Six Sand-dollars & A Buoy, The Emotions of Leaving

Officially On Trail!

Day One

My husband, Carl, and I left Battle Ground on Friday. The morning was spent chatting over coffee with my parents, and the conversation was filled with questions and excitement. I felt oddly numb, almost in disbelief that this day had arrived. That all changed at the North Jetty terminus in Astoria, Oregon.

Carl saw me off on my 4-mile beach walk before heading out to make camp. In the first five minutes, we found six intact sand dollars instilling confidence in me! I watched him walk away, waved,  turned back to face the beach, and completely lost it. The emotion and the magnitude of what I was attempting to accomplish hit me like a freight train. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for such a support system on this journey. 

 I discovered a small orange buoy that washed ashore and proudly presented it to Carl upon returning to camp! I told him I stopped at the gift store on the way down. Tired from traveling, we ate dinner and prepared for the first full day on the trail!

Day Two

We hit the beach at  Ft Stevens, coffee in hand by 7:30am. It was a beautiful day! The sun was out with a light breeze and the beach was full of clam-digging families and surf fishers. 

Two miles south of Peter Iredale we left the beach due to a known closure. The Oregon National Guard station of Camp Rilea borders three miles of beach and posts closures during live weapons training. This new route added two miles and a little stress on our self-inflicted time crunch for Carl to catch a bus in Seaside.  

The gravel access road leaving the beach contained massive potholes that were barely avoidable and would have been horrible after rain. We then joined the  Fort to Sea Trail. Built to commemorate the Lewis and Clark journey the stretch we experienced was quite literally through a cow pasture. 

My advice, pray that the beach is open. If it is not, wait a day to start or use the bus to get around. Camp Rilea posts closures on their website. Not to be completely downer about the detour, we did see a tiny white-tailed deer fawn, and ponds filled with blooming Lilly pads. 

Goodbyes & Tillamook Head

We arrived at Seaside in time for Carl to catch his bus. I ate an apple on the Seaside Promenade to keep from crying amongst the tourists. I still had for seven miles, which included the Tillamook Headland accent. Our entire day the headland was clear, by the time I left Seaside it was completely enshrouded in clouds. At 4pm I reached the Tillamook Head trailhead. A long 2 1/2 hours later I collapsed into Elcola Hiker Biker Camp. Tillamook Head was a mess. Landslides made navigating and route finding nearly impossible at times. It became a nasty tangle of side trails eager to lead me astray. Thankfully, I budget daylight and time for situations like this snacks help too. Hiking into the cloud felt awe-inspiring even as trail conditions worsened. The trail turned to mud and rotted boards, continuing to gain elevation. Every corner greeted me with blowing mist. I  finally spotted camp on a decent and practically sprinted. Day 2, 22.3 miles, done

 It was all I could do to set up my tent. A mother and daughter pair of section hikers were camped with me. They offered a backpacker meal that they could not finish. It was Chicken Pot Pie, I devoured it. The trail always provides. 

The forecast called for high winds the following day.  I made a plan to get out of the trees and make breakfast at Ecola Beach. 

As always thank you for following along! I have just now gotten enough time and service to post on Instagram as well. Photos from day one and two are up. kinetickell24

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