Oregon Coast Trail: Underway

Favorite Tide Table book on the northern coast.

We slept in the van, across the parking lot from the trash compactor!

Classic landmark of Fort Stevens State Park is the wreck of the Peter Iredale

One of our first Oregon Coast Trail posts

South Jetty of the Columbia River, northern terminus of the Oregon Coast Trail

Our journey starts by walking north on the beach in Fort Stevens State Park

August 14, 2019

Our first three miles of the Oregon Coast Trail is a shakedown for the rest of the trip.

The Fort Stevens State Park staff who registered us for the Hiker Biker Site said we could park our van there for the extent of our trip! They are really supporting us as hikers, including providing a secure parking space for the whole month we’ll be on the trail! As we wandered around the back lot behind the employee area where we understood we could park, a smiling park staff said, “Can I help you?” She excitedly pointed us to the correct spot, delighted to have Oregon Coast Trail hikers. She also answered our query about where to get a tide table, a necessity for hiking the coast, with directions to Bornstein’s Fish Market, “the place with the best tide table – and good food too!”

We found it, checked out our campsite, shopped for afternoon snacks at Fred Meyer in Warrenton, then packed our packs. From the van, I joined a group mastermind call with my mentor, Connie Ragen Green, then we drove back to the campground. About 2 p.m. we started walking.

The northern terminus is 3 miles north of the campground, so we headed that direction. The flat beach walking went quickly, and we reached the South Jetty about 4 p.m.

“Look!” John said. “Elk!” They were on the beach, just where we had climbed the dunes to walk to the jetty! They stayed for just a minute, then dashed back up the dune. Perhaps this is a good totem for our walk, a symbolic beginning for our month-long walk!

At 4:30, we started south, our official hiking direction! We took an alternate route back to the campground, however, lured by the mystique of walking on the dunes. 2 miles of sharp grass later, we now know that we prefer a beach walk.

7 p.m. saw us back at the campsite for our last night sleeping in the “Old Gold Van”, my grandson’s name for the faded Honda Odyssey that serves as our transportation and rv. Simple as it is, it feels like home.

One amusing feature of our spot was its proximity to the campground trash compactor! We were happy that campers did stop visiting it after dark, so we didn’t have to hear the whirring, crunching machine through the night!

Morning brought time for an oatmeal breakfast and a last check of our gear. I decided to carry both my new sandals and my trail runners, not sure if one choice can accommodate the varied terrain we’ll encounter on this walk. I’ll keep you posted on that!

Our walk away from the campsite and van parking was slowed by making new friends -one of the best features of hiking. At the campground, four cyclists from around the world chatted. The couple from Australia said, “Please come stay with us in Perth! People here have been such fabulous support! We want to return the favor!” At the Park employee area, we chatted with the folks there, verifying our parking spot and getting a friendly sendoff and requests for my blog address. Well, if you’re reading this, you’ve got it! I’ll post when I can, with both good connectivity and a clear brain for writing. Walking days are usually so full of sensory and emotional experiences as well as physical expenditure that I’m ready to rest and sort things out at the end of the day! Thanks for reading! I’ll do my best to keep you apprised of my outer and inner journeys!!

Journey to the Oregon Coast Starts Today!

August 10, 2019

We’re headed to Oregon!

Today, John and I will wrap things up in Ohio and begin our cross-country drive to Oregon. John has been researching the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT), learning that it’s quite different from the Eastern US trails we’ve walked!

  • It’s relatively level
  • It goes through or near towns frequently
  • Many state parks along the way have sites for hikers
  • It frequently follows a road
  • It’s along the coast, which means beach walking!

We still have to choose our gear. We’ll probably take the free-standing tent rather than my all-time favorite tarp because it will set up more easily on the beach. We’re also discussing whether or not to take a stove. It could be difficult to find canister fuel, although the tiny stove itself is lightweight and easy to carry, so we might just have it in reserve. We’re counting on having lots of wind, so will be sure to have our windshirts or rainjackets. I’ll keep you posted on our other gear choices!

One gear item I’m sure to take along is the Waist Pouch I wear every day! It contains my phone, credit cards, tiny art supplies, toothbrush, pocket knife and a fairly long list of essential items that I want safely at hand!

I’m hopeful that connectivity will be good, so I’m dreaming up all kinds of ways to connect with you while we journey down the coast! Stay tuned! We might just be able to be together virtually to:

Stay tuned for updates from the road – and the beach!

 

In joy,

Regina

 

 

Thruhiker Celebrity?

“Thruhikers are celebrities!” I read that in a women’s hiking group and chuckled. I don’t feel special! I walked the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia within a year’s time, so I am a thruhiker.

As a thruhiker, how I know about myself is that I fulfilled my dream of being able to say, “I walked the AT”. I feel true to myself, that I listened to my heart and did what it took to walk one day at a time – and keep walking! So, if doing that makes me a celebrity, great. More than fame, however, what I want to do is entice others to create their own walks wherever they are, on the Appalachian Trail or in the neighborhood park! I want to help you discern what your equivalent of the Appalachian Trail is and step into fulfilling that dream!

I also had the good fortune to work as a ridgerunner, a Leave-No-Trace educator encouraging stewardship on the trail, for seven seasons so I talked with hundreds of hikers on their thruhikes. I got some really good ideas about what character and strategies support hikers who eventually complete the trail. Sadly, I met many, many hikers who thought they wanted to thruhike the Appalachian Trail, but found out that wasn’t what made their heart sing! I was sad that their true dream wasn’t apparent.  Hiking the AT really isn’t for everyone, but everyone does have something that makes their heart sing!  I want to help people do that! There are many ways to have a fulfilling walk of any length – a few miles to thousands! They all have similar qualities, which start with one’s reason for choosing to walk a trail, or sail a boat, or paint a picture, write a book, sew a garment, whatever is true to you!

Studying my own story and listening to thousands of AT hikers, helped me discern five essential aspects of a long-distance walk to consider in planning and fulfilling a walk.

  • Know your trail
  • Consider your timing
  • Get support
  • Love your gear
  • Methodically transform challenges

My report, Five Essentials to Creating a Radiantly Fulfilling Walk of Any Length elaborates on all five. If you read it you’ll get a good feeling for getting started on your own walk – or dream!

Get your complementary copy here!

https://forgivenesswalks.com/RadiantWalk5

You could be a celebrity too!

Deepening Practices

June 9,

In everything I do, I strive for deepening my sensory and spiritual experience. I’m pretty sure you do too!

I’ve picked up on some techniques from John Muir Laws (his real name!) through his Laws Guide to Nature Journaling. Two years ago, I launched a program at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center to provide a platform to practice what I’m learning.

Notice and Wonder is now a frequent listing in the Park’s Interpretive Schedule. In it, I offer five simple techniques to

  • observe more closely,
  • remember what we see, and
  • stimulate questions for further consideration.

Visitors love the deepening experience! And, I get to enjoy a couple hours of pure delight doing it, fulfilling my mission of enticing people to come outside and invigorate our hearts and minds, deepening our connection with nature and ourselves.

One of my challenges with Nature Journaling is having supplies on hand when I’m out. Cumbersome notebooks and pencils get left behind! As a backpacker, all of my gear has to be lightweight! I’m happy to report that on this week’s trip to Big Sur I had something that worked! A tiny bag with tiny pencils and a stack of tiny papers to draw and paint on. Oh, and one fine ink pen!

The tiny papers limited my focus to a small part of the expansive landscape to focus my attention. John Muir Laws calls this a landscapito.

I’m so impressed with myself for doing ten landscapitos on the trip! Here are two favs:

Mill Creek Picnic Area: what we thought we’re otters was Kelp!

Black Rock jutting out of the surf.

These tiny watercolors are valuable, not for what they are, but for what they do for me: deepen my observation, strengthen my body memory of my nature experience, and stimulate questions to consider!

What practices for deepening do you have? If there’s one you teach & want to share, by all means tell me about it!

If there’s a practice you wish you were doing more, tell me that too! We can support each other in doing it!

And, here’s another question! If I offered a virtual week of sharing Nature Journaling techniques with supplies included, coaching and support, would you consider it? Reply to this email and say yes or no!

To your deepening!

In joy,

Regina

https://johnmuirlaws.com

 

 

 

 

 

Raingear Success

July 28, 2017

Rain pelted down outside Thomas Knob Shelter, high on the ridge near Mt. Rogers, VA.  Redhat, my companion for the week, and I sat happy and dry in the shelter at one o’clock in the afternoon!

That’s pretty early in the day to settle in camp, but the continuing rain, predicted to persist until 11 p.m., made the dry shelter quite attractive!

We stayed. Redhat had changed into her dry clothes. Long johns and a shirt, plus a “puffy jacket” comprised her carefully stashed dry wardrobe. She also had a pair of dry socks. Everything she had worn for our five-mile walk in the rain was wet. She hung it out on various nails and hooks around the shelter, reveling in our luxury of space being the only ones there.

“It’s all wet” she lamented. “This rain jacket did no good! I’m soaked through!”

I, by contrast, simply pulled off my wet socks. Everything else was dry or just damp. I hung up my damp shirt, and pulled on my one warm layer, a thermal shirt plus a fleece hat. Even in summer, covering my head with a warm hat is crucial for retaining body heat.  Although I was disappointed in NOT having a second layer of insulation, like the lightweight wool sweater I often pack, I was warm enough. My choice to leave behind my extra socks proved to be a discomfort as well, but again, I was in no danger. My rain gear had worked!

Through the afternoon, ten other hikers arrived in pairs, peeling off wet shirts, jackets, shorts, and socks. None had stayed dry in the rain, I noticed. What had I done differently that provided me a basically dry rain walk?

Here’s what had worked for me that day. Now, I’m not smuggly saying that I would never have an issue with getting wet, just that my rain gear worked in today’s conditions!

The gear I had chosen for today’s rain were basically two items: a cheap umbrella and a silnylon rain skirt. The umbrella kept my top ventilated and mostly dry. The rain skirt covered my shorts and kept them dry. If the wind had picked up, the umbrella would have been useless, so I was lucky there.

I did have  both a rain jacket and a poncho packed along, but was able to keep them in reserve for those possible windy conditions. Not wearing the rain jacket allowed my torso to dissipate the sweat that can get trapped by a rain jacket – even a breathable one. Since my rain jacket stayed dry, I had it available to provide warmth in lieu of that missing sweater.

I will consider bringing along those extra items next time. It’s a tough choice for summer hiking, when I can most easily pack light, but this experience nudges me to pack for extremes like this. I’ll check the forecast for my next 5-day walk and consider packing the extra socks, sweater, leggings, and maybe, just maybe, my 8oz “puffy jacket.” 

This time I had rain gear success -with no margin for extremes!

Connection


Grayson Highlands,VA

July 25, 2017

Is “connection” something that comes to us or something we choose to acknowledge? When the woman walking with me this week said, “I know I’m connected to God, but I just don’t feel it!  Maybe when I feel that connection, I’ll feel more confident out here.”

As I walked th.IMG_20170721_123315rough the magnificent forest, then out into an open field, I pondered her quandary. “What if we are connected, no matter what, and at any moment we can say, ‘this is what being connected feels like at this moment?'” I wondered out loud. I invited her to walk for the next twenty minutes reflecting on the notion that being connected is constant and foundational.  Simply noticing how that feels is the feeling of connection at that moment. I believe that we can choose to ignore, deny, or deepen that connection whenever we want.

Having said that, I realized that there are many specific connections I can feel while walking the trail. There’s connection to the Earth and the support of the ground. There’s connection to the air, with it’s wind, weather, heat and cold. There’s connection to plants, reflecting on the various qualities of growth that resonate with my emotional, spiritual, and physical growth and metabolism. There’s connection with other people, how our journeys cross, coincide, compare, contrast, or not. The list could be quite long, and a long walk allows for leisurely reflection on the idea of connection.

This quandary was one of many that Diana brought to me as we walked our 26 miles together. Here are a few others:

Pacing, I realized, while coaching her with my Meet the Mountains Technique to easily ascend each mountain, is not only a helpful skill and practice, it’s essential for a joyful walk of a long trail.  Discovering our own body’s rhythm of breathing and stepping that supports us to walk up any slope tirelessly, I’m convinced is the foremost skill to master before considering walking any appreciable distance on the Appalachian Trail.

Unless one has an acceptance and ease with climbing, and descending, mountains, a walk of the AT would be grueling every day!  By contrast, developing from within a physical rhythm, just like perfect timing in an engine, that we can sustain throughout the day regardless of the terrain, makes going up mountains, walking on level ground, or descending mountains a joy. If we’re not struggling for breath, burdened by a heavy pack, or straining our muscles every time the trail ascends, we can pay attention to our surroundings!

Gear. Diana also helped me appreciate the value of scrutinizing every single piece of gear, choosing the smallest, lightest, and fewest versions of items I carry with me!  I know that I started where she was when she came with me this week, following the advice of an outfitter salesperson and investing the smallest amount of cash possible.  I remember my first backpack trip when I thought I needed a roll of masking tape. I have no idea why. I just remember being glad that we had mistakenly taken a longer way to our first campsite, happily discovering that we were close enough to our car to dump a bunch of unnecessary items, including the tape, the next morning!

That’s why I was glad that I had planned her first night out to be a single one, with a night off the trail before we went out for another night.  That gave her the chance to reevaluate choices, leave a few things behind and find smaller bottles for toiletries. She helped me remember that it took me many short trips to pare down, try different things, replace heavy things with lighter ones, and sew some of my own gear to settle on the reliable and repeatable pack of gear that I now carry, fifteen years and 10,000+ miles later.  I still don’t know that I would have invested early on in the best quality, lightest weight gear that I carry now!  It makes a big difference in my enjoyment, though!

Thanks, Diana, for walking with  me to remind me of what it’s like to be a new hiker. I was there once, too!  Keep walking, and learning, and adjusting! Stay aware of connections – and come back again soon!

In joy,

Regina

 

 

 

 

Intown Ingenuity

September 12, 2106

I bought a backpack in Waterbury. It’s very cool, emblazoned with “I ♡ 1 Direction” and a photo of the boyband. “Whaaat?” you say!

Actually, it’s perfect…….because…

It has a zipper! My pouch needs a new zipper, and this backpack has a good one. I can cut it out and use it. And it only cost one dollar at the Bargain Boutique in Waterbury.

With my tiny swiss army knife scissors, stashed needle, and multi-purpose dental floss, I can switch out the failing zipper in my pouch.

Well, sorry boys, you are  not coming along, but glad you had a zipper I could use.

I ♡ 1 Direction

Town Food

June 12, 2016
I can’t eat what most hikers eat! Here’s what we bought at Food Lion in Front Royal to rejuvenate and celebrate completing our first hundred miles of this trip.

First, we did step one of our three step Don’t- Buy-Too-Much-In-Town plan: go in and buy something to eat right now and leave the store. We bought and devoured:

A banana
Two peaches
Four apricots
Two apples
23 oz. Coconut water

Then, we took step two: go in and look and talk about what to buy (actually, we skipped this step this time, and went right to step three: buy food for the town stop).

Frozen Cod
Kale
Apples
Mushroom antipasto
Carrots
Little red potatoes
Rosemary infused olive oil
Cucumbers
Frozen corn
Another 23 oz. Coconut water

We packed it all over  to the Quality Inn and got a room. Our plan was to cook the fish and potatoes in the microwave, not my specialty! It came out rubbery and melted our rehydrating bowl!

Please send ideas for preparing fish in a hotel room!

The antipasto was delightful! Oh, and the corn tasted sweet and filling, like a desert!

We had some leftovers to pack out, which worked just fine and

image

gave a special treat on the trail: carrots, one cuke, three apples, kale. We also stopped at Food Lion again and bought a small tub of hummus, giving us a new rehydrating container.

Little Things

June 11, 2016
I have a list of small mishaps that we’ve been able to deal with and keep going. HeartSinging walking reflects how gracefully I can dance with the little things.

**Broken watchband. My cheap fake leather watchband  snapped.  Irritating! The good thing was that I noticed that it had fallen off. I threw away the band and stuck the watchface in my waist pouch where I can still get at it easily. Keep moving!

**Melted food bowl. Drat! My favorite lidded Glad bowl where I rehydrate my food on the trail was NOT microwave safe for repeated uses! I like this solution! We made an extra stop at Food Lion on our way out of Front Royal and bought  small bowl of hummus. The container fits perfectly inside our cooking pot, and the hummus was a fine extra snack for the afternoon. We might even switch to PLANNING it this way, getting hummus to pack out and a new bowl! Keep moving!

**Minor shoe breakdown. John’s shoe lining, a little foam piece around his heel, was bunching up and rubbing a hotspot on his heel. It’s too soon to get new shoes! He used my tiny Swiss Army knife scissors and successfully cut out the irritating fabric. Keep moving!

**Hot shirt. The air temperature rose today, into the 90’s. Whew! My long-sleeved shirt was too hot! John let me wear his spare shirt, a woven fabric button shirt with short sleeves. Better! Keep moving!

**Crowded camp. And the irritation that is just barely a “small” one occurred this evening as we were wrapping up our walk for the day. We knew the terrain and vegetation in this section would make finding dispersed camping difficult (that’s when we find a flat spot in the woods where no one else has camped before). We aimed for a shelter for tonight, planning to tent nearby. Surprise! When we reached the shelter turnoff at 6:30 p.m. there were people and tents everywhere! A Boy Scout troop of probably 25 people had taken over every tent spot AND the shelter! Grrr! We filled our water containers at the spring – and KEPT MOVING! That was the way to solve this dilemma. Keep moving! About ten minutes north of the shelter, we found a flat, rockfree spot without much poison ivy. Not bad! Ahhh! We can stop moving for the night!

Little things come up often on a long walk. But, with patience and ingenuity, they can be resolved, and we can keep moving!

In joy,
Regina

Frustrated to Confident

image

June 1, 2016
Today was a transition day from feeling frustrated with the technical challenge of setting up an RSS feed of my blog to my subscribers and Facebook page to feeling confident that it can actually work!  Thanks for reading!
The second accomplishment of the day was to pack our backpacks! I’m happy to say that my pack, with a liter of water and 4 days of food weighs  in at 20 -22 lbs.

Now, before you gape with too much amazement, I will remind you that one of the favorite qualities of my heartsinging walk is that I have a hiking partner who shares gear with me! That means that I don’t have to carry everything I use!!

I’ll try for a gear list:
Pack – Gregory Jade 60 with no “brain”
Sleeping bag – Western Mtneering 30 degree down bag
Thermarest prolite 3
Silnylon poncho/groundcloth
2 qt pot w lid
1 pint lidded bowl
Platypus water bladder (no hose)
1-liter Smartwater bottle
Rainjacket
Thermal shirt
Leightweight polyester Long pants
Extra socks (mitts)
Powershield jacket (insulation/rain)
Fleece hat
Sun hat
Trekking poles
30 ft cord for bearbag hanging

Waistpouch
Phone + 5 extra batteries + charger
Pocket knife (7-tool swiss army with the plastic cover missing)
3 colored pencils, 2 pens
2 small pcs watercolor paper
Small paintbrush
Toothbrush
Dental floss
15 ml peppermint oil
Credit cards, i.d., thumbdrive
Small notebook

John is carrying the shared tarp and net, sleeping bag coupler, canister stove, fuel canister.

I love my gear!

In joy,
Regina