Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Myers Creek to Harris Beach. People: Ted and Lina. Isbee. Hannah and Rachel. Alice and Marc-Antoine.

This is a beautiful stretch of the coast (and I handily had the hiking guide that Sue had so kindly given me).

There are some absolutely gorgeous rock formations along the coast (ex. Natural Bridge in the photo below).  I stopped a few times to hike around - it was a bit funny to be hurting a bit from cycling and then going hiking up and down steep inclines as a ‘rest’, but the scenery was incredible.

My back was not hurting as much, but I realized I think I had been cycling funny due to the back injury and now other pains + old injuries were presenting themselves.  So after a bit I started to struggle with pain while cycling.  I think I hadn’t been paying much attention to my body while cycling in the rain the day before as I was focused on not getting run over.  It reminds that I only saw one cyclist the entire day before in the rain.  He was cycling north and as he waved the only thing he said was,” Stay alive!”  

In any case, I was probably 5-6 miles from the campground when I was feeling pretty done.  I was at a turnoff and I saw a pickup truck getting on the road.  I asked if they were heading south and if they’d be willing to give me a ride.  They (Ted and Lina - below) were very cool and gave me a ride to Harris Beach campground where I was planning to stay that night.

Ted inspects mines and ensures they adhere to regulations.  I thought that was pretty cool.  Ted and Lina just got engaged on the trip and it was wonderful to see two folks so happy (they were both all smiles when they shared the news).  

Harris Beach was another spot I had been planning to surf.  There was (again, given injuries, probably fortunately) no swell, just a weak shore break.  There is a rock offshore where puffins nest (this was the main reason for buying the monocular), but no puffins were visible that afternoon.  It was overcast and cold so I went to set up camp.  

As camp, it was good to see Isbee (he had also camped at Cape Blanco).  We swapped some more stories and I heard about how he teaches construction (he worked construction for many years) and lives partially in Alaska and partially in Oregon.  This trip was him heading to Ashland for the summer.    There was a nice crew of folks in camp - so I enjoyed talking to everyone.  It was cold and damp though, so everyone turned in early.

Overnight, we had a drenching rain.  In the morning, there were big puddles of water in the campground.  Fortunately, I had set up my bivvy sac on a slightly higher patch, so I was not lying in water.  However, one bummer to a bivvy sac is when you get out of it in the morning, if it’s raining hard enough then your sleeping bad gets wet just from you climbing out.  The bivvy sac also tends to have condensation inside when you have to close the flap a bit more at night, as I had to do due to the rain, so I realized my sleeping gear was all wet.  

The morning had some bad news as well - overnight, someone had stolen Isbee’s wallet.  It was in the handlebar bag of his bike and someone used the cover of the rain/dark to go through the campsite.  That was a real downer.  We were discussing it and realized that it was likely due to the fact that the campground is so close (~1.5 miles) from a city (Brookings).  After a search of the campsite, Isbee found his wallet - the cash had been removed but the thief had just tossed the wallet in the bushes nearby.  This was fortunate for him to recover the wallet as it had his ID, so I was feeling better that he would at least have his ID which would allow him to get everything else set up (I checked and he also did have enough cash on him that he had put in another spot).

I went to try to see the puffins again at Goat Rock in the morning - apparently they had been feeding in the mornings recently.  After standing in the cold rain for 1 hour+, I decided that puffins can’t be interesting enough for this.  I was still hurting physically and given that all my stuff was wet, I decided to head in to Brookings.  I loaded my bivvy sac on top of my bike and walked the 1.5 miles in to town and found a place to stay and dry out my gear.

Environmental Campmates:

Hannah and Rachel (pictured in jackets).  Hannah and Rachel are sisters and were on their first bicycle trip.   They were doing a very challenging trip - 80 miles on their first day (of their first ever bike tour) and no rain gear.  Rachel is an environmental engineer PhD student - so it was neat to talk about environmental engineering (I miss environmental engineering and have ideas on using supercomputing to help work on some of the environmental engineering models).  Hannah recently graduated with a degree in geology - which is also an awesome field and it was fun to hear about some of her plans.

Alice and Marc-Antoine (pictured at the camp).  Alice and Marc-Antoine are also environmental engineers.  So, that night we had four environmental engineers out of six people at the campsite!  Cheers for environmental bicyclists!  They are from Quebec and we laughed at our shared passion for visiting wastewater treatment plants.  I was debating on staying in camp or going in to town and Alice gave me good advice that it might be nice to head in to town.

click for panorama:

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