Other than a short bike trail and a mile and a half on beach, the trail between Harris Beach State Park and the California border is all on road. We left our tents and gear behind and planned to do a quick out-and-back of 16 miles to reach the border and get back to Harris Beach.
The roadwalk was uneventful; the roads were mostly small or had a sidewalk, which is better than usual. When we got onto the beach, our final beach walk, we were greeted by really cool starfish pools, which never grow old.
Somewhere along the way I began to suspect that the guidebook’s mileage was off, which turned out to be true – it was more like a 19 mile day when all was said and done – absolutely not 8.1 each way. At least we were not carrying much!
We forded the Winchuck River and visited the nicest visitor center ever – the folks at Crissey Field were probably more excited about us finishing than we were, which is saying something. They gave us postcards and a shirt and took our pictures.
We then walked down to the border, where we officially finished. California. We were done (1).
The walk back was monotonous and hot. I was exhausted from the past couple of days. The two hardest days of the entire trip were there at the end – Gold Beach to Brookings is, without question, the toughest part of the trail. There is no comparison. I was tired.
After a celebratory meal (in which Julie finally got crab!) and a visit to the nicest library ever, we returned to Harris Beach. We were done (2).
Of course, when you finish a trail 1,700 miles from where you live, you’re not really done…
The following day we did chores and rested, and the day after that began our bus tour of Oregon — we walked 1.5 miles to the Point Bus from Brookings to Cave Junction. In Cave Junction, for inexplicable new-owner reasons, the bus company makes everyone change to Josephine County Transit. We arrived in Grants Pass one hour after the Greyhound’s scheduled departure, so we had booked a motel room, just half a mile from the bus stop. After doing laundry and later enjoying too much food at The Haul brewpub, we both kind of loved Grants Pass. The next day, our Greyhound left town at 1pm. (Fun fact: different bus stop than Josephine Public Transit!) The bus was on time and we rode up I-5 to Portland. We were less than half a mile from our motel (same place we stayed the night we flew in), and in the morning we enjoyed a small breakfast before taking MAX light rail 40 minutes to the airport. At the airport, I finagled my way onto an earlier flight, saving myself seven hours of people-watching at the airport. Julie and I bid farewell, and I flew to Minneapolis on Delta, where I got onto a Groome shuttle to Hinckley, where I got picked up by my dad. Meanwhile, Julie also made it home safely. We were done (3).
In case you were wondering why we needed days off, it was to figure out all of those logistics.
I have a lot of thoughts on the Oregon Coast Trail – things we did right, things we did wrong, and so on. I assume I’ll compile those at some point, but for right now it’s just nice to be home. Until Tuesday.