Nehalem Bay State Park to Garibaldi
What a wonderful, sleep filled night! I woke up warm and refreshed at my little campsite. Today’s agenda includes two ferries. First, will be across the Nehalem Bay and the second will be across Tillamook Bay. As I left the park, I called ahead to Jetty Fishery Marina to schedule the first ferry.
It was a gorgeous and calm beach walk. The jetty is walled up with giant rocks and concrete, so the last mile felt like a little bit of bouldering as I made my way down to the bay. A large group of sea lions basked in the morning sun, barking and waving as I passed them by.
The ferry was a tiny aluminum boat and cost $10 to cross the bay. The bait shop on the opposite side had tons of snacks, a place to sit for a break, and great company. All the folks I met working there were extremely nice and seemed generally excited about hikers on the OCT. Since the tide was still low, I walked down the jetty on the southern side, reconnecting to the beach to continue on to Rockaway Beach.
Did I mention how gorgeous the day was? I sat next to some beach shacks for a morning snack, just soaking in the sun and waves. Eventually, I convinced myself to pack up and go to Rockaway Beach. This is where I’d get my first cup of coffee for the day! (At the beginning of this trip, I set a goal to purchase a cup of coffee every day, since I’d be walking through towns so often.)
Rockaway Beach is a cute little tourist town. They are a stop along a short, scenic train tour. Its cute and campy, would be fun for small kids. After refilling my water, getting coffee, and realizing the weather was about to change on me, I packed up to continue the journey south.
Just before reaching the end of my beach walk at Barview Jetty, I saw my first baby seal of the trip! May is puppy season and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see one of these pups hanging out while its mom is catching dinner out in the surf. DO NOT APPROACH THE SEAL PUPS!
After getting my terrible pictures of the seal, I continued onward to the jetty, which led me to the train tracks to head east. Yes, these are the same train tracks that cute, scenic train runs on. No, it wasn’t running and there was zero chance of me getting hit by a train.
On my walk, I called ahead to the second ferry, Garibaldi Marina, since I would be arriving in Garibaldi in another hour or so. Surprise, surprise, they weren’t actually running the ferry until Memorial day, two weeks away! Oof, I tried not to stress too much, instead focusing on the little coffee shop in town where I could determine what to do next. Roughly, my options were to walk along the highway around the bay, possibly hitch, or take the bus to Tillamook.
Garibaldi to Tillamook
The weather cleared up for a bit during my walk along the train tracks. I arrived in Garibaldi and walked towards the little coffee shop I recalled being there a few years ago. Today is the day that keeps on delivering, and the shop was empty with an aged “For Lease” sign out front. Cool cool cool…
Luckily, there were still picnic tables, conveniently blocked from the breeze. I settled in for a snack and some planning. From Garibaldi to Tillamook is about 10 miles. My first option is to walk along the main highway, though there could be some sketchy places. There is a bus that connects all the little coastal towns and it would be arriving in the next couple of hours.
I decided to wait it out for the cheap bus, enjoyed my snacks, and journaled in the sun for a bit. Classically, the weather started to turn again, big rain drops falling around me. Quickly, I packed my things and decided to walk up to the little drive through coffee shop at the end of town. I was waiting behind a single car and when I got up to the front, the barista said I owed nothing, as the car had paid for my coffee! My first trail magic of the trip! As much as I should have been excited and grateful, a large part of me questioned if I looked that miserable in my rain poncho. In either case, THANK YOU random person for keeping my spirits up while waiting for the bus!
After acquiring coffee, I decided to wait in the sheltered bus stop. The rain just kept pouring. So glad I decided to wait for the bus instead of walking along the highway in this! At this point, it was solidly in the afternoon, I was completely drenched, yet again, and craved heat. Also, by the time I got into Tillamook, it would be a long walk to the next campground. While waiting at the bus, I did a quick search for a hotel room and found one perfect for me (walking distance from the bus stop, grocery store nearby, and cheap).
There were only two others on the bus and we rode in silence to Tillamook. I jumped out at Fred Meyers, did a quick shopping trip, before walking to my hotel. Shortly after walking into my hotel room, I had exploded my backpack everywhere, in standard hiker-trash fashion. Tomorrow, I’ll do a longer day. Tonight, I rest and enjoy a second night of warm sleep!
Date: May 17, 2021
Start: Nehalem Bay State Park
End: Tillamook, OR
Miles: 15 miles hiked, 10 miles by bus
Fun: Took a ferry across Nehalem Bay