Friday, July 7, 2017

Congratulations, OCT Class of 2017

PCT refugees hiking the OCT this year: Front-page article about you in today's Daily Astorian.

It's great seeing all the thru-hikers on the beach. I'm frustrated when I hear about people having trouble at various spots, like walking or hitchhiking around Tillamook Bay (it's really easy to get a ride across to the spit with a boater, seriously!) or the scary highway at Cascade Head (you don't need to hike the highway here!) You don't need to BUY my book (Day Hiking: Oregon Coast, 2015 edition); you could borrow it, scribble notes, whatever, but please check it out along with the update PDF in the last post. The book isn't ideally formatted, but it really does have a lot of good info about hacking the OCT (as opposed to following the official online state park maps, which are pretty much useless).

What I liked about the article most: state parks seems to understand that they need to make some changes to make camping more available/legal/accessible. And it acknowledges that thru-hikers may be camping illegally but they know how to leave no trace and are good stewards of this amazing resource.

Notes from my sister-in-law Jeanne, the spectacular Gearhart trail angel:

"Just learned from a thru-hiker (via Instagram) that the surf shop at Devil's Punchbowl (just north of Newport) is right on the trail and that the owner just gave him a steal of a deal on a full-day rental surfboard (he routinely gives big discounts to OCT hikers) 

"Also a blond OCTer left her cell phone in the Rite-aid in Newport. The manager is holding it for her." 

If you don't know, there is now a Facebook group for Oregon Coast Trail Class of 2017 (I couldn't find it, but I suck at Facebook). You might find it helpful.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Your 2017 OCT route updates! (with more updates)

Tanner, Ryley Bri, and Pete chilling on trail angel Pat Wollner's deck last weekend in Gearhart.
This post is dedicated to all the 2017 Pacific Crest Trail refugees snowed out of the Sierra and defaulting to the Oregon Coast Trail this summer! A totally different experience. But awesome in its own way. Not a wilderness. Definitely an adventure.

On Gearhart Beach, with Tillamook Head in the background.
I’ve been kind of haphazard (and sometimes late) about annual updates. Turning over a new leaf this year. I'm attaching a PDF of my 2017 OCT Update sharing with everything I know about trail conditions this year, plus any changes that have occurred (that I know about) since my book came out in fall 2015, PLUS corrections of just plain mistakes.

I apologize for the somewhat awkward format of the OCT trail guide in Day Hiking: Oregon Coast. The editors really wanted it to be mainly a day hiking guide, since not that many people actually thru-hike the OCT. Not anymore! My sister-in-law Jeanne, in Gearhart, told me this morning that she looked up the beach and saw at least five groups of backpackers heading south. I think this is the year the OCT gets discovered. Maybe it will spur parks officials to make some much-needed improvements, like adding a few backpacker campsites and filling some of the remaining trail gaps.

A few words to PCT refugees, in particular, just setting out on the OCT:

  • My book does include, I think, every water stop; look at the NOTES section at the start of every trail or beach description for mention of toilets or water. This is a big difference between PCT and OCT: given the non-wilderness nature of the trail, you want to be using toilets wherever possible. Fortunately there are lots of toilets.
  • Hitchhiking (to avoid walking highway stretches etc,) on US 101 is a lot tougher than in the forest, when heading to town from the PCT for some resupply or whatever. However there are (infrequent, but) local public buses on most of the coast. And taxis.
  • Some river/creek crossings are easy, some not, and it changes from year to year. If it’s iffy, plan to hit it at low tide.
So open this PDF for your 2017 OCT Update (last updated 7-7-17)

OCT 2017 HIKERS: If you have more updates (especially on south coast, where I don't go so much), email me and I'll incorporate them.Thanks!

Nicole hitting the trail after a night in Gearhart.