Trail Legs and 100 miles On The OCT!

Trail Legs!

On day six, walking into Cape Lookout state park, something clicked. Maybe it was the hitch from a day hiker with dogs or the motivation to get off the road walk? Whatever the reason, the three miles into camp were a sprint! Later I turned to Spencer, whom I met in Arch Cape, and exclaimed, 

“I think my trail legs came in!?” 

“You think?! He replied, “I looked up, and you were gone!”

 Other highlights from today included admiring and being slightly jealous of masses of harbor seals lazily lounging in the sun at low tide and the hot shower at camp. I take a planned zero in Cape Lookout and get data from Spencer about a water crossing ahead. He zeros the next day, so I am officially back to solo hiking. My parents live close and arrive for a couple of days. I can fix a hiking pole I broke in Seaside with a car handy.

Zeros Can Have Adventure Too

Do not do simple things tired. I was unaware that the hiker lockers at Oregon State Parks were so amazing and thus did not bring a small padlock. The ones at Cape Lookout were slightly farther from the tent sites. I asked my parents if they could provide a small combo lock, no key. I set a code, probably while talking mistake number one, locked my camera and charging block in, and then headed to town. 

Fast forward to bedtime, I go to switch what is charging. My code does not work. I try again, nope. I try it backward. It is only three numbers! I text my dad asking if he remembers it. Nope. Shit. All I want is sleep. Thankfully, I am the only one at camp. Soon I heard footsteps behind me. My dad arrives. 

“Got it?”


My mom suggested maybe the rangers at the check-in station could help. It is not a bad idea, but now I am thinking, let me ask if I can break into something. Thankfully I can show pictures on my camera that proves the locker is mine. We head that way. It is 9:00 p.m. We relay our situation and are told they have bolt cutters but will need collateral. We give her a license, and she gives us massive bolt cutters from the maintainable shed. I have to freaking cut the lock off of my locker. My dad, so lovingly, films the whole thing to send to my husband. I grab my things, return the bolt cutters and finally head to bed, hoping that is the worst of my faux pas this trip.

Waiting Fuels Anxiety and…100 miles!

I was so excited at the start of the day I took advantage of a slack pack provided by my parents and trail run the Cape Lookout stretch. Gorgeous trail! The slack-pack ended up being a godsend with the Sand Lake estuary crossing. It is a pretty intense crossing regardless of if you time it right with the tides. For me, it was a mental challenge. I was by myself and only had experience with minor crossings. The water came up to my thighs, and it was a block out of the rest of the world crossing.

Since this is my first thru-hike I am so grateful to be feeling this good mentally and physically. On Day 8 (day 7 of hiking), I reached the 100-mile mark at Pacific City, OR! Wow! It is hard to believe I am already a quarter of the way there!

Quick Tips & Tricks for the First 100 OCT miles 


-Use the boat shuttles at Nehalem Bay and Tillamook Bay. It is a fun way to start the day! 

– Call 1-2 days ahead for Tillamook Bay, especially if there is wind in the forecast. It will allow you to pivot in advance if the weather does not corporate. Garibaldi Marina will call to confirm. Rosey, the dock dog, is also adorable. 

-If you have a morning shuttle at Tillamook Bay, stop at Pacific Edge Espresso in Garibaldi. They open at 5:00 a.m. and serve good coffee and breakfast sandwiches. Worth the .5-mile walk past the marina entrance and saves you cooking time. 

Take advantage of Oregon St. Park hiker-biker camps. They are walk-ups, only cost $8, and have access to hot showers in the main camping loops. All are of the wind and very spoiling! Also, water! Many have locker boxes for food and valuables. The locker boxes also have four USB charging ports. 

– Watch for sinkholes on Cape Kiwanda! State parks have roped off two large holes in the last three months as of June 2023. They do not know how deep they are or what is causing them to form. Honor the fencing and tape barriers. 


– Do not tough out Sand Lake Estuary crossing simply because avoiding it means a road walk. Only cross at low tide. Even then, be prepared to reevaluate. I arrived two hours before a -.88 tide. I waited 45 minutes until the tide was right at zero feet. Water came to my upper thigh, and I am 5 foot 7 inches. The sandy bottom will take your trekking pole down about eight inches before it finally stops, which is unsettling. The water is bitterly cold, and you fight the current from the estuary rushing out as waves from the surf crash and push in. Know your limits.  

– Beach camping is overrated. It is romantic in theory, but you are better off pushing up into the trees. Make sure it is not private property. Downsides included high tides, high winds, and sand. There will come a time when developed campgrounds are few and far between, put off dune camping as long as possible. Also, no water. Additionally, sand is not conducive to cat hole digging and decomposition. 

– Do not belittle your 100-mile accomplishment! Pacific City is a fun quaint coastal town. Grab a pint at Pelican Brewing, literally right on the beach! Watch the Dory fleet, their boat trailers precariously placed in the surf. Maybe watch a tourist think they can do it too. Enjoy!

More photo up on IG as well! @kinetickell24

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Comments 2

  • Bonnie Henderson : Jul 14th

    Sounds like you’re doing great! And sounds like you might not have seen my book “Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail” or read the updates on my website,, or you would have seen a better way over Sand Lake estuary. And more updates that will help you as you continue south. Not trying to make money here, just keep people safe. I’d love to connect with you after your hike (contact me through my website). Happy trails!

    • Kellie : Jul 14th

      Hi! I actually really benefited from your book & website updates! My copy is all dog eared & notes in the margins! I hit it a too good of a negative tide not to at least give it a shot, having the walk around outs allowed me to safely challenge myself. I didn’t have a lot of big water crossing experience prior to this trip.


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