Sat 27 Oct 07

We left Yakima mid-morning yesterday with dogs, camping equipment, and surfboard in tow and headed down Highway 12 toward the Oregon coast. Google told us that our travel time would be slightly less if we routed ourselves through Portland, but we opted for the considerably more scenic route over the Cascades and along the coast via Highway 101 in Oregon.

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We were bogged down a little near White Pass by logging trucks and some minor construction to clean up a rock slide, but clear views of Rainier more than made up for that. We made our first stop in Clatskanie, OR (which seems to be a hotbed of all things Lewis and Clark) to stretch our legs and give our dogs a chance to fertilize the local lawns and later made a stop to the Cleanline Surf Shop in Seaside, OR, where I found a used replacement FCS fin for the one I broke in Oregon just about a year ago.

We arrived at Oswald West State Park, our intended destination, after many hours and realized after a bit of exploration that the hike-in campground was not going to be conducive to our situation (we needed quick access to the car to store the dogs and ourselves during the night – quicker at least than the .25 mile hike from lot to camp at Oswald). Oswald West is a gem of a state park though, where you hike through rain-forest-esque old growth forest, next to bubbling rapids, to reach Smuggler’s Cove, a sheltered stretch of beach that quite clearly is very popular with surfers and kayakers alike. Even has a neat suspended bridge. I would not hesitate to camp here some time in the future when dog-free. We hiked into the stunning scenery and, after running the dogs for a bit on the beach, decided that I would take advantage of the few hours of remaining daylight to surf while Mary scouted out an alternate camp site.

Surf Report # 29

Location: Smuggler’s Cove, Oswald West State Park, OR
Time: 3:00 pm- 5:30 pm
Air Temp: 66° F
Water Temp: 55° F
Wind: From ENE 11 mph
Waves: 4-7 ft
Gear: 5/3 wetsuit, 5 mm boots

My first half hour of waves was a bit lackluster as I shook off the rust and waited for my gloveless hands to adjust to the water. After this though, the crowds vanished save for a small group of kayakers playing in the whitewater and the surf picked up in size. I literally had half of the cove completely to myself and was whooping it up catching anything I pleased. Lots of fun, some tumbling wipeouts and a few really fun long rides. The return to Oregon did my soul some good, especially poignant as I bobbed in place watching rainbows form in the blown-back spray as the sun reflected red off of the surrounding cliffs.

Mary returned having found plenty of sites at Nehalem Bay State Park, a less exotic, but much more accessible campground a few miles south. We stopped a couple times to enjoy the scenery on the way to our site, then ran the dogs in the fading sun on the beach at the state park. Cheddar brats were singed over a fire in the dark and were dazzlingly delicious as camp food always is. I was too lazy to set up the tent in the dark, so we all tried to squeeze into the back of the Mazda Tribute to get some sleep. The dogs were pretty worn out so they slept fairly soundly under the conditions. Mary and I slept less soundly, but I guess it worked out okay.

Today, we woke just as dawn was breaking and had the sand nearly to ourselves as we wandered about a mile down the beach. The dogs ran amok again, frothing in the saltwater, chasing sea gulls and each other, and keeping Mary and me thoroughly entertained.

Surf Report # 30

Location: Smuggler’s Cove, Oswald West State Park, OR
Time: 9:30 am- 11:00 pm
Air Temp: 55° F
Water Temp: 55° F
Wind: From ENE 5 mph
Waves: 3-5 ft
Gear: 5/3 wetsuit, 5 mm boots, 3 mm gloves

We broke camp and drove back to Smuggler’s Cove which was swarming with weekend visitors towing surfboards into the water. In hindsight and after seeing less crowded spots up the coast later I probably should’ve headed elsewhere, but I still had fun, mostly playing on the inside breaks. Kind of a short session, but plenty long enough to leave me salty and wind-blasted for the rest of the day.

Heading home, Mary and I stopped briefly at Hug Point State Park, full of empty beautiful blue waves and a few sea stacks.

Later, in Astoria, OR, we stopped at the Rogue Public House, sitting outside on the deck enjoying beer and burgers and obscene amounts of ambiance. Sunshine, sea lions barking, waves lapping. I also kept sneaking peaks at the USC-Oregon football game that was playing in the TV at the bar inside. Taylor sat near us on the deck while Trammell and Nora impatiently waited in the car with the windows down. Mary and I both agreed that Astoria was the most pleasant of the coastal towns that we drove through on our trip.

The dogs slept soundly on the ride home. And I am planning to sleep soundly tonight on a soft bed that in no way resembles the cargo space of a Mazda Tribute. Great couple of days. In the sun, Oregon is easily one of my favorite places in the world. This really needs to be done more often.

One thought on “Sat 27 Oct 07

  1. joz

    Glad to hear you and Mary could make the trip together. Hope the dogs behaved. Love your shot of the empty blue waves Someday I’ll get up there. . . .

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