The week leading up to the check-in was pretty exciting, culminating in the much-anticipated mid-summer presentations in Newport and preceding camping trip.
I compiled all of my research on the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT), which I’ve spent most of the summer researching. The OCT, as the name suggests, is a trail that runs all along the 360ish miles of the Oregon Coast. This is made possible by Oregon’s “Beach Bill” which made all beaches, all the way up to the vegetation line, public access, so anyone could theoretically walk the entire coast. However, there are some portions of the coast where walking is impossible, as cliffs jut into the sea and there is no walkable coast. My first project concerned researching all of the areas where this occurred, along with areas where pedestrians have to come inland to cross bridges (due to rivers and bays), and any other reason that would take coast-walkers off of the coast. I’m excited to see how the trail progresses from the information of my summary.
Thursday afternoon I was able to ride up with another summer scholar up the South Coast to Newport. Since my first project for Wild Rivers Coast Alliance (my host for this summer) concerned researching the OCT, I was excited to see a lot of the places that I’ve seen throughout my research as we drove along highway 101.This also helped me to spot out a few of the areas on the OCT that are problematic, such as the Newport Bridge below, which crosses Yaquina Bay. If hikers are unable to get a ferry across the bay, the only passage is the bridge, which has a narrow pedestrian crossing.
Friday morning we had our mid-summer presentations, I was a bit nervous for mine, since there was a bit more background that needed to be explained before I actually discussed my projects (how a golf course, Bandon Dunes, fit in with sustainability for example). I felt much better after spotting these amazing artistic puns, however.
Big thanks to whoever drew those. I tried to incorporate more marine puns into my normal talking over the course of the check-in, but I didn’t do very whale…
Then we went camping! After some of the best curry I’ve had a long time at the cute little Thai restaurant on the port in Newport, we drove into the Willamette National Forest. I could go on and on about how much I love the trees of the Pacific Northwest, but I’ll show some photos instead.
We were also to enjoy these arboreal giants on our hike to Tamolitch (Blue) Pool, about a 5 mile hike along the McKenzie River, ending where the river escapes under a cliff. The (amazing) coloration of the river is caused by its subterranean passage before we see the water peak back out at the pool. The cold temperatures (about 38 degrees F) and the lack of sunlight is pretty inhabitable for most organisms, leaving behind crystal clear water. What do you do when you run across icy-cold water in the middle of the forest? Well, you jump in, of course!
The water chills you to the bones, but it’s extremely refreshing, and a very cool experience. Thanks so much to Haley, our coordinator, for planning this out and taking us there! Leaving the hike Saturday, I rode back to Corvallis with Haley, Ed, and Skyler, just in time to catch a shuttle to my flight back home for the next week (a way better alternative than the 2 buses and taxis mentioned in my first blog post). Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!