For Immediate Release: Thursday, June 10, 2004
Contact: Al LePage, executive director, National Coast Trail Association / 503-335-3876
Hikers Start 1800-Mile Journey from Cape Flattery to Mexico along "West Coast Trail"
A "Hiker's Triple Crown" begins with an "Olympic Event" as a team of two long-distance backpackers attempt to be the first to complete, in one continuous trip, the West Coast Trail!
A special event, the "West Coast Trail End to End, 1800 Miles Dancing with the Tide," began on the northwest tip of Washington at Cape Flattery on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 8th. Nate Olive of Atlanta, Georgia and partner Sarah Janes of Slidell, Louisiana will attempt to hike some 1800 miles along the length of the West Coast Trail to eventually reach the Mexican border over the next four to five months. The journey seeks to promote public awareness of this long-distance trail, and serve as the basis to create a book, a photo journal, tentatively called Dancing the Tidal Line, to provide a personal account of the overall trail experience. Logistic, informational, and media outreach assistance is being provided by the National Coast Trail Association, a non-profit that has focused their efforts on the development of the West Coast Trail for some 9 years. The event is officially registered as a National Trails Day 2004 event with the American Hiking Society. Those who want to follow their progress through journal notes and photos from beginning to end may visit the website trailjournals.com/westcoast .
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single footstep," notes Nate Olive, "but our first footsteps will begin a journey of some 1,800 miles along America's West Coast Trail. And what better time to begin than the first week right after National Trails Day!"
The West Coast Trail is envisioned as a continuous recreational hiking trail along the Pacific coast of the United States traveling the entire length of the Washington, Oregon, and California coastlines. Significant portions of this trail system already exist, with new linkages being developed every year. In Washington the route travels 200 miles through the Makah Indian Nation, the "Olympic Coast Strip" in Olympic National Park, the Quinault Indian Nation, and finally south along the many beaches south to Cape Disappointment.
"This shouldn't be confused with the Pacific Crest Trail which is about 150 miles inland and travels along the spine of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada's south into the California desert," notes Sarah Janes. "I should know, because I hiked the Crest Trail from Mexico all the way to Canada just last year! Oh, and speaking of Canada, they have a West Coast Trail, too, but that's only about 45 miles long."
The development of the West Coast Trail has been the primary focus of the National Coast Trail Association, a non-profit organization based in Portland, Oregon, since 1995. They are working in partnership with Washington State Parks, who agreed to partner with the organization, endorse the overall concept, and officially recognize those trail sections in areas directly under their jurisdiction. The Makah Indian Nation developed an important linkage to Shi Shi beach in 2003, and the existing Olympic Coastal Strip route of Olympic National Park and the Quinault Indian Nation's beach pass program represent important contributions to the Washington Coast Trail section.
"Nate and Sarah are really like pioneers on the Oregon Trail," says Al LePage, executive director of the National Coast Trail Association. "You see, not only will they be traveling a comparable distance, but they should be the first to ever do so in one fell swoop when they reach the Mexican border sometime this fall. In fact, they will be the first people to initiate a new hiking 'triple crown' too! Long-distance hikers who usually have completed the Pacific Crest, Appalachian and Continental Divide Trails are considered as having done the 'triple crown.' Well, this is the new triple crown, "LePage adds," the Pacific Crest and Appalachian Trails plus America's West Coast Trail."
Nate Olive and Sarah Janes both hiked the 2,650-mile length of the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to the Canadian border in 2003. Nate also hiked the entire "2,000-mile" length of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Greorgia in 2002, and Sarah joined him for 400 miles, during which they acquired the "trail names" of "Tha Wookie" and "Island Mama." Both are experienced field research staff working under recreation ecologist Jeff Marion of Virginia Tech. Olive just recently earned his M.A. degree in Recreation Ecology and Leisure Studies from the University of Georgia and hopes to explore exchanges between nature and human interactions, both past and present, during the trip. Sarah has a degree in anthropology with a pre-med minor from the University of Georgia and is a certified wilderness first responder able to deal with medical emergencies in the wilderness.
Al LePage is both founder and director of the National Coast Trail Association, and apparently was the first person ever to have hiked the entire West Coast Trail, but did so on three separate occasions. In 1988 he hiked the 400-mile Oregon Coast Trail in about 1 month, in 1992 the 200-mile Washington Coast Trail section, and in 1996 he tackled the 1,200-mile length of the California Coastal Trail in 3 and a half months.
The National Coast Trail Association is a non-profit trail organization whose vision is the National Coast Trail, a 10,000-mile plus interconnected land and water-based trail system around the entire United States. Our mission is "Keeping the Coast for Everyone" through advocacy, education, and action for trails, public access and coastal preservation. Our program includes trail development, education, and conservation. Our focus is the development of the West Coast Trail, comprised of the Washington, Oregon and California Coastal Trails.
FOUR PHOTOS AVAILABLE BELOW
Nate Olive and Sarah Janes at Cape Flattery, on June 8th
Tatoosh Island in the distance, as they begin America's West Coast Trail.
Nate and Sarah at "Mile Zero"of the
West Coast Trail at Cape Flattery
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single footstep . . ."
Nate and Sarah's footsprints intertwine on a cedar boardwalk
at the beginning of their 1800-mile journey along America's West Coast Trail