Trail pioneers end first known continuous trek of U.S. West Coast
BORDER FIELD STATE PARK, Calif. (AP) – With the full moon pulling the tide low, a pair of hiking pioneers intend to walk past the mouth of the Tijuana River on Tuesday and reach the fence at the U.S.-Mexico border, completing an 1,800-mile walk down the nation’s Pacific coast.Nate Olive and Sarah Janes, ecologists from the University of Georgia, will be the first known hikers to make a continuous trek of the so-called West Coast Trail, a path running from northwestern Washington state to this point in the southwestern corner of San Diego County.Olive, 28, of Atlanta and Janes, 23, of Slidell, La., began their journey at Washington’s Cape Flattery on June 8.Averaging nearly 20 miles a day, the pair have threaded their way across beaches, rainforests and farm country. They marched around, and sometimes through, military bases. In mostly urbanized Southern California, they had to clamber over sea walls and jetties, many erected by homeowners trying to curb erosion, as well as dodge sewage-contaminated rivers.Their path and schedule largely were set by the moon, which shaped the tidal fluctuations that allowed them either to walk across dry sand or forced them to wade.With the moon in its full phase Tuesday, the pair planned to cross their final waterway, the Tijuana River, at low tide around 4 p.m. PDT. The border fence separating the United States from Tijuana, Mexico, is just to the south.The pair aimed to promote and mark the West Coast Trail, parts of which are not yet linked, for the Portland, Ore.-based National Coast Trail Association. About 190 of 200 miles of the trail are marked in Washington; 350 of 400 miles in Oregon; and half of the 1,200 miles in California.They are also documenting the trip online, and Olive is writing a book, “Dancing the Tidal Line.”Al LePage, executive director for the association, has walked the trail in three separate legs, but knows of no other hikers to finish the journey in one trip. It’s unlikely that American Indians, or even early day explorers, did so because the route was not practical for food collection and other reasons, according to LePage. A solo hiker attempting the feat is about two months behind Olive and Janes.—On the Net:National Coast Trail Association: http://www.coasttrails.orgNate Olive’s trail journals and photos: http://www.trailjournals.com/westcoast/
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