Sleeping in the shelter was nice. There was a curtain-type thing to block the entrance and that, surprisingly, kept the cold wind out. Critters didn’t find their way inside either, at least none big enough to wake me or chew on my gear. It was still a bit cold overall and I used my emergency blanket for some additional warmth. This had the unfortunate side effect of collecting moisture though and caused my quilt to retain moisture. I’ll need to dry it out at some point today.
Today it still took me an hour to pack, eat breakfast, and head out. I feel so rusty, how did this take 10 minutes on the PCT?
Hiking out of Ecola to Cannon beach was partially on trail and some on road out of the park. I enjoyed the hike through the forest and the air not being as damp as the previous two days. This was a 6 mile stretch, a perfect length to stop in town for coffee and a pastry!
Cannon Beach to Nehalem Bay
I meandered the streets of Cannon Beach, making my way to the cafe. Once obtaining said coffee and pastries, I got back onto the beach, spread out my stuff, and sat for a peaceful second breakfast. After staring out at the ocean I decided to check my map and confirm distances for the day. I checked, calculated, recalculated, and then in a panic packed all my gear. There are 24 more miles to cover today and it’s already 10am!
I quickly strolled through the sand, drinking coffee fast enough to throw the cup out before leaving town. Looking at the map, my liter and a half of water would be enough to get me to the next spigot, at Short Sands Beach, which should be on. Just south of Cannon Beach lies Hug Point, that is impassable during high tide. As I’m waddling through the sand, I double check the tide chart. Shit, I don’t think I can walk fast enough to make it. To the highway!
Luckily, this portion of the highway has some wide bike lanes, which made for an easier highway walk. Next stop, Arch Cape. Had I taken the beach, I would have gotten off the sand here and back onto hiking trails on the east side of the highway. However, due to a storm, there was a middle portion of the forest trail missing. Thus, I continued my highway walk until the trail crossed back onto the west side of the highway. Overall, I only had four miles of highway in this section.
The day started warming up and I am comfortable hiking in a tshirt at this point. Thank you sun!!! There wasn’t a great spot to stop along the highway, so once I had rejoined the forest trail I pushed to Short Sands Beach to refill my water bottles and eat. My body became angrier due to rationing water in the heat and lack of food. I really should have snacked more earlier. Finally, I get to the parking lot for Short Sands and, the water is off due to construction.
Breathe! My mind is attacking me at this point. “You know better. You should have filled an extra liter in Cannon Beach. It’s so hot, you’re sun burnt (forgotten item: sunblock), you’ve ruined your own hike!”
Although my mind is in full on rage, I decide to stop at a picnic table and eat. Some of this anger will go away if I just allow myself to eat. While I snack, I consciously take note of my last half liter of water. Only five more miles into Manzanita, some of this will be highway walking too, which is faster. Half liter will be enough, “it will be fine.”
Finally, arriving in Manzanita, hungry and parched, I darted towards the first market I saw. My eyes greedily filled my shopping basket and I refilled my water bottles at the fountain. At the edge of town, there was a beautiful spot in the sand to watch the start of sunset and eat my dinner. Store bought potato salad never tasted so good! After finally feeling refreshed and nourished, I walked the mile or so down the beach to Nehalem State Park to stay at my first Hiker/Biker site.
The campsites were sheltered in the trees, there was zero wind, and it was the warmest campsite I had experienced so far. There were 3 bikers already there, I was the only hiker (and only woman) in the group. One man had biked about 150 miles that day! The other two men were biking together and were taking their time, enjoying the Oregon coast, and promoting Outside Safe Space, whose mission is to help businesses, specifically in rural areas, show that they are a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community.
After introductions and finishing my dinner, I made my way to the showers. These are marketed as “hot,” which was far from the truth for me. It was very quick, but felt like I was being sprayed with a pressure washer, so the sand, salt, and sweat from a few days was finally gone.
My sleeping bag had time to dry between setting up, eating, and showering. I crawled into bed past 10pm and had the warmest sleep I’ve had yet!
Date: May 16, 2021
Start: Hiker Camp at Ecola State Park
Fun: First shower!