Monday, October 14, 2002
Larry Larson saw his life flash before his eyes last month as he walked along Highway 101.
The 63-year-old Mt. Hood resident, who has just returned home after walking the entire 365-mile length of the Oregon Coast, almost didn’t make it.
Larson’s 26-day journey was nearly cut short by an out-of-control 18-wheeler, which took a curve too fast and crossed into the shoulder, forcing him to fling himself onto the rocks that lined the road.
“Walking along the roads took some of the fun out of it,” said Larson, who pondered the idea of walking the coast while house-sitting in Florence last spring. “I would do it again in a heartbeat, but next time, I would use more of a shuttle system to avoid close calls like that.”
However, while 80 miles of his Oregon Coast trek took place along the highway, the majority of the trip involved walking along the beach, crossing rivers, and
enjoying the good life.
“Most of the time, I was in solitude,” said Larson, who returned home Oct. 2 and then ran the Portland Marathon on Oct. 6. “To be down on the beach at sunrise was magnificent. The tide had erased all signs of man and it was just an awesome feeling.”
Larson set out from Fort Stevens on a warm fall morning in early September, and followed the soon-to-be-completed Oregon Coast Trail down to the California state line.
He walked an average of 15 miles per day, and stayed in hotels along the way to stay rested and in good walking shape. The first 13 days were all by himself, but he received help the final two weeks from his friend Ann Macaulay, who is visiting from Dublin, Ireland.
“As soon as Larry mentioned he was going to walk the coast, I signed up right away,” said Macaulay, who offered road and moral support along the way.
Larson said that while the road-walking was burdensome, the biggest challenge was crossing the many rivers that line the Oregon Coast.
“There were several rivers I had to wade across,” he said. “But in some places, I was lucky to hitch a ride with some of the fishing boats. That probably saved me a couple days of walking.”
Larson is no stranger to long treks, having completed 18 marathons over the years. But this one may be the most special.
“Some might yawn when I tell them I walked the entire Oregon Coast, but I don’t think they understand all the logistics involved,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to do it, and now I’m proud to say that I have.”
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge