Carl Washburne State Park to Waldport (actual date Wednesday 6/4/14)
In this morning’s dream I stumble upon a box filled with various treasures – gold coins and collectible bills, antiques with rusty edges, records in worn sleeves, a new pair of trail running shoes. I can take whatever I want. But I leave with nothing from the lot. I don’t have room for anything else in my bag.
I beak camp early and chat with Jeff and Lam. Jeff, who is barely 18 and looks intelligent in his wire-rimmed glasses and close cut hair tells me that he’ll be happier when they reach San Diego, that he’s “not really into these endurance trips.” I imagine he’d be more in his element at a library reading books about computer code.
I end up staying longer on the 101 than expected because I miss the OCT trailhead at Gwyn’s Creek. I walk past a hunched-over older man who walks towards me on the shoulder. Besides wearing an enormous backpack he is also lugging a wooden sandwich board that says “Jesus saves. Repent now.” I am certain he’s got an interesting story but I’m not feeling too chatty, especially with a guy who will likely try to save me. He doesn’t even look up as we pass. An hour later I find an album discarded on the side of the road, Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Who would huck Thriller out of their window and why? This confuses me.
I finally pick up the OCT at a Visitor’s Center and follow the St. Perpetua Trail to Amanda’s Trail, up countless switchbacks that make the ascent to the point easier. I find a breathtaking lunch spot at the top. I am soaking wet. The moisture in the air coupled with my tendency to sweat buckets makes me wonder if I’d be drier if I were naked. I weigh the prospect of eating my PBJ in the buff while letting my clothes dry in the sun. I imagine the possibility of being discovered and remember the nudist man I met at Cape Blanco. He’d do it. After lunch, the trail spits me back onto the highway for 10ish miles into Waldport.
In Waldport I stop at an RV park. The RVs here look permanent and dirty children run amok. There’s one grassy, camping-looking area but it’s in the middle of all the action. I get a weird vibe from the place so I make very little effort to find an employee then move deeper into the guts of the town. Typical taffy stores and souvenir stores, and even an out-of-business motel with boarded windows. The 3000+ foot long Alsea Bay Bridge stretches in the distance. I am already at 25 miles today and I’d prefer not to cross it today, if possible. But after walking up and down the main stretch of Waldport it seems inevitable. I ask a guy about places to stay and he tells me the only hotel is across the bay. It’s cheap and clean and probably nobody’s there. A familiar rush blankets me. It’s sort of like regret but this time there’s also a hint of exhilaration. After all, I’m 12 days into this walk and have taken one shower and my clothes are rank. I decide to go for it. I convince myself it’s strategic.
The man at the front desk tells me how to jimmy the Coke machine to get quarters for the washer. He tells me to use the shampoo provided in the room for laundry soap. He starts to hand me a key then pulls it back, switching it out with a different one. “You seem like a nice guy. I’m going to upgrade you for free.” I want to tell him I don’t give a shit about an upgrade. I want to say I feel guilty staying here. That it’s a sad, stale place. I want to tell him that having the basic amenities is all I care about and I’d be happy pitching my tent on the grass out front. But instead I smile to show appreciation for his kind gesture even though I am pretty sure he’s merely employed a simple customer service tactic to make me feel special. And I laugh as I walk down the hallway because it works – I do feel special.
View from Amanda’s Trail
I called Katie from here and told her to Google the view so we could see it together
The statue at the end of Amanda’s Trail, artist: Sy Meadow
Nearing Waldport with the Alsea Bay Bridge in the distance