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Archive for the ‘Oregon’ Category

yesterday the sun came out about 4pm – and for a moment these lands drew me back in. the sun filtered through the forest, illuminating the different shades of green, brilliant for a moment instead of heavy and oppressive as it too often seems. later that evening i went down to the beach, to watch the sun set over the sea. and as i walked the sandy beach, camera in hand, taking photos of the rock formations just off shore, i realized this area has lost its magic for me. i sat down on a large driftwood log, one of many that scatter the beach, and listened to the songs of the seagulls, music that once had seemed so romantic to me, and watched the changing colours of the sky- from blue to yellow and orange and pink. why am i not mesmerized and taken with awe i ask, as i had been in these scenarios so many times. i knew it was a beautiful sight. but the magic was no longer there for me. And the sea stacks that once called and spoke to me, alive with a mysterious life, now seemed almost ominous and foreboding, the remains of civilizations gone by, or alive and guarding, standing around, protecting something, something that is gone. The sun went down and i went to bed, knowing that truly the magic had been gone for some time – and it was not just the fog and grey. and i wondered how magical this coast had ever really been – oh yes – there was (and is) something special here, but over the past few years i have travelled it too many times, looking and looking for something i do not find. Has the coast changed? is it me? or both? yet, it is hard to say goodbye, for memories of magical moments still linger in my mind.

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i arrived in brookings about 3pm – rode the bus this time. was not sure if it ran today but after standing on the side of the road by humbug mountain for almost three hours, at times almost descending to tears, i prayed that it did. and i have to admit i was glad to be out of there. And i am not too sure why – for it was a beautiful place; set along a stream, with mountains on each side, plenty of trees and some with leaves rather than just needles, and access to the scenic beach. But after my first night when i moved from the overflow to the real hiker biker camp my mood started to change. was it something about the specific locale, on a hill instead of in a wide area of brown grass beside the stream, something in the air, the influence of the sun, or was it just me.

I wake up in the sun and the sun shines throughout the day. and i am no longer in that twilight zone. I spend the day at humbug mountain – not feeling like moving on. i am nearing the border to california and running out of oregon state parks. I awake and the sun is shining and it shines throughout the day – and how different i feel now that i am no longer in twilight zone – the movement inside is no longer sluggish, and crackles a bit.

I am at peace and then i move from the overflow to the real hiker biker area and i feel the energy change – i don’t know what it was and i feel better now – was it the threat of being moved in on and wanting one of the designated areas to myself and feeling greedy about that which made me feel this way. is it the sun itself or maybe limited caffeine.

I tell myself i will climb up humbug mountain itself – to get views up and down the coast and walk through some old growth that is there – but part of me just wants to relax and read and not put on my hiking boots. i sit in the sun feeling warm and then feel yes i should go for a hike – i put on my boots and across to the well groomed and graded trail, and begin my hike, thinking oh lethargy will just go away, always better once you start- i go about a mile up, see two families coming down, the trail is fine – ferns, salal, trees with some old growth giants, and a fair amount of poison oak – but i still do not want to hike. i continue on where the circle is and then turn around. yes, this is what i am supposed to do here – but it does not call to me.

and i have been feeling a bit like a fraud again – not a true hiker on the oregon coast trail, making much of my way by thumb and bus and i feel like i should be hiking more – and should is the operative word. i remember how last summer as i bussed around lake tahoe camping at the few hiker sites, i then too felt like i fraud, like i should be doing the pacific crest trail, as many of the other hikers were. but i know i am not a backpacker in the long distance hiking sense of the word, and while i love the wildlands, at times i prefer tamer parks.

And while the rvers and tenters come to relax and enjoy the sea, here i feel i should be hiking. and a place often calls up an activity and do you feel it inside. And there are places for hiking, for working – of different sorts, for partying, and for so much else. and do you jive with the activity to be performed? If not, you often feel out of kilter and out of tune with the dominant vibe. And the activities often define a place – be it in a home – a bedroom or sleeping place, the cooking place, and the place to pee, and within cities there are now so many specialized zones, and likewise with areas of the country or towns up and down the coast. And i here i feel out of kilter

in the evening i go down to the beach to watch the sunset over the sea and the standing monoliths or rocks offshore. but i do not feel calm and become impatient with how long it takes to descend; and have to chuckle when a man on a nearby log boos when it goes behind the bank of fog that remains offshore here.

I get up in morning and it is sunny again – and i feel a floating agitation coming over me. and this is what i wrote as i sat at my picnic table before i left – feeling off balance here. The fog is gone and the light is clear and i feel unnerved, crackling and sad and this has happened before – many a time in fact. The veils of the fog are gone, and that heaviness and twilight sense of a dream disappear, and the illusions are revealed as the edges become sharper and more is seen, And at times you wish the fog to return, those veils that made all so much softer and slower, and a different type of comfort despite the chill. It has been warm here, i did not shiver in my tent, and even awoke in a sweat after my afternoon nap in the sun, and though it is beautiful here, i sense a different loneliness and being off the path that seems more intense – and it is the intensity that the brightness brings, a shock to the system and movement of all that gathered in the grey. It seems harder, harsher like the the bright paintings in bright primary colors with well defined shapes, not muted or blurring into one another, a vision of separateness, and in the greys all mingles more. and i feel like i am not camper or hiker girl though i can do both and it is a part of me, and i do not wish to be a vagrant upon this land.

I stand by the road and watch the cars pass me on by and a feel like a leper, a taker of life. i stand for an hour and then wonder if i will hit the trail, i go back to find it, and the ascent is steep, too steep for me with all my gear, as it heads over a smaller mountain. the road curved before me, and i am by a long wide pullout – rvs and cars and all go by and i wonder if i should cross the road and ask myself what the hell am i doing here – i start to dissolve, my smile to the cars is ultra forced, and they probably sense the discomfort in me. i am almost out of food – an energy bar and a few peanuts, and some instant oatmeal that i guess i can eat dry, and i have not had a real coffee in two days – some tea made with warm tap water, and a can of seattle’s best latte, if i stay here will i climb into the bush? I go up check out the trail but the ascent is way too steep for me. I know the day is nice and i am in a beautiful locale, but i am feeling desperate now – what the hell brought me to this place. i wonder if it was port orford, the town 6 miles up the road, with that strange vibe, and undertow of sorts, like a hippyville gone bad. and some others at the campground also commented on that town. And i felt it coming through a couple of years ago – and even in the 80s this was the place where thumbing was not good. and i wonder if it is because i am closer to california, and i regret leaving the kindness of the people to the north behind. And i tell myself i am heading to nothing, what is down this road for me?

The bus finally comes – glad the schedule that showed 5 days a week instead of the old 3 was correct, and pulls over when i flag it down. The driver is grumpy, and the signs telling passengers not to eat or drink have none of the kindness of those in the other county bus systems. he is curt, and i pay my fare – expensive here in Curry county – $4 to gold river and another $4 to brookings. There is one other passenger, a wanderer just like me, had all his belongings stolen when he left them in some bushes in port orford as he looked for a place to hitch – or so the story goes. his voucher he had gotten for food was in the pack and gone but the charities there gave him a voucher for the bus on down to here – looking for help in brookings where he might spend the night – walked out of a bad relationship in michigan two years ago and has been walking ever since – to florida for the winter, Tennessee in the fall.

The coast is beautiful here with the rugged cliffs and rocks offshore but grey has come in once again. The bus whizzes by so many
lookout points where i would love to stop but i pass on through. We get to gold river – another long spread out town with another weird vibe to it and a girl in jeans about 5 sizes too large gets on. The ride is beautiful, but i wonder if i am going the right way.

I am sad when we get to brookings – another ugly sprawl along the road. i grab a coffee at an espresso stand and then go grocery shopping at the large fred meyers wheeling by backpack around in the cart. here at least the state park is closer to town than listed in the brochure – the 1.6 miles walk seems easy despite the weight of the food.

A nice woman greets me at the check-in gate, chat with her and there is a good hikerbiker site with space and plenty of trees – I take a hot shower and now i do my laundry (yes a laundromat here) and now feel better, like a different person, having eaten a meal and now wearing clean clothes.

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Time passes so differently when you are on the road and move through different zones of space – a day can seem like a week in all that you see and do – the time passes quickly while you are in motion and then you look back and morning seems forever ago and the place you were seems but a blur. I travel from “sunset” beach campground where i never saw the sun, to “humbug” mountain that seems quite beautiful.

I sit in my tent at humbug mountain state park, just south of port orford. The sun is setting and the sky is blue but i am too tired to make my way down to the beach – and the air is warm(er) and i do not shiver in the damp cool. I had not planned to come this far south today, but circumstance has led me here – and it is hard to imagine taking down my tent this morning in the cold thick fog.

I left around 10am and got here just past seven, but the nine hours and about 55 miles that passed in between seem longer than that – and maybe that is because i experienced the energies of many a place. i left that campsite and walked through the day area down by the beach and then cut up to the road where the fog blew in and visibility was poor. i was not sure if i would need to walk into town, but as i passed a home a man called at me – are you walking, do you need a lift to town, it can be dangerous with this heavy fog. he was building a home showing different materials – a simple place – and each kitchen cupboard was made of a different wood. His truck was full of building tools – i waited while he threw a chain saw and other things in back, and i sat up front with my stuff and heavy chains on the floor. he’d been out here off and on for several years, originally from michigan – and that is where his children live. he dropped me at the store in charleston where i had a much needed hot strong coffee and sat outside in the grey wondering if i would get out of this place – but here the sky was merely grey – the fog at a higher level above – i sat at the picnic table outside the store and watched as trucks, mainly of men, pulled on in, and then made my way up to seven devils road – the scenic route promoted from charleston to bandon where i was planning to go.

thankfully at the top of a small hill there was a warehouse with a gravel lot – a place for cars to stop and safe for me to stand for what i saw up ahead was a narrow twisty shoulderless road and i did not know if the fog would come back down. there was little traffic, and what there was tended to be overstuffed cars, trucks and trailers of tourists and i stood a while in the cool wind. Finally a shiny SUV with nevada licence plates pulled over and offered me a ride – a middle aged couple going to bandon, but they said they would need to stop at the garbage dump, if he could remember where it was. They were out here checking on his parents place where they no longer live, services closed down except for electricity. and so he needed to dump the trash before they returned home the next day. The gps – on large display, did not show such places as we drove down the country road – at times the ocean was just over the cliff so i believe – for you could see little except for the grey – and while the road twisted up and down hill – it was not so scenic with the straggly miniature trees – he commented on how he knew they can be stunted near the shore, but i saw some large stumps and said it must be a fairly recent clearcut. A fork in the road, and we head back to the 101, and there the dump is = open tuesday through saturday, and today is a sunday.

As we near bandon we see a patch of blue sky – and they had said they’d seen sun only once in the week – on the friday (the day i came). The road had two lanes in each direction, and when we passed the state park we were in the center lane – and besides i wanted to at least visit the old town. We drive to the town – and come to a bridge – no sidewalks that i can initially see – then one off the edge but locked and closed and i wonder how i will cross back over the bridge. And the park is further out than the two miles stated on the brochure.

We pull into the old town slightly after one and the sun is out and the sky a pure blue. It is busy on this july sunday afternoon with people, tourists, walking about, eating fish and browsing gift shops – but a car pulls out and they are able to find a parking space on one of the little streets. I get out and the winds are back with all of their ferocity; i walk by the harbour to use the bathroom and better off tourists stare at me. i walk on the boardwalk which is empty with the “breeze” and sit down on one of the uniquely carved wood benches and smoke a cigarette. I go through the town with its touristy crafty shops and one man busks on the sidewalk beside an empty store. then i find a nice cafe with strong coffee, yummy cookies and wifi and sit and post entries and connect and charge my battery for an hour and a half of so. but then it is near three and i still do not know what i will do for the night and the cafe is closing so i wander on outside.

I go to the visitor center across the street, with a sign to hold onto the door because of the wind. two senior ladies welcome me and one congratulates me on travelling this way. I ask about the bridge and find out it is also under construction and full of equipment and a single lane during the week – and i panic for a moment and then figure i will just head south. But i am hungry and have little food with me, so i go back down to the water in the bay and treat myself to fish and chips at the well-known bandon fish market. They are closing down – i am their last customer, and while tables were fairly full when i arrive, the town has emptied out by the time i leave at about 3:45. At the market one couple asks about my travels and a mother warns her child about people like me. the sun still shines in town but the fog is coming in thick – a huge dark bank threatens just off shore – so i head to the highway and leave the town without visiting the famous rocks – and realize i am not staying in the place i wanted to see and that is ok with me.

The town spreads out along the highway for a couple of miles – the roadway not built up to much with the hotels about a mile off by the shore, but a sidewalk goes out that far, with two lanes of traffic in each direction and nowhere to pull over and stop – so i walk along for quite a while, aware of the grey that lingers over the shore – but the sun shines here and the wind is on my back, pushing me forward and on down the road – and i know the other campground would have been several miles against the wind. As my pack gets heavy and the far end of the shoreline drive merges with the highway i wonder if i should have wandered down there.

Once i get to a place with a shoulder i do not have to wait long for a lift – still it is almost 5pm and i am grateful the days are long. At first he seems reticent, but then opens up and tells me of god, and the story of how he was reborn – not too preachy, but spreading the word, and describing the physical sensations, a lightness in his heart and the veils being lifted when he accepted the call. I had asked him if he was from here, and said no been out here about 4 years, from texas before that and not sure where originally – had come out briefly and then his boss called and asked him when he would return, he said he did not know and his boss hung up on him. and then a few minutes later his boss called him back and said, yes you stay they for that is the place where god told me you had been called. i think he had found the bible before then – but it was a nice story that took me south of langois, and to a straight stretch of road with a few homes and a pullout – across the street from where he lives.

i stood there a bit and began to feel cool – walking out of bandon i had built up a sweat – and so piled the layers back on. After a bit a woman and her teenage daughter pull over and are going as far as port orford. She asks me if i mind if she smokes a cigarette – and i say no – it is just when i get out at the grocery store that she tells me she didn’t know it was sunday, not working with the cancer and all – i say i’m sorry to hear – and she says its ok now, just the chemotherapy – and i realize then that the scarf over her head is just not a fashion statement. She tells me of some young hitchhikers she picked up earlier in the week, on their way down to get some trimming work, and she pointed them to the right place. but though california talks about legalizing pot, and some of it is legal and medicinal, that is a type of farming that i do not want to get involved in – and i have met some others who are on their way down – planning to work in the season there. She lets me off at the grocery store, and points out the library and the community center where if you need something they are pretty good with hotel vouchers and food stamps.

I shop at rays and then walk through town to the overlook at the southern edge – large boulders and rocks stand proudly offshore and humbug mountain is just a few miles down. It is a wonderful view and i sit on a bench for a while admiring the ocean and the sun but then head up to the road where i hope for a lift the six miles south to the park. port orford has such a different vibe, more bohemian and a bit of an edge, something is off, and i feel closer to northern california. I feel less sure hitching here for on my thumbing trip on down the coast 24 years ago, this was a place i had to wait for a while (and there was a man heading up on the north end of town who had been there for 3 hours or more), and it was here that i got the one not great lift, where i got dumped out on the twisty road (across from this very park) for not going down to the beach for some fun.

I wait a while on the edge of town by that overlook – i turn towards the traffic and then the rocks and wonder where i might have to sleep. but after a while a car pulls out of the parking lot and a guy from humbolt country drops me on the road by here. the regular hiker biker area is full but a sweet camp host and friendly ranger put me in overflow with a cyclist who had just arrived. it is now dark out, and some traffic can be heard on the road, and i know that some mosquitos buzz outside (very few so far on this trip) and it is time for bed and if the weather holds i might stay a second day (and with a numbered site in the nice looking area) .

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It is foggy today – i wrote those words this morning and this evening they still ring true. the fog has clung on all day, a hazy mist to the sky, a feeling of being in a twilight zone. And the grey and the damp chill change my mood once again. And i believe i will soon be off the coast, but how many times have i written that before, and today i asked what i was doing here once again. I am out on a dead end road with cliffs to the sea and several state parks. i meant to hike down to the end an the point but never made it that far. The fog is thick and the air has a chill, the forest is lush and full of ferns, for a moment you think there is rain, but it is the fog dripping from trees, and beaches are open and you hear the ocean and the constant fog horn.

I sat in the gardens at shore acres state park and felt enlivened again. A marimba concert as part of the oregon coast music festival and a small crowd gathers here – the young and the old, children running and some seniors with canes, and it felt so much warmer in there. Is it the beat of the music from zimbabwe that calls forth the sun, the drums singing with joy? the people gathered with lawn chairs and smiles? The formal gardens with brilliant flowers and the scent of the hedge i love – and i just found out boxwood is its name – and now i know one of the scents i love? of is it the tall trees that block out the fog and wind? And it seemed warm even though i ate ice cream – found the hot coffee i craved, and was not going to buy one of the fundraising sundaes (i think they planned that and lemonade in hoping for a better day) but i saw one and the fresh raspberry sauce and could not resist.

I sat on a bench by the fountain back from the crowd with their own chairs on the lawn, and watched how children were drawn to it – as i was as a child and it still brings out the inner child in me. not a kid goes by without running up to the edge – a few have meltdowns as they are urged or carried away, and some make wishes tossing pennies in, and others sit by the edge wanting to take the pennies out – and i hear over and over again how that brings bad luck. they climb on the edge – but today, not a single one falls in. And they seem free, by the stage it is the children who dance around through the sets, freestyle – not worried about form; it is only near the end with the urging of the band, that some adults join in as well. but is sit back and watch.

These gardens are such a different place from the the shore and forest that surrounds. A break in the concert and i sit outside the gardens by an overlook to the beach, and looking at the open grassy space where cars are parked and watch wafts of for blow over and through the trees and the ocean behind can barely be seen. After being in the garden and listening to the music i feel so different than when i felt chilled back in the camp and walked to trail through the forest and by the shore – the fog was heavy and dampness chilled my bones and i asked myself what i was doing in this place – it what seems like twilight zone. I shuddered at the caws of the crows in the morning, the birds screams are from them and the blue jays. But i came to a break where i saw the huge rocks and a small flock of pelicans flew by – and i had to smile and then i felt sad as i remembered pictures of oil covered pelicans on the gulf coast. the trail turned in (a portion was blocked by the cliffs where i think it had slid on down) and the ground was soft and i shocked a deer whose rapid leaps through the bushes then shocked me.

And i thought of the fog blocking out the sun, you know the sun is there, but all seems hazy and more a blur. and i wonder if i have been covered in fog.

then i came to the cliffs carved by the winds and sea – it seems like heads appearing and more forms and the remnants of another life; the offshore cliffs and those attached to land are thrusts up, with the layers of rock at an angle descending into the sea, when they were upturned many eons ago. The land folds, and i feel another world once existed here – a previous civilization, and like medusa, with the faces set in stone and i wonder what truly lurks here – groups of what look like balls or heads, and elsewhere at the tops of the cliffs like honeycombs. i walked further down and to an inlet and a beach, and found more faces there – became mesmerized by the ocean crashing over rocks. but what energy lingers there, and what was here before?

The sunlight drew me in – called me to stay in temptation and now i have descended into the fog – the haze that obscures, and molecules all move more slow. And i and others long for the sun. Today as i leave is twilight zone once again and i am about to hitch down seven devils road – and it makes me realize how many places are named after the devil on the oregon coast.

(i finish this up in bandon where the sun does whine, and it is hard to feel what i felt in the fog, a slowness, a sadness, a belonging to another time and place, and a settling on in to a different zone)

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Sunset bay is a bit of a misnomer for i never saw the sun. and maybe the fog came down on me. The hiker-biker camp here like in all the state parks is a world of its own set off from the main campground. The camps at 5-6 dollars per person for cyclists or pedestrians are in all or most of the oregon state parks along the coast, and they are where i spend my nights. will free showers and individual pricing they are the best deal around for a foot person like me. While the parks all have a standard, and there is a certain overall feel, each park and hiker biker site has its own flavour and community, and of course with people passing through nightly it is never quite the same. and now at the end of july they are getting more crowded than i have experienced them before – in previous octobers, and sometimes in the rain, and the past week the number of “serious” touring cyclists on vacation seems to have grown, and i don’t know if it is this area or the week, but fewer nomads, bohemians, and long term cyclists are to be found, and as a walker i have felt myself more of a curiosity.

i feel claustrophobic here in this camp – something else i wrote this morning as cyclists in pairs and threes were pulling out, and now some more have just pulled in. This is the smallest site i have been in, and as i noted the bike traffic has picked up – and as i have just discovered this is a stop listed in ‘the book’ – a tour guide many follow as the bible. and here all look out on a common area, no trees to divide or spaces between, and there is so little flat ground here, that i had tents on each side a foot or two away – or rather one was not a tent but a couple sleeping on the bare ground. two guys moved in and almost took over my table – yes, or course i would share i said, but then a bike parked at each end and their stuff strewn about – i bristled inside but then talked a bit, and shared an evening in conversation with them – two 60 somethings that are friends from junior high, one still living on long island – and i realized i picked up his new york vibe, and while he enjoyed his trip felt a bit out of his element and the other in mount shasta who had taken more of the hippie route. And had hot water for some tea and hot coffee in the morn. And today a dad and his daughters and a more elderly man are here – and they two are following the cycling book. for a while i felt lonely despite the people around, more lonely that at times when i am alone for i realized all else shared a common bond – a trip much the same and i was out of the loop, on my own voyage of sorts. And i have noticed a bit of a split between the hikers and bikers before, for they are two very different trips with different joys and frustrations, and tips and speed shared between those on the road.

Though with the cramped quarters in this zone – with three picnic tables in the center – people tend to mingle more. It is not like the little alcoves at tugman the night before, or my space hidden away under the tree at beachside, or the larger treed area at honeyman where i was able to grab a nook, or at washburn, then an emptier place – and a bit of privacy, and though south beach in newport was more open and right by the drive, it seemed emptier and people were not on top of each other – and as a result many kept to themselves. But elsewhere i have met other walkers and those who travel by foot and thumb and had more a connection to a few of those around, and here those that come through in groups often know each other, having already met several times on the road, and know they will probably meet each other the following night. and in this camp, i have met no one else truly on their own. The first nights out, further up, met other solo travellers, and now i also see more of a gender balance, for a few days i had been the only woman around.

And while i sit and enjoy a campfire, i know i am slightly out of place – i talk to the older man at first, a 77 year old retired physics professor who is doing the coast and then a inland and across the mountains, meeting his wife somewhere in land for a few days. And the college students from minnesota are going to the bay, as is the dad with his teenage daughters from arizona who is going by the book. he takes his daughters on a major trip each summer to expose them to the world – samoan islands, scotland, and the pyrenees’, are just of the few places they have gone – and as a result the girls seem open to the world around, and more open than him to a hiker like me – and so different from the other teenagers who i see in the bathrooms with long showers and their makeup cases and blow dryers complaining about the cold. He asks questions of the guys like what is your favourite book, and what do you feel is the biggest problem in the world.

Still i feel apart on a different trip like i often have felt in the mainstream – the goals are different as is the road, and i connect but partially. And they all move on together and i continue my journey alone – but to encounter new stories and adventures and connections of my own.

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Lakeside seems so long ago though it was just this morning. i woke up to the bright sun in my tent in william tugman park. the sounds of traffic on the highway – the roar of the engines were so intense as traffic streamed on by. Though i heard the crows and was surrounded by trees, i also felt like i was in an industrial zone. Now i am near charleston and feel crowded out by the bikers in the site – no peace of mind with those milling around. I spoke up and asked for a corner of my table back – one guy was open as they moved their stuff to one end, and the other said we were taking up just as much space. i feel angry and pressed on out and do not have the stillness i need to write.

I got up, ate, and walked down to the lake with a lawn of grass around, and then over to the local market to get a coffee and then to try my luck. the market was busy with locals in trucks stopping in – mainly for the deli of deep fried food. I crossed the road wondering where to stand, and the second car along pulled over and gave me a lift. he said he was going as far as coos bay, to downtown near the bus stop, but as we talked he said he had to go to charleston to work and would it be better if he dropped me off there instead. he talked of his travels and how he had hitched and hopped freight trains in canada. now he has a seasonal gig for the fisheries – monitoring the hatchery returns – or scanning fish and cutting their heads off. But the fishery is slow, was closed the past two years, so he gets paid to sit in his truck and read books for most of the day – still he would rather be doing some work.

After getting changed to his work clothes where he lived in downtown coos bay – a sad downtown, a depressed town – logging disappeared many years ago – there is still one small mill, a bit of fishing, tourism and the grand casino. Then off to charleston, down the back road, a the fishing center. i get dropped off outside another local market full of canned goods and another crowded deli with the fishers and workers buying the deep fried food – i gave in and had an eggroll and a burrito as well, and coffee with the creamer and bought a little bit of food. but the people are friendly, the older ladies in the tourism office said congratulations for the way you travel, and the man in the store told me of another woman walk who passes through most years and manages to get almost everywhere – montana was one place he said. and the town is friendly, about a block long, with a few stores and an overpriced resto and the fisheries – but seem to be almost as many commercial buildings that standing empty with out of business signs or for rent. The towns along this stretch south of florence on down, seem harder and rougher – industries gone long ago, but still more of a blue collar zone.

I walk out of town to the road to cape arago where there are several state parks. the two mile walk turns to four- past woods and shore and small farms and a few cows – the first i have seen in a while – and larger places with sunset views. The sky begins to fog over as the horn is heard by the shore. I walk and walk and come to the park – a bit of a line to get in – a weekend in july, and has been with most of the other places, the park is fully booked – except the hiker-biker spots thank god though this place is filling up. i camp at sunset beach where there is fog, and explore the parks around.

The hiker biker site is smaller here and the regular area seems more tightly packed – as families and friends come to life a different life – where you hear and see your neighbors and enjoy communal restrooms and cook outside and sleep on the ground – a life that for most on a daily basis has not existed for sometime – but here is a place to get closer to basics if even for a short while.
my legs are tired but i take a walk (after a long hot shower of course) I go out to shore acres state part with a botanical gardens, with a fountain and flowers and it seems like such a different place. then i come back and write this and engage in dialogue for a while.
 

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I almost gave up – put my pack back on and started walking – imaging that i would have to stay at jessica honeyman again – a wonderful park but this time it was not where i was called – and i had seen more cyclists on the road, and at this time of the day – just after 5pm, i had seen quite a few that i imagined might be stopping there – and i did not know if i could stay, had spent my 3 days (the maximum allowed in a hiker-biker site) and was not sure if you had to be out 4 or 7 days before you could stay again – i had been out 5 though it seemed much longer than that. But i withheld lighting up my cigarette that i had taken from my pack, and walking forwards i stuck out my thumb, and a car pulled over for me and was going past where i wanted to be. i had told god i would accept whatever, but that morning back in newport i had been so sure and all day i felt the energy pouring through me and my face, body and molecules loosening up and transforming once again.

And now i sit in my tent in william tugman park, just south of reedsport and in less familiar land. i have been through here a couple of times, but going south from florence i left my familiar stomping grounds. and though i travelled only about 60 miles, by bus, foot and thumb, it has been a long day passing through zones and with various encounters, and i feel like i am in another place.
This morning the sun was out when i got up before my alarm, and though the fog threatened to roll in, it never did – at least where i was. I had a few hours before the bus south to yachats where i would have to stick out my thumb. I had a leisurely breakfast – the standard fare with a coffee from the hospitality hut, and packed up my tent in no great rush. I walked out to the highway where i would flag down the bus – i had told the driver the night before i would be there, but wasn’t sure if he did the morning runs. I got out there with 10-15 minutes to spare and stood watching the traffic flow by. and i thought to myself the edge of the road can be a very lonely place – i stand exposed to all who pass by – so obvious with my bag.

the bus comes with the woman driver who took my from yachats to beachside last saturday, she is sweet and seems to remember me. this run is empty unlike the last one of the day which i had taken from town the past two nights. i feel lighter and smile as we drive down the road and feel like i am going in the right direction – two hikers get off at seal rock, and i think of the time i hiked from there a few years ago – the fog came in thick for a short while and i could barely see in front of me. we pass through waldport, pick up a remote teenager whose hair covers his entire face, hiding away and i think of how my hair once did that. I notice more cyclists on the road and wonder where they all are coming from as the hiker-biker site where i stayed had only five plus myself. We get to yachats such a different vibe, with the larger resorts going into town, and a few galleries and a sign in front of a store advertising organic fibers. i had been thinking of scones and coffee at the green salmon, so of course i had to stop in there. It is almost noon and the place is filling up and there is something different about the vibe – and as i sit down a 50-60 something man with short styled grey hair and understated dress pulls out a ipad and explains all his apps. he and another local lament the lack of a health food store, but praise their special loose green tea. and the people seem much less weighed down, but at the same time more reserved; they are the “good people” the liberal alternative professional or rich young seniors who make up this place, and with good manners they also hold back a bit.

I pick up some emergency food at the overpriced small grocery store – odwalla bars on sale and peanuts as i still have cheese, fruit and radishes from the other day – and walk over the small bridge to just south of town – take a break and look at the bay and think it wouldn’t be so bad to get stuck here and walk out to cape perpetua – but then i remember the uphill climb on the amanda trail and how for several miles there is not a straight stretch on the road, and go back to the highway and stick out my thumb. I’m still amazed at what a totally different world this place is from that other town just eight miles up the road.

The sun still shines and the wind is a heavy breeze. I set down my bags and watch the packed cars go on by, not whizzing as the exit the 25mph speed limit zone – some go on by, a few avert their eyes, and i’m sure some comment on me – but i stand and wait about a half hour until finally an older hippie looking guy pulls over and gives me a lift as far south as florence.

His car is older and looks out of place with the shiny vehicles in this town and the rv’s that ply this road. He has three long braids hanging from his chin, longish grey hair, a fuller face and a cigarette in his hand. I give him a glance and take a sniff – not high or drunk from what i can tell or smell, and get on in. As he tells me some of his story, talking a mile a minute was we drive down the coast, i learn he’s been sober for 13 years and an ex-druggie for about as long. he lives in florence but drives this route almost everyday just to get a view – on his way back from taking a hitchhiker up to lincoln city. We take the curves of cape perpetua and he says he comes to see it each day, the waves and rocks and cliffs and more, his place is inland from the sea. he tells me of a mountain lion in his yard, of gathering abalone near cambria and visiting hearst castle as a child, about collecting rocks near hecate head when we stop for a traffic flagger going over the bridge, we talk of global warming and icebergs melting, and then he points to a picture hanging – says that’s my daughter – though 7 years ago – how he had a fling in las vegas with his first wife, while married to the second, and that resulted in this girl he dotes on, and he told me all about her. We get to florence before i know, and he drops me at the fred meyer at the north end of town.

now florence is one of those long towns spread out along the 101, so i decide to wait for the bus that will take me to the other end. I know it goes there, but not sure where or when it passes but find a cart attendant who is willing and happy to let me know – i have about 40 minutes so i decide to go inside. I have to pee but am not sure what to do with my bags, and dump the backpack in the hall outside the restroom and then into a cart as i buy some dinner and breakfast for the next day – natural peanut butter is on sale, and the aisles and produce section overflow and it make me want to cook (and i do not venture into the other sections).

The bus is empty except for an older couple who ride the bus for fun; they know the driver and he knows them. The radio is on playing classic rock and the drivers harley jacket it over his seat. Being a small town bus route we go all over to get from one end of town to the other – circling around some blocks what it seems to be several times – past all the grocery stores, the library, the seniors center and the hospital. and as we drive around i know i could not settle in a place like. The driver waves at people on the road and in other commercial vehicles, and finally drops me by the bridge where i thank him for the tour of town.

This is another hub on the coast and the traffic is heavy – i cross the bridge and look for a place to stand. I try a bit in one locale – no – walk 3/4 mile up the road and stand for 25 minutes more, then continue on where i wait over half an hour – before almost giving up. I had felt the energy flowing through earlier that day, and now i ask myself just what have i done, should i have gone inland to eugene and beyond; should i have taken a bus inland from newport? am i deluded once again?

But then the car stops. i hesitate – a harder looking 20something guy with a wicked tatoo on his arm, another messy older sportyish car with cans lying around – but i glance at them and they are piles of monster cans and other energy drinks. he is going to coos bay, i say i’m going just south of reedsport, and get on in. he feels like a coos bay guy, that rundown town with edge, and heavy metal comes from the radio but at a low volume than god, and he drives carefully, very carefully i’d say, like he wishes to avoid getting stopped and has probably done some time and has seen the lower side of life. still he comes from his landscaping job, and while is quiet, tells me a bit about camping here along the coast and says tugman is a nice place to go, and asks if i mind before he lights up a cigarette. He’s originally from california – i did not ask where – but i imagine somewhere in the south – and says he doesn’t really know north of florence when i tell him i started today in newport.

The road changes south of florence, inland with trees and lakes formed by the dunes – gently windy and it feels more isolated and wild. I feel like i have entered a new zone. We pass through the sad towns of gardiner – a small patch along the road with white houses and what appear to be mainly closed down stores (and a bar), through reedsport – also kinda sad – 2 grocery stores a pacific pride and an older safeway, and a mcdonalds and DQ and a few smaller shops, and up the hill a shinier health food store, that like most i have seen in this state, announces that it accepts the food stamp cards. Another town that struggles though and where life goes on – and through winchester, which has a bay, and a few small motels as well, then back to the tree lined road (though i peer behind and see more than one clearcut) without homes or shops and then by this lake and you don’t really think you are near the sea (except for the now stronger wind of course). and now i am here and it is getting dark and tomorrow is yet another new day.

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