Hiker Re-Intro: Meet Halle, Future Oregon Coast Trail Thru Hiker

Hey hikertrash community, I’m back! Or, I will be soon.

My name is Halle (I’m still sans trail name), and earlier this year I documented my thru hike of California’s Backbone Trail on here and on social media. The BBT was just a warm up though, as I’m about to embark on a journey more than four times as long (and a little further north).

Starting in august, I’ll be heading south on the Oregon Coast Trail solo!

Who am I?

I’ve been hiking for most of my adult life, but started endurance hiking not too long ago. I became enamored with the idea of thru hiking, and last summer, decided to finally start pursuing my first long trails. I actually decided on the OCT about a year before I’ll be getting on trail (which is pretty cool).

Long story short, I’m a thru hiker with chronic and recurring pain. I strayed from hiking in general when my injuries popped up and genuinely never thought that I’d be able to put the word “thru” in front of “hiker” when describing myself. It wasn’t until I started rock climbing that I was able to come back to hiking. Climbing essentially cured my chronic back pain, which allowed me to have one less thing to worry about on trail.

I work in our parks as a guide, an outdoor educator, and an expedition leader. I’ve led trips in New River Gorge National Park, Henry W. Coe State Park, North Cascades National Park, the Mount Hood area, the Columbia River Gorge, and of course, the Oregon Coast. I work seasonally, so I move around a lot, but I’ve called Oregon home since March, leading up to this thru hike at the end of summer.

Why the Oregon Coast Trail?

Originally, I chose this hike to do with my dog. Through the summer, it’s become super clear that due to the heat, he wasn’t going to be able to get in thru hiking shape with me. It’s just been way too hot for him to join me for shakedowns and training hikes, so I’ll be doing the OCT SoBo alone.

Regardless, the OCT is known for being a fairly doable “beginner” thru hike. While I have a lot of backcountry experience, I’ve never been on trail for more than ten days at a time, so having access to towns is going to give me a lot of peace of mind. It’s also a fairly mid-length thru hike, so it feels like a doable distance to pursue!

What are my worries about the OCT?

There is one thing that worries me most about this trail in particular: the ocean. This probably comes as a surprise, because of course the ocean is a factor! It’s the COAST trail.

The trail itself is mostly flat, there’s a lot of access to roads and towns and resupply and tap water. But I have to learn how to read the tides and plan around them. Most of the river crossings on this trail are only doable at low tide, and some sections of beach are only walkable at low tide. The ocean is a little intimidating and it’s going to provide challenges I’ve never faced before in the backcountry. But, I also know that I’m going to come out the other side of this with a much deeper relationship with the ocean than I’ve ever had before.

I’m excited to face something new on the OCT, and take my distance hiking to a new level. I have just about a month until I get on trail, so needless to say, it’s prep time, but I’m feeling more ready than ever to walk across the state I’ve called home all summer.

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Comments 3

  • Emma : Jul 25th

    I just finished the OCT. The ocean wasn’t a big deal, in fact it was an excellent auditory companion along the way, and I miss hearing it now. I did need to figure out how to read tide tables. It seems important to look at how high/low the tide actually is. Like a 4 ft high tide isn’t very high. And a 3 foot low tide isn’t very low, if you know what I mean. All the rivers will be at low summer levels, so you shouldn’t have too many problems. Tenmile creek might require going upstream to ford. The new river is no problem right now. The sixes is easy to cross at a 2 foot or lower tide level. The elk is no problem. I couldn’t ford the Pistol, so I walked the bridge. The winchuck river is easy to cross at low to medium tide.
    I heard some people were able to cross sand lake outlet. I wasn’t. But if I did it again, I’d bring a waterproof bag for my backpack, strip down, and swim across with an incoming tide. The road walk there sucks. I walked inland to cross the siltcoos, and took advantage of a picnic bench at waxmyrtle campground while I walked through.
    If road walks start to wear on you, call the bus. They have been extremely accomodating in picking up and dropping off where there isn’t technically a stop. Or if you don’t want to skip any mile, aim for road walks early in the morning and walk against traffic.
    Enjoy, the oregon coast is quite the experience. You’ll see everything, from the remotest beaches where you might startle seals, to interesting birds in the surf, to locals on a walk, to the smells of all the various kinds of forest, misty mornings, blazing and windy afternoons, and lots of friendly bicyclists at the hiker/biker camps.
    If you haven’t already, gather as much information as you can before you go, and take good maps. I’ve found it much easier to follow the trail, avoid highway walking, time tide-dependent crossings, and know how to plan my days/camps with solid information. I thought I was overpreparing, but turns out I had it just right. I used caltopo to plan mileage and make some GPS backup maps to use on trail (with Avenza), the state park maps, Bonnie Henderson’s guidebook, other people’s blogs/vlogs, and some hand drawn maps I made to estimate daily mileage to camps/town/bus/water.

    • Halle Homel : Jul 26th

      This is such a helpful comment! Thank you!


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