The Oregon Coast

I’ve had several firsts in my time here on the coast. I have done my first ever 5 mile barefoot hike, had a latte handed to me every morning, found fossil rocks and sand dollars on the beach, saw sea stars and anemones in tide pools at sunset, walked on a tightrope between tall buildings without falling and ski jumped 96 meters. Ok, so the last two were done on a wii (or wii wii, as Patti calls it). I have laughed so hard my stomach hurt and spent 4 days looking out on the Pacific Ocean from a cute A frame right on the edge of the dunes. In other words, I’ve been completely spoiled.

So no one is jealous, we also had our challenges. The first fall down a ski jump isn’t much fun and seeing Janie fly down the ski slope where I just crashed through the gates is a bit humbling. The only real pain was on our hike at Sweet Creek. Pat (who we first met on a hike in the North Cascades in 2000) and Patti (who we met on a bike trip to PEI), Janie and I drove from Eugene toward the coast. On the way, we drove through New England style roads, along streams on twisty roads alight with fall foliage colors. The plan was to do a short hike en route to see some waterfalls. Just as Patti was telling us that something had stung her through her jeans on her backside, I felt her pain, quite literally, on my wrist. Janie joined the party with a sting to match Patti’s and that’s all it took for us to start running back to the cars. It was a short, and memorable, hike as our bites became swollen and continue to cause us some surreptitious scratching moments.

We’ve had a great time exploring the various beaches and towns along the coast. We’ve also enjoyed great seafood meals in nearby Florence and Newport. In Newport, the sea lions lounge on the docks and rocks in the harbor. We watched as they negotiated space, barking at each other and falling asleep in piles.

Yesterday, we did my first Lawrence of Arabia hike, walking first along the beach and then up into the dunes. For our snack stop by a tidal river, we had to descend a wall of sand, feeling very much like descending in deep snow powder.


We swapped stories and trail mix, seated in the sand with heron and cougar tracks nearby. Climbing back up onto the dunes was another challenge but we eventually made it to the top.

I had a continual sense of disbelief as we crossed the dunes, a kind of hiking that is very grounding, literally with bare toes grasping the sand and the sensation of pine needles under your feet in the forest islands.


Today, the road trip with Janie ends in Portland. Patti has offered to ship my hiking boots and new pinecone collection back to Vermont. I have decided to skip going north to Washington as the timing didn’t work out well with my friends there. That was the risk I took to be flexible with my traveling. I’ll spend a few days in Portland before heading south again.

I’ve never been good at goodbyes and today will be a hard one. I get teary just writing about saying goodbye to these dear friends who live on the other side of the country from me. Instead, I’m trying to focus again at how lucky I am to be on this journey,seeing the amazing variety of sights,spending time with friends and enjoying the beauty of the ocean right outside the window as I write. I mistakenly deleted a bunch of photos the other night, but I’ll add a couple here for you to enjoy.





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  1. Phyllis Biegun

     /  October 27, 2011

    What an amazing trip! And you still remembered my birthday – thanks! Whatta woman!

  2. pam perkins

     /  October 27, 2011

    The Oregon Coast is so beautiful. I rode my bike from Astoria to Brookings in 2002. I understand we’ll be meeting next week. Candice has invited me to join you all on Wednesday. Hooray! It will be so fun to see your real face…..finally. Continue to enjoy all that the West has to offer. It sounds like you are really having fun so far, with the exception of the bee stings and the ski jump (are you crazy?)


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