Blog .:. October 2014 2 Entries

Wrapping up the Redwoods Trip

27 October 2014 Comments

So, the last month has been very busy at work, and I spent what free time I had having fun with Fin.

Consequently, the neglect of this blog.

Ah, well.

So there we were, heading to sleep after a day of rock scrambling around Patrick’s Point State Park. I had strained my leg during the day—badly enough that I was worried I was going to have to drop out of the Chilkoot hike.

We broke camp the next morning and hit the road. The day’s plan was to take the Avenue of the Giants south, eventually reaching Fort Bragg. We’d spend the morning after at Glass Beach, and then start driving back to Portland.

My leg was doing better than I expected. I was able to walk without limping for most of the day, although every once in a while I would take a really bad step and it would not support me. I was still worried about the Chilkoot hike, but there was enough improvement that I hoped it would be ok by the time the hike started.

The Avenue of the Giants was fun, although not as much fun as Howland Hill Road. It was more commercial—more cars, more people, more shops selling stuff.

Still, it was pretty and no matter many people are around, you can’t argue with the fact that the trees are just mind-bogglingly huge:

And sometimes the huge trees were growing out of other, fallen huge trees:

We spent most of the day driving leisurely down south, arriving at our campground near Fort Bragg late in the evening.

The next morning, we spent a little time exploring the beach at our campground. It was a gray, foggy morning, but there were sea otters out in the water:

No, really—those blobs in the water are sea otters. Trust me.

I also spent some time hanging out with some squirrels, because squirrels:

Then we headed off to Glass Beach.

Glass Beach used to be a garbage dump, and some of the garbage was burned on the beach. It was eventually closed as a dump and cleaned up, but the broken glass remained—and was smoothed and rounded by the ocean. If you look up pictures of the beach, you’ll see beautiful shots of large pieces of glass mixed in with pebbles. It looks really cool.

Unfortunately, becoming a tourist attraction was really the end of the beach. Visitors have taken home virtually all the larger pieces of glass, leaving only very tiny fragments of plain-colored glass (mostly white and brown, with some green):

Ironically, as I was walking along the beach, I heard several people whining about the lack of larger glass particles—while scooping smaller particles into their pockets. Eventually, even these tiny remnants will be gone, cleaned up by people who think everyone else ought to be preserving the beach while their souvenir is perfectly acceptable.

I didn’t spend too much time on the area of the beach where the glass was. The rest of the beach was prettier (and less crowded). The ocean was an amazing mix of colors and I really enjoyed just watching the waves:

By early afternoon, we are on the road again, this time headed back north to Portland.

My friend had to catch a plane the next day, so we headed inland to take a more direct and faster route back than the beautiful but twisting and slow coastal road we had followed south.

It wasn’t long before we were out of the coastal climate and into an area where the toll taken by California’s severe drought was obvious:

It was still beautiful country, but in a very different way.

We stayed in a hotel that night, and the next day my friend caught her flight.

Someday, I’d like to go back and do more hiking and camping in the area—this time, just staying in one place in Northern California and really hiking the Redwoods. I could easily fall in love with the Oregon/Northern California coast, and if I moved there I might never move again.

But I had more travel ahead of me. I spent the next day or so in Portland with my brother and his wife. I used the time to go through all my luggage and ship some of it back. I also did some shopping to pick up some last-minute things for the Chilkoot hike. And when I say “some shopping,” I mean my credit card company called me to make sure my credit card hadn’t been stolen and REI sent me a gift card to thank me for spending money with them.

I call it doing my part for the ongoing economic recovery.

And then it was time for the next leg of my trip: I’d be taking the ferry from Bellingham, Washington up to Juneau, Alaska. I’d spend a couple days there and meet up with some of the other Chilkoot hikers, and we’d all catch a ferry up to Skagway, where we’d meet up with the rest of the group.

But first, I had to get to Bellingham. I said my goodbyes to my brother and his wife as they went off to work, and I headed into downtown Portland and the Amtrak station.

Tagged: 2014 Chilkoot Trail, 2014 Summer Adventure, United States - California, United States - California - Fort Bragg

A different sort of trail adventure

23 October 2014 Comments

Mardi Gras in October?! Why not?

This is Fin last weekend at a fundraising trail ride for one of the local therapeutic riding centers.

A group of us from the barn decided to go, and we dressed up in a Mardi Gras theme. The costumes were a hit—we even ran into someone on the trail who had heard about our group from other riders.

Fin was super. This was definitely the busiest location I’ve taken him to, with lots of groups of horses doing their thing, some small carts in the distance (which he was ok with) and some carriages and wagons closer up (which he was not so keen on, but he coped with fairly well).

Fortunately we had fewer water crossings this time, and he was a little bit better about them. We really need to school water crossings, though. I said it last time, but I never did anything about it.

We also did some trotting this time. I didn’t feel nearly confident enough to do it last time, and honestly it took me a while to relax this time but I was better by the end. Fin thought it was great fun the entire time.

With the weather cooling down, I’m hoping to get him out on trails more often. It’s good for both of us—I’m not going to become more comfortable on the trails unless I go out on them, and Fin LOVES them, so I definitely want to get him out and keep him from getting too sour on arena work.

But he’s going to have to get over his water thing, because I dream of riding on the beach some day. And, you know, there tends to be a little bit of water there.

Some day…


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