Eastbound and Down

The fall begins with a a weird feeling of great success filled with failure. We decided to forgo the southern portion of the Oregon Coast Trail in favor of more time with friends and a road trip cross country home. It’s been a great summer of backpacking and vagabonding, making it over 1500 miles on foot.

We tried to rent a small SUV, but ended up getting a brand new Ram 1500 with a HEMI V8 for the same price. Not the most efficient, but it was preferred by all of us. After not having a home for months, the shelter and transportation range the truck provided was a huge luxury.

Headed North, first views of Mount Rainier.

Sunset pictures from Birch Bay State Park in the Northwestern corner of Washington.

This is the view from our friends driveway – they recently moved to Ferndale, WA and it is paradise out there. We stayed with them for several days, enjoying cooking and lounging around the farm and property. Sara and I are hoping to come back to this area in the near future… it’s a beautiful place to live.

More bread making, more cheese.

Sara getting distracted by a friendly gym puppy at Bloc Yard Boulders in Spokane, WA.

Smoky afternoon in Whitefish, MT. We headed to Glacier National Park the next morning, despite the wildfires there. It’s crazy how many miles we’ve traveled around, through, and to wildfires this summer.

Driving the Going to the Sun Road through Glacier…

Smoke over the east side of the park, as seen from Logan Pass.

Like the PCT, only with hand rails for the feint of heart.

The East side of Glacier NP was super smoky, enough to burn the lungs after awhile. Sadly, the day after we were there, Sperry Chalet burned down. It was one of two historic chalets in the park built in the early 1900s.

Back home in Michigan, more big bodies of water but no salt, sharks, or jellyfish.

Delicious pasties and Michigan beer.

Brief stop at Ian’s hunting cabin.

And so it goes. Back home (once we find a place to actually sleep, hah!), at least for now… already starting planning for our return trip to finish the remaining Pacific Crest Trail miles!

The Eclipse

I’d been looking forward to this since the start of the trip – seeing a bunch of my friends from back home, our luxurious Airbnb’s reserved nearly a year ago. The eclipse derailed our Oregon Coastal hiking, but was one of the coolest parts of this summers’ travel so far.

Views from hiker/biker camp during sunrise and short hike at Cape Lookout State Park.

Airbnb luxuries.

Made some bread, for the first time ever. It turned out pretty well, was not a complete failure, and I’m going to make it to excess now. Really missed the kitchen during while long distance hiking – every meal is either in the Jetboil or eating out.

Actually pretty surprised at my phones ability to capture this moment. We enjoyed it from a hot tub, sipping on mimosas. Pretty cool to feel the temp drop a good 20 degrees and a brief bit of darkness.

Ice cream; ice cream and bacon.

Porch cat.

This ATM we walked by was super secure and legit.

View from Mt. Tabor.

Oregon Coast Adventure

Just a forewarning – this is more of a collection of notes than a trail journal. Since there’s not too much information about the Oregon Coast as a thru hike, we took notes we thought may be of help to other hikers. We are also hiking at an EXTREMELY slow pace, enjoying our wind down from PCT life. We are also hiking this pace to time meeting up with friends for the solar eclipse, within the totality zone. The thru hike could be done in 20 days easily if pushing it, but the frequent towns and beach walks are a constant temptation to slow you down and enjoy all the Coast has to offer.

Day 1 (8/11/17) Lot C to Fort Stevens State Park Hiker/Biker Camp. Taxi, Astoria to Warrenton. Hitch Warrenton to Hammond. Road walk Hammond/Bouy 9 to Lot C. Gates to Fort Stevens close at 6pm. Started trail at official point around 6pm. Easy beach walk at lowering tide ~3.75 mi to Peter Iredale. Follow trail at Peter Iredale 1 mi to campground. Hiker/biker campsites available for $6/person. Picnic tables, fire rings, close to restroom and free showers. Busy park on weekends.

Day 2 (8/12/17) Fort Stevens State Park Hiker/Biker Camp to Del Ray Beach State Rec Area.Started hike around noon. Checked out Coffenbury lake before continuing to beach. Sunny morning/afternoon, lots of people and vehicles on beach. Walked beach from Peter Iredale access point to Del Ray Beach State Rec Area/Highlands Ln and camped nearby.

Day 3 (8/13/17) Del Ray Beach State Rec Area to Ebb Tide Oceanfront Inn/Seaside. Hiked another few miles to Pacific Way beach access and into Gearhart. Used Google Maps to guide through town avoiding 101 when possible and continued into Seaside. Met up with Ian, spent the night a the Ebb Tide Oceanfront Inn.

Day 4 (8/14/17) Ebb Tide Oceanfront Inn/Seaside to Hug Point State Park. Hiked out of Seaside along the beach before following neighborhood road up to tillamook head. 1000ft gain through muddy forest up to head. Nice backpacker site with three structures, large picnic table, fire pit and vault toilet. Hiked down to Indian point, trail washout forced roadwalk out of park. Hitch from from friendly couple to Cannon Beach, guy hiked PCT. Beach walk rest of the evening to Hug Point. Tide too high to get around, set up camp and waited to cross in am.

Day 5 (8/15/17) Hug Point State Park to Nehalem Bay State Park. Hiked around Hug Point at lower tide and beach walked Arch Cape beach, heading inland on south end of beach on East Shingle Mill Lane. Hiked down this road until the suspension bridge down a driveway on the right. There’s an OCT blaze and typically a truck with a boat in the driveway, according to a local. The trail resumed here and took us through Oswald West State Park. Near the south end of the park where the trail crosses 101, we road walked (there is a sidewalk most of the way, only about 0.25mi without) to Sunset Drive on the north end of Manzanita. Keeping right down Meadow Loop, there was a beach access trail. We continued along the beach a couple miles, stopped for dinner, then headed inland at Horizon Lane which took us to the registration booth at Nehalem Bay State Park. Camped in the hiker/biker camp.

Day 6 (8/16/17) Nehalem Bay State Park to Barview Jetty Park. Beach walked a few miles to the end of Nehalem Bay, tried to hitch across bay, but after 2 hours with no success, started walking the bay. At the north end of the bay, we hit a road and hitched south to Rockaway Beach. Grabbed dinner in town and walked the beach to Barview Jetty. Camped at the county park.

Day 7 (8/17/17) Barview Jetty Park to Cape Lookout State Park. Walked railroad tracks from park to docks at Garibaldi. No luck with boat hitch, grabbed lunched and started road walk around bay. A local picked us up and drove us across the bay. Walked the old road on the spit to the beach trail, then the beach to Cape Meares. Trail up through park was easy to find, wouldn’t be bad even at high tide to access. Walked through Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge and State Park, by Octopus Tree and road walked Cape Meares Loop road to Oceanside. Beach walked Oceanside to Netarts, follow 131 to Netarts Bay Drive. Road walk until hitch to Cape Lookout State Park. Beautiful hiker/biker camp! Just to the left from entrance; away from other camping loops.

To The Coast…

After a lengthy discussion of logistics and many beers, we determined it was easiest to get from Bend to the Oregon coast, via our friends in Portland. The fire closures leave us missing trail and the smoky haze, scenery. It feels easier to hike a straight path, less segmented, another season. And for some reason, all we could rent car wise was a twelve person transit van. We had fun with it.


Big thanks to the Streu's for picking us up in Portland and hosting us for several days! We took a nice trip to Wachella Falls, did a little bit of bouldering, and looked for views through the smoky haze covering the city and gorge. At this point we decided the most fun we could having finishing out the backpacking season was on the coast.


So we headed to Astoria, close to Fort Stevens State Park, and spent a day doing touristy things and stocking up on some hiker foods.

Fort George had some good beer – we've been to several breweries in the past week and this stood out. Best food we had in town as well!

And now we start southwards on the Oregon Coast Trail. Maybe we'll complete the it this summer, maybe not, but the contrast between the PCT thru hike and this is welcomed – clouds, cool weather, no fires or snow! For now we walk the beach, the cliffs, and explore the towns in between.

8/2/17 – Mile 1981.2, Bend, OR

"Stuck" in Bend, Oregon! The Whitewater fire in the Jefferson Wilderness has closed the PCT in front of us – there was a road walk alternate, but as the fire spread, that was closed too. We got through the Crater Lake area just in time, two fires have closed the trail down there now as well. So we find ourselves waiting in Bend, then heading up to Portland to stay with some friends until we can get back on trail in northern Oregon. Fires, fires, everywhere. Meanwhile, we've completed a thru hike of the Bend Ale Trail…

And as for the past week…

7/28/17 – Man, a real bed felt great. Slept for a solid 8 hours, then we got some breakfast. This place had some damn good omelettes and loaded hash browns! Our ride back to the trail wasn't available until 2pm, so we relaxed and chatted with some friends on the lakeshore. Got to the trail shortly after 2 and started hiking. After awhile we arrived at Thielsen Creek which was still mostly covered with snow. Found a hole in the snow, checked the area around to make sure the snow wouldn't collapse, dipped my water bladder in …and it slipped right out of my hand and down the snow covered river. It was gone, along with 2.5L of water capacity for me. Thankfully Sara's capacity can cover us both for the next day or so until Shelter Cove, which has a store and presumably a Gatorade bottle or something. Walked a few miles further and ran into some friends we have been seeing on and off all week. Camped with them on a beautiful overlook at mile 1859.3.

7/29/17 – Oregon Skyline Trail, mile 10.4.

7/30/17 – Super dusty all day today. The trail is all dust clouds and skeeters. After about 11 miles we stopped at Shelter Cove Resort, grabbed our resupply and admired another beautiful lake view. Hike up past the Rosary Lakes then a little further. Camped at Bobby Lake, mile 1915.1.

7/31/17 – Started with a climb and mosquito swatting, but rewarded with mostly flat terrain for the rest of the day. So many lakes in this section! Passed by one at least every couple miles. Walked 27 or so miles and camped above Cliff Lake at mile 1941.7.

8/1/17 – Another 27 mile day. Beautiful views throughout the Three Sisters Wilderness. Tons of mosquitos, but not as bad as we've dealt with in Michigan or people have made it seem. Found an epic camp spot on a hill, just off the trail before the Obsidian Limited Entry Area. Mile 1969.

8/2/17 – Felt like a long 11 miles to Highway 242, but we made it by mid morning. After waiting just about an hour, a former thru hiker, triple crowner in fact, picked us up in his Tacoma. He knew just what we needed – took us all around town for food and beer, helped us find a place to stay. Started the "Bend Ale Trail" thru hike, already got Crux and Deschutes checked off. Relaxing tonight and figuring out what's going on with all the wildfires fires in the area tomorrow.