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Winter Coast Hike a Bust

Well it all started out great, caught the first ferry and was in Forks before 10:00 AM.  Finished taking care of a few little things and then waited for the Bus. 

The Bus dropped me off at the Oil City road at 11:30 and I started the long hike in to the trail head.  It turned out to be 10.5 miles to the trail head on a mixed paved and dirt road.  The road walk was not so bad, just boring. 

About half way through I started getting a hot spot on my left foot and stopped shortly there after and tighten up the laces on that boot.  That seemed to stop the sliding and the hot spot.  I think the reason for this was I was walking on the side of the road facing any cars that may happen by, none did.  So I was contently walking on a slope.

I had noticed some chafing along the road, witch seemed not that bad at the time.  I have had bouts with chafing in the past, but nothing in the last year or so and did not think about it in by prep and first aid kit.  This would turn out to be a big mistake.

Anyway I got to the trail head and headed down the trail, My plan was to crash on the beach at the river mouth or someplace at the end of the trail if the tide was to high.  Well it turned out not to be the tide, but the river it's self.  I have never seen the Hoh so high, it was huge.  So I didn't make it to the beach that afternoon.  But I did find a nice little spot to set up the new tent.  Tent went up fairly east, some of the ground was just sand though and the stakes were a little small for just sand.  By the time I had camp set up I was dead tired and after changing out of my wet clothing, decided to crash and eat latter.  That was about 4:00 PM, I woke up some time around 4 or 5 the next morning. :)

Now I knew my legs were sore and the chafing was fairly decent when I crashed but with the rain outside and being so dang tired, I just crashed.  I think that was probably a big mistake.  I should have tried to stretch and did something for the chafing.  The next morning my left leg, the high leg from walking most of the day, was locked solid.  It was like I was wearing a cast!  The mussel at the back of the knee had tighten up to the point that I just could not move that leg every easily, i.e. painful to move. 

The chafing had started to run/drain (Not sure) that night and was very painful the next morning.  I laid around the tent most of the morning trying to decide just what to do.  Not really wanting to walk back that 10+ miles on the road I figured that I would continue on and see haw it went. 

Well it did not go that well.  :)  I got out to the beach and realized that it would just be stupid to try to continue this.  I just was not ready, or prepared for what had happened the day before.   Luckily, a older gentlemen had come out to the beach that morning after doing some steal-head fishing earlier in the day.  I had talked to him a little as he passed by my camp as I was packing up.  I found him on the beach and talked a little and asked if he could give me a ride back to the highway.  He said yes, thank God for small favors.

He actually ended up taking me all the way back to Forks and Dropping me off at my truck.  Really nice guy, with some great stories of the area. 

So I messed around the rest of the day trying to find someplace to camp that I would not have to hike in, but ended up heading back home in the afternoon.  The healing took about 3 days and my left leg is still stiff.  So over all it was a major bust.  But I did enjoy the hike and what little time I did have on the beach. 

Not really any pictures, I got on of the trail head and one of the river but that was about it. So I guess I have some Delusions of Grander!  :)  I decided that I need to stick to weekend trips for now and start building up to the big trips.  Not start with the big trips.  You thing that would be common sense, but not for me.  Anyway, it was a good learning experence and I think that was worth all the other stuff.  


PS:  I will be posting a review on the new tent soon. 

Sorry it was not what you wanted it to be. I am a true believer in always having what you think you won't need for first aid. Not that I was not caught unprepared recently myself in that vain. None the less, you went out there and gave it a whack. I have spent two years getting ready for my Everest Base Camp trek and still am worried about things that can interrupt it.

Dang sorry it didnt work out for ya Wolfman. But like gift said, ya went out and gave it heck! Thats more than alot of people can say.

It sounded like you had done your research well before heading out. Sometimes we just get caught by things we had'nt thought of. I hope this doesnt discourage you from future trips. Your idea of sticking with weekend trips for now is a good one. The learning curve can be cruel at times but a needed evil.

You'll work out the issues and go give'r heck again! 

Yea I'll keep at it.  I probably could have muddled through it, but I figured better safe then sorry.  I also need to work out the food better.  When all said and done I had over 20 lbs (split it 2 halves) for a 8 day trip.  Funny how I always seem to pack way more then I need. :)

I just got to get in better shape and toughen up some areas on my body.  I have a lot of plans this summer, least of is the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainer, so I best get in shape!  Besides I could do with losing a few pounds, probably somewhere around 50 or so.


I think we all forgot to tell you that you need longr stakes for sand camping. I use 9" Y stakes. If you get into big winds you need sand bags. This can just be stuff sacks that you fill and dig into the sand. Sorry that it didnt work out for you. But 2-3 day outing can be just as enjoyable.

Wolfman atleast you went and it's just your beginning for you..Some people never even try...


I can relate to your trip. I used to be bad about biting off big trips and then having to suffer through part of it in one way or another. I still enjoyed it, but it wasn't smooth sailing by any means.

One thing is for sure, these kinds of experiences teach us things in a way that is not easy to forget.

I enjoyed reading your report and I look forward to the next one.

BTW...I once fell asleep (exhausted) with my GPS & flashlight on, I woke up to dead batteries and did not have a map or compass with me and I was not on a trail.

That was dumb of me...but now I check all those things plus I make dead sure I have a map and keep up with my position as I hike.

So bad experience = lessons learned...and how!

Keep hiking, I think your hike in was impressive under the circumstances.

Mike G.

On my last week long trip(January) I brought spare batteries for my headlamp. My wife was in a rush to get me to the th and at the last minute I grabbed the batteries.

Well at least I thought I did lol.

On night 2 my batteries that I had in my Petzl were kicking the bucket while I was hiking in the snow. 

No biggie, I will just fire in a new set and get on my way. 

There was 1 big problem with that. I grabbed AAs and not the AAAs that my headlamp took. 

I hiked the rest of the night in the moonlight. It was a full moon, clear sky, and there was snow on the ground so once my eyes adjusted I could see fairly well. 

Luckily I met up with someone who was in the crew that I was meeting up with and he hooked me up with a set.

I really enjoy solo night hiking alot. If it wasn't for Rob(thanks man) I would have been "light-less" during the evening hours.

Fun times...


Thanks everyone for the pep talks and works of wisdom.  I will keep at it!  I also think I am going to start some basic exercise program to help get in better shape.


Got my few Pics finally loaded and though I would go ahead and post what came out.

Trail Board

Mileage sign


Camp Site- Before


Camp Set up

The tent is actually handing from a tree branch so no internal pole. :)

These Last two are the next morning going out to the beach, the first is along the river, the afternoon before this was all water, no place to walk.  The second is the beach at the Hoh river and the massive log pile there, it coves more then a football field, just stacks and stacks of logs and drift wood.  Their are a few spots that you can set up camp but climbing over wet logs is risky business. 



By the way the distortion in the pictures was fog on the lens. :(


I heartily applaud your decision to turn around. One of the hardest things to do and THE best skill to have is knowing when to bail when things aren't going right. A series of small mishaps can lead to serious trouble and breaking that chain is the best thing you can do for yourself.

I have bailed on several solo trips that weren't going as planned and have never regretted staying out of trouble and living to hike another day. The trails will still be there.

From your pics it looks like it would be well worth returning when you are better prepared. We learn lessons from every trip we take and hopefully use that knowledge to make our future trips better and safer. Happy hiking!



Sorry your outing didn't turn out as planned but I agree with Snowgoose, good on ya for having the bones to call it when you needed to. I bet alot of folks around here have had simliar trips ( I know I have).  I also enjoyed reading of your (mis) adventure!

And you know, for some of us a night or two out is the best we can do anyway (for various reasons)!

Nice pics Wolfman.

That Shagra La looks like a pretty comfy setup

Sorry it didn't work out, but better to call it a day, rather than have a miserable time and perhaps increase the injury. Although Y stakes can be better, U shaped cross section are about the best in sand. However, there are usually a few rocks, so just tie out with rocks or with the line tied around the middle of the stake with rocks in front. Part of tarpology or tentology on the beach.

SnowGoose said:

I have bailed on several solo trips that weren't going as planned and have never regretted staying out of trouble and living to hike another day. The trails will still be there.

 I have done the same on more than one occasion. I agree with this 110%. 

Erich said

 Although Y stakes can be better, U shaped cross section are about the best in sand.

Please explain.

Mike, several designs use a V or U cross section for their stakes today. However, in days past, and perhaps still available(I've kept some) there were U section stakes that were an inch across the open side. Though bulkier, their surface area meant that they worked great in sand. Mine are not stamped, they might have been SMC.

Erich and Mike, and others, I have seen these stake at stores before, they are often called snow stakes.  At least the "U" shape design, though that are usually a lot longer then normal stakes.  I have not tried them before so can't say how well they work. 

In the past I normally just use a standard aluminum tent stake and push it all the way down into the sand and then put a decent size rock or log on it.  I find that most of the time it's the stake pulling up the will loosen the tent.  I have not had much of a issue with the stakes moving through the sand. 

The stakes with my new tent are a triangle shape and I think with rocks they would work fine.  Although I did not get to try them out in that situation.

Here is one of the kinds that REI caries, but their is tones out there with different styles and materials.

SMC Sno-Tent Stake

Here are some pics of different ones



I like the last one for the points on my Arch tent, the two stakes at the Forward point and the back point hold the tent tight, so they carry a lot of stress.  Besides it would be great for throwing the food line over high branches! 


Haaa snow stakes. Got it. Thanks. Those would be great in sand. I always wondered why V stakes were formed to not have the wide end toward the tent.  It seems to me the cup part should be facing the tent, as this would create more drag with the ground cupping inside the cup area. Mybe they would bend easier.

The long road hike will have to be avoided, in advance planning.

Wolfman, Well it turned out not to be the tide, but the river it's self.  I have never seen the Hoh so high, it was huge.  So I didn't make it to the beach that afternoon.  But I did find a nice little spot to set up the new tent.

This kind of thing can happen to the most experienced hiker.

Your common sense and flexibility are necessary for a safe trip, any time.

It sounds like meeting the steelhead fisherman was a bonus, not only fot the ride but for the stories.

You got experience with your outfit. That is more than me, so far. I look for your review.

Wolfman said:

Yea I'll keep at it.  I probably could have muddled through it, but I figured better safe then sorry.  I also need to work out the food better.  When all said and done I had over 20 lbs (split it 2 halves) for a 8 day trip.  Funny how I always seem to pack way more then I need. :)


 Twenty lbs of food for eight days sounds okay to me.  The two-pound-a-day rule is flexible, especially when wanting to haul fresh fruit or an avocado or a couple pints of fruit juice smoothies, etc.

There are several options other than bailing, although I cannot duplicate or know exactly how you or your leg felt like.  Each situation is personal.  One option would be to sit put at your first campsite (or somewhere very close) and basecamp it for several days or a week.  Eight days of food?  Stay put for eight days.

I noticed over the years that leg, calf and knee/foot issues can be "walked out" and hiked through whereby the pain lessens over time and into the trip.  One time I had a painful achilles and/or calf muscle "snap" which threw me to the ground on day 3 of a 12 day trip, and I "had" 9 more days to go. 

The big mountain had to be climbed and ever-so-slowly I rucked up and walked sideways on the trail to alleviate the pain.  In about a mile I was at a decent campsite and favored the thing.  Sideways crab-like hiking ain't fun and is terribly slow but I still had my days to do and figured I could either walk the kinks out or basecamp it for the duration.

I remember a trip that was with a gang of buddies, up the South Fork Merced River, destined a little north of Royal Arch Lake in the Sierras.  About two miles from the Lakemy left ankle mysteriously starting aching.  By the time I reached our camp it felt like a moderate sprain.  Spent two days lolling around camp, soaking it in the cold lake; meanwhile everyone else was having a blast fishing and climbing the area's features.  The last day was a 9-10 mile schlep to the cars.  I was moving so slow I had to leave ahead of the group at sun rise.  This was no picnic; it was hot and high season for mosquitoes.  I was creeping at a snail's pace through waypoints aptly named Mosquito flats, etc.  The gang took their sweet time striking camp near noon, yet passed me two miles short of the car.  Three hours later - fourteen since I started out - I finally made it out, barely able to walk at all.  Had no idea what did to my ankle, but it sure hurt like hell.  Got no sympathy though, they all plaintively stated they enjoyed all the mosquitoes they could stand, and none were about to venture back into that fog of bugs just to shoulder my pack and lighten my burden.  


ConnieD, I think I am going to wait until I get to use the sent some more before I post a review, 2 nights, one in the back yard, is not a lot of review time for a new tent.  Though so far I do like it, I think I need to use it some more to get a batter feel for it and how it works over all.

ED, did you know that Mosquito's are a great food source?  Just open your mouth as you walk through the swarms and munch away!  :D Did you ever figure out what was wrong with the foot?

Tipi, in retrospect, Yea I bailed to early.  I should have gotten something for the chafing at Forks and header back out to one of the closer beaches.  I think I was more frustrated with myself more then anything at that point and not in the best frame of mind.

By the way, the chafing healed up in about 3 days, I have to remember to bring A & D lotion with me from now on, plus one of those anti-chafing sports rubs to start with.  :)  

My knee on the other hand is still tight, just the mussel at the back of the knee, not sure what's it called, but it still a pain to walk and such.  Although if I had stretched it out at the beach/camp I would probably be better off.  That's something I really need to work on, stretching and related exercises.

As for the food, I actually think I had about twice what I really needed.  Most of it was not "Dried" but prepackaged stuff, like rice that you just have to heat, and stuff like that.  I worked out a calorie count based on the per meal count, but I never factored in that those usually have 2 or 3 "meals" per package.  Next time I will watch that better.   Besides the fact that I usually don't eat when I am hiking and or tired, I think I could have gone for probably 2 weeks with the food I carried and the food drop I had mailed to the La Push Post office.  It was about 10 lbs each.

Thanks for the input from everyone, this is always a great help.


November 24, 2020
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