Generous And Mistaken Strangers – Day 92: Bullards Beach State Park to BLM Campsite South of Bandon 

July 22

We’re supposed to wake up at 7am but I am not feeling it. I tell Energizer Bunny and Dexter not to wait for me but we still end up leaving around the same time. I stop by an Ace Hardware/RadioShack combo store, which I’ve never seen before, and get a plug, a cord and some batteries for my headlamp.

I meet Energizer Bunny and Dexter at the grocery store, where they are talking to Misty’s Dad. Misty is a trail angel who started the Facebook group for the OCT who lives in Bandon. I’m sad we won’t get to meet her because we’re just passing through.

I’m tired of trail food so I buy tortellini and pesto. The nice temperatures and frequent resupply stops are a real selling point of this trail.

Outside we’re packing our packs and Dexter makes a noise of despair. She’s dropped her marionberry pie all over the ground and her shoe. In that moment, she is probably the saddest hiker in the world.

Energizer Bunny and Dexter head out but I’m in no hurry and I’m still packing my food, so I stay and continue eating and packing. A woman comes up and says, “you look like you’re having a hard time” and tries to hand me money.

“Oh! I’m not homeless – I’m a hiker. But thank you!” She laughs a little and says, “I’ve just been having such a hard time myself that when I see someone struggling…” she doesn’t finish the thought. “Well, I hope it restores your faith in humanity a little bit.”

And it does. People on this trail have been generous in so many ways to us, and personable. It’s my favorite part of the trail. Not getting mistaken for homeless (both in positive and negative ways) – but how many surprising kindnesses I’ve been shown.

Bandon is awesome. There are awesome rocks and cool sand art and it’s just an overall pleasant walk. We walk a few miles and then we’re tired and we have to wait for low tide, so I set up my tent and take a nap. Genius. Dexter wraps herself in Tyvek and sleeps, too, and Energizer Bunny updates Facebook and basks in the sun.

We get moving. A fog rolls in and the sand keeps going and going. We’re walking on slightly softer sand because the firm sand is slanted steeply. We probably would have stopped earlier, but this is Snowy Plover territory, a type of bird that nests in the sand. There is only one camping area that we’re legally allowed to camp in and it’s a little mysterious and hard to find. A sign tells us it’s three miles away but there’s no real way to track miles and it’s hard to estimate when the sand is as tedious and slow as it is.

I call Mark and chat with him which makes me pay less attention the sand. Later I see Energizer and Dexter. “I think this is it,” Dexter says. When we climb over the fine there are a few flat spots and some other backpackers who are doing a section. It’s cramped, but we find spots. Well, I think I find one, and then realize it’s in the wind and tiny, so Dexter helps me move my tent over.

It’s too windy and sandy so we all eat in our tents instead of together. The tortellini is delicious and I feel like a genius. And then sleep.

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