We get a late start, waiting for Dexter to meet us and then for the ride to lower a bit so we don’t have to walk on wet sand, and then planning the rest of our trip on the OCT. Dexter is hurting and wants to get home for a birthday, Energizer Bunny wants to be finished by the end of the month, and I am feeling eager to get back to the PCT. I miss hiking without thinking much, and being away from town, and also I have checked my bank account and didn’t love what I saw. So we’ve made a plan to skip many roadwalks and even some beach walks that look dull.
We get walking around 11am. I didn’t eat dinner the night before and it kept me up late and messed with my energy. I stop in Yachats while Dexter and Energizer Bunny go ahead and I buy a sandwich and a bag of pickles, along with a few resupply items. As I walk out of town I buy an ice cream cone. Hungry hungry hungry.
It’s not long before I’m off the road and walking through a forest. I forgot how nice it is to hike alone. It’s refreshing, and I’m looking forward to it on the PCT. I just hope most of the snow is gone.
The Amanda statue, memorializing a blind Native American woman who was forced to walk long distances to where her tribe was being “resettled” – her fate is unknown. Oregon has several informational stands along the coast and in the forests that have been nice background to the history of where we’re hiking
I get to the top of the climb to where there is a drive-up overlook and text Dexter to see where they are. We’d planned to walk a few more miles and hitch from a scenic viewpoint, but there are some people at this overlook and I’m tempted to hitch here. I strike up a conversation with a couple, Fred and Yvonne, and pet their tiny dog. We chat a little and I tell Fred about the hike and the hitching and he says, well, is you’d like one, we’re happy to give you a ride. So I say yes. They tell me Fred has climbed the high point in almost every state in the US. They’ve been married 52 years. They laugh about Fred’s initial lack of interest in going on a blind date with Yvonne, how handsome Yvonne thought he was. It’s a nice reminder that these people who help us along the way are just as much a part of the trail, that they will be part of what I remember, too, beyond the vistas and trees and miles. When they drop me off they give me their business card and wish me well.
Energizer Bunny and Dexter are already at camp – they’d hitched from the same place I did. The other people in camp are all hikers, which is new – normally we see mostly bikers. I talk to a woman who has hiked big chunks of the PCT and the AT, and has hiked the Colorado Trail. A man named Maestro introduces himself. He is headed to Crater Lake soon to hike north to finish his Triple Crown. Maestro is very nice and talkative, but he is talking in the way that thruhikers do – miles and gear and tough sections – and I listen but I realize these conversations don’t especially appeal to me. I hike all day, I realize. I don’t want to talk about it, too. But it’s hard, because hiking is what we have in common.
We’re finishing up dinner when a camper, Jason and his son Jake stop by to say they’re having a fire soon and we’re welcome to join him. The offer is appealing and once we clean up Dexter and I head over. Maestro is already there, and a Canadian motorcyclist named Tessa. Tessa is talkative and a little brash – she asks about politics and money and age, all the topics you’re supposed to avoid with new people. She seemed to be trying to be diplomatic but didn’t seem especially practiced at it. I find it awkward but also nice, to not be telling the same stories over and over.
We chat until around 10, and I excuse myself for bed. I fall asleep quickly.