How to Start Your Appalachian Trail Walk

I’ve walked the AT twice, plus another 2,000 miles working as an ATC ridgerunner for seven seasons.. How did I start all this? By locating the nearest trailhead to my home and setting foot on the trail. that one hour let me hear my call to the trail “If I just keep walking, I can get all the way to Maine!”

Next step: a half day walk with my husband, exchanging the car key in the middle. Over the next four years, we built up to a full month on the trail, two trips per year, from over night to three nights, a week, two weeks. There are landmark steps, I think: read more

Oregon Coast Trail: Journal Anthology

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! read more

Oregon Coast Trail: Port Orford

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. read more

Oregon Coast Trail: River Crossings

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! read more

Oregon Coast Trail: Double Day

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! read more

Oregon Coast Trail: Osprey

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. read more

Oregon Coast Trail: High Tide

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! read more

Oregon Coast Trail: Amanda

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. read more

Oregon Coast Trail: Seal Rocks

August 27, 2019

This day had similarities to yesterday, with a few variations in the details of food and campsite services. We had beautiful beach walking, some awesome rocks, not so much roadwalking, and early evening arrival at South Beach State Park Hiker-Biker site.

My notes for the day:

7:20 away from camp at South Beach
8:40 stop to cook breakfast on beach; Potatoes onions garlic cheese
10:36 shoes off. In close view of Seal Rocks cliffs. I’ve been trying all variations of beachwalking: sandals, barefoot, shows and socks. All have pros and cons. The sandals work if I wrap my toes in gauze tape. Barefoot feels great – for a while, then my feet are tired. Shoes are most supportive – and get my shoes wet. read more

Oregon Coast Trail: Bridge

August 26, 2019

My notes for today tell the story of this pleasantly short day, a good follow-up to yesterday’s long walk!

10:44 After hot breakfast and showers, we’re leaving the Beverly Beach Campground escorted by Jack, a 7-yr old who rode by me on his bike several times while I waited for John to finish his shower. On his second trip past me, Jack proudly announced that he had been given permission to ride around the campground on his own. I celebrate those of us with the courage to meet strangers. I depend on them regularly! read more