It took them three years to accomplish their goal, but accomplish it they did: hike the Oregon Coast Trail from the mouth of the Columbia River to the California Border.
Two retired couples, Ed and Linda Opitz and Mike and Anne Freeman, made the decision to hike the trail because of their love of the Oregon Coast and an innate sense of adventure.
The reason it took the foursome so long to make the journey was because they divided the trek into stages they were able to accomplish with just five days of hiking each quarter.
The group would rent a home central to each portion of hiking and then, using GPS waypoints to keep track of where they were, use two vehicles — one, a drop off vehicle at the head of the day’s hike and another staged at the end of the day’s hike — to trek anywhere from 3 to 9 miles each day.
The distance covered each day was dependent on the terrain and the difficulty of the trail.
“Beach walking was easy,” Linda said, “but fording streams and following the trail over the headlands and cliffs through dense forests proved more difficult.”
The group eliminated sections along Highway 101 where the shoulders were narrow and safety was an issue.
While the rental of a vacation home or condo made the trips more manageable, the group was quick to point out that they were “seniors,” and admitted that they compensated for each other when fatigue or other health issues arose.
All four members of the group claim they are experienced travelers and agreed that the Oregon Coast Trail is one of the most scenic and breathtaking hikes in the world.
“You see sights that you would never see from just going to the parks or driving along Highway 101,” Ed said.
While a large number of people trek the Oregon Coast Trail every year, the foursome thought their case was unique because they proved that anyone could hike the Oregon Coast in its entirety.
“This is one lifetime adventure you can do in your own backyard,” Ed claimed.