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Hike with Me: The Wild Coast

Hike with Me: The Wild Coast

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Hike with Me: The Wild Coast

206 página
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Jan 8, 2016


Come hike with Jeanne and her husband along Washington's Wild Coast, in the Olympic National Park, along the Pacific Ocean. Over 150 color pictures bring this six day, five night beach hike into your hands. Find out what it's like to carry a backpack and bear canister for miles along sandy and rocky beaches. Learn what kind of seaweed not to step on and try to spot a sea lion.

Jan 8, 2016

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Hike with Me - Jeanne Bustamante

Hike with Me

The Wild Coast

by Jeanne M. Bustamante

Boise, ID

© 2016 by Jeanne Bustamante

All rights reserved.

All photos by author unless otherwise noted.

This book is an account of one hiker’s experience, and does not constitute instruction or guidance.

Special thanks to Jorje Castillo, who allowed me to use two photographs he took.

Table of Contents


Prologue: The Road Trip

The Trip: Day 1

The Trip: Day 2

The Trip: Day 3

The Trip: Day 4

The Trip: Day 5

The Trip: Day 6

Epilogue: The Road Home


I began writing the Hike with Me series because I wanted to bring the trail experience to my mother. She has Multiple Sclerosis, and I cannot share backpacking adventures with her directly. While these books are primarily for her, especially in the large print edition, they are not just for her. They are for anyone who wants to experience what backpacking can be like, whether you’ve backpacked yourself or not.

The first two volumes in the series detailed solo trips, and I planned for this one to continue in that vein. For me, planning is key for backpacking trips. I suppose there are those who take trips on the fly, but that kind of trip is not what my husband and I do. My husband takes on the majority of the planning for our trips together. While he was focused on our big trip to the Washington Coast, I was busy preparing for my solo efforts. I planned on a 20 mile day hike as a test run for the 60 mile solo hike this year. Those trips were my focus, in part because I trusted Ambrose to plan the Washington Coast trip with his usual thoroughness.

I was able to complete the 20 mile test hike, which road closures turned into a nearly 24 mile hike. I wasn’t even able to start the 60 mile solo hike, due to illness. And so, even though it wasn’t the plan, my book this year is on the Washington Coast hike I took with my husband.

I am going to take you on the road from Boise, ID to Rialto Beach, WA, with a detour to Port Angeles and a stopover in La Push. I’m going to take you to the border where the land meets the sea, where the mist is ever-present and the winds blow tears from your eyes; where the smells of brine and pine whip across your skin and time is dictated by the tides.

Come, hike with me.

Prologue: The Road Trip

Our journey started, in a way, in the fall of 2013 when Ambrose first got the idea to hike the Olympic Coast. The next milestone was purchasing the required permit, which we did in March of 2015. We purchased topographic maps. Ambrose researched the route online, finding pictures and reading trail journals. I scheduled time off of work as soon as the permit was confirmed in April.

We trained more over the winter and spring than we had in the past, because this trip would be long and difficult. The beach would be a new hiking experience for both of us and Boise isn’t at such a high altitude that we expected any benefits once we hit sea level. We discovered the joys of hiking to Lucky Peak, from a trailhead less than a ten minute drive from home, and spent more time hitting the weights at the gym.

Our backpacking trips in June and July went well. My experimental 20 plus mile day hike was a success, even if I got rained on and could hardly walk once I reached the car. Before I knew it, the time had come to pack up for the coast trip.

I took the day off work before we started driving so I could have time to pack without panicking. There were some tasks I got done before then, and some Ambrose helped with. He packed my food up (though I verified it), and I already knew what I wanted to bring on the trip as far as equipment went. I took time to do one last workout and run during the day, packed for the road trip and packed my backpack. Ambrose wanted to leave early in the morning, but I managed to stay up late anyway.

At 4 in the morning, the alarm pulled us out of slumber. I felt hyped up. No need for the snooze button on this morning. Just a quick shower and then we drove off into the dark of the morning. The stars were still out and the air held the hush of sleep.

We were too early to stop in Boise for breakfast and so we drove off on I84. While it was still dark, we stopped at a truck stop in Ontario, OR and shared a Subway breakfast sandwich. The roads were nearly empty. Occasionally, cars passed us going the other direction. And, slowly, the sky grew bright on the rolling hills of western Oregon.

Ambrose drove. I watched the scenery and managed the radio. I also, out of long ingrained habit, watched the road and tried my best to compromise between letting him know if I saw something that needed the driver’s attention and not being an annoying backseat driver.

Driving is a large component of our backpacking trips, though for Idaho hikes we tend towards drives of less than four hours. Boise gives access to outdoor adventures, but we haven’t found places to backpack close to home. In part, because we have to travel on dirt roads to get to the trailheads, sometimes for hours, rolling along at 25 miles per hour. This drive was different in being altogether longer and on paved highways.

It was also different in having a point of no return. And once we left Idaho, that point had passed. There would be no emergency night drive back home to fetch a piece of vital equipment. If we arrived and found something missing, then we had the choice either to try and purchase a replacement or go without.

And if I could drive back for an emergency item, I would. I have. I’ll never let Ambrose forget the time he neglected to pack my boots and we only realized it about 88 miles into a 90 mile trip. But I was so determined to take that hike to Blackmare Lake. I finished driving us to the campsite, dropped Ambrose and our tent off, and then did a boot retrieval trip late into the night.

I knew this time I had my boots, at least, and we were stopping for the last of our food on the way at an REI in Washington. But I had to trust that I had packed everything I needed and wanted for this trip, which gave me a bit of a thrill. How well could I prepare for this? Only one way to find out.

I offered to drive around noon when we stopped for gas and snacks, but since I had never been on this road, Ambrose wanted me to be able to enjoy the scenery. He particularly wanted me to see The Dalles. I wanted to see the Bridge of the Gods at Cascade Locks, of Pacific Crest Trail fame. Ambrose stayed in the driver's seat throughout Oregon.

I understood as we drove why Ambrose wanted my eyes free to wander. The dry landscape of eastern Oregon became green and forested as the highway began to hug the Columbia River. Even though I hadn’t gotten enough sleep, I wasn’t tempted to shut my eyes for a nap.

I drank in the sight of forests and waterfalls visible from the road. The river grew larger the farther west we drove, passing through the dam at The Dalles in a gorgeous cascade. I watched boats and barges and the glints of light on water that might be fish or trash.

We stopped for gas in Cascade Locks. The gas station was tiny. After I used the bathroom, it took a while before someone could be spared to work the cash register for a purchase of soda and red vines. The air inside the convenience area of the station was hot and humid, but I wasn’t in a hurry. All the time we took on the drive was part of the master plan.

I took a picture of the Bridge of the Gods as we drove by it on the way back to the highway. I want to cross it on foot someday, as a part of traveling the entire Pacific Crest Trail.

Technically, we drove through Portland, though I won’t count it as a visit when all we did was drive through the highway interchanges and cross the bridge into Washington. The navigation system we used steered us in the right direction where Ambrose’s decades old memory would have sent us astray.

My first impression of Washington was green trees, thickly growing. Ambrose continued to drive while I navigated us off the highway to the REI in Olympia. The first REI store I ever entered was in Colorado, somewhere in Denver when I was a freshman in college visiting a friend for Thanksgiving. I remember it being large and filled with incomprehensible objects. I bought a turquoise Nalgene bottle (I eventually threw it away, not because it broke, but because I had a bad habit of leaving stuff inside it and I reached a point where I no longer wanted to clean out the mold).

Since then, I’ve frequented the Boise REI, which is a small store. I think they call it a medium, corporate structurally speaking, but what I see is the lack of options for women’s boots and I call it small. The REI in Olympia spoiled me. Two stories, the size of a mall anchor store, though it did not have an entrance to the abutting shopping center, filled with far more than I could explore in our limited time.

We bought the PROBARs to fill out our lunches for the

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