We had a beautiful morning along the coast, most gorgeously at China Beach, which we hit at low tide so we could see the tide pools filled with starfish. Because we had gone so far the day before (over 20 miles, not that I was counting, except yes I was counting), we thought this day was going to be comparatively super easy. After all, we were only about 14 miles from our next (and legal!) campsite.
Along the way, we crossed the tallest bridge in Oregon – Thomas Creek Bridge. It was one of the few flat sections of the trail – the Boardman Corridor maximizes how much trail it can squeeze in and how much elevation gain it can muster. All that would be fine, except for the legal camping situation, a total lack of potable water between Gold Beach and Brookings (literally nothing), and the fact that I was still tired from the day before. This was the first morning I woke up when I was still tired, maybe even more tired, than when I had gone to bed.
Then things kinda went downhill for me. Literally. We hiked down to Whaleshead Beach, which was beautiful but short. The guidebook suggested it may be a bit of a rock scramble to get up from the south end of the beach, and a blog from a year ago showed steps carved into the muddy hillside. None of this was still the case. The way up was totally eroded, completely overgrown, and someone is going to die, because if you slip, that’s just it, that’s the end, there is not even a shrub to hang onto. If it was raining, I cannot imagine how dangerous it would be. It was dry and it was still absolutely stupid.
I have no pictures because I totally lost it. I was so angry at the trail, angry at the organization, angry at anyone who thought that route was acceptable. My hands were wet with sweat, and thank goodness that Julie is not afraid of heights. She came and got my pack for me, so I could focus on just getting up to where I needed to be.
Julie and I later started referring to this area as “Whatever the h- that was.” With other words often substituted.
The day got better, but I’ll admit, I was happy it was the last full day. I hated that my last experiences on the trail had to be filled with anger and disappointment. I think the hardest part was not even disappointment in the trail, but disappointment that I’d come all this way and gone over so many challenges, and then on the last full day, I get to a challenge that my body just shut down on. What a demoralizing way to wrap up a beautiful trail.
Luckily that wasn’t quite the end. Cape Ferrulo still awaited us, and I think it was among the cooler capes we climbed. It was nearly treeless, and with sea fog blowing in and out, it was pretty magical to walk across.
10/10, would hike again. It felt like Scotland or somewhere like that. Having never been, I guess I should say it felt like my fictionalized version of Scotland.
Some people consider the end of the Boardman Corridor to be the end of the Oregon Coast Trail. We do not. We roadwalked into Brookings and set up at Harris Beach State Park at a very nice hiker-biker campsite. For the first time since June, I knew where I would sleep for three nights in a row.