Day 2 Ft. Stevens Campground to Gearhart + Afriad of Civilization

Mileage: 19.3

I had restless sleep, as expected. My sleeping pad would slowly deflate... Had to blow it up twice. A very loud thud woke me at 3:30am. A deer I think. I drifted in and out, strange swirling dreams.

4:30 hit. Fuck it, time to get up. The other two in my camp area were also stirring, but only us hiker/bikers in this mostly RV camping park of TV hookups and living room sized tents. I was on the beach by 6:30. I took my time. Made oatmeal I couldn't eat all the way, washed my face, brushed teeth.

I'm going to backtrack, basically. Walk to the south jetty to actually officially begin the Oregon Coast Trail and the walk back the way I came from Ft Stevens, past the shipwreck and onwards towards Gearhart.

And I'm off. The ocean is calm and slowly moving towards the 11:30am high tide. The air smells like oysters. I want raw oysters so bad. Dungeonus crabs are all over the place and folks digging for razor clams. I'm the only one on the beach for a long time, save for the random truck speeding by. You can drive on some parts of the Oregon coast.

I get to the South Jetty, but I didn't wanna find the official start knowing I had many miles ahead of me. I snap a photo at the northern most part of the beach and I'm off.

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The sun came out, I pull on my shorts, skipped refilling my water bottle. I had a liter to myself. That'll be fine right?

Beach walking. 

Beach walking. 

17 miles later with a few tiny 15 minute naps in between. Nope, bad decision Britton. I'm sun baked and conserving my water, only a few sips left. I stumble in off the Sunset Beach access looking for open spigots, but, what the actual fuck, there aren't any! What? Knowing there's a McMenamins near by (A Northwest food chain thing. Pretty good food) I am tempted by beer and possibly a burger and I'm gunna refill my bottles. The host pretends I'm not there, jokingly. I set my folded up trekking poles on the table they seat me at, sand gets everywhere. I turn to notice the bar is called, The Sandtrap. Mmhm.

It takes me a long time to get noticed by wait staff. I'm not that dirty yet, I think. Two beers, a burger and fries and two cups of coffee, my bottles filled and I'm out. Back on the beach and in a good delirium. Feet aching. Knee pain cycling in and out, I plod on in the sun.

Sun. 

Sun. 

Camping on the Oregon coast is tricky. You can't in a State Park, Snowy plover nesting grounds or within city limits. There are a few sections it's deemed ok by Bonnie Henderson, and I am running with her guide book and hints from Gaia gps. I decide just .25 miles south of the Gearhart beach access, where cars cannot drive.

 

I decide to cowboy camp up in a hidden-ish spot in the dunes. People are everywhere as its 4th of July weekend. I watch the sun go down. My face red and hot feeling and mildly headachy from too much sun. I snuggle up in my partial quilt sleeping bag and watch the sun sink behind a rising tide. I knew where the water line would end up that night, I still worried a little though. People hovered around, it was irritating. I wanted sleep so bad. Darkness was growing.

Bedroom for the night. Tide rolling in. 

Bedroom for the night. Tide rolling in. 

No rain was predicted, but it started to mist a lot. I started to panic a little thinking I should get an expensive hotel because I was getting wet. Instead I put my tent up somehow in the sand, I didn't think it was possible! I smoothed away the loose top sand until I hit the wet hard packed stuff and drove my stakes in. Win! I felt secure, I took a situation where I felt helpless and turned it around all by myself with the tools that I have.

 

Some dudes walked by yelled if I wanted a beer and they handed me a Bud through my screen door. I downed it fast and was so happy. Like the Universe just gave me a fist bump! I fell fast asleep.

 

Have you ever been in a sleep state where you know you're sleeping? Yet you're still slightly cognizant of your surroundings? That's where I was, and I heard the presence of people near me. Then a plink sound and my wet tent draping over me gently. I shot up panicked and heard feet running. I stuck my arm through the tent door and looked around in the darkness. Two shadows quietly giggling and running away. They kicked out my stakes so my tent would collapse. Even though I know it was juvenile fun by two idiot boys, I felt so vulnerable and hurt by it. They don't know me, what I was doing or why I was there.

 

Shortly after, a group of drunk people arrived, mind you, it was 2:30 in the am. A giant dog form approached me in the dark as I pitched my tent again. I clicked at him to let him know I was there. He shied from me. All humans were more a threat to me than animals or nature.

 

I tried to sleep, but just couldn't. I was scared and stressed, so close to civilization.