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Posts Tagged ‘fog’

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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