Posted by: blinklove | July 31, 2010

California, California, here we come!

Our lovely neighbors.

Hello everybody! I am writing to you from Bakersfield, California.  We completed the Oregon Coast Trail and are so happy we made the choice to hike it.  The coast was beautiful with miles and miles of beach walking.  In the beginning I could not get over how many happy, healthy, and free dogs we were encountering.  It reminded me of a dog exercising beach I lived nearby for a little bit in New Zealand.  It seems that just about every other family in Oregon has at least one dog, and the dogs are spoiled with running free-time on the beach, meeting other happy dogs and people. What a joy!

Among dogs, we were excited to find ourselves meeting  and observing a plethora of animals throughout  the journey.  We lived with seagulls for weeks, and they still had the ability to crack me up on the last day. We saw numerous bald eagles, vultures, hawks, pelicans, and other sea birds. We saw hundreds of seals popping their heads out of the water, and two up close on the beach. We saw weird and curious bugs, purple shore crabs, and orange starfish with necklaces of pearl.

 Just when we felt like our bodies couldn’t carry us with the weight of our packs through anymore sand, the trail led us into the forest. We would start climbing over a headland in an atmosphere that seemed to be a hundred miles away from any beaches or communities.  We would climb over fallen trees and up steep hills.  We would sometimes walk over beautiful bridges in a fairy-like scenery.  After several miles we would find ourselves back on the beach, in awe of the ocean yet again.

The only draw back to this trail would be the road sections.  In many cases the highway of 101 has a very narrow shoulder.  Our most extreme road walking experience was making it through a tunnel just north of Florence.  We crossed a bridge, happily commenting on our gratitude for the sidewalk.  Unfortunately when we reached the tunnel, the sidewalk vanished.  Our notes did warn us about this tunnel, but we didn’t think it would be all that bad.  It was. It was literally wall-lane-yellow line-lane-wall.  We stood there for a minute wondering what to do.  The traffic was clumped, so we figured we would wait until a group of cars drove past. When the moment arose, we hit the biker’s button (causing a yellow blinking light cautioning drivers to slow down) and started sprinting into the tunnel. After just a few seconds of running at my full speed (pretty slow I found out after watching Stephen get smaller and smaller) the end of the tunnel seemed exponentially further than it just had.  Eventually Stephen turned around to check on me, and his eyes grew as he said, “Cars Coming!” I was worried that in the dim light they would not see me until it was too late.  We made it to the end with a few seconds to spare.  I could have fallen asleep right there, but a truck had stopped and waived to us.  We hurried as much as we could to the truck. They had felt bad for us and dropped us off at the next beach access point. Ah, people are good.

So you might be asking, “What now?” Well, we have a plan! We believe this strategy is how we will successfully complete our thru-hike. We must complete the two most extreme portions of the trail before winter lays her cold hands upon us. We have chosen to tackle the Sierras first (central California). We will then fly back to Canada again and hike south through Washington. September is typically when it is time to get out of the woods and into the home on this part of the country, so it will be close.  From Washington, we will head back to California and complete the northern section. Then we will only have the 40 miles left from where we found Charles, to where we are picking up the trail now. It may seem confusing so this is our order:

Central California ( well above 10,000 feet here so we need to finish these 500 miles before it starts snowing again)

Washington (though these 500  miles are not as high in elevation, cold rain turns into snow storms in late September)

Northern California ( usually very warm, so we are saving these 500 miles for the end)

40 miles from Hikertown- Tehachapi (we would go ahead and do these now, but it is difficult to get to this part of the trail. It is the desert so there is no hurry. We can grab the car and complete these miles right before driving back home to the wonderful Winston-Salem)

We miss home, we miss our friends and family, and oh goodness do we miss our dogs, but we are also very exciting about stepping foot back on the PCT once more.  We are healthy, strong, enthusiastic, and motivated.  Any of you who have donated and/or are following our story, please know we are putting everything we have into this for the animals.  Every penny has been worked for.  We love you and appreciate your help in this fundraiser for the homeless!
More soon,   heather~       

Our last mile of the Oregon Coast Trail!

 P.S. – We have added many more pictures to our albums on Facebook, check them out here!: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=18679&id=100000631539510&page=2#!/photos.php?id=100000631539510

 
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Responses

  1. If you guys are headed to Northern California at the end check and see if Chico works out for you, I could fix something I think.

    Hassan

  2. Congratulations!

    What an awesome thing you accomplished. I pray someday we will see each other again. Maybe in L.A.

    Take care, and may God bless you and all your travels.

    Ricardo


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