Friday, March 20, 2015

You deserve a gold star--at least now you can get an emblem for your hiking stick

The oddest moment of my entire OCT trek came at the end. After 23 long days of hiking south from the Columbia River, I walked out of my campsite at Harris Beach State Park, followed roads through Brookings and back to the beach, crossed the Winchuck River and reached what I estimated was the California state line--woo hoo, the end of the Oregon Coast Trail! Then I walked a few steps back to the welcome center at Crissey Field State Recreation Site to wait for my ride home. I didn't seriously expect a brass band to greet me there, but I did think I might find a register to sign--like the summit register at the top of some mountains--or at least a little souvenir of some kind, like a fabric patch, commemorating my completion of the OCT.

But no one at the beautiful new welcome center there seemed even aware of the existence of the OCT. No register, and no patch, no emblem. Not even a "Hey, congrats!"

Not a BIG disappointment--I mean, truly, the trail is its own reward. But it did seem an odd ending to such a monumental effort, on such a spectacular coastline, given all the effort that has gone into building and maintaining the trail.

Enter James Viscardi, who at age 67 hiked the OCT end-to-end  with a partner last October and lived to tell about it (more on their trek in a future blog post). James apparently felt a little bereft with no badge or emblem or gold star of any kind to commemorate his accomplishment, so he had one made, and you can get one yourself. It's a metal badge to attach to a hiking stick, 1.25 inches by 1.75 inches in brushed silver, gold, and bronze. It was made by a Portland company called Creative Resources Awards & Engraving ( or 503-206-6161). Since he has already paid the set-up charges, he tells me that other hikers could have their own badge made for about $10. He used double-stick tape to attach his, but he says you could talk with Create Resources about adding tabs to tack it in place.

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