Wednesday, September 3, 2008
On the labor day long weekend we ended the summer camping with the Mavros at Sunset Bay state park. In every dimension it was a great trip!
Friday Aug 29
The trip started by leaving Tigard around 3 pm. We had great traffic, Fresco style dinner at Taco Bell, with arrival at the campground around 8 pm. We set up in the fading light and settled in for good conversation and stories around the campfire.
We had sites A34 and A35 These are both nice with lots of space and close enough to the bathrooms and showers without having neighbors looking right into your windows.
Saturday Aug 30
Trisha started the day out right with a run on the Oregon Coast trail heading south from the campground to the Shore Acres garden...with a few unplanned detours due to lack of great signage on the trail ;-)
Then it was time to head to the beach. Initially it was just plain cold and windy like most Oregon beach days. Then we did some scouting. Down at the north end of Sunset Bay we found a little piece of beach heaven. Sheltered from the wind and the waves, this stretch of sand was calm, quiet and HOT. We staked our claim and kept coming back each subsequent day.
The evening was filled with the roar of engines and failing u-joints: the Coos Bay Speedway mud drag races.
It got cold but the cool trucks kept the adrenaline pumpin' No one can claim we don't try to be well rounded after attending this event. "Back woods culture" that we all enjoyed :-)
Check out the movies at this link for a taste of the action.
Sunday Aug 31
Our family made breakfast for the group with pancakes, bacon, and eggs. During breakfast we got caught with a sudden rain squall. It quickly passed and the sun began to peak out.
The Mavros headed to check out Bandon Dunes golf course. Apparently this is were golfers go when they die :-)
We headed out for a 2 mile hike to the Shore Acres Gardens. These gardens are part of the amazing history of this area all centered on the Simpson family. They are now a park with free access and definitely worth a visit with nice a pond, rose and dahlia gardens. We only got off the main trail once...but noticed when the greenery started closing in :-)
The weather just kept improving into the afternoon so we headed back to the beach.
Sand sculpture time! We worked on a whale and volcano and just plain digging in the sand. Nice!
I went out for a 7 mile leg stretcher starting at 6:30 pm from the campground to Simpson Reef. This section of the Oregon Coast trail was great for running, mostly flat with little hills for the down and ups of the inlets. This is my first run where I have seen marine mammals on en route: 8 harbor seals pulled upon the rocks for the low tide. Beautiful run that I did not want to end but I had promised to be back for supper...and I was hungry!
Then an evening of great food and campfire stories with the families.
At the end of the evening on our way back from showers Trisha and I heard a splash in the stream. With the flashlight we were able to pick out a large and small beaver making their way down the creek. Very cool.
Monday Sept 1
We set the alarms and headed out early to make the morning low tide. We met at Cape Arago state park to have a park ranger guide us through the tidal zones down near the cape headland. We spent about 2 hours exploring the different zones finding starfish, anemones, gumboot chitons and sea urchins. On the way back we took a close look at a sea lion that had washed up on the shore. Let's just say that the only movement was zealous twitching of the maggots doing their cleanup duty. The kids were enthralled :-)
A short half mile drive and we jumped out of the car at Simpson Reef to find a local sea awareness society setup with field scopes to view the sea lions and harbor seals. We took about 45 minutes watching the animals that are mostly transients headed between California and Alaska.
Back at the campsite to head out for more beach time. The kids worked on volcanoes and rounding up all the sand shrimp on the beach. Leah, Hallie and I spent some time working on the sand sculpture for the day: an octopus.
After dinner and seeing the Mavros on their way, we hung out and told stories. Then the kids started to terrorize the termites that were taking flight from the rotten log at the back of the camp.
Later after s'mores and banana boats, we headed to brush our teeth and once again had the good fortune of seeing the resident beavers. This time they let us watch with the flashlight as they snacked away on the blackberry leaves.
Tuesday, Sept 2
After both Trisha and I completed our morning runs on the trail, we finished packing up the campsite by a less than early 2 pm :-) Nothing left to do but head for a final trip to the beach!
Sadness ensued when we loaded into the car at 4 pm to head back to Portland.
An awesome trip that we are sure to repeat!
- western states
- catalyst challenge
- tourist run