seems funny that i have only been doing this for around 10 days now, but so much has happened, and also not much because well rain and wind and rain and rain. the oregon coast is rainy, i know, no shit it’s rainy! i was prepared, and yet somehow not. i’ve had so many great experiences already, and i’ve been cheating.
when we left of, i was at seaside taking a break. since then i have made my way down the coast and am lodged up in lincoln city; swapping out gear and drying out all the things. also, i promised my tent a break from those winds.
so the weather has been super craptastic, but i am not going to complain about the life force of water, however, it shifts logistics a little. so between that and realizing that the coast trail is freaking expensive, lots of road walking (hard on the body), and some of the northern parks are closed due to landslides, i’ve decided to take the amazing coastal shuttle/bus system. yes, i will happily pay you $4.50 for what would have coast me 40 to 50 bucks in boat shuttles that may or not have been happening due to the weather. plus, saving that money helped me get a salad and a pint while waiting for a connector bus.
i have to say, taking these buses has left a soft spot in my heart for the coastal communities i have been passing through. many people use this public transportation for many reasons. they know the bus driver’s name and the driver knows the passengers names. they don’t treat the people with special needs any differently. they are kind. they seem to watch out for each other. maybe this is a piece of what i am searching for.
i’ve already met so many nice people. i was at bill’s tavern in cannon beach after getting blown off the beach. me and my pack were soaked and we really hadn’t gone more than a mile. this woman sitting in the booth next to me asked to join me. we had a nice conversation that finally came around to my feelings about the book/movie wild. i know i’ve already written my feeling about it, i probably will some more. anyway, she had this look on her face that seemed pained as she asked the question. so i took a minute and responded in a way that surprised me.
i told her that we can’t really blam this book/movie on the increased traffic on delicate land. that maybe people are searching for something anything that helps them feel connected to something, and this has been a tool to help with that. i can’t really blame that book/movie on the increased use of the pct (a kind of gentrification of the trail systems) anymore than i can blame the influx of people to portland on the show portlandia (yes, i said that). people are searching for places that they can experience life differently, more fully perhaps? these forms of popular culture give insight into some options that maybe people haven’t thought of until this introduction.
she seemed relieved at my response. maybe she too is searching for something. i don’t know. she was very present and thoughtful. she reminded me of my dad’s wife. anyway, she came back later with a generous gift that helped me pay for an over-priced camp site that night.
a couple days later i met 2 super nice guys outside the coffee shop in manzinita. i figured with the money i saved from not paying for a boat shuttle, i could splurge on a cup of coffee and fresh o.j. we were sitting outside talking about the super sweet dogs and life. they are from portland, just quite their corporate jobs and are trying to decide what’s next. when i was explaining what i was doing, i started tot tear up for some reason (and actually am again as i write this) and i’m not sure why. sometimes you meet people who you can tell the story you’ve already been telling, but you get to be more vulnerable, maybe? i don’t know. i think i’m starting to let go of some of my own bullshit. i hope one day i find out what they decide is next for them.
then i finally got some forest hike in after i hide in the hiker/biker camp of cape lookout. geez how i love that park. it was super great! and super muddy! thank goodness for carson footwear. the mud may have sucked off my shoes, but those shoes kept me from sliding off the trail! when the tide kept me from crossing the lake, i had a long and sideways rain come down on me. my walking day ended up being around 9 hours and 15 miles. i did have a nice layover at the sand lake gas and shop! as i put my things on the counter, i saw the rebel flag sticker and some other very similar sticker on the counter and took a breath. but when she found out i was walking and not biking, she started telling me about the last person that came through there a few years back who was walking with a pot belly pig! we laughed. i sad on the porch ate some snacks and watched the rain.
when i finally rolled into pacific city to a super over-price hiker biker campsite, i was a little not grumpy, exhausted. road walking is exhausting and hard on the body! so i set up my tent and walked across the street for a cold beer and a basket of fries! and i met my first fellow vegans!!!! they were a super amazing couple with their own amazing story. we had such a nice chat. i look forward to meeting them again some where some time… and maybe get to see the tiny house they built!
so, to get back to where this post started with the idea that we are all looking for some kind of connection; community maybe or a tie to the nature… some combination of family, what’s another word for tribe, that binds us together in the ways that we have empathy and compassion and some other feeling that maybe has no word for all those around us: the 4 legged, the winged, the creepers and crawlers, the swimmers, the trees, the plants, water and air, and even us 2 legged animals. i think we can do this. we can do this, but it is going to take some not-working, some un-working?
anyway, i can’t wait to see who i talk to next. its hard to meet people on this trail…not a lot of people on it. i meet folks when i stop into towns and chat on the buses.