Day 12: Hike to Ecola State Park

28 September 2011

I had wanted to call a rest day for a couple of days now, and Seaside, being a medium-sized (population: 6,500) and not excessively touristy town, seemed like a good place to do it.

Seaside Hostel

The hostel provided breakfast (DIY pancakes). I went to the post office and mailed home some gear I no longer needed, such as my old fluorescent cycling jacket and my map of Washington state, for a savings of about 2 lbs and substantial volume.

I ate lunch in town at Subway, then walked out to the beach and down towards Ecola State Park.

Seaside beach

The trailhead is at the end of a road in a residential area and the trail immediately begins to climb the hill in a thick forest. The mud was pretty annoying (and semi-dangerous) to traverse in my Vibrams, but those were the only shoes I had.

Ecola State Park

I had gotten a late start, so I didn't expect to be able to reach the usual summit or vista point. Instead I just walked into the forest for an hour and half, then turned around. The trail was very quiet and I ran into no one else for the first two hours.

I walked back to town along the beach and the boardwalk.

Seaside boardwalk

I ate dinner at Dooger's, which is a seafood chain that reminded me a bit of Sizzler (this is meant as an observation, not as praise). I had found out that the regional tournament of the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) was in town, and I overheard many bits and pieces of conversations about bridge.

I hurried out of the restaurant to catch the sunset.

Sunset over Seaside

After returning to the hostel, I sat around the campfire and chatted with the other guests until it got late. I had been getting used to the idea that in every gathering of people there would be one completely insane person— cycle touring and hostels just seem to attract that crowd. But everyone here seemed well-mannered and normal and fun to talk to.

Consequently, I am virtually certain that everyone else thought I was the crazy one in this group.

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