Walking the Oregon Coast Trail, Day 13

Waldport (hotel) to Beverly Beach State Park (Newport) (actual date Thursday 6/5/14)

I woke up confused.  My skin felt swollen and dry.  I stayed up too late drying things out and getting laundry done.  I didn’t want to watch TV and there wasn’t anything on anyhow.  But still I incessantly flipped channels.  I reminded me of my dad when we first got cable back in the 80s.  I will never own one again.  I’m addicted to access.  Access to food, to technology, to all the excess I habitually exploit.  It’s a problem.  I never need as much as I think I do.

Also, why is it I feel so much guilt for sleeping in s hotel?  Why should I even care?  It doesn’t subtract from the fact I am walking my ass off every day.  Maybe it’s the money I can’t afford to blow? Maybe the self-indulgence wears on me?  I worry that somehow the luxury lessens the experience – and maybe it does – but not to the degree that I should feel all guilty about it.  Jesus, Griffen.  Lighten up.

I escape the hotel as early as possible and hang an art piece.  Shortly thereafter I find a strip of paper from a fortune cookie on the side of the road.  It says, “A new pair of shoes will do you a world of good!”  Just yesterday I was shocked to find that my insoles are already broken in a dozen places and the carbon rubber treads of the heels of my shoes are smooth as paper.  All in less than two weeks.

I follow the beach to Seal Rock, then briefly hop on the 101 to bypass a protected nesting area, then back to the sand.  The wind is blowing something fierce.  I cross a number of creeks but manage to hop over all of them without taking off my shoes.  This brings me amazing joy.  I take lunch on a pile tsunami bones – driftwood trees and floats that look chaotic but feel smooth and warm from the morning sun.  The wind doesn’t blow here and I eat my can of refried beans in a strange silence.

The Newport south jetty is in sight but still two hours away.  When I finally arrive, I take a break and watch a Coast Guard ship as it enters Yaquina Bay.  Here I meet a fellow from Sedona, AZ who was forced to evacuate his neighborhood, threatened by forest fires.  I can see the shape of a backpacker slowly walking across the 3200-foot Yaquina Bay bridge and sense that I am looking into a mirror.  He is also hiking the coast and we exchange obligatory greetings and careful-when-you-get-to-this-place sort of advice.

My feet are killing me.  And as the day progresses I need a break every hour.  I make it to Nye Beach and enjoy its unique history and architecture.  During WWII, Nye Beach was patrolled by blimps and armed locals guarding the threat of a marine invasion.  I thought of this as I walked, squinting into the incessant gales of sand using my eyes for target practice.  After six more miles, the beach narrows dangerously so I get back on the 101 where I stay for five more painful miles until I see a sign for Beverly Beach State Park.  My big toe is nearly tapped out.

I pay for two nights (a whopping $10) knowing that I need another break after 146 miles in six consecutive days (and 260 miles since I started 13 days ago).  I’m cooking, but my body, or at least my big toe, is still settling in to this glorious lifestyle.

Art on the 101

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See – I wasn’t bullshitting

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Seal Rock 

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Tsunami bones

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Newport south jetty

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Beverly Beach State Park for two nights

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