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!!