a little spur road just inside Humbug Mountain State Park. A few hundred feet up this road is a trail head, and the start of my June hike. Dixie picked me up here. The day’s hiking added up to around 11 or 12 miles, a solid accomplishment. Leg Eleven, Day Four All that was left for me to complete before heading home was a three mile stroll around this spectacular cape. Starting at the Hughes House overlooking the Sixes River I hiked via beach and bluffs on a pleasant morning back to our cabin. I dispatched this little segment in under an hour, and then we packed up and spent the rest of the day traveling home and settling back in to our routine. Only a few short weeks and I’ll be back at it. The entire project is about 80% done. | Port Orford around ten. Low tide would be at 11:15. Down the beach I strode. I threw a poncho over myself and my day pack and thus stayed mostly dry. In no time at all (before I expected it) I arrived at the Elk River. It was about thirty feet across, maybe six inches deep, and had a moderately strong current. So I found a strong stick of driftwood and carefully picked my way across in a pair of water shoes. Not too bad but the stick was definitely a good thing to use for balance. I dried off my feet and put my shoes back on, headed on down the beach in an increasing rainstorm. After more than an hour I saw a notch near a bluff where I could cut inland. Figuring this was Paradise Point, I followed a rutted ATV path up a hill and directly onto a big cattle ranch. Oops! In this region every road will get you to Highway 101, so I walked past numerous BIG cows (who watched me suspiciously), old barns, a myriad of broken down cars and tractors, and a few farmhouses with smoke puffing out of chimneys. The rain came down in buckets—thank you to the inventor of the poncho! Finally after more than a mile I came upon the highway. The rain let up as I headed south on the highway shoulder. It was something more than two miles to the south end of the gritty town of Port Orford, where Dixie met me for lunch. | Leg Eleven
37: "We live in a fast-paced society. Walking slows us down." --Robert Sweetgall
38: surrounded by wetlands and bucolic farm country, so I enjoyed the ambiance of the three miles or so to where I could access the beach. Once on the water’s edge again I had about four miles of sand hiking to the community of Nesika Beach, where I turned inland and followed Nesika Beach Road (perhaps a mile) back out to the highway. Dixie picked me up at the Geisel Monument where a family was killed by Indians some 160 years ago. Leg Twelve, Day Three I split my hiking into two parts with a nice break in mid-afternoon (sort of a siesta). The total accomplished added up to some 13.5 miles. In the late morning I picked up at the aforementioned monument. A very rural side road called Old Coast Highway winds a couple of miles through a nice stand of forest with a few houses and clear-cut areas. The old road then crosses the highway into Otter Point Recreation Site, and eventually I got back onto the beach. Some two miles along the water and I found myself at the north jetty of the Rogue River. I walked on business roads inland to the highway bridge, across the 1937 (??) structure and back to the beach. This totaled another 2-plus miles. South of the jetty, it was a nice walk down to our motel (about 1.5 miles). I then got out of my shoes and relaxed for a while after this 8.5 mile segment. | Leg Twelve, Day One After our long drive from Eugene, Dixie and I connected with Brian and Kathy Barber (and, of course, Elliott), south of Bandon. We caravanned down to Port Orford. Brian, Kathy, Elliott, and I hiked about four miles through Humbug Mountain State Park on a very pretty trail mostly consisting of an old abandoned road, then continued down Highway 101 another 2.5 miles or so. This section of highway has a wide shoulder and the traffic is relatively light, so it was pleasant. Dixie met us along the highway and took the Barbers back to their car (they were staying in Coquille) while I trudged another two miles down the highway to a point just north of Arizona Beach. My first evening hike ended at this point, after a total of 8.5 miles. We headed down to Gold Beach where we had booked three nights at a great motel. Leg Twelve, Day Two On this Father’s Day I accomplished a 9.5 mile trek in less than four hours. At Arizona Beach I headed down the sand a mile or so, then had to climb some very big rocks at Pigeon Point to drop down to a little beach at the base of Sisters Rock. Here I scrambled up an old jeep road perhaps a half mile to the highway. 101 at this juncture is | Leg Twelve
39: In the late afternoon Dixie drove me south to an obscure trail head near Cape Sebastian. I decided to do this five mile stretch from south to north, thus walking back to the motel heading north on the beach. It was slightly more than 1.5 miles downhill on a very good trail to the water’s edge. Walking north into the wind for the next 3.5 miles was a bit daunting, and proved to me why north to south is almost always a better option. I had a creek crossing to contend with, besides the stiff breeze in my face, but it was otherwise a beautiful day and I had the beach to myself. Dixie and I went out for an excellent dinner tonight to celebrate our wedding anniversary. What better place to be? Leg Twelve, Day Four Before heading home I hiked another 6.5 miles through Cape Sebastian Scenic Corridor, and it is indeed aptly named! The first 2.3 miles were a delightful forest walk on a well maintained but little-used trail. Then, suddenly, it was a steep uphill climb almost a mile to the parking area at the top of the cape. This was a real cardio workout, and made me thankful for all those trips up Mt. Pisgah. From the north parking area to the beach at Hunter’s Cove was an absolutely breathtaking hike along the edge of the world, with spectacular views down 700 feet to the ocean, followed by a winding descent through a great stand of forest with periodic photo opportunities. I dropped down onto a picture-perfect half-moon shaped beach, walked about a mile south and met Dixie at a highway pull-off.
41: Leg Thirteen, Day One This would be the culmination of a little over two years of planning and commitment. Everything went very well indeed. Here is a synopsis of how the final chapter played out: My friend of some forty-seven years, Darryl Eastin, had flown down from Seattle to hike a majority of the remaining mileage. He and Dixie and I drove down to Bandon on Friday and stayed the night at a very well-appointed and beautiful bed and breakfast at Lake Floras (not far from the hamlet of Langlois). Our Saturday hike was a 12.5 mile stretch of isolated beach from just south of Bandon to Floras Lake itself. The weather was dank and gray with low fog and limited visibility. We embarked from China Creek Beach, and the gentleman there (a plover habitat volunteer) was very concerned about our crossing the New River. Several miles down the beach we came upon it. It wasn’t too bad about waist deep and maybe thirty feet across with a calm current. Once across we had about ten miles of soft sand down a lonely beach. We saw nobody until we got close to the lake. Today’s hike was a little slower than anticipated due to the “sloppy” quality of the sand. I’m glad I had Darryl along because this would have been a monotonous solo hike. After nursing our tired feet at the B&B we hopped in the car for the long drive down to Brookings. We ate dinner in Port Orford. Our accommodation for the next three nights was the guest house of a ranch just north of Brookings, with a view of the ocean and lots of peacocks and other creatures. | Leg Thirteen
42: Leg Thirteen, Day Two Dixie hauled Darryl and I back up the highway to the spot south of Gold Beach where I had left off last month (Hunter’s Cove). We hiked down the beach with rain threatening for about two miles. Upon arriving at the Pistol River we made a decision not to cross. The incoming tide rendered this particular stream a bit too tricky for our taste. At any rate we would have only gone another mile or so before turning in toward the highway. So we hit 101 for a fairly lengthy walk on the shoulder (maybe seven miles) luckily the shoulder was ample and the traffic was not too heavy. And we whiled away the time getting caught up on each other’s life. We were happy to find a trail head at the north end of the Boardman Corridor. The first stretch of this trail was, to say the least, rough. It was little more than a deer trail through the undergrowth at times, and slippery in places. The weather was not particularly favorable, but it didn’t pour. We got about 2.5 miles of trail under our shoes before calling it a day at a pullout along the highway, where Dixie picked us up. We had hiked some 11.5 miles all told today. | Leg Thirteen, Day Three Today would be a spectacular length of trail along a rugged stretch of coastline. Sometimes we were hiking in a deep coastal forest, sometimes skimming along grassy bluffs, often dropping sharply to quiet beaches or climbing steeply back up to the headlands. The views were breathtaking. It rained off and on but we had resigned ourselves to this so it wasn’t a big deal. We reached the southern end of this wonderful corridor and walked a bit further on the road toward Brookings. It was along this stretch that Pat, Mark, and Brian came driving by on their way to set up camp in the California Redwoods. We took a few minutes to high-five each other and act like idiots before they proceeded. I would join them on Tuesday after crossing the border. Darryl and I finished up our twelve miles for the day and Dixie picked us up just a couple miles from the guest house. The three of us had a salmon barbecue and enjoyed our last night sleeping with the sound of peacocks. | Leg Thirteen
43: Leg Thirteen, Day Four The final day!!! Darryl and Dixie had their trip back to Eugene timed to get him to the airport by about 5:30 p.m., so he had a couple of hours to hike with me. This was an urban hike into and through the town of Brookings. We routed ourselves so we could avoid the busy streets and enjoy the residential neighborhoods of this pleasant town. We crossed the Chetco River and headed into the community of Harbor when Dixie arrived to take Darryl back to the valley, and Pat and Brian pulled up to be my end-of-hike shuttle. Darryl had accomplished another five miles today, for a whopping overall total of forty miles!! After farewells to my wife and dear friend, my other good friend Brian joined me for the conclusion. We trudged down a two-lane road through farm country south of Brookings on a high bluff. To our right were many high-end homes with expensive views to be sure! We finally reached Highway 101 and shortly after that the Winchuck River, which we crossed on a bridge. From the south shore of the river, it was little more than half a mile down the beach to where Pat was waiting for us (lounging in a beach chair in the sunshine). Yes, today the weather had broken once and for all and it was bright, sunny, and warm. Sorry, Darryl you only got a small taste of that. We lingered for a while and I assured myself that I was indeed in California. Victory! We were off to celebrate with beer in Crescent City before heading to the campsite in Jedediah Smith State Park for three nights of camping.
45: Before fully "moving on", I would like to thank all the people who helped make the Coast Trek a memorable success. First, a loving thanks to my wife Dixie, who sacrificed a ton of her “down time” to accompany me to the coast, plan accommodations, shuttle me (and other hikers) from place to place, and perform a myriad of other necessary support services. There would have been no coast hike without her. Also, another big thank you goes out to Pat and Ginny Albright, Mark Laakso, my daughter Jenni and son-in-law Roman, and Cathy Price, for moral support, shuttling, strategic planning and other valuable assistance with the project. And then there were the hikers. I have approximated the total mileage accomplished by each of you who accompanied me at some point along the route (my apologies for any inaccuracy). Many of you also doubled as “support personnel” so I could have listed you twice: Darryl Eastin—a whopping 65 miles over two legs, one in ’09, one this year. Ron Terzenbach—something to the tune of 40 to 45 miles during three legs last year. Charles Durham—about 25 miles, one entire leg on the north coast. | Brian Barber—his mileage approached 25 total, portions of three legs this year. Kathie Barber—about 7 miles in partnership with Brian and me. My sister Anita and her husband Kaj—a bit less than ten miles north of Newport in October of ’09. Bob, Judy, Lauren, and John Percy—it seems like a long time ago, but they hiked about ten miles with me to start the whole adventure in ’09. If I have forgotten anyone, please forgive me for my mental lapse. I would also like to thank all of you who sent congratulatory messages and let me know that you were at least mildly interested in this endeavor. As the days of summer wane into fall, I want all of you to know that the next project is already underway: visiting all 36 county seats of Oregon over the next three or four years, doing a hike in each one, studying the local history to learn something new about the county, and savoring a sample of the best beer offered in that county (admittedly a subjective activity). I've already done two counties, so you will be able to use the website to follow by reflections on the latest incarnation of "Don needs something to do."