The Ultimate Roommate Compatibility Test: Backpacking the Oregon Coast Trail

The Ultimate Roommate Compatibility Test: Backpacking the Oregon Coast Trail

Night was slipping, and the meanest campground host I’d at any time met was trying


Night was slipping, and the meanest campground host I’d at any time met was trying to throw us back again out into the woods. 

It was day a person of a prepared 4-working day trip together a northern portion of the Oregon Coastline Trail, and my hiking companion Alatna and I experienced already hit more snafus than on any journey I had been on right before. The Oregon Coast Trail maps have been incorrect, leaving us with sudden miles of freeway going for walks the hiker/biker campground we’d prepared to stay at in Yachats was a fantasy and the path that was supposed to drop us at the subsequent campsite (much more than twice our planned day-just one length from the trailhead) took us up and more than an huge hill as dusk shut in on us beneath the trees. When at final we emerged from the swiftly-darkening woods to a campground, we learned that they had none of the $5 hiker/biker web-sites for Oregon Coastline Path vacationers that we experienced planned to use, and we did not have approximately plenty of cash to remain the night time. 

“The closest ATM is seven miles north,” the camp host snapped at us, pointing back at the highway while her spouse shot us sympathetic appears to be.

“It’s getting dark, and there isn’t a shoulder,” I protested. “We’ve hiked 20 miles now. Just can’t we just established up a tent below and go into town tomorrow?”

The host refused, eyeing us as although we had been vagrants planning to rob her campground of what ever we could carry. With a 14-mile round-vacation wander now standing amongst me and snooze, I felt my temper drawing in close proximity to to breaking position. 

Luckily Alatna’s reaction was significantly less anger and more despair: she burst into tears. That eventually jolted the spouse into action, and saved our excursion. He gave her a experience into city to decide on up much more money at the ATM, his wife retreated to the RV, and I stayed to established up camp and start out evening meal (and, specified how the conversation had gone so significantly, probably as collateral). 

It was, all issues viewed as, a hell of a way to get to know a new roommate.

Alatna searching out to sea Picture: Kristin Smith

Alatna and I had achieved in our freshman earth techniques science course at Montana State University, wherever we had been both equally studying geology. Like me, she liked hiking, hanging out at the seaside, and (of program) examining out all the rocks together the way we labored on research with each other, prepped for finals, and explored the numerous trails all over Bozeman. When the conclusion of freshman 12 months rolled all-around and everybody started off seeking for a way out of the dorms, we made the decision to condominium hunt with each other. After signing a lease for a flat a couple miles from campus we had been formally scheduled to be roommates in the fall. But would our friendship previous as a result of the daily stresses of filthy dishes and distinct schedules?

We decided to combine summer time break experience with a cohabitation litmus exam. Seeking for a way to fulfill in the middle (she lived in Northern California I lived at the northwest corner of Washington), we settled on the Oregon Coast Trail. Four days of extensive sandy beaches, rolling waves, and interesting northwest forest. What could go erroneous?

That early morning our vacation had begun proper on schedule. We dispersed the team gear–tent, stove and cookset–without argument. The climate was clear, sunny, and just great plenty of for cozy climbing, and the tides ended up lined up for an effortless 7 miles of beachwalking. Giddy with the significant that arrives from staying on the cusp of experience, we shouldered our packs and set out.

The very first morning of mountaineering was everything we could have hoped for. We basked in the rhythmic roar and whoosh of waves, skirting the drinking water on the organization, soaked sand, and poked about sea urchins and starfish in the tidepools of every rocky headland. I discovered a coconut washed up on shore and delightedly suggested that swallows will have to have carried it there Alatna equally comprehended the reference and considered it was humorous, boding effectively for our long run as roommates. Just a several hrs in, we had been now approaching our planned campsite and looking ahead to a leisurely afternoon of lounging on the seashore.  

Which is when the difficulties begun. Walking into the seaside town of Yachats–where our map claimed the up coming campground was–we abruptly discovered ourselves in a maze of bold, dazzling crimson signage declaring every single beach front and trailhead “DAY USE ONLY”. Wherever was the campground?

After 20 minutes of exploring, we concluded that the promised campground didn’t exist. We still felt fresh new, though, and very easily rallied. This would just make tomorrow a minimal simpler, right? The map confirmed another campsite just a several miles away, that wouldn’t be any difficulty. 

Seashore climbing on the OCT Image: Kristin Smith

It turned out that the path our map claimed would choose us to that subsequent camp did not exist, possibly, other than in the minds of the trail planners. Still keeping on to our higher spirits, we started out up the bike lane beside Freeway 101. 

A couple miles of roadwalking later, we even now hadn’t witnessed a signal of trail or campground. I could experience just about every grain of sand that experienced snuck into my footwear, and I’d been buffeted by so substantially dust from passing vehicles I was tempted to leap off the road into the woods upcoming time I noticed an approaching semi. It was starting off to get late, and we were starving.

“It has to go back to path soon, proper?” Alatna requested with any luck ,. I looked at the highway, winding off ahead into thick pine trees, and hoped her optimism was far more than wishful thinking.

Just a several minutes later on, we eventually spotted the trailhead on the other facet of the road. We conferred in excess of the map again, looking at the marked route, which clung to the shoreline. The submit marked “Oregon Coastline Trail” that appeared to head straight inland. It was much better than the street, in any case. We headed into the woods and started out to climb.

And climb. And climb. Though just about every signpost confident us this was the Oregon Coast Path, we seemed to be switchbacking up a mountain. Late afternoon was sliding into evening, and beneath the thick trees the gentle was beginning to fade.

At prolonged previous we reached the major, just as dusk was seriously commencing to set in. Alatna, drooping with exhaustion, stared at the path forward, where by it dropped into a lot more trees, not a beachline in sight.

“Come on,” I cajoled, “It has to be all downhill from in this article.” 

In a haze we stumbled by the increasingly dim forest. Last but not least we emerged from the trees–and, to our speculate, at a campground. We’d hike in excess of twice our prepared working day 1 distance, but last but not least it was in excess of! We could pitch camp, make meal, crawl into our beckoning sleeping luggage.

And then we satisfied the camp host from hell, negotiated our way into remaining by means of extra-or-a lot less emotional blackmail, and fell into bed completely exhausted.

end-of-excursion team shot Image: Kristin Smith

We might survived unplanned 20-mile mountaineering times, negative maps, and even hitchhiking, in addition coordinating cooking and camp chores and cramming ourselves into a two-human being tent each individual night time. After all that, cohabitating in a complete-measurement condominium would be a piece of cake.

The upcoming morning dawned as obvious and sunny as the a person in advance of. We divided up early morning camp chores without the need of problem (one more large score on the roommate examination) and scurried out. Following a few miles of roadwalking on the almost-vacant highway, we uncovered ourselves on a scenic stretch with views out more than the limitless Pacific. Ultimately, factors were being searching up. 

That optimism lasted until eventually the next headland, where by the shoulder vanished entirely. Ahead of us, the road was hewn straight from the cliffs for as considerably as we could see, with a sheer drop to the appropriate and an similarly sheer encounter to the still left. Vehicles whizzed previous us at 60 mph to whip into a hairpin turn with unquestionably no visibility, permit on your own space for pedestrians. 

“Well.” I scratched my head. “We surely can’t hike that.”

Alatna pursed her lips. “We could hitchhike?”

All of nineteen and possessing read far also quite a few murder tales by now, and undoubtedly hardly ever hitchhiked, I shook my head. “There’s received to be a different way. Possibly we can go back again to the very last seashore and when the tide goes out we can make it all-around?”

We both of those glanced down the place spray was taking pictures a dozen ft in the air with every single wave. If it was fewer scary than hiking on a blind highway, it was not by a great deal.

In advance of the debate could definitely obtain steam, an ancient Subaru with a stack of surfboards lashed to the roof pulled up beside us. The couple inside of rolled down the windows, smiling in that loose and windblown way you only get from investing days on the drinking water.

“Do you want a experience to the subsequent seashore?” the man asked.

Alatna right away turned to me. “We really should choose it,” she mentioned.

I eyed the surfboards, the motor vehicle, the few, and then the road ahead once more. Leaning in closer, I whispered, “do you have the bear spray useful?”

She rolled her eyes but tucked the pepper spray into an quickly obtainable pocket as we climbed in the backseat. Glancing out the window at heedless speedsters whipping through corners with probably 4 inches of shoulder in advance of the cliff, I imagined attempting to hike it and grimaced.

The pair dropped us off at the future seashore obtain position without having incident and wished us luck. At last again on route,we reveled  in the sand beneath our feet and the absence of freeway sound. For at the time our map was correct: we did not depart the beach right up until we arrived at Alatna’s car the subsequent day, a whole day ahead of program many thanks to our working day a person epic. We’d survived unplanned 20-mile climbing days, lousy maps, and even hitchhiking, in addition coordinating cooking and camp chores and cramming ourselves into a two-human being tent each and every night. Just after all that, cohabitating in a whole-measurement apartment would be a piece of cake.



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