On April 8th I was dropped off at the Columbia River’s South jetty in Fort Stevens State Park to begin the 382 mile hike south along the Oregon Coast Trail.
It started out overcast, and my ride, a trail angel from the Pacific Crest Trail that lived in northern Oregon, wished me luck before leaving me to the ling hike.
After climbing down to the beach it was both incredibly flat and extremely desolate. The fog hung in the air so that the distances vanished into white clouds, both in front and in back of you. As if you were in a bubble, as if the only things to exist in the known world were only a hundred or so feet in any direction. I walked the “foam line” as I called it, the strip of foam left behind on the sand from receding waves. There the sand was solid and made for easier walking.
By the time I hiked to the wreck of the Peter Iredale the rain had started and did not want to let up. The wind blew it across the ocean and into my face, forcing it under the zipper flap on my rain jacket, soaking my chest. My legs were frozen solid. I didn’t know if the redness of my skin was from the temperature or wind burn.
This is what I wanted? To hike in the cold rain against the wind across the entire state of Oregon?
By the time I made it into Gearhart there was no way I could thank the trail angel enough. Not only had he given me a ride from the airport to the trail head but he also provided a place to stay my first night out on the trail.
And boy did I need it.
I was soaked from head to toe and I realized just how out of shape my body had become. It had been 13 months since my last hike. 13 months mixing drinks behind a bar and getting fat. Was I really ready for this?
Either way it didn’t matter. Whether I was ready or not tomorrow morning I would be out there again. On the Oregon Coast Trail with no where to go but south.