I packed up my tent and headed back to the general store for a few things before driving back to the coast. I was able to say goodbye to Alasdair and his wife before they also went back on the PCT. I will definitely be following their progress.
I drove along the east side of the lake when I left and snapped a couple pictures of the view from there. It was just as clear and sunny as yesterday. Such amazing weather here.
After a long drive back through the coast, I arrived at the town of Newport. This happens to be where Rogue Brewery is located! I found their public house by the bay and sat at the bar for dinner and drinks. Awesome beer. The popcorn shrimp I ordered was good too.
I wound up hanging out with a some people there for a few hours who lived in the area. I can’t remember all we talked about now. That’s a problem with writing blog posts a couple weeks later. But we did talk about my trip a bit, and one of them asked where I was staying. I had no clue. That’s been a theme this whole trip. Immediately a couple of them offered their guest rooms to me. I couldn’t turn down a comfy bed for the night!
They were a big factor in me falling in love with Oregon and the Northwest. After a few more beers (and buying some to bring home), I went back to my new friend’s place and crashed for the night. I was glad to have somewhere other than my car or an expensive motel to sleep.
I continued my drive north along the coast until I hit Coos Bay and stopped for gas before going 5 hours east to Crater Lake National Park. Apparently you can’t pump your own gas in Oregon. There was an awkward moment with the kid working the station when I was trying to do it myself.
It took about 3.5 hrs through the Umpqua National Forest to get to the park. I entered the park through the north and drove around the western rim stopping to take pictures along the way. There’s really no sense of scale when standing at the viewpoints. In person, Wizard Island looks very close, until you see the tour boats going to it, which instantly makes you realize how high up you are.
I continued on down to the Mazana camp to set up for the day. I decided to just stay the day, then drive out in the morning to continue along the coast. Making sure I see all of the coast takes a long time, since I have to go back to Coos Bay and drive up from there.
The general store near the camp had coin-operated showers and laundry, so this was a perfect time to clean up and be productive for a few hours. Then I met some PCT hikers… For those that don’t know, the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) is a 2663 mile long trail that runs from the Mexican border all the way up to Canada. Usually people complete the trip in 5 months. Not that long, right?
I wound up spending the whole day talking with them, and threw away any plans of hiking around the park. One couple I met were from Newcastle, and have been on the trail since late April. They took a hiatus from their work to see the west coast one of the most difficult ways possible. The husband, Alasdair, Digital Media and Arts Technician (photographer among many other things) at Northumbria University and has been running a blog of their adventures, which can be found here. Be sure to read up on some of their updates!
It was incredibly inspirational hearing stories from their trip and why they began it in the first place. It put my mini-adventure in perspective. Maybe this is another thing to add to my bucket list. There are so many things I want to do now, that I would have never considered before. Most of those things involve travelling, but honestly I really just want to take advantage of the places I live in more, rather than become stuck in a routine of work and occasional nights out.
We spent all day talking, sharing beers, and playing some card games. This was one of their “0 days”, where they don’t move. At all. The furthest they went was across the street to have dinner, which they kindly invited me to. One woman in the group may have been in her 70s and was doing this trail for, I believe, her 5th time. Insane!
After dinner, we all went to our tents to pass out. I thought about going out for some night shots of the lake, but I didn’t have the energy for it. I never do really. Sleep is amazing!
I woke up at 6am at Bruhel Point just in time to catch the sunrise. It was pretty cold! This was definitely hoodie and beanie weather.
I made my way up to Redwood National Park and stopped by the visitor center in order to pick up a permit for the Tall Trees Grove hike. While there I went behind the center to the beach and made a phone call to my parents. I figure I should let them know I’m alive every once and awhile!
It was breakfast time, so I headed over to the Palm Cafe in Eureka. It was an awesome small town diner, filled with a mix of tourists and many locals. Everyone was nice and the food was amazing. Towns like these make me reconsider living in a city.
Once I had my fill, I headed out to the park. It was about an hour drive, and an estimated two hour hike in the grove trail. I made a couple stops along the way to check out the overview of the park. Green everywhere. Parts of the forest are new growth (replanted after deforestation) and others are designated ancient.
I started the trail and was immediately surrounded by the biggest trees I have ever seen. I think this experience lists as top 3 of the trip so far. I also met a couple along the trail who were from Portland and gave me a few recommendations on places to go while I was there. I take any and all recommendations!
Of course, I had to take a picture of myself in front of one of the trees for scale. This wasn’t even the biggest in there. Most of record holders are unlisted and away from the trail access due to people wanting to climb or vandalize them.
I ended the hike around 4pm and drove north towards Oregon, while taking the scene drive (Old 101) out of the park. I stopped by some ocean lookouts along the way, which had amazing views of the coastline covered in fog.
And then Oregon! I found a place on the coast a bit later to stay for the night.