Ok, I spent about two hours writing this blog only to have it all vanish... I've been dreading the rewrite, so forgive me if it's mostly photos... That being said, let's catch y'all up!
We made our way from Coos Bay up to Umpqua State Park. Umpqua is known for its oysters, which I can't stand. Katie, on the other hand, loves these slimy shellfish. The local oyster farm built the triangular jetty you see in the photo below. The jetty mixes the "perfect balance of river and sea water", all the while keeping the water calm. This is supposed to provide a sweeter and less gritty oyster...
Umpqua Oyster Company
WHAT WE EAT
People have often asked what we eat while we are hiking about. Our diet seems to be pretty consistent. In the morning we make an instant coffee, usually mixed with some sort of instant breakfast mix. If we are feeling especially hungry we will make some Bobs Redmill 10 Grain Breakfast. This stuff is pretty tasty, filling, and only costs about $3.50 a bag. We usually do not have a legitimate lunch, but snack on bars and seeds throughout the day. We try to keep our dinners cheap, but heavy in calories. Common dinners are: Macaroni and cheese with tuna, instant potatoes, Knorr's pasta sides, jambalaya, and of course ramen noodles. Ramen is especially common, so we often add veggies to mix it up.
Gettin' cray cray with ramen
We also do our best to find berries whenever possible! Salmonberries seem to be the most common, but we have found strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and thimbleberries.
All da berriez!
Didn't know this, but the Oregon Coast features the largest expanse of coastal dunes in North America. These dunes put Pismo to shame... They tower over highways and buildings, some reach as tall as 500 feet above sea level. These dunes are truly impressive. Obviously it would not be wise to tramp through loose sand with a 30lb pack, so we mainly stick to the west side of the trail.
Western edge of the dunes
Sometimes you find interesting creatures on the beach!
If you find yourself wandering up the Oregon Coast someday, do not miss out on the city of Florence! As you cross the bridge heading north you can see the renovated "old town" just below you to the right. This beautiful area had a Paso feel, with Paso prices... we skipped the beer and headed to the laundromat.
Bridge to Florence
On our way to the laundromat, an elderly gentleman stopped in the middle of the road to give us a bag of chips!? The difference between hiker and hobo is difficult for some folks to distinguish, bless their souls.
Santos, hikers can't be choosers
We had been told that South Beach State Park was one of the best state parks in Oregon, so we figured it would be a good place to wait out the two days of rain forecasted. The park was great, but what we found nearby was even better.
Rogue Brewery's headquarters was but a ten minute walk from our campsite. Oh the joy! We ordered magnificent cheese curds, and sampled enough beer to intoxicate a Clydesdale. Soo gooooooood....
40 beers on tap
BEVERLY BEACH STATE PARK
Just 10 miles up the 101, this state park has a rivalry going with South Beach. We figured we might as well pay the competition a visit. Both parks feature awesome private showers and a welcome center serving free coffee and tea all day. South Beach has more of an open feel which Katie preferred, while Beverly had more of a "deep in the woods" feel which I liked.
The great thing about hike and bike is you never have to worry about a reservation. The park was fully booked when we arrived, and we have the entire hike and bike section to ourselves. We enjoyed the park so much that we decided to explore the following day, and stay a second night.
From Beverly Beach we hiked along a backroad to the Cape Foul Weather lookout. This massive chunk of a basalt provided us surreal views, all the while betraying its name.
Cape Foul Weather
Where we came from
HIGHWAY WALKING & THE CASCADE TRAIL
We made our way in and out of Lincoln City in a flash. Highway walking up to the Cascade Trail, the countryside seemed all too beautiful... Vehicles flew by, their drivers missing the show nature was putting on. Drivers seemed to jockey for an advantage over cars ahead of them, gaining seconds, but winning nothing in the end. I really dislike highway walking, but it has taught me a few lessons:
Slow down, it's not a race - this won't be hard with the Land Cruiser...
Pay attention to your surroundings - not just for the experience, but for the safety of others using the road.
When passing pedestrians, move over to the other side of the road if possible.
Assume others have not learned these lessons...
We have had people swerve at us, ride the white line in particularly tight spots, come around corners as if their Prius was a Formula 1 race car, and honk at us right as they pass...
Honestly, you become numb to it. The horns don't scare you; if you're feeling frisky, you hold your hiking poles sharp end out when cars ride the white line. The first time a logging truck passes you by, you nearly wet yourself. After a while you try to make eye contact with the drivers, pass 'em a smile, brighten their day...
The cascade trail was great! We walked for miles through gigantic old growth, and dense Salmonberry bushes.
Another magical tree
More magical forest
For the most part, we have had tremendous (the second I wrote tremendous, I thought of the Donald) luck catching rides. Most people attribute that to being a couple. We are often surprised at who picks us up. You always imagine the guy in the VW van will pick you up, but he never does... interestingly enough we have ridden in the back seats of limousine-like buses, Lexus's, and Mercedes. We've hitched rides as sort as 3 miles and as long as 100.
Though it's unfortunate, I understand why many people fear hitch hikers. I've heard that there were quite a few movies put out in the '80's which portrayed hitchikers as murderers and rapists... I myself have only picked up a handful of hitchhikers... now that I've done some serious long distance hiking however, I think it will be a bit easier to pick out those who are accomplishing something versus those who are going nowhere.
DR. PLOOG'S GUIDE TO HITCHIKING
When hitch hiking, one must look semi-presentable. Always wear your brightest clothes; because everyone knows Edmund Kemper wasn't wearing a bright red Northface puffy!
Put on some deodorant. This is a special occasion after all; and yes, you stink...
Smile! This is very important. We have had people tell us that the only reason they picked us up was because they could see that we had all of our teeth!
DANCE MONKEY!!! It has been proven, in our own private scientific study, that shaking that booty gets 72.5% more rides than smiles alone..
ALWAYS, ALWAYS remember that you can reject the ride. If some dude pulls up in a creeper van looking like Jeffery Dahmer, DO NOT GET IN...
Consider lifting your pant leg. I do it all the time, and it works often. If not, at least you'll brighten the day of that jerk that just passed ya...
Take Katie with you
BEER AND CHEESE
When we finally made it to Neskowin we were feeling a bit parched. Pelican Brewing was about 30 miles away in Pacific City, so we took to the highway. Snacks shook a sign while I shook my booty and within ten minuets we were loading up.
Pelican Brewing was a little posh but we decided to try the beer anyway... I had the Beak Breaker IIPA and Katie had the Queen of Hearts saison; both beers were outstanding.
It was getting late and Cape lookout was another 16 miles away, so we took to the road and hoped to hitch off a couple of those miles. Once again we were fortunate; a mother and her son were quite happy to give us a ride 10 miles down the road!
We were glad to walk the six miles into Cape Lookout; the views were phenomenal.
More sand dunes
View from Cape Lookout
Though we wanted to stay another night at Cape Lookout, we could hold back our desire for cheese no longer.
As we left, eagles soared above us; a good omen. Cheese would be ours.
As we reached the holy of holies, our mouths watered. Even on a Wednesday, the parking lots were packed at this Mecca of Muenster!
I call this one "Happy Snack #2"
For some reason I cannot upload any more photos at moment... I'll do my best to update the blog as soon as possible. Currently we are in Mazama, Washington. Our plan is to hike to the Canadian boarder over the next two days, turn around and finish this beast!
Love you all,
Steve & Katie