If you are in our neck of the woods in January you may wish to come along to our winter talk. Tuesday the 16th of January. A good excuse for a chance to leave the house on our cold winter nights.
Hope to see you there!
If you are in our neck of the woods in January you may wish to come along to our winter talk. Tuesday the 16th of January. A good excuse for a chance to leave the house on our cold winter nights.
Hope to see you there!
Thanks to all the amazing hard work which Sean Hall has put in over the last month, our movie has now been submitted to the Adventure Travel Film Festival 2018.
It was a tight one, as submissions close tomorrow. Sean has worked his socks off and performed amazing feats with the poor raw material which he received from us!
We can’t believe the results!
Thank you so much Sean, you are so talented!!!!!!
We have been home now for approximately 4 weeks and we have squeezed a lot into that time. 1 wedding (my lovely niece Kirsten), 1 big birthday (yip not bad for an auld burd! and all you will read below…
We had the amazing privilege to open the 2017 Inverewe Adventure Film Festival a few days after returning home. Also, we now have an amazing young man, Sean Hall, who is, somehow, going to make sense out of all our videos clips and stills and make an Adventure Film about our He and She Adventure.
All being well, we plan, to show the movie at next years film festival, please save the date, 21- 23rd of September 2018. We will keep you posted!
Also we are in discussions with the amazing Issie from World Adventure Guides about guide books for the Oregon Coast Trail and the Powell River Canoe Trail.
As we believe we should get a little more coverage about our adventure we have decided to extend our Just Giving page and Virgin Money Giving Page in the hope that we can raise even more money for our chosen charity, Syria Relief.
Americanisms – We all know, from years of watching American sit-coms and movies, that our common language embraces a lot of diversity. Here are some ‘Americanisms’ (as we called them).
Life on the Trail has it’s own terminology to describe the ‘other world’ which you inhabit.
Not only did we Walk the West coast but by having the opportunity to visit the National and State parks of America we got to ‘tick’ many more states. Here are a couple of words which sum of the various states and the impression they left on us.
Our New Language – naturally while spending 5+ months with the same person, living in a confined green tent, eating, sleeping and walking together, as well as developing ESP powers of communication, we developed our own language. Below are some words from the new language which evolved as we ceased to need to ‘speak’ to each other.
Due to the change of plans with the extreme weather conditions on the Pacific Crest Trail we had the wonderful opportunity to visit many of America’s National and State Parks. We bought an American the Beautiful Pass which allowed us both, for only $80, to enjoy the wonders of the parks throughout the America. The pass is valid for a year but even if you only have a few weeks or a month to explore, it is amazing value. Below is a list of the parks which we can remember we visited… we probably visited more! The highlights, for me, were Yellowstone (wolf and bear), Bryce (beautiful colours), Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Henry Cowell Redwood state park (the breathtaking trees).
STOP PRESS – Scottish Adventure Travel Film Festival
Inverewe Gardens, Wester Ross
15-17 September 2017
Cory Jones and Mandy E. Rush have been asked to open this prestigious event and speak about their recent adventure trip walking the Pacific Crest trail and the Oregon Coastal Trail.
Welcome to Canada!
We spent two days in Canada after braving the wildfires of Washington and the torture of a Greyhound bus with no air conditioning (again) on our trip from Portland to Vancouver. We arrived safely in the ‘dodgy’ end of town and check into our ‘not so cheap’ and extremely hot hostel!
After filling out stomachs on too much wonderful Chinese food (we were right beside China town) and surviving the ‘Mad Max Apocalypse now area’ after dark and a beautiful morning exploring Stanley Park and my absolute best breakfast on my travels so far at the Ivanhoe pub, it was time for more buses and ferries to get to Powell River. It is not cheap to get to Powell River, let’s hope it is worth it!
Again another overnight and early rise and we are picked up to begin our amazing 6 days on the idyllic lakes that make up the trail. There is ‘one shop in town’ for canoe hire and it is a slick operation, including canoe drop off for those of us travelling by foot (for a price). Mitchell’s Canoe and Kayak .
We paid $378.35 for 6 days canoe hire and transport to Powell lake from our Motel and collection from Lois Lake back to the Canoe hire base. We then hitched back into town the 6 miles with absolutely lovely Anne-Marie. She invited us back to her home for ‘real’ tea, in china cups and home made cookies and we got to meet her lovely daughter Elena, son-in-law Don and Scottish Grandchildren.
Day 1. Powell Lake
The weather has been spectacular for the last 5 months and Canada hasn’t disappointed. We overload the canoe with too much food and much to Cory’s disappointment, no booze! He had planned to buy a six-pack and trail it behind the canoe to catch drunks! Or maybe not! But he had dreamt about chilled beer while paddling but it wasn’t to be!
I cannot believe how beautiful and tranquil it was. We had both buckled ourselves into our lifejackets but it was so incredibly hot. The calm waters were sparkling and glistening and with a wind behind us it was breathtaking.
We had been told that the campsites were well sign posted with orange triangles, some of which had faded to white, which you couldn’t miss. Be aware, that you ‘can’ miss them and in cases, they simply don’t exist. The best signposted site was our first campsite and it set the bar too high! All others failed to reach that standard.
Amazing floating cabins line Powell Lake, submerged skeletons of trees poke out of the water or lie submerged like hippos walking underwater, ready to bump you if you get complacent and don’t remain vigilant.
Pacific Loon call to us at our passing and Great Blue Heron slowly flap above us as we gently paddle along. Power boats and Speed Boats buzz up and down the lake which cause wakes to bump us, eventually, as they travel over the lake towards us but we don’t encounter any other paddlers.
Our $5 recreation map is a bit of a let down, it feels more like a brochure and lacks proper topography thus, it isn’t ideal for navigation. However we do refer to it often, due to the tropical lushness of the forest, spotting the orange triangles for campsites or picnic sites is not as easy as we had thought it would be.
Powell Lake Campsite is amazing, pristine sands and logs to sit on, rakes and brushes to keep things clean and in the forest, there are picnic benches and pit toilets. I complete the trail register and expect to find one at every campsite on the trail but no, the trail register is a one off. I wonder if one of the locals in a nearby floating house has ‘adopted’ this campsite. It is so well cared for and loved. Thank you, whoever you are!
We erect our little tent on the beach, Cory is first to go for a wee dook to freshen up. By the time I think I would like to have a dip, the air temperature has cooled too much for me to be brave. I live to smell stinky another day.
At night, when we awaken for our ‘call of nature’ the night sky is breathtaking. The Plough is sitting onto of the hill, across the lake, as if the farmer just parked it there while he took a break and the sky is just as dazzling as the lake was during the day.
Day 2. Powell Lake, Goats Lake to Windsor Lake (portage is 2.4 km predominantly steep up, hot ‘n’ sticky).
Lazy days are called for as 6 days is more than enough to paddle the canoe trail. It means we can take our time and enjoy. Nonetheless we are on the water early and heading towards the straights which will take us to Goat Lake. People are having their morningcoffee on the porches of their floating cabins and wave and give us a cheery ‘good morning’. Fishermen chat to us as they relax on the water. The pace of life is slow and soothing.
We cross more skeleton woods as we pass through the narrows into Goat Lake and the little beach. When we arrive, we meet our first other paddlers, whom we will play hopscotch with for the rest of the trip. 3 adults and 1 girl. She is busy catching the numerous frogs hopping about the shallows, trying to avoid young girls. We see our first giant tadpole, the size of my hand, dead, with pointy teeth which would be the envy of any piranha.
Cory fuels up as he prepares for the portage over The Hump. We decide to take the bags and kit over first to give us an idea of the terrain and route, then return for the canoe.
It really does feel like a tropical rain forest, so humid and sunlight streaming in from above. Clockwise, the route we have chosen, means this is a very tough portage. It is steep, narrow, up, long and very hot. Our canoe weighs 70lbs and is made of fiberglass, thus a lot of weight to carry under any circumstances, never mind in steamy forest, uphill!
I am shattered after walking the bags over!
We return and I direct Cory, as best I can, while he walks about with a canoe on his shoulders! It takes 1hr30 minutes to get to Windsor Lake with the canoe on his back. Thank goodness he is a big strong man.
The Windsor Lake campsite as a food pulley, picnic benches and a cute pit toilet built into the skeleton of an old tree.
Hot and sticky we strip off and head to the jetty on Windsor Lake to cool down and have a dook. The air temperature is hot and the water temperature is just the refreshing side of ‘soup’. It is paradise!
Day 3. Windsor Lake (0.7 portage) Dodd Lake to Ireland ( 0.8 km portage)
The internal lakes have very few or no power boats. The waters are like mirrors reflecting the beauty of the forest and blue skies above us. We paddle along, now without lifejackets, it is so calm and so hot. We watch Osprey fly overhead and frogssunbathing in the shallows. It is hard to describe the beauty of the canoe trail with the idyllic weather we enjoy of The Sunshine Coast.
The portages have canoe stands are frequent intervals, a lot of them having been renewed within the last year. Their frequency is welcomed however some have been built for midgets! Cory starts his weighted squats sooner than planned as he has to almost sit on his bottom to get under the canoe.
There are numerous board walks and bridges to make the portages as foot friendly as possible and the trails are very well maintained.
We miss the picnic area for lunch, we couldn’t see any signs and almost went past the landing area due to the lack of signage but we get out the map and realise our error.
Then after lunch, Cory portages the canoe to Ireland Lake, to get away from the Sunday crowds at Dodd Lake. It is worth it! We have Ireland lake all to ourselves and the waters are even warmer and the frogs entertain me for hours.
Day 4. Ireland Lake,(2.4 km portage) Nanton Lake and Horseshoe Lake
Ireland Lake is tiny and we are across it within 10 minutes. Is it called Ireland Lake, because that is what it looks like from the air? Then we have the portage to Horseshoe lake.
This is the most entertaining portage! The trail follows a creek and the trail itself is gorgeous. What we didn’t expect was to be part of a BBC trailer. Garter snakes have come out onto the trail to warm themselves in the morning sun. We are the iguanas of the Galapagos and the snakes slither (thankfully away and not towards us) as we pass by. But you cannot see them! They are so well camouflaged in the dappled light!
This is what we feel like!
After the ‘thrill’ of making this crossing 3 times, 7.5km, it is time for a wee rest and a clif bar or two….
More dreamy hot weather and relaxing lunches and cups of tea as we take shelter in the driftwood shade offered on the little islands or the shores of the lake.
When we arrive at Horseshoe lake and find a tropical paradise of a campsite in an old quarry, complete with Tarzan, picnic benches and curious chipmunks and squeaky squirrels. We head back to the water and enjoy the best swimming so far. The water has pockets of hot water. The bottom of the lake bends in, to make the ‘horseshoe shape’, near the dam and the waters have so little movement, that it is possible for the temperatures to build up. It is wonderful. We head back to our little Amphitheatre and set up camp, have our ‘tea’ and then head back out to the warm waters of the lake for a pre-bedtime dook.
Day 5. Horseshoe Lake to Lois Lake (1.7km portage)
We had thought we would camp at the top of Lois Lake and base ourselves their for the last night. However we had misread the map and their was no campsite at the top of Lois Lake, it was half way down the portage from Horseshoe lake. We then planned to paddle west towards Khartoum Lake and find a campsite.
At first on Nanton Lake the waters were pond like and calm but once we got out onto Lois Lake the winds had picked up and it get choppy! The wind was favourable for getting to Khartoum Lake but I imagined that the next morning we would have a battle to traverse Lois Lake for our pick up at the end of the trail.
Eventually, around lunchtime, we found a gorgeous sandy beach littered with driftwood and huge upturned tree trunks to offer us some shelter from the still blazing hot sun. We hid behind an ancient bleached tree root and charged our phones, as for the first time in 5 days we had mobile reception.
We ate, slept, filtered water and enjoyed the stunning beauty of our own little beach. The Ospreys swooped and called over head and Mr Raven called in a few times to welcome us.
Day 6. Lois Lake
We thought we wouldn’t sleep after such a lazy day but we did sleep. The moon peeping out and the stars shining bright above us. The water stopped sloshing against the shore sometime during the night and we were almost convinced the lake had disappeared.
While having our morning cup of tea, Mr Otter swam past, not spotting us, and dived and popped up and dived and popped up again, looking for his breakfast.
Despite the calm waters of the night the wind had picked up again. The pond like waters were gone and we faced a headwind as we headed towards the westerly end of Lois Lake.
We paddled and then sought shelter to rest and tackled the traverse section by section. The sun broke through the clouds just enough to give my phone a little bit of charge on the phone for calling for our pick up.
Again the lack of orange signs lead to a bit of confusion about where we should land. The map indicated we had missed the jetty but again, we didn’t see anything resembling a jetty!
By the time we decided on a particular sandy beach there were a few spots of rain and the wind had a chill to it. We hunted out our gortex jackets and wrapped up against the change of weather.
Cory managed to message Mitchell’s Canoe with our location and I kept myself busy filling my mug with the sweetest brambles in Canada.
“All about the journey and not the destination”. That’s certainly what we have learnt on our Big Adventure. We set out to walk the 2650 miles from Mexico to Canada. The dangerous conditions in the high Sierra ( due to the snow and dangerous creek crossings) has seen us amending and Amending the amendments of our plans. At a rough guess we think we are now on Plan E or F!
Wisely we both got off the PCT. Cory’s experience allowed him to make the sensible choice and get off the trail too after walking 6 days in the High Sierra. Sadly at least 5 PCT Hikers have lost their lives on the trail this year, 4 deaths happening within the last 4 weeks, two of these deaths were definitely due to drowning in the creeks. There are innumerable stories of serious injury and near death experiences also.
We then walked the Beautiful Coast line of Oregon. The Oregon Coast Trail had its busiest year ever with the unexpected ‘PCT refugees’ influx. Even most Oregonians had not heard of their own coastal trail. It was fantastic to experience a different sort of trail, from the Wilderness experience of the PCT.
Since finishing the OCT we travelled to the San Juan islands to see Orca and taken our planned ‘holiday within our holiday’ to see Wolf, Bear and Moose in Yellowstone. After the Eclipse we had planned to ‘get back on the trail’ and continue north to Canada. However …
The best laid plans of mice and men…
Wildfires now rage on the PCT and the ice storms over winter resulted in hundreds and hundreds of fallen trees in Washington. So we have decided to keep heading north and experience a different sort of trail before we reluctantly head for home.
We are going to have an Open Canoe adventure in Canada’s Sunshine Coast. There is a Sunshine Coast hiking trail but we are ready to experience wild Canada from the water. We are traveling to Powell River, where we are hiring a Open canoe. We will then Canoe the 57km, 8 lakes, (5 portage) of the lake based trail, wild camping and hoping to view the wildlife which British Columbia has to offer!
On my goals for 2017, among many other wonderful dreams, is to see Orca in the wild. Yes, we have a reasonably local pod off the West Coast of Scotland but they are quite a rare sight.
After lots of research and looking at logistics we ruled out getting to Vancouver Island after finishing the Oregon Coastal Highway. Too far away and expensive to get to, as we plan to visit Yellowstone for Wolves, bear and moose and be back in Oregon for the Solar Eclipse.
The San Juan islands are in Washington state and reasonably easy to get too! We take a bus from Florence to Eugene and then another bus to Seattle. We catch a shuttle bus from Seatac airport to Anacortes and a ferry over to Friday Harbour on the main island, San Juan. It’s a two day trip to get to San Juan and it has the feeling of Gairloch. It’s bustling with tourists and all the locals know each other. The islands main industry is tourism, just like back home. However here their are scores of kayak and whale watching boats. Welcome to the island that boasts the Orca Highway.
The resident pod of Orca eat salmon, thus behave differently from the transient pods of Orca which frequent the waters off the coast of the San Juan Islands and Canada.
We catch the local bus ($5 p/p about 4 buses a day) to San Juan County Park which has a hiker biker camp. There are toilets with running water, charge points in the toilet or at the rangers office. For once the Hiker Biker camp, is the best spot in the campsite.
The temperatures are topping triple digits on the mainland and San Juan, although not quite so hot, is dry and balmy. We erect our tent as close as possible to the sea and plan our Orca sighting optimisation plan. The sunsets from the park are magnificent and the lights of Vancouver Island wink at us as it turns from dusk to dark.
There are warnings everywhere about the resident raccoons and thankfully there is a communal food locker for the hiker bikers. Despite this during the night I am awoken. There is something outside the tent. If I didn’t know better I would sweat it was a hippopotamus ripping up hunks of grass with its massive mouth. The noise of the rip and munch is so loud! What can it be? I sit up and look out the mesh of the tent door and I see the delicate silhouette of a graceful black tailed deer. She is gazing at me. I Am gazing at her! She is beautiful! After a while she tires of inquisitively looking at me the big red caterpillar. and resumes her hippo impersonation moving further down the meadow towards the sea.
The Orcas are well know to be visible from the coastline from our park and also Lime Kiln park, down the coast a few kilometres. This is the Orca Highway. The salmon run up the west side of the island and the hunters follow their prey.
Based on all our research we book a kayak trip and dream of our Orca Experience. The kayak trips leave from Small Pox bay, in our park, so we wait for our guide and the other clients to arrive. We chat to our neighbours in the campsite. They have a yacht and travel these waters often and are touring the island with their bikes for a few days. We are the only hikers at the park, the rest of the people are either cyclists or have vehicles. We we chat their little dog heads for the porch of our tent. Cory hollers a ‘hey’ at the dog and the mum quickly retrieves the dog.
Later we I go to renter the tent and get ready for our kayak I find a little horrid parcel the dog had left for us on our porch!!!! Dogs always on the leash, the rules are there for a reason. Yuck!!! Thankfully it was a wee dog! The ‘parents’ are horrified, I’m reasonably matter of fact about it, Cory ‘is Not happy about it’.
After initially accidentally signing into the wrong group! Our guide and van arrive and we set off!
We see Bald Eagles, curious seals, harbour porpoise, millions of tiny fish, various jellyfish but we have one track minds. ORCA. The sea is tranquil and still, like a pond, not the open sea. I feel quite calm in the double kayak with my expert at the back. Cory takes a wee while to get used to having a rudder though! I just paddle as instructed and hope for the best.
We stop for lunch and based on cryptic comments from our guide and the other clients I ask. “Did we miss some Orca information on the mini bus? Are the Orca not around?”
Our guide admits yes we had missed a bit of information on the trip over. The ‘resident orca’ have ceased to be resident. The salmon have disappeared and thus the Orca have too, worse, this isn’t a recent occurrence. The sightings had plummeted in 2016 and 2017 it had gotten a lot worse. Salmon numbers were down to 20% of what they were a few years ago. The Orca now rarely frequent the ‘Orca super highway’.
This is the best kept secret of the San Juan islands where the tourism industry is built of the whales (as well as sport fishing). People don’t come here to kayak, they come to kayak with Orca.
The day ceases to hold any interest for me after that. I can go kayaking, we can go kayaking whenever we want. We live beside the sea, we kayak with Otter and curious seals.
Quite discontent and feeling quite ill treated at this information we rethink our strategy. We book a super fast rib from Friday Harbour the next day, as there are many transient pods of Orca in the Saltish Sea. With a fast boat we maximise our chance of being able to get to any pods, if sighted.
We had to get up and on the road by 7am. The local bus doesn’t start until 10:30 so we will have to walk the 10 miles across the island. If we don’t get a hitch this leaves enough time to get into town by foot. 2 miles into our hike, a young Dutch couple stop and empty their back seat. They have just left our campsite and are headed for the ferry at Friday Harbour. Kerching ! Cory impresses them with a ‘Dank vel!’
The smog from the wildfires in Canada have made the day hazy and humid. We get kitted up in the warm suits and head from
Canadian waters where the captain says Orca have been spotted. It will take us about 1hour 10 minutes to get to the area. After yesterday’s disappointment, we are a bit scared to get our hopes up!!
There is a naturalist on board also but we travel so fast there isn’t much she can say and be heard. The captain, with 20 years experience, seems to know just as much as our guide.
We bump across the flat seas and visibility across the waters is fantastic. If the orca are there, we will see them!
The groups of boats are the give away that we have reached our destination. The tour boats have to stay at least 400yards away from
The Orca to decrease disturbing the whales. Of course if he Orca dive and come up closer to the boat, then you have ‘lucked out’.
Then silently the huge dorsal fins break the surface of the calm grey waters. It is breathtaking!
When they dive we never know where exactly they will reappear. We watch them silently break the waters surface, usually take about three quiet breaths and dive again.
The transients are hunting. They will eat porpoise or seals etc. Thus they behave differently from the resident salmon eating pods. They are silent. They breath as one. They are quiet. They are stealthy.
They are spellbinding.
They are magnificent.
They are beautiful.
We are thrilled. When, after 40 minutes, the captain says we will have to start heading back. We are gutted. I want to stay with them for hours.
Our captain was good however as he, unlike many other boats, kept a respectful distance from the whales. It was interesting to watch the other boats and how they flouted the rules. Also how the boats were ‘almost’ listing to one size with the weight of all their tourists leaning over one side of the boat.
Thrilled we return to Friday Harbour and catch the 4 times a day bus back to the park.
Day three and the Orca pressure is off! We have a day off sitting at our campsite and gazing at the sea.
Day four, again we start hitching into town before the bus service. A lady picks up about a mile into our hike, again she is from our campsite and has a lovely big dog called Bear. She drops us off at a busier junction as she is headed for English Camp. Immediately after getting dropped off Elaine picks us up, she’s in a rush so we scoot into the car and whoosh have a lovely chat as she heads into town in a hurry.
Our initial ferry departing Friday Harbour was late, we get back into town late. We’ve missed the bus that will take us back home. We manage to get to the supermarket before the 60+ cyclists manage to locate it and empty it of booze and crisps and then head to the ‘bus stop’. There is a bus but it won’t go as far as our park. It stops 5 miles before our park and then turns and heads back to town.
We ask to get dropped off as close to the park as possible and the driver recognises us. She’s says if no one else gets on the bus she will take us all the way home. No one else does get on, we are very lucky ( and great full) and leave here a tip as well as our fare!
We leave he island on Saturday and have to be at Friday Harbour by 6am. Cory arranges for a taxi to pick us up at 5:20 and it’s a groggy 4:45 that sees us packing up the tent in the dark.
We wait for the taxi at the park entrance as we sleepily remove ‘sleep’ from our eyes. 5:15, 5:20, 5:25, 5:30. Cory phoned the company, no answer. He phoned them again and leaves a message. 5:35. He tried again. He then phoned our (return journey prepaid) shuttle driver to explain that our taxi hasn’t picked us up! He says that even if he shows up now, we won’t make it as he is about to board. He said we could try for the 8am ferry and try and catch the Bellair shuttle. 5:40 and we start walking.
Trudge. Trudge trudge. Our bus leaves Seattle at 2pm! IF we catch he 8am ferry. IF we can get space on Bellair Shuttle. Will we reach Seattle in time for our next prepaid bus to Portland?
3 miles, we walk three miles and no a single vehicles passes us! At the English Camp junction we hear a truck.
I don’t hitch! Apparently I “pulled a face” which Cory said I should use every time we are hitching. Hehe!
I didn’t use my thumb either! I flagged the truck down! The driver didn’t have a chance!
He was opening his boot before I even explained our predicament. What an angel!
He was a local cafe owner on his way to open up!
He said that the Island operated on its own agenda and wasn’t entirely surprised we had been let down by our taxi driver! We had assumed their was only one company on the island but he explained there was a few!
We arrived in good time and headed for a coffee and to charge our iPhones. We needed to arrange our onward journey and get the taxi driver! Cory phoned and phoned the taxi company and left messages. No one phoned us back!!!
I phoned the taxi company, with my different number, and someone answered. I passed the phone to Cory.
After chatting to the driver on duty it was established that our driver should have been BoB the owner of the company. The driver said he would phone Bob and get a solution and call us back. He did call back and said Bob had forgotten to write our booking in his book! And?
He said Cory should call Bob in the office. Again Cory called and called. He left messages. No response. Cory phoned the driver back and explained Bob ‘wasn’t answering his phone’! The driver then gave Cory Bobs mobile ( well it wasn’t his mistake was it!).
Bob answered his mobile!
Cory, thankfully, managed to remain calm and explained we had now missed our prepaid shuttle to Seattle and would also miss our prepaid bus to Portland.
Bob said he would be with us in 10 minutes to give us money to cover our costs! We then set about trying to get reservations on the Bellair shuttle and change our BoltBus booking. Bob appeared with seconds to spare as we prepared to board the ferry. We got $160 to cover our costs.
We secured seats on Bellair. We managed to get our BoltBus tickets changed we would make it to Portland that night for our prepaid Airbnb. And we even had money left over for a lovely late lunch in Seattle. The most awesome Chinese.
It had been quite stressful! We were just glad we hadn’t been heading to the airport for a flight only bus connections or the consequences would have been a lot more
Walking the Pacific Crest Trail was our original goal. I was more ‘relaxed’ in my definition of my ‘adventure’ to get from Mexico to Canada, preferably by ‘foot power’.
We have avidly followed the PCT Facebook pages, received updates from the internet and our Californian and Oregon friends. Primarily we were watching the record snow fall, then the lack of snow melt and of course when things did start to slowly melt, our attention widened to ‘creek crossings’.
It sounds quite benign doesn’t it? Creek Crossing. It sounds like a hop, skip and jump with butterflies and dragon flies sparkling in the sunlight, along with Huckleberry Finn.
The reality could not be more different!
Raging torrents, 2+ meters in depth, the force hurling huge tree trunks, boulders and debris.
I decided to skip the Sierras after various plans to ‘flip flop’ and come back and hike then later proved not feasible.
Cory, with his decades of mountaineering and white water experience, decided to hike the high Sierra. As we know 7 days into that adventure, he had the courage to make a hard decision and get off the trail. The reason for his departure? Not the snow but the creek crossings! One slip in the wilderness is all it takes and the conditions this year with 200% more snow = 200% more snow melt = treacherous!
Pacific Crest Trail and now the Oregon Coast Trail.
Mountain Rescue Services have been overwhelmed. We know of two+ deaths already on the trail. These have NOT been reported on the Officially PCT page!
Only the unofficial PCT Class of 2017 Facebook page mentions the deaths. Thus there will be more serious incidents which aren’t being collated.
Webb Country Park to Lincoln Beach (Devils Lake State Park)
Clean Hair Day
Hiker Biker campsite with lockers and USB chargers. Awesome. Cory also found a tiny bottle of Pantene, joy of joys, I have clean hair. First time in about 9 days!
In Oregon the preferred greeting seems to be “Howdy“, Cory reckons if he says this we won’t get engaged in conversation (that and avoiding eye contact). We’d not get anywhere if we engaged in a conversation with everyone who wants a wee chat.
He got a wee bit topsy-turvy today though “Heidi” he greeted a fellow Beach walker. Nope that’s me !! Hehe!
Lincoln Beach to Beverley Beach State Park
The Crow Bagel Raid
Oh my feet hurt tonight! Too much tarmac on today’s route. We had three Beach walks, roughly with a total of 9 miles. With the wind behind us, Gortex Jackets on, hoods up, we made good time on the beaches. The one huge estuary we had to get over or around, we hitched to avoid the 4.5 miles of highway 101 walking.
Over 20 minutes for a hitch, all the good people on their way to church, too focused to pick us up. A lovely Mexican man, covered in paint, on his way to Newport to pick up more paint (as he had ran out).
“When I moved here, I didn’t even know how to use the bus, I walked everywhere”
Ah the angel 😉
Then more walking …
With only 1.6 miles to go, I needed another wee rest. As my feet were throbbing so much after a huge tarmac walk through Depoe Bay and beyond.
For tea tonight we had a rare tin of tomato soup and bagels planned of course with crisps as the aperitif! Cory was off for his shower and unnoticed (be me), a crow was hopping along towards our picnic bench. I ran over and chased it away. I then went back to my iPhone charging in the locker. Next I see 4 crows in the tree, a mob! I ran to our picnic bench. The blighters had burst the bag and half a bagel was gone.
I changed my sentry duty to the bench to secure the grub. Tonight we will sleep with the 4 bagels we have left in our tent 🙂
Beverley State Park to South Beach State Park
French ‘do’ have a sense of humour!
Slept in, again. Lazy OCT timetable! We awoke at 7, my bed a pancake, again! We’d heard a creature last night, snuffling and creeping around the tent but all the food was intact.
South, after granola and powdered milk, a beautiful chilly morning with a North Easterly wind. Favourable for us south bounders!
The sea mist built up and came in. Plunging us into the cold. We walked past two lighthouses today and visited neither, as usual, on a mission to camp.
Wisdom, wit or gobble-de-gook
“Where are you walking from?”
“On zee beach?”
“What nationality are you, but, you are not Americans?”
“Yes, I know it, as me, I am French ” said the lady. The implication being that Americans don’t walk.
“Is this the hiker biker camp?” Lady wheeling in her bike.
“Bloody hell your Scottish ” mandy
“And so are you”
” where are you from, Glasgow?”
“No Stirling, and you?” mandy
“Stirling” Lucy (lady wheeling bike).
South Bay State Park – taking a zero
Hair done, library visited and full use of the McDonald’s app! BURP!! Huge traffic jam as we tried to get back to camp.
South Bay State Park to Bayview State Park ( beyond Waldport)
Eyeless Fish In the fog
On the road by 7:50! Early for the OCT part-timers. 6+ miles of empty beach. Low tide was 8:30 and we hit Beaver Creek after 10:00. It meant soggy feet for the rest of the day.
We spotted another Bald Eagle on the beach, it is top viewing before the heat of the day builds and they use the thermals.
Later on there were 6 or 7 vultures on the beach. They slowly took off as we approached. We thought it was a dead guillemot ( we have seen a lot) or perhaps a young seal pup. No, it was a huge fish, still fresh but its eyes gone. Cory burst its skin, with his walking poles, to give the vultures easier access.
The souls of my feet are very sore today. Sore much earlier than usual. My decathlon shoes are officially ‘bounce-less’. They’ve walked over 1000 miles and are also ‘sole-less’. I was hobbling with 5 miles to go!!
My second ‘gaiter‘ now has a hole in it too. I cut another scrap off my ‘half towel’, got out the sewing kit and darned away. Then I added some duct tape as an extra security measure!
No USB chargers at this campsite:-( it means hanging around the loos, looking ‘well dodge’ , as you try to charge them while ensuring no one helps themselves to your phone!
Bayview State Park to Carl G Wasbourne State Park
Lazy,lazy. Lazy! Although we wake up early, unlike the PCT, there’s no rush! We had the left over granola with powdered milk, followed by bagel and cream cheese and tea.
Then out onto the beach! It had started misty and big droplets of water had been plopping on us heads in camp. However 10 minutes into the walk we were stripping off layers.
We had lots of creek crossings (none mentioned in Bonnies Book- oh the letter we could write). It’s not comfortable to walk a entire day with soaking shoes, socks and feet. Starting to feel the scratchy rub of athletes foot as it begins to slowly build to a burn. Like sandpaper between your toes.
Yachats is the little holiday town on the route today. Cory calls it Coffee town ( a different sort of one track mind). He’s busy working out his fitness plan for his next challenge and is discussion a core work out. I rename it the Bagel Belly, due to our new addiction affliction.
We head to the posh bakery cafe. Cory has? Yes, coffee. I have a hot chocolate. A croissant costs $4.50, a muffin too! The produce is baked fresh in the back shop, into which you can see, dreadlocked artisans playing with flower and rolling pins.
I’m dying to take off my shoes and air my fungus toes but I think it may result in a health notice being issued to the bakery and exterminators being brought in. So I silently suffer.
Next stop the supermarket. $5.99 foot long sub and our favourite $2 bag of salty tortillas. We bounce along now excited at the prospect of lunch.
We are surprised to kind OCT trail signs. A pleasant surprise and we head onto Amanda’s Trail which will eventually take us to Cape Perpetua.
What an UP! The sweat is pouring off me and my little hummingbird heart is fit to pop. We pass the Amanda statue ( gps tracker and surveillance cameras) and hike the lush dark green forest paths.
I warn Cory about counting chickens too early. Which we do. I think 3 times the chickens were out of their basket! Eventually after what felt like 80% of up, and many false downs, a sign!
Another 15 minutes and we are at the look out and more importantly a picnic table. How quickly can a foot look Bavarian ham and cheese sub disappear? Pretty darn fast!
We get chilled at the top of the Cape. The sweat saturated merino tops drying on our skin, under the shady trees. We wrap up in our down jackets.
Down to the Interpretation centre and clean loos for a hand and face freshen up.
The next section is mostly road walk so we decide to hitch at the ‘turn-out’ to view the water spouts. The parking bays are full in fact so full that people are double parked. Famous last words”this shouldn’t take long…”
We aren’t sure how long it took but it ‘did’ take long. Maybe an hour.
An elderly gentlemen on his way to dinner at the casino in Florence was kind enough to stop. I think he was a little hard of hearing, as Cory had to live up to one of his trail names, Translator!
Wisdom, wit or gobbledegook
I asked (the elderly gentlemen) if he had won the free dinner. “Nope (he giggled), I just used to spend too much money there and they gave me vouchers to make me come back”
“What do you folks do back home, are you teachers?”
“Cory owns a training business but I’m now unemployed” I reply.
“Well good for you! If there is one thing I’ve learned after getting to this age, it’s to take every opportunity that comes to you!”
We get dropped off at Carl G Washbourne State Park and now that it is Central Coast it is only $10 a night (no USB ports though but last night didn’t either). It’s freezing under the trees. So we make our ramen from the shelter of the tent and wash it down with tea and dried cranberries.
Carl G Washbourne State Park to Florence.
An Elephant Pees on The Tent!
A spring in our step this morning. The last day of our Oregon Coast Trail. Awake before 6am, although not too much of a surprise as my Garmin says I’d slept for 11and 1/2 hours!
There seems to have been a little mishapduring the night. First time in ages I needed a midnight pee, it seems I forgot the rules of gravity! ‘Things’ seem to have ran down a wee slope to under the tent and onto our walking poles!
Cory thought to was a visit from a deer during the night. I couldn’t let the deer take the rap for me! It was the ‘elephant pee!’
We were on the beach before 8am, Hobbit Beach, all to ourselves, then onwards up the Hobbit Trail, then up up up to Heceta Head and down down to our first lighthouse close enough to touch.
Next we have to get through the Tight Tunnel which the OCT now recommend that hikers Do Not Walk through. 9:04 we started hitching to ensure we don’t risk our life’s in the Tunnel of Doom! 9:35, the lovely Jim stops on the way to pick up his wife from the airport.
Wisdom, wit or gobbledegook
He’s heading to Florence, McDonalds in fact, for breakfast! We think…’what an excellent idea!’ And we trundle all the way into town for Second Breakfast.