Walking the Oregon Coast Trail, Day 15

Beverly Beach State Park to Neskowin Beach (actual date Saturday 6/7/14)

I kept waking up to the sound of animals.  High-pitched growls and screams exploded sporadically in the early morning hours but never could I identify what I was hearing, let alone what was going on.  During my sunrise hobble to the campground bathroom I saw at least two RV sites covered in trash. I guessed some rookie “campers” opted not to heed the countless posted warnings and left their trash out.  They got initiated.  Sort of like getting TP’d, but by raccoons.

I’m on the road by 7:00am and hang an art piece.  I quickly settle into a 3.5 mph pace with fresh feet.  Everything feels fantastic.  Early mornings on the 101 are quiet.  Traffic hasn’t started yet, logging trucks are still parked for the night, and I can actually hear a thousand birdsongs.  I often think, “This is all mine,” while appreciating the solitude.  Ahead I see a small pile of what looks like paper on the shoulder.  There are always interesting things to be found on the road and I look for them like a kid looking for arrowheads.  However this one threw me a bit.  From the look of it, the trash was dumped by one person yet its contents were conflicting.  A worn out table book titled, “The Meaning of Life,” is sprawled out and bruised as if it lost a street fight.  To its side is a new-looking box for a VHS movie.  A porno, no less.  The cover of “Mature Women” is peppered with flesh-colored thumbnails that requires a magnifying glass to see, but from where I stand they look like a murder scene.  The archaeologist in me wants to know more about the person who discarded these things together.  But maybe I already do.

In Depoe Bay there’s a weird little tofu BBQ place that beckons, but they don’t open for an hour and I’m not really hungry anyhow.  By noon I’m in Lincoln City and already at 17 miles.  My feet are sore, but 17 miles sore.  I stop at a public park on Siletz Bay to eat lunch.  Family after family rolls through to go clamming.  Everyone laughs with anticipation as they take off their shoes and roll up their pant legs to the knee.  It’s a chilly day, and especially cold when the wind blows.  Beanies and jackets aren’t enough to keep them from shivering.  They walk onto the long beach exposed by low tide and then widely disperse.  Occasionally they shout to announce their good find.  But nobody hears through the walls of bellowing wind.

The afternoon is a long march on the highway and I catch myself repeating a sanskrit mantra for hours.  Om mani padme hum basically means we are given today to start changing.  This prospect invigorates me and with new energy I follow the OCT off the highway and (finally) back into the rain-forested over Cascade Head.  The trees and leaves are enormous.  For four miles I climb a goat trail until I am in a dense fog.  I can’t tell if I am dripping from sweat or from the moisture in the air.  Birds announce my presence and sound like fearful monkeys.  I expect to see dinosaurs as I mash through the wildly overgrown trail.  I belong here.  The steep 1-mile descent on a fire road puts me back on the 101 and I clod for 2 hours more until I reach the resort town, Neskowin Beach.

After 40 miles and my biggest day yet, I am quite desperate for a campsite.  The many hotels here worries me.  And since I don’t want this as an option I get on the beach and continue hiking.  Slowly.  Soon I stop seeing kids with buckets and shovels and it’s just me and the bluffs.  I climb some dunes to get a better view of what’s ahead and see a few promising nooks.  One is flat and hidden from the mansions about 400 meters away from the water.  Even still, I can’t be sure that I am not on private property.  But I don’t care enough to care so I set up camp, eat a burrito then get comfortable in my sleeping bag.  I recap the day in my mind and briefly worry about earthquakes and tsunamis.  But this is fleeting and soon I am buoyed by the rhythm of distant waves until I stop remembering.

Today’s art drop

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What is the meaning of life?

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Just south of Siletz Bay

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Inspiration is everywhere

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Fun fact for the day. Who knew?

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Cascade Head Trail – One of my favorite stretches so far

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Less than 100 miles to go!

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