Twig Adventures

PCBCRT Day 20: Cape Sebastian

Monday, July 24th, 2023, 1000-1800
Gold Beach to Crook Point
17 miles, Gain 1300′, Loss 1200′, elevation 180′

I would have kept going past Gold Beach the day before, if not for needing to mail some things at the Post Office and also check the hardware store for fuel canisters. Neither were open when I got there the day before on a Sunday. I’d been limping along with my first canister for nearly 3 weeks, using it very sparingly for the past week. I was down to my last couple of boils. I called a local outdoor store but they were out… according to the clerk, all the RV people had bought them. It used to be that such travelers only used the big Coleman propane canisters, but now many of the hipsters and #vanlifers had Jetboils. I also called the hardware store, but the sales people never quite knew what exactly I was looking for. They often assured me they had them, but then when I saw them in person, I immediately knew they were the wrong type. I tried to explain that the canisters needed to have threads at the top, but this just seemed to confuse people for some reason. So I had to check the hardware store for myself. As I walked in, the friendly clerk insisted, “oh yeah, we have all of them.” Then I showed her mine. “Oh no, we’re out of those…we can’t keep them in stock…but we’ll get more tomorrow probably.” Of course, they did have plenty of all the other kinds.

Ultralight hikers would suggest I just go stove-less, and that certainly would have been a plausible option for the OCT. Yet there had recently been a time when a stove-less hiker asked if they could borrow my stove and pot because they really wanted a hot meal. Funny how that works. I liked hot meals often too, so I simply carried my own stove, pot and fuel to cook them. There were no other hikers around me to rely on, anyway. At least the post office was a success and I was happy to get out of town afterwards. I had the hardest time just finding a bathroom, since none of the businesses were offering them to their customers anymore. The bathroom zombies had permanently ended that practice, it seems. Gold Beach was probably my least favorite town after the Coos Bay area, but finally I found a bathroom near the marina. I feel like I’m sounding somewhat entitled but it was frustrating to be a patron of a business and not be able to use their bathroom. I’m happy to go pee outside, and often would prefer to, but it’s just not socially acceptable in a town, particularly for a woman.

The beach was quite foggy where I rejoined it at the south jetty. It cleared by the time I made it to Cape Sebastian, one of the last big headlands to climb. The trail up and over was nice with switchbacks, some signage, and even recent maintenance. There were plenty of stealth sites, which would have been way better than what I found in town…wish I had just continued on the day before but I’d kind of already hiked a pretty big day. I stopped briefly for views and a few side trails. I saw a few people at the top (there was a road to the scenic viewpoint) and then a handful of day hikers on the trail down the south side. I stopped to chat with many of them, as I often did this trip. I liked educating hikers on the OCT and hopefully convinced a few of them to try it. If nothing else, hopefully I created a few trail angels for future hikers. They were in short supply this trail, simply because nobody knows about it. I also hadn’t been trying to yogi at all, since going through a town almost every day kept my belly full.

The trail followed the cliffs just above the rocky shoreline for a ways, offering a fantastic glimpse of the coast. I stopped for a late lunch to enjoy the scene. I was convinced I saw 2 sea otters lounging at the surface, but after they didn’t moved for awhile, I realized they were probably buoys covered in seaweed, definitely not otters. However, because of my fixed gaze, I did see 2 huge sea lions swim by. They were most likely bulls, since I at first thought they were pilot whales, they were so big. I watched them swimming north for awhile, surfacing multiple times.

I reached a nice beach with a smattering of people. For the first time, some unleashed dogs came after me, barking and circling behind. The owners were scrambling to physically catch them but they were a little too slow. One dog was tiny and the other just bluffing, but coming on the heels of my seriously close call the day before, I wasn’t in the mood for people’s unsocialized dogs. I told them this and got the standard “oh don’t worry, they’re friendly,” even as they were wrestling the barking dogs away. Of course, I’d had many a “friendly” dog run up to me and I can easily tell the difference. I’d also gotten plenty of wet, sandy slurps and even a surprise, come-from-behind goose from an overly friendly dog, which was not really wanted, either. But I still loved dogs. More often, it was the dog owners that occupied the full spectrum of good and bad behavior.

I came to yet another river that I needed to cross. The guidebook suggested leaving the beach to take HWY 101 for over a mile across the Pistol river bridge, but I decided to take a chance by staying on the beach. The tide was high, + 6 ft, so definitely not ideal. The channel was not very wide but it looked a little deep on the far side. I started to head back to the highway, then changed my mind again. Just go for it, said the little devil on my shoulder. So I did and it only got crotch deep with no current. Easy. There were a few more miles of nice, quiet beach walking and then a trail heading up from Crook Point. I stopped to collect water from Sand Creek, which was clear and tasted well. This stretch from Gold Beach to Harris State Park\Brookings had no places to get potable water, so I was glad I had my filter. Otherwise, I would have needed to carry 2 days worth of water.

I would have liked to hike a few more miles this day, but the forest along the trail had so many great stealth sites, it would have been stupid to pass them by. I even found a spot that another OCT hiker had recently cleared of pine cones, so I didn’t even have to do any work prepping the site. It was was in a semi-open dune area but still under some trees. Perfect! It was another one of my favorite sites, so peaceful and quiet. And it wasn’t like I had much of a choice….the guidebook listed no official/designed campsites for over 30 miles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.