What a beautiful farewell the Oregon coast gave me with the sunset firing up the skies! Start making your plans to come and experience the Oregon coast. Honestly, the Oregon coast needs to be declared a National Park.
Washington State, here I come!
I'm not sure how to start this post. I usually keep my writing in chronological order, but I feel I need to give a heads-up on this one. After all, I promised to share the ups and downs of my journey. That said, Olympic National Park didn't happen as I wished and planned.
It started on the way to my Airbnb. Suddenly, my back pain level went from 2 to 9 without any warning. If you go to the beginning of my journey or the "about me" section, you will see that I injured my back in 2020. This injury already took away two of my passions - backpacking and being a volunteer ambulance driver. After over a year in recovery, I am much more flexible and stronger. I look at this injury as a gift because it prompted me to go on this journey ahead of my retirement plan. I didn't want to wait until I lost something else from any illness. I do what I neglected to do and stretch like hell. I have so many amazing hikes ahead of me, but I am concentrating on recovery now. I am so glad I brought my supportive back brace. I wear it while driving, which alleviates pressure. Unfortunately, what my soul seeks is not what my body can do. I must slow down as I find hiking over 7 miles a day in the last few weeks was too much for my back. The morning I leave Warrenton, my stomach pain returns, and it is only a month since the previous episode. I know that is not a good sign.
It is a driving day for me, with a few stops. I am heading to Hoh Rain Forest Campground at Olympic National Park. It is a beautiful sunny day. As I leave my Airbnb at Warrenton, I see a sign for Lewis and Clark National Park. With all the research I do, there will be things I will miss. In a last-minute decision, I drive to check it out. Not growing up in America, I lack some bits of historical knowledge, so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to learn about the Lewis and Clark expedition. My goodness, here I thought I have challenges traveling in my car! I have so much admiration for the Lewis and Clark expedition team! It was worth stopping to check it out.
Next, I stop at Cape Disappointment, State Park, to explore the lighthouse. I have to say, it is disappointing to see the old lighthouse neglected, however, I have the chance to see Deadman's Cove.
Next on my list is Ruby Beach at Olympic National Park. I don't think I have ever seen so many huge driftwoods in one place! I always find driftwood a beautiful natural art form—their texture fascinates me. What a beauty!
As I turn to Hoh Valley Road, snow capped mountains appear in the distance, bringing a big smile to my face. Oh, how I needed this kind of medicine! My pain level is rising rapidly, so I set up camp slowly and crawl into my car. I am not a religious person, but I am spiritual for sure. I turned to God and my mom and pleaded for help. This can't be happening. I was looking forward to this section of my journey the most, please don't take that away from me.
When I woke up in the morning, I could feel I am emotionally falling into the rabbit hole. I know I can't afford that. I open the door and let the fresh air and the warm sun help me get out. I have to shake it quickly and get back on the horse with my usual approach. When I have a problem, I find a solution. However, before that, there are two very short hikes just off my campsite. I came to this campground to hike them—Hall of Mosses Trail and Spruce Nature Trail. I don't think I've ever seen so much moss, however, it is a rainforest after all and quite unique!
At one point, I start a conversation with an elderly solo traveler. Paula and I talk about how overwhelming the process of planning our travels can be. That is what keeps her going just a few weeks at a time rather than the long trips she wishes to do. (You can go back to my post from February to check out how I plan my travel: "How I plan my travels and Fountain Hills, Arizona"). As we continue our conversation, it comes up that she was a PA nurse in an ER before she retired. I take the courage to ask for her input on my issue. She was happy to answer and educated me more about Diverticulitis and advised me to fast for 24 to 72 hours with only liquid intake. I can do that; I will do whatever I need to do. As we continue our gentle walk among the moss trees, I explain my concern about going forward with my travel to Canada. She stopped, looked into my eyes and said, "Go, don't stop." Call me crazy, but goosebumps went through my body as I felt I just received a private message from my mom.
My next campground is Mora Campground, where I was supposed to hike to the Hole in the Wall Trail. I figured I should rest there. I need gas; the only town I will be passing by is Fork. By this time, I am truly not feeling well and decided to stop at the public library and send a message to my doctor back home. She advised me to go to the ER since this occurred too soon after the first episode just a month ago.
Fork is a small town with one supermarket and one hospital, which is all I need anyway. The ER has only one doctor, one nurse, and a technician on call. Experiencing different hospitals on this journey was never my plan. Of course, my frustration is high. I bring my sense of humor to keep me company and to lighten my situation. When they ask me about any allergies, I say, "Yes, only one...my ex-husband". That always brings a laugh. I learn not to use this joke with male doctors, as they may take it too personally.
This is the second ER doctor that tells me my Diverticulitis is just a stroke of bad luck. If that is all I have to show for bad luck, I will take it. Compared to all the wonderful people I have in my life and the beautiful places I had the privilege to visit and experience so far, I consider myself a very lucky woman!
The CT shows mild Diverticulitis and concern for Ulcerative Colitis. They put me on antibiotics and steroids for a week. The thing is, I eat healthy. I don't eat junk food; I exercise and take good care of my body. Being on the road made eating healthy challenging. Now things will get even more complex as I need to change it drastically. I will do it!
I arrived back at my campsite as darkness took over. I got myself settled and went to sleep.
As I start the next day, the beautiful sunshine streaming through the trees is a delight. I planned to hike the Hole in the Wall trail from Rialto Beach yesterday, and was looking forward to it. Unfortunately, that won't happen now. Luckily, I don't dwell on the things I don't get in life, I focus on what I have. It is just two miles from Mora Campground, so I go to check it out with a short walk on the beach. I know enough to tell you that my stubbornness, or as I prefer to call it, my determination, can be good and bad for me. I walk in the opposite direction from the Hole in the Wall so I don't get tempted to keep walking. The short walk on the beach with the sound of the waves is good medicine for me right now. The two little islands ahead of me add extra beauty to this relaxing landscape.
This hiccup is another confirmation that you don't know what tomorrow will bring. Enjoy what you can now. Listen, I know there is life to live and responsibilities to do, I've been there, and done that. I just happened to take the opportunity of the timing in my life. I put scary emotions aside and jumped into the deep water (I usually ask myself a simple question: "What can go wrong?" The answer usually guides me forward). I'm talking about even the small things we want to enjoy but hold on for tomorrow or next week. Please don't. Go and enjoy your dream today!
What a beautiful drive full of mountains all around me. Even when I drive along the ocean, there are mountains on the other side, which is a lovely sight! It took me a few minutes to realize the mountains across the way are in Canada. I can't believe I'm getting closer!