Audrey Jo's Journal on Thru-Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail, Part 2
By Audrey Jo Mills
Published: 06/10/2012
Audrey Jo Mills

The following is the second excerpt from the journal of Audrey Jo Mills as she and her four-legged friend, Pepe, traveled south on the Oregon Coast Trail, this leg: Lincoln City, Oregon to Sunset Bay State Park.

November 7, 2011
Lincoln City to Beverly Beach State Park
Started the day in pouring rain as Pepe and I walked along HWY 101 around Siletz Bay. The rain let up as we made our way through Gleneden Beach which was very calm and quiet. Pepe came across a baby seal resting on the beach and we enjoyed watching hundreds of seabirds dive for food off of Fishing Rock. Saw excellent and enormous waves at Boiler Bay! We stopped by Pirate Coffee Company in Depoe Bay where we met the friendly owners and a very nice gentleman who offered us a ride to Beverly Beach State Park. He took us on a grand tour of town, Cape Foulweather, and Devils Punchbowl State Park.

November 8, 2011
Beverly Beach State Park to South Beach State Park
Saw beautiful fossiliforous bluffs along the Beverly Beach today! Apparently Miocene aged sea fossils. Hiked to Yaquina Head Lighthouse, along Agate Beach and Nye Beach into the hip Downtown Newport. It was pretty quiet on this cold overcast day, but easy to see that it is full of energy and people in the summer months. Walked to Yaquina Bay Lighthouse and over the Historic Yaquina Bay Bridge. Stopped and grabbed a couple brews at the Rogue Brewery and Pepe got some chicken fingers... DELISH!

November 9, 2011
South Beach State Park to Waldport KOA
Beautiful warm sunny day and best of all we were on the beach ALL DAY! Pepe and I had our first really great tidepooling experience near Seal Rock. Unbelievably cool intertidal life including huge multi-color starfish, sea urchins, and really cool plants. During sunset, we saw a neat Ultralight plane that made circles over the beach.

November 10, 2011
Waldport KOA to Yachats
Ran across several interesting characters in Waldport this morning, including an OCCUPY 101 hitchhiker. A very nice lady at the local health food store loaded Pepe up with free dog food. While we didn't walk as far as we had planned today, but we made some new and very dear friends! Pepe introduced us to Dawn, Lana, and their dog today while they were playing on the beach. The dogs chased the ball together for quite some time as I chatted with these lovely ladies. As we started to take off, Dawn and Lana asked if I would like to join them for the evening at their beach home. We had a great dinner, drank some good tequila, got giggly, and did a lot of girl talking. It was so much fun and such a great way to get to know these amazing gals!

November 11, 2011
Yachats to Bob's Creek (Mile Post 170 HWY 101)
Beautiful morning! Said good bye to Dawn and Lana and headed into Yachats. Walked along the wonderful Yachats Trail between town and sea admiring the spouting horns and crashing waves that would spit water high into the air in uneven intervals. Stopped at the Green Salmon for a Hawaiian Mocha and vegan chocolate cupcake... perfection! Yachats is a really cute little town, definitely on the list to come back and visit. Caught the Amanda Trail south of town and hiked up Cape Perpetua to the Stone Shelter overlook on top. Beautiful views! Hiked down the St. Perpetua Trail to the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center. Continued on HWY 101, but miscalculated distance to next stop! The weather changed quickly and it started pouring rain. Pepe and I stopped by a house near Bob's Creek and asked to camp in their yard as it continued raining all night!

November 12, 2011
Bob's Creek to Florence
Very long day! Pepe and I woke up early and hit the road. This was a long day of road walking on a rather narrow windy section of highway, but it was rather pretty. The highway through this section hugs the cliff sides and bluffs along the coast. Got back on the beach near Ponsler Wayside and walked almost to the foot of Haceta Head where I picked up the Hobbit Trail. Pepe and I hiked over Haceta Head and down to Haceta Head Lighthouse. We took the parking lot route back up to the road and hitched a ride through a very narrow HWY 101 tunnel. Continued hiking down the road, through Alder Dune Campsite and Baker Beach. We eventually made our back to the flat HWY 101 section into Florence.

November 13, 2011
Stayed another night in Florence
Pepe and I had mailed a food cache to Florence so we decided to wait until the next day to leave so we could pick it up from the post office. Pepe and I spent some time in old town and I bought a couple sets of earrings! Spoke with Paul today... he was able to add me to his class permit at the Grand Canyon. We are going to have to do some trail rescheduling!

November 14, 2011
Florence to Waxmyrtle Campsite
Late start today as we had to pick up our food cache from the post office and repack bags. Rough day hiking in the Oregon Dunes... not backpacker friendly, definitely a better option for an ATV! It's very easy to lose the walking trail in the dunes. Pepe was being obstinate today. I misplaced his leash on the beach somewhere and he lost his backpack for about an hour.

November 15, 2011
Waxmyrtle Campsite to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park
Woke to a ranger advising that a big storm was coming in and that since I was on foot, I should head back towards the road and into Reedsport. Talking his advice Pepe and I walked along the highway until we got a short hitch into Reedsport. We stopped in at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Information Center and asked some logistical questions before getting back on the road and walking towards the quiet little town of Winchester Bay. We walked through Winchester Bay and up the hill to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. Very pretty little state park in a quiet and hidden nook of forest.

November 16, 2011
Umpqua Lighthouse State Park
Though the storm has yet to hit, I've been advised it's still coming. Pepe and I decide to stay another day, now that our hiking plans have changed a bit due to the Grand Canyon trip. We hiked around Lake Marie and then walked back into Winchester. Nothing much was going on and nothing was open. Kind of a grey bleak day. Started to make our way back to the campsite when the storm finally started. Storm raged through the night!

November 17, 2011
Umpqua Lighthouse State Park to Spinreel Campsite in the Oregon Dunes
Road walked from Umpqua Lighthouse State Park to Spinreel campground where we headed back to the beach. Met a really nice Canadian couple in an RV taking 2 years to travel the US. Pepe and I were the only visitors at the campground. Very friendly and helpful campground host at this site. He even brought me free firewood and made a fire for me! Pepe kept me up most of the night trying to defend the tent from raccoons!

November 18, 2011
Spinreel Campsite to Horsfall Campsite
Walked over huge dunes and pretty marsh forests to get to the narrow beach of the Oregon Dunes to Horsfall Beach and turned inland to camp at Horsfall Campground. Dune walking is hard! Especially in the wind, rain, and HAIL! We got hailed on twice today. We arrived at Horsfall campsite soaking wet and freezing. Pepe was not very happy with his momma! Paul should be flying into Portland tonight, picking up the car tomorrow, and meeting up with Pepe and I!

November 19, 2011
Horsfall Campsite to Sunset Bay State Park
Lots of road walking today! Walked over the McCullough Bridge and into North Bend and Coos Bay. Both nice little towns. Would like to stop back through again for sure. Came into Charleston as the sun was setting and arrived at Sunset Bay State Bay after dark. It was a nice treat to walk in after dark with nobody out, just the sound of the waves in the bay and the moonlight over the water. I'm sure it will be pretty in the daylight!

November 20, 2011
Sunset Bay State Park
Paul arrived at the yurt around midnight! It was so great to see him after 2 months! We spent the day hiking around Cape Arago State Park, Shore Acres State Park and the South Slough Estuarine Reserve. We also checked out Charleston and drove to Bandon for dinner. We fell in love with Cranberry Sweets & More and almost ruined our appetite for dinner on their free samples. It was a great day to reunite and complete this section of the OCT.

Click here to read the excerpts of Audrey Jo's journal from the first leg of her trip.
Audrey Jo's Journal on Thru-Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail, Part 2