Wind and rain rattled my tent all night long. Somehow, I slept with a feeling of security. Interestingly, condensation was minimal and I slept very dry feeling.
Around 4am it began to rain with intense persistence, it didn't let up till 6am. Pools of water were forming around my tent. God bless cuben and it's water repellent abilities. I was warm and snug in my downy bag.
When the rain stopped, I gathered all my gear and headed towards the gazebo to dry out a little before heading out. I made my usual breakfast of granola, vanilla whey and hemp seeds mixed with water - coffee water on the side. Stellars Jay's and song sparrows lurked around for my crumbs and sang songs to me. The jays though, they just chastised me for not leaving anything to eat.
Pack hoisted, I was ready to hit the trail.
I need new shoes. I need new shoes, Oh my god I need new shoes, I think. It's all I can think about as I begin my ascent over the headland.
I figured it out. Not only was I just adapting to bearing a load while hiking long distance, day after day, but I needed new shoes. Like, yesterday. Like, before I started this damn trail. What was I thinking?
With every step I felt the fault of my shoes. It annoyed the hell out of me. How didn't I see this before? No matter, I'll Amazon prime some shoes to myself when I get to my next spot.
I'm climbing and climbing. Why is this so hard? I shed clothing layers. Do I even know how to hike? I'm thinking about Sasquatch as I look up the lush green and tree filled slopes... So, you're supposed to smell them first before you see them, right? What would I do if I saw one? Would they be nice? What about Sasquatch babies? What are lady Sasquatches like?
My mind is all over the place. The ground is soggy and wet from the night before. I notice some shoe prints... They're Altras. The same shoe I'm wearing. I size them up to mine. Slightly larger. I wonder if I'll see the person wearing them.
I'm annoyed. This trail is steep! I didn't even know. I come to a suspension bridge, sway sway sway. Up up and up. I feel so tired.
Finally I hit the parking lot, now it's down down down to the beach! Still seeing those Altra prints. A trail runner dodges by me, in Altras. There's the culprit! Two dogs and their surfer dad walk by. I see the erosion of people cutting through the switchbacks. I obstinately stick to the strict trail.
I catch cologne, or men's body wash in the air. I thought that I would need to be in serious wilderness for my olfactory senses to heighten, but no. I look out and about 100 yards away is a large camp of traditional tents. Boy Scouts I think.
I spill out on to the beach. I was right, Boy Scouts. They were all over, beach combing and burying each other in the sand like dorks.
I'm hauling balls and hobbling at the same time. I have a lake run off crossing that is only doable at low tide ahead of me. I was pressing my luck, I was several miles away and low tide was close.
In the distance I hear BRAAPP BRRAAP. ATVs. There's a 4x4 park, circus thing going on a mile or two up and they're allowed to drive on the beach. I can see their lights in the distance.
"Dear god I hope I don't get hit."
They're doing donuts and driving at extreme speeds. It seems like some kind of Road Warrior world, but on a beach.
As I pass through, they're suddenly silent. I only see a few dirt bikes. Finally, after two miles I hit the "NO MOTER VEHICLES ALLOWED BEYOND THIS POINT" sign.
Oh god I think. I turn around. It's dudes in parachutes with... Fans attached to their butts? Yes. That's exactly what it is. They're cruising by me and waving. It seems a little silly and also fun.
I can see where the lake crossing is, but it doesn't look bad. I'm making good time and slightly ahead of the tide. Katelin had told me the water was about hip depth and the sand swallowed her up to her knees. I was nervous. I've never actually forded a body of water like this. And I'm thinking, everything you've done so far you've never done before. Except for in your head... Which doesn't count.
The closer I get, the clearer it becomes. It's like an actual deepish creek crossing. I take off my shoes. Because the tide was moments from shifting I just plunged in, I couldn't really see any area more shallow that where I was. The water looked calm, so I just charged forward. Cold! Water here is always so cold. The sand sunk deeply and I was in the water about crotch deep. I made it to the other side wet and alive. For some reason the loud splashing noise I made alarmed me more than anything. I guess when I played it out in my head there wasn't any sound effects.
I took a shoe and foot cleaning break. When beach walking, there's no way to keep sand out and it's an endless process of dumping sand and cleaning feet, especially upon entering or exiting a beach. Sand will rub your feet raw if you're not careful. Hiking uphill in soft sand is also probably the worst thing ever.
It's back to beach walking. It's quiet and there are very few people out. I'm fantasizing about new, cushiony, fabulous shoes.
The butt fan parachute dudes are back. Who are these dorks?
The beach is beautifully textured and I take my time looking at the odd tide pool, ocean critter, or neat rocks.
Approaching Cape Kiwanda and into Pacific City I realize something: it's Sunday, I basically refuse to do more miles without new shoes and... I'm going to have to wait till about Tuesday to get my shoes. Shit. This means more lost time. I just cracked 100 miles in and I'm going to have to take more time off?
This thought sends me into a spiral of anxiety.
I crawl up the biggest sandune ever and I dub it, Mt. Dune. It's the neck of Cape Kiwanda. There are a few people scattered about and a man is preparing to paraglide off the dune.
I come down the other side and holy humans. They're everywhere all of a sudden. I cut my way through a family beach party and then I remember...
I came here once with this guy I was seeing about two years ago. He was extremely handsome, almost too good looking and very charming. He instantly won my heart and I probably would have married him if he asked me. Then small things would occur and I realized I was just one of many women he was fucking around with. Yet he played up, "you're the first person I've been with in a year" shit. Later, I was told he was too busy for love and that he wanted to focus on his job. Which what he really meant was, that he was just done fucking me. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
I weave in and out of people. I see Pelican Brewery and think about getting a beer and burger. It's insanely busy... So I wander around the microscopic strip of restaurants and hotels to come back and wait for a spot at the bar. I'm pink in the face, wind blown hair. I look like a mess.
A young handsome man walks up to me having recognized that I'm doing a long distance hike. We nerd about gear and he tells me that he and his friend over at the table did the Te Araroa trail together. He invites me to join them. They kindly share onion rings and I feel awkward being dirty and they're all clean and shiny. But they get it, and so I relax. They're all old college friends, but still seem significantly younger than me. Which, I realized is now an actual thing. I'm getting older. The guy sitting next to me doesn't believe I'm 31. I sometimes don't believe I'm 31. They're joking amongst themselves and I feel strange because I never had those traditional, formative college years so many other people have had. I feel this puts me into and odd bracket of society.
They very generously offer to let me stay with them in Lincoln City and holy hell I wanted to say yes, but I had already ordered my shoes, so I have to stay put.
I meander to the campground, it's yet another county park, so they charge me a "registration" fee even though I can see on the computer the woman is using that I am in their system. $19 up front, $8 a night after that. Pay showers. It's a very tiny camp ground. It's kind of a shitty lot and they give me the least desirable spot: in the middle of the loop, one tiny pine as my friend. But! But...
Bunnies, everywhere. Whole herds of them. Generations of them. It gave the park an otherworldly quality.
I was stuck here till Tuesday. This very notion wracked my anxiety, will I even finish in time? Will my foot even start to feel better with new shoes?
Somehow, I let this go and I decided to enjoy myself in Pacific City, rather than be mad about it. Because, what's the point?
My bum ankle had me laid up in a hotel for two days, this unexpected expense put a dent in my budget. Interested in supporting me, buying me a coffee or a burger? You can donate here!