Hi. I’m Regina Reiter and I’m a long distance hiker, Nature interpreter, Radical Forgiveness Coach, and entrepreneur with a passion for helping women over 50 walk the Appalachian Trail as a pilgrimage.
Here’s my story! It’s 2007, and I’m in Wind Gap, PA, at mile 910 on my southbound trek of the Appalachian Trail. I’ve just walked into a convenience store and I meet a woman who says, “Are you hiking the Appalachian Trail? I’ve always wanted to do that but my boyfriend doesn’t want me to.”
September 29, 2019
“Done is better than perfect”
Read my Oregon Coast Trail anthology:
Oregon Coast Trail Beach Walking Discovery
Since John and I completed the Oregon Coast Trail and drove south through California to Borrego Springs and our winter home at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, I’ve been compiling the blogposts that I wrote during our journey. I’ve edited the glaring errors caused by “autocorrect” and attempted to arrange the content and pictures in a book draft form.
It’s not perfect and I wanted to send it to you in case you’d like to read it as an anthology of my journal of the walk. I’m willing to let this go for now because today I start my sixth season as Park Interpretive Specialist at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park! There will be plenty of projects to work on there!
September 13, 20196:45 p.m. Finished! We crossed the Oregon-California state line on the beach at Crissey Field State Park. There was no marker. John looked at Google Maps. We situated ourselves so the little blue dot hovered over the line. Done!
To get here we returned to the bus stop across the street from the Fred Meyer store in Brookings. That’s the furthest south we had been until today. That’s where we had caught the bus a few days ago on our van retrieval mission.From that point, John maneuvered around to the beach spots he had found either in Bonnie’s book or by studying Google Maps. The “official” trail had us walking the road pretty much all the way to Crissey Field State Park, a few miles south. We turned down side streets a few times and walked in little parks and beaches:* Chetco Point Park* McVay Point*Crissey Field State Park
September 13, 2019
There are many aspects of this particular journey that are different than my other long walks – the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Benton MacKaye Trail, and others.
One of those is what piques my interest today. Generally, I have walked each trail once, in a single direction. By contrast, we have now actually traveled the length of the Oregon Coast trail three times! We’re staying in the same Sea Crest Motel in Port Orford where I made my last post a week ago! Let me explain with a brief recounting of our week’s itinerary.
September 4-6, 2019
Three days, in which we walked into the night toward a lighthouse, stopped briefly at a County Park, camped near a river to cross at midnight, stopped briefly at a State Park, walked another six miles on beautiful beach and finally rested at a hotel in Port Orford.
I’ll bundle these three days because they flowed together in an unusual -and exhausting- stretch of walking outside my circadian rhythm. There were rivers to cross at low tide which didn’t happen at convenient times. Ironically, this was the longest stretch of undeveloped beach along the Oregon Coast. We saw just a handful of other hikers and uncountable and varied scenes of coastal beauty on the beach for three days!
September 3, 2019
We got up at 4 a.m. anticipating a grueling 16-mile beachwalk through ATV land. We cooked our oatmeal and stored it in our Ziploc bowl to eat later. We made tea and coffee. That put us two liters of water ahead so our combined 6 liters could keep us safely hydrated.
We were ready at 5 a.m. We decided to take the road around rather than the short climb over the dunes to get to the beach access. On the road in the dark, patches of light danced in a directional rhythm on the treetops. The lighthouse! It’s crystal lenses sparkled. Its radial rays of light beamed out in a moving pattern. No International Dark Sky coherence here!
September 2, 2019
Labor Day Holiday…in which we hiked over a dune, walked the beach, got picked up by a boat, shopped at two convenience stores, a bakery, and a fish cannery, then walked a road to end the day at a state park Hiker-Biker site.
We started at a wooded campsite near Three-Mile Lake, half a mile from the beach, east of the dunes. The walk back to the beach seemed shorter than yesterday’s crossing! We walked south on the beach at low tide, making for quick and easy walking on firm sand. Most of our three hours of beach walking was in solitude, with no vehicles, nor even dogs allowed. We walked along dunes where Snowy Plover meeting grounds are protected.
September 1, 2019
Our hotel rest stop was a welcome break and a sort of new beginning for the rest of the trip. We took an entire day off at the Villa West Hotel, at the crossroads of US101 and 126 in Florence, Oregon. We stayed until checkout time at 11.
John’s willingness to take a taxi out of Florence, skipping a few miles of roadwalking, and even a little forest walking, made today a delightfully easy day! Well, mostly, anyway. The cab driver dropped us off at the Wax Myrtle Trailhead, 3/4 mile from the beach. Yes, there were wax myrtle trees on the route!
August 30, 2019
“I simply won’t walk through the tunnel,” I said. “I will ask at the parking area until I get a ride.”
That’s what I had said about the tunnel cut through the mountain on US101 just south of Heceta Head. It would be our challenge for the day, and the only place I flatly refused to walk on the Oregon Coast Trail. Oh sure, I didn’t like walking any of the stretches of 101, but this one seemed outright suicidal! Bonnie’s guidebook said, “just make sure there are no motorhomes coming when you walk through.” Say what? There were RVs every twenty seconds! We also heard about a button hikers could push that turned on a flashing light warning drivers that a bike was in the tunnel. But how long did it flash? Long enough for walkers to get through? My decision was to stand firm on my no walking stance. I was confident that I could meet someone who would give us a ride.In fact, I had done just that the evening before at the Carl G. Washburne State Park Campground! At the bath house I had met Rachel, who admired our adventure. She had said, “I would gladly take you tomorrow morning – if we were staying here tonight.” They were headed to the campground from which we had just walked, Rock Creek. Her response certainly encouraged me that others would find our request reasonable.We got an early start, taking the campground road out to 101 and crossing over to the trail to the beach. I was stunned to see the highway completely quiet! It was 7:45 a.m. and there were simply no cars on the road! “Now, this is the Oregon Coast Trail I would like!” We knew the quiet would soon and and we chose the trail to the beach. At the trailhead, we noticed a bus schedule posted that indicated a bus leaving from this entrance to Washburne Park at 9:20 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. “So, this bus can be a backup if we don’t get a ride!”
August 28, 2019
Although I have been disappointed by the roadwalking along 101, my suffering pales to that of Amanda, the Yachats woman, and the thousands of others, who were cheated out of their homeland here, tortured, murdered, and forced to walk along the lava rock coast to an encampment. It would have taken great foresight to preserve a natural coastal corridor for our trail, yes. Even better would have been to ratify the treaty in 1855 giving the original people their twenty-mile wide coastal area.