Quick Answers

Over my 20 years of walking long distance trails, I’ve noticed that practically all of my questions can be addressed with five essential considerations. I have started calling them my Five Essentials for Creating a Radiantly Fulfilling Walk of  Any Length.

The five essentials are:

  • Know your Trail
  • Consider your Timing
  • Love your Gear
  • Magnetize your Trail Angel Network
  • Nourish your Inner Journey with Practiced Tools for Shifting Energy, Beliefs, and Challenges

Bonus Essential: Know your Why!

I’ve elaborated on them in my report, which you can read here:

Five Essentials for a Radiantly Fulfilling Walk


My view of creating a walk is that the trail is a blank canvas on which we get to paint our own version of fulfillment. I’m a fan of distinguishing between accomplishing your walk and fulfilling your walk. When I create a journey, I always focus on creating a journey that makes my heart sing, that supports an inner transformation, and that provides me opportunities to be aware of how I have met my challenges and grown as a person. For me, I can literally use each step as a moment for personal growth, which is what I’m all about! The trail, and my physical accomplishment of its miles, is the venue, the medium, the stage upon which my inner journey unfolds.

With the Five Essentials as quick answers, here are starting points for answering some questions about hiking the Appalachian Trail. See if these are helpful for fulfilling your own inner journey! I’m happy to explore them in depth with you as a client of Forgiveness Walks!


What types of gear do I really need to purchase first?

  • Know your trail
  • Know your why, so you can design your trip to fulfill it.
  • Consider timing
  • Love your gear


How can I keep myself safe on the trail? Especially being a triple minority (black, queer, woman)?

  • Have practiced tools for shifting energy, beliefs, and challenges
  • Magnetize your Trail Angel Network

I have 2 mental disorders how to prépare for life on thé trail living with severe depression and anxiety?

  • Know your trail
  • Have practiced tools for shifting energy, beliefs, and challenges
  • Magnetize your Trail Angel network

When is the actual best time to start? As I know you’re never truly alone.

  • Know your trail
  • Know your why
  • Consider your timing
  • Magnetize your Trail Angel Network

The dark scares me. What methods did you use to adjust to nights on thé AT?

Have practiced tools for shifting energy, beliefs, and challenges

Hiking though streams and rivers. Wow how do you prépare?

  • Know your trail
  • Love your Gear
  • Magnetize your Trail Angel Network
  • Have practiced tools for shifting energy, beliefs, and challenges

How safe is it to hitchhike as a woman, especially in thé South?

  • Have practiced tools for shifting energy, beliefs, and challenges
  • Magnetize your Trail Angel Network

What if you have a pet? I don’t want to bring my dog

  • Magnetize your Trail Angel Network
  • Know your Trail

It may sound like I’m avoiding giving you specific answers, which may be true from one point of view. What I’ve discovered about trails is that each of us has our own answers to discover and the most reliable answers are the ones we generate ourselves. There’s no one way to fulfill a walk, and my answers for my own walk aren’t necessarily the answers for your best walk. Discovering yours are a delightful journey!

Some resources to get started:

AWOL Guide to the Appalachian Trail

Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping

Preparing for an AT walk is part of the journey! Enjoy each step!


May, a Month of Maybe?

May 1, 2020

This morning I dashed out the door at 5:45 a.m. to fulfill my goal of doing a livestream video at sunrise. I’ve been creating a few of these programs each week with other park interpreters at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park where I’m in my sixth season as Park Interpretive Specialist. Today, our park phone will be turned over to the interpreters in our district mountain parks, Cuyamaca Rancho and Palomar State Parks. Our main season here in the desert is ending while theirs is just beginning! It was like that when the Kumeyaay Indians lived here too! They would live in the desert during the winter, then migrate to the cool mountains for the summer!

Sunrise has been a favorite inner journey scene for me! In the fall of 2018, I watched the sunrise show for 78 consecutive mornings! I wrote reflections and did color studies, noticing that each sunrise really is unique, with so many variations of color, clouds, animal visitors. I enjoyed witnessing the movement of the point of sunrise as well. I know that has a scientific name, which I’ll have to look up!

This time, I noticed a play on the word “May”. With the worldwide COVID-19 challenge enveloping us all, I can see a metaphorical opportunity to consider saying May could be a month of “maybe”. Here are some of mine:

  • Maybe I could share courageously
  • Maybe I could watch the sunrise every morning this month
  • Maybe I could even clear my personal phone to do daily livestreams for my community
  • Maybe I could stay present and generous in my job
  • Maybe I could foster healing conversations on a personal and international scope

I naturally go ahead and use “I could” statements, knowing that I can’t speak for anyone but myself! It would be convenient to say “Maybe they could” and that would be an ineffective wish, in my view!

I know that I create my own obstacles, and thanks to the tools of Radical Forgiveness, I have help to clear them, if I will just use those tools!  One of my favorites is the Thirteen Steps to Radical Forgiveness, which is built on a verbal process of thirteen statements which invite  me to say “yes” to a higher vibration view than I am currently playing in.

That could be a great pairing with sunrise viewing!


Call for an Inner Journey

November 16, 2019

I read this in a women’s hiking blog.

“Can I just rant for a moment?I’ve posted before about having to come off SOBO due to my knee this year. Also mentioned I had surgery in Sept for it. They did a couple things and I was excited that I’d get another go at it next June.Well.. nearly 2.5 months later, the original pain I was having is gone, but now I’m having more pain, just in different spots. When I stand straight I get a sharp pain at the bottom of my knee. Feels like bone on bone. Best way to describe it. Then also when I go from having a straight leg to bend it.. it gets stuck, a lot and it hurts.Saw the ortho again this morning and they gave me a steroid shot. From the sounds of it, the effects are supposed to be pretty immediate. Not for me! Still having pain and just before I decided to make this post, my knee got stuck and hurt so bad trying to unlock it.

Gaaaahhhh!!! I’m leaving June 1st next year regardless of this problem. I will hike until I’m in tears. I don’t care. Ok. End of rant. I’m just so upset.

Hiking is a huge passion of mine. Without it, I’m empty. The longer I’m out there, the happier I am. A thru hike has been a dream of mine for a while. I thought I could give it up and just section hike (only to realize my knee gave me problems then too) but I couldn’t. I felt so depressed giving up on a dream of mine.”

This piece speaks loudly and clearly to me of a call to pursue an Inner Journey! What I see is a genuine reason to feel sad, disappointed, betrayed, and downright defeated!!! No doubt about that! I support her in ranting, feeling those feelings and getting that story witnessed and validated. Telling the story and feeling the feelings are a crucial beginning to any transformational journey.

Get out the rant!

And then…step along into an Inner Journey. How?

By being open that there may be a path to fulfillment that could be different in a physical sense to the one she originally planned. I’d love to guide her in a Walk for a Singing Heart! She’s already taken the first steps in telling her story and feeling her feelings.

The next step is to be open to the idea that there’s a healing message contained in the situation. Just the tiniest bit of willingness to be open to this idea, even if the contents of that message are not known at this time. I’d ask her, “Are you willing to be open to the idea that your soul created this situation for you to heal and grow?”  Hopefully, she says, “Yes!”

And that, my friend, is the beginning of what could be a surprising and wonderful journey. What if?

  • Her logistics on the trail could be different?
  • She loved her body just as it is and embraced rehabilitation eagerly?
  • She became an expert in knee issues and helped others?
  • She looked at the trail as a blank canvas with no particular required way to be on it?

These are just four “reframes” of what seems like an intractable situation. There are many more that could be her own best fulfillment. Her radiantly fulfilling journey calls!

Blessings on all of our Inner Journeys



Identity Explored

October 23, 2019

I wrote this in response to a post by Kelly Joy Simmons as she explored and explained her identity.

Thanks for inviting me to look at my own relationship with identity. Mine has been a sort of opposite from yours, Kelly. 40 years ago, I quit my budding career enticing people to connect with Nature at an outdoor education center to be married. My husband “had a better job” I told everyone, “so we’ll live where he works.” For 35 years I was constantly creating my identity while I lavished my three sons with my presence in their lives. I loved being their mom, and learned to take a stand for my value as a mom, a house remodeler, teacher, budget keeper, and even a Nature interpreter sometimes! I had plenty of opportunities to claim my identity, my value, when responding to the usual reactions to my “Mom at home” introduction of “Oh, so you’re not working!”

For me, getting to have the job title Park Interpretive Specialist at the age of 60 and starting my first full-time position at a visitor center,  has been a delightful claim to an identity I honor!  I’m doing the “real job”  I set out to do at 25.  Getting here has been a journey of discovering and claiming my value as a woman without a job title. Instead, I defined something more useful – my life’s purpose. That, I realize, has been a consistent thread in everything I have done! It turns out that my first job title as Teacher-Naturalist in my latent career represents my life purpose quite well. My purpose has always been the same:

 to entice others to come outside
where they can connect with Nature,
rediscovering their joyful humanity
and experiencing their vibrant fullness
between Earth and Heaven. 

As I reflect on this now, I see that my journey of identity has been a blessing rather than a failure to have a real job or a late blooming or any of the other perceptions of unworthiness I have entertained in the past. My life’s journey has been exactly what my soul needed for me to claim my identity and love myself and my life just as I am and it is.

I’m grateful to the many teachers along the way who have given me tools to grapple with my identity and purpose. I now see that I have always had my purpose and when I am expressing that I am joyful and prosperous, no matter what my title is.

And that’s how I can now expand on that purpose by teaching others what I learned about how to create your own fulfilling life. I invite you to walk with me a bit, either in person or virtually, and assemble your personalized toolbox of ways to do any or all of the following:

Love yourself and your life just as it is
Use your Feelings as gateways to self-acceptance
Discover your purpose
Transform Fears into Action
Turn your Troubles into Blessings
Walk in Nature to evoke and support your Joyful Prosperity

When you work with me I listen to your story, then guide you in a step-by-step personalized journey to fulfill your purpose. I’ll entice you to

 come outside
where you can connect with Nature,
rediscovering your joyful humanity
and experiencing your vibrant fullness
between Earth and Heaven.

Get started right now by sending me an email at regina@forgivenesswalks.com with a simple message saying that you resonate with my message and you want to explore your radiant fulfillment. Together, we’ll create the best way to do that!  I have courses, playlists, books, group and private mentoring. I can even be your personal guide on the Appalachian Trail!

You deserve a radiantly fulfilling life!

Begin a journey today!  Send your email right now!



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!

Here’s the link for Oregon Coast Trail Beach Walking Discovery! As always, I would love to hear your responses! So, hit reply when you’re finished reading and comment or send me a quick email at regina@forgivenesswalks.com or even better a long email that shares what’s going on with you on your journey!  I walk in service!


In joy,


P.S. I you’re the proof reading and editing type, let me know! I can share an editable copy with you!


Oregon Coast Trail: Finale

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!

This log straddles the state line!

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

At Crissey Field, we walked north from the Visitor Center, which was closed, across a wide strip of driftwood, then out to the beach. We walked north for a hundred yards or so, then turned south for the final quarter mile of the Oregon Coast Trail.

As close as it gets to a finish marker!

We were both captivated by the colorful, smooth pebbles, pocketing a few of our favorites as souvenirs.

So many colors!

We snapped some photos, then turned east into the dune, taking the trail back to the park road and to our car. Done!

Celebrating our journey’s completion

That’s the Outer Journey complete. I’ll be discovering and delving into my Inner Journey for some time and let you know what I find out! To me, as you know, that’s the important stuff!Thanks again for reading along! Stay tuned!

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.

On September 7, we walked out of this motel just at 11:00 a.m. and made a second stop at the Food Co-op where we bought delectables for the next few days – dried mangos and pears especially! We walked another half mile to Ray’s Food Place to wait for the Coastal Express bus for an hour ride south to Gold Beach, arriving at another Ray’s in Gold Beach a little after 2 p.m.

It was just a short walk down 5th Place and past the local airstrip to the beach. Soon, we caught sight of Cape Sebastian where we would leave the beach. I made sure to let my family, and grandson Sebastian, know we’d be hiking there! Clouds hovered over its distant peak, suggesting a lurking dragon, a suitable intrigue for a three-year-old.

There’s a dragon up there for sure!

We reached the base of Cape Sebastian in under three hours, after walking Gold Beach, suitably named for its treasures of tiny agates mixed in with the array of smoothed pebbles. Finding the post marking the trail up the cape presented another treasure hunt. I had pulled out my binoculars to find it almost hidden in the grass.

A beautiful, well-graded trail wound up Cape Sebastian through ancient spruce trees dripping with Spanish moss. Whimsical, handmade signs pointed our way.

Whimsical signs point the way

Just on cue at 1.7 miles we found the “good spot for a bivouac” noted in Bonnie Henderson’s Day Hiking Oregon Coast. It was only 6 p.m. but we didn’t think we’d find a better campsite, so we stopped! The site also included a view with a bench. Watching the setting sun reflecting on the ocean, I reveled in sketching and painting my view of Cape Sebastian. The ground, softened by a spruce needle cushion provided a luxurious resting spot for the night.

Cape Sebastian

Sunday, September 8th offered walks through three habitats. First, we completed the 5-mile traverse of Cape Sebastian, through the majestic spruce-hemlock forest, along the cliffs of convoluted rocks at the base of the cape, then down an eroded ramp, scaled with a rope, to regain the beach. All my senses were nourished, from the carpeted texture of the path, the scents of spruce, the vibrant colors of shrubs, mushrooms, and even the beautiful and threatening poison oak, to the sonorous quiet with muffled surf in the background.

Poison Oak flashes its red color

Next, we did some roadwalking to cross the wide Pistol River on a bridge, then re-entered the forest for our third habitat of the day. A beautiful and thoughtfully preserved stretch of coast called the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor welcomed us hikers with a good 16 miles of trail that followed the ins and outs of the coastline, up and down from road to beach and from road to bluff’s edge.

One spectacular section of the Samuel Boardman Scenic Corridor was Indian Sands, a dune atop the bluff

We knew we would be camping along the trail that night, even though no official camping is available. We had started looking for a flat spot. The steep, thickly vegetated forest offered none.

Just before dusk, we reached a feature called “Secret Beach”. We had read that it might be a place to camp. Two things negated that for us. First, there was the tide. I didn’t think I would sleep well on the narrow beach listening to the surf, worrying that it would inundate my tent! Secondly, we realized this beach was not secret at all! There was a well-used trail leading away to the road! The first people we had met on the trail all day were here! It was a wedding party taking pictures! The bride was deftly clambering up the bank, gathering folds of her white dress around her arm.

We hiked on, back up the bluff. Our willingness to move on was rewarded with the discovery of a cleared viewpoint, just big enough for our tiny tent, within twenty minutes south. We had a scenic view directly above Secret Beach that was safely distant from the surf. We slept well, even as the first drops of rain started falling during the night.

Just enough clearing for our tiny tent!

On Monday, September 9th we walked through the forest of the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor during our first full day of rain. This would also be our last day of trail walking! In short, it was a fulfilling day of beauty, with rain adding a particular touch of refreshment.

Late in the afternoon, we left the forest, learning on a plaque that Samuel Boardman was the founder of the Oregon State Parks system. What a fitting honor that this wondrous corridor had been dedicated to him on the eve of his retirement from the Parks!

A short road walk led us to Brookings, connecting to a welcome bike path for our last mile to our day’s end at Harris Beach State Park. We easily found the registration kiosk where we paid to stay at the Hiker-Biker site, grateful that the Oregon State Parks provide special sites for campers without cars.

In the morning on September 10th, John made a few calls to locate a nearby car rental place. We had just one more leg to walk to reach the California state line, the official southern terminus of the Oregon Coast Trail. What he came up with was the plan to continue walking 2 miles south into downtown Brookings, catch the northbound bus 100 miles to Coos Bay, rent a car there, drive north to Fort Stevens to retrieve the “Old Gold Van”, drive back to Coos Bay to return the rental car, then drive back south to walk that last bit of the trail. Got it?

Well, that’s what we did! By 3 p.m. on Tuesday, we had taken our hundred-mile bus ride, watching ten days’ walk melt before our eyes and rented a 2019 Chrysler Pacifica van. By 8 p.m. we had retraced another two weeks’ walk and checked into the same campsite where we had slept on our very first night at Fort Stevens, completing two traverses of the trail in 28 days – and 7 hours!

Next morning, on September 11, with somber reverence for the day, we drove around the corner to the protected lot where the Old Gold Van had been parked for a month. We knew we’d have to jump start the battery. Opening the hood revealed that a month had given a couple of mice ample time to get comfortable there. They wouldn’t leave!

In an hour, we were headed south, driving separate vans, John in the mouse van. The next two days were focused on our third traverse of the Oregon Coast Trail! This time, we stopped at certain spots we had missed on foot:
*The Tillamook Creamery
*Back road to Netarts, Sand Lake, and Pacific Beach
*The hike on the Harts Cove Trail on Cascade Head
*Elk Viewing Area in Reedsport
*Seven Devils Beach
*Bullards Beach and the Coquille River Lighthouse

Midway through the day, just before the side trip to Seven Devils Beach, we stopped in Coos Bay to shop for food, fulfill John’s official interview call for his seasonal job at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and return the rental car. No mouse sightings had occurred. Maybe John’s laying of dryer sheets throughout the van had driven them out. Maybe they were now moved into Wax Myrtle Campground where we had stayed the night before.

What impressed me with this part of the journey was how quickly we had covered the trail by car, yet how shallowly we had experienced the true nature of the coast this way! The road rarely gave us views of the beach where we had so deeply connected to the surf, the sand, the rocks, the sky during our walk. By car, each of the stores, trailheads, and road stretches that had been such vital landmarks for us while walking, were insignificant blips along the road!

After a short visit to the Coquille River lighthouse, which we had glimpsed from Bandon Beach on Day 12 of our walk, we hopped into the Old Gold Van together and drove to Port Orford, destined for a second stay at Sea Crest Motel and watching the Democratic Debate. Twelve days of walking evaporated in forty minutes of driving, my mind quickly reviewing the rich details we had relished by walking!

Which brings me to the present day of September 13, a lucky Friday for me, being one of those people lucky to have the 13th as a birthday. We were lucky to get to stay in a hotel with an ocean view and to have that be one night before the full moon! At 4 in the morning today I watched the moonlight shining on the ocean. At 6 a.m. we watched the full orange moon set into the western ocean horizon. Time rolls continuously, like the surf, but I’ll end this post here! Stay tuned for our next, and final episode of our Oregon Coast Trail saga – touching the California State Line at Crissey Field State Recreation Site.

Thanks for reading!

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!

On the 4th, we awoke at Sunset Bay State Park to the calls of ravens. Although the camphost had said there were crows, the guttural croaks, in contrast to the crow’s high-pitched and definite “caw”, tells me they were ravens. This explains why they might pilfer campers’ food from their tables, as the camphost had warned the night before. Ravens are relentless scavengers of convenience! Our food, however, was safely untouched by raven beak.

We were out by 8 a.m. headed to a path through the forest out of the park. It climbed steeply to a ridge because we were leaving the beach -headed north! We had to get back to Charleston to position ourselves for our next southbound beach walk. From Charleston, we took our third ride with Yellow Cab back to the North Bend Safeway. That’s the stop for the Curry County Transit Coastal Express, which whizzed us 27 miles down US 101, over a highway bridge with no space for pedestrians, to the Ray’s Food Place in Bandon. We shopped, first for something to eat immediately, then for food tforo pack out for the next two days. I wanted soup to eat, but they didn’t serve it in their hot bar. John asked the deli clerk about soup. She kindly offered to heat up whatever packaged soup we bought from the store! We bought a box of sweet potato curry, a deli sandwich, and a couple of hard-boiled eggs for a warming meal in their snack area. I sought out the manager to thank his staff for that personalized service!

From Ray’s we walked through historic Bandon for a mile or so, then clambered over some big rocks to the beach. Our goal was to cross the mouth of the New River at low tide, which was at 11:30 p.m. Huge rock stacks loomed near the beach and we wove our way around and between them over low dunes swept by wind and sand. The fine brown sand we had grown accustomed to walking on had turned to coarse, black sand that gave way with each step.

Coarse black sand on Bandon Beach











We kept walking. Into sunset, past sunset, into darkness. Without our headlamps on, the waxing crescent moon was the only light – besides the Cape Blanco lighthouse, that is. It flashed dimly, some 20 miles away. Soon, even the moonlight was hidden behind clouds, leaving the whitecapped surf as the only contrast with the dark beach. I kept my sluggish pace going with determination to reach that river crossing at its unknown distance. To trick my mind to keep going, I paced myself to walk all the way to that lighthouse before stopping. That worked and I didn’t get tired, just kept walking, listening to the surf and focusing on doing deep, rhythmic breathing.

At 9 p.m. we reached a flow of water towards the ocean! “This must be the mouth of the New River!” John said. It’s tricky because this river, only about a century old, flows north, parallel to the surf and 20-50 yards in. Sometimes, new mouths form. Even a few hours before low tide, it was just knee deep and easy to cross. We kept walking. I had thought we would camp soon after this crossing, but John kept going. And going. He said there was a hiker camp, but didn’t know it’s distance.

The bank was steep, the sand soft, the walking cumbersome, the darkness grim. We walked near the surf because the sand was the most firm there. The problem was that waves would sneak up. I had put my shoes back on for easier walking, although I had given in to walking in the water. One wave lept up and soaked my shorts though, and I cursed, exasperated with this interminably long night walk. One thing I’ve confirmed about myself on this trip is that I rely on regular meals and sleep. Although I think I’m good at tolerating whatever happens, my impatience bursts out when that last straw gets piled on. That soaking was my last straw this time. “Let’s stop here and camp!” John relented. We stomped up the beach through deep sand. We stomped past the line of markers for the protected plover nesting zone and we set up the tent in the dune sand well away from the tide line. It was only 10 p.m. but I was glad to end that night walking.

Next morning, September 5th, we resumed our beach walk. In just an hour we saw a post on the dune that clearly said, INFORMATION in vertical letters. We climbed up the shifty sand and read it. “It’s the BLM hiker camp!” John said. “We would have missed this last night! I’ll mark it on my map.”

About 1 p.m. we reached the next landmark at Flores Lake, a beautiful, marshy area with a county park and campground. “What if we stay here and get to the Sixes River for tomorrow’s low tide instead of the one at midnight tonight?” I suggested, appealing to my sleepiness and attraction to this location. It could provide soothing subjects for drawing and painting. I was thrilled with the sight of a marsh hawk gliding over the lake edge.

“That won’t work because of the bus from Port Orford, letting us skip the longest road walk section. It only runs Monday though Saturday.” John gave me the news. We ate the soup we had skipped last night and refilled our water bottles, discovering that John had lost his liter bottle during the night walk. Inconvenient, but not dire. We still had five liters capacity. We walked back out to the beach. Resigned, I particularly noticed how unpleasant it was slogging though the loose sand of the approach road, keeping comments to myself.

The afternoon provided another several hours of determined beach walking, broken by an hour on a woodland trail over Blacklock Point, a jaggedy black headland jutting out into the ocean, winged by golden cliffs of sediment, topped with windblown spruce pointing south. I savored the firmness of the soil beneath my feet and reminded myself to enjoy the beauty, which I could not deny.

Golden Sandstone Cliffs

Soon, we were back out on the beach, this time, however, touring a whimsical museum of driftwood sculptures and collectibles. Every size, shape, and wooden caricature, from huge roots and trunks to tiny sticks and tokens, littered the sand and grass ledge for the rest of our evening walk!

Huge Root Sculpture
Tiny wooden tokens

What a delight for my imagination! I could spend days of drawing time studying the patterns and textures of these wooden forms! We had another destination, however – Sixes River, known to be easily crossed on a sandbar or formidable and requiring a retreat back to the road. We checked it out about 6 p.m. and found that the 8ft high tide made the crossing of the formidable variety. We camped nearby and set an alarm for 11:45 p.m.

Beach camp

In the dark, we revisited the crossing by headlamp and found it pretty easy! We quickly forded the twenty-foot wide outflowing stream that was just knee deep. Mission accomplished. John wasn’t quite sure how far it was to the trail up to Cape Blanco State Park. We walked. Another night walk of unknown length. Thirty minutes in, I said that I didn’t really want to walk without a clear time and destination. John snapped back, “OK! We’ll stop here!” I explained that I was willing to walk for another fifteen minutes, but John stubbornly stopped.

It was easy setting up the tent again in the sand because I had packed the long sticks I had used for stakes at our first sand camp that night. They worked better in the deep sand than our short metal ones.

At first light the next morning, September 6th, we packed up again, this time to continue south on the beach toward that lighthouse on Cape Blanco, now just short of a mile away! In the morning light, it was easy to find the trail up the cape to the lighthouse road, then another 3/4 mile to the Cape Blanco State Park campground.

Cape Blanco Lighthouse at dawn

I was so grateful John had not insisted on walking that whole stretch in the night! From the Sixes River crossing to the campground was 2 1/2 miles!

Here was another stop we could make, but we didn’t stop! There was that bus to catch in Port Orford tomorrow and it was still about eight miles away! We ate our oatmeal, took lukewarm showers, packed up and walked out of the park. The beach between Cape Blanco and Port Orford really was beautiful, but I was tired! I did my best to pay attention to the wind carved cliffs, the blue water, and the rainbow colors of smooth stones which now graced the beach.

Now there were pebbles of many colors!

Mostly, I kept walking, silently forging my way through the soft sand. Walking barefoot for awhile helped refresh me somewhat.

John had called and made a reservation for the Sea Crest Motel, so at least we had a destination. We got into Port Orford at about 12:30 and made our way from the beach access into town, headed for Ray’s Food Place. On our way, though, we walked past a place called Golden Harvest Herban Farm. “Let’s see what they have.” They had a fine selection of prepared food, a salad bar, and ice cream. We feasted on the best meat loaf ever, a piece of quiche, a cup of barley soup, and a fantastic salad, topped off with carrot cake and ice cream. The unique flavors were ones I would not have picked out in the grocery store and made me feel alive and special!

A delicious stop, right on our way!

I made a second purchase to carry out and eat in the hotel: cauliflower curry soup and second helpings of meatloaf, quiche, and salad. We didn’t need to go to Ray’s today!

We made two more stops conveniently located between Golden Harvest and Sea Crest Hotel: the Post Office and the Food Co-op. At the Post Office we talked with the clerk about how inconvenient it had been that our maildrop package we had sent to General Delivery had been returned to California. The clerk in Astoria had told us the P.O. holds packages for 30 days. Ours was held for only 15. After several minutes’ discussion, he agreed that we had not been served as expected, assured us that he would ameliorate this inconsistency in what clerks are telling customers and the newer 15-day hold policiy. He refunded the postage for that package. That felt good!

At the Co-op, we did some recognizance on what we could buy during tomorrow’s resupply. We got plenty of ideas! We also got a sampling of some irresistible radish kim-chi from the Korean woman who supplies it at the Co-op. We bought a pint of it, and even gave her the canning jar back after dumping the kim-chi into an empty bag from our food bag.

Now, we were ready for that hotel room! We had a room complete with a tub, a refrigerator, a microwave, and an ocean view! Perfect for nineteen whole hours of rest!

I was ready for it!