I left my hotel on Sunday, September 19th and arrived outside Portland to get my cracked phone screen replaced. I used the down time to find a sports bar with WIFI to catch up on work and watch a little football.

I arrived in Seaside, Oregon in the late afternoon. Seaside reminded me of many beach towns with a center to the town where touristy stuff like shops, restaurant and games are congested and then a row of hotels and condos along the beach. I went out to grab some drinks and found a cozy tap room that to my surprise had a seltzer from Untitled Art on tap. I conversed with bartender about beers before finding dinner.

I spent the later part of the evening walking on the beach, taking in the sounds of the ocean and walking along the tide. The moon was almost full and provided a nice sight over the row of hotels. I walked along the beach and recalled many fond memories from my childhood to my 20’s of walking along similar beaches, playing with the outgoing tide and using the distinct lights of the hotels to keep my bearings and remember where to return to. 

I woke up early in the morning to catch the sunrise during low tide at the beach, then I checked out and drove thru Astoria on my way to Long Beach, back in Washington. The 5-mile-long bridge from Astoria to Cape Disappointment in Washington was a sight to see in itself

I had seen a bike trail on my map and decided it was time to get out on my bike for the first time in over a week. I biked on the Discovery Trail along the beach. It was only 12 miles round trip but offered views of the ocean along the trail and was a relaxing ride. Signs along the trail talked about the area being Lewis and Clarks final stop as they reached the west coast. I stopped in Long Beach on my way back to the trailhead and had a flight at the local brewery named North Jetty Brewing.

When I arrived at the trailhead which was in Cape Disappointment State Park, I decided it was time to do some walking around the short trails in the park. The first one brought me to the old lighthouse that used to guide ships arriving in the Pacific Northwest. I then hiked up a small trail to Bells Viewpoint which offered stunning views of the beach which looked gigantic as the tide was rolling out. My next stop at the park was Waikiki Beach and the views here were great with another lighthouse to complement the rocky shore and waves.

The last thing on my plate was finding a secluded beach to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. The day was clear which can be a rarity on this part of the coast, and I wanted to take full advantage. I looked at my map and found a trail close to the beach and walked half a mile to the western facing view of the peninsula. I arrived about an hour early to walk the beach and find the perfect spot. The beach was secluded and there was not another soul in sight. I had this huge beach to myself, and it was glorious.

I sat down and reflected on the last month of my life. It was 30 days ago I had left Madison to begin this journey. I had been on top of mountains with the most beautiful of views, in the heart of a spiritual rainforest, watched my favorite band at the most inspiring venue possible, biked along mountains and over suspension bridges, seen geysers, lava tubes, soaked in hot mineral spring, met witches and cupcake fairies and a host of other individuals. I had meals fit for kings, some delicious beer, ciders  cocktails and even a magical drink called Lono’ punch.

As the sun lowered closer to the ocean, I couldn’t think of anything more fitting to be doing on one of the final days of this the 1st leg of my sabbatical. It had been many, many years since I had felt the happiness I have been feeling this last month and the months leading up to this journey. I was finally happy and at peace with life and with myself for possibly the first time in 25 years. It all started with the fire and flames that had burnt down my house and my past life. I was no longer the person whom had been unhappy for the longest time and was reborn.

I realized that when I was in burn care and started every morning off in pain scrubbing my scorched skin, that I was not only physical scrubbing my wounds but also scrubbing away the deep scars of all the emotional baggage and insecurities I had been holding onto for so many years. I had been reborn from this fire physically and emotionally and was at a place in life I had never experienced and I loved who I had become

The last glimpses of the sun drifted under the ocean, it was a stunning sight and I sat in silence taking it all in and enjoying the moment before hiking back to my car and driving to Astoria to spend the night.

Time to get organized for my trip back to Madison before exploring Astoria and heading to a hotel near the Portland Airport. This first month has been amazing and I still have 2 more to go, but I am excited to see everyone back home. I will admit I have felt a little isolated at times taking this trip by myself, but your comments and texts kept me connected back to Madison and I never felt alone. Happy Hour on Thursday at 4pm at the Hop Haus rooftop. Please stop by and say hello. I am looking forward to seeing all my friends in Madison and some much-needed social time.

Seaside, Oregon – https://photos.app.goo.gl/LS37kw8vFz3Pbycn9
Cape Disappointment and Long Beach – https://photos.app.goo.gl/qjicDNUgLxfGQ2Hc9
Astoria – https://photos.app.goo.gl/VJsXwL8o7kVdnQ6DA

Highlights –

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