Tuesday, August 14th and Wednesday, August 15th
Three years of adventures, excitement, challenges, love and mutual admiration.
We’ve lived an hour apart, Sarah’s gone on a multi-month roadtrip, and we’ve lived together in a tiny town of 7,200 people. We moved her from Portland to Hood River, and then from Hood River back to Portland.
We’ve been to Spain, England, Scotland and Italy – not including layovers. We’ve climbed all over, succeeded at summits and given up on summitting less than 100ft from the summit block. We’ve backpacked and hiked, biked and roadtripped.
Now, our anniversary fell on a Wednesday. Thankfully, my job is flexible enough (and limited to a hard-cap of 40hrs per week) that I was able to bend my hours so we could take the whole day off. Our original plan was to go up to Mt. Adams, and camp out at a small lake near the base of the mountain… but unfortunately this is fire season, and that plan pretty quickly got dumped in favor of driving somewhere a little less smokey.
Sarah searched far and wide, pouring over maps and lists of campgrounds. She cross-referenced air quality maps to campsites, and finally found our destination: a campground on the North Fork of the Siuslaw river. It wasn’t a short drive from the house, but that wouldn’t be too much of a hassle – She’d pack the car, and then as soon as I got home from work we’d catapult off into the sunset!
Getting on the road ended up taking a bit longer than expected, unfortunately… but that’s how things go, and soon enough we were burning gas escaping the smoke and smog of Portland. We had a few hours of driving ahead of us, but we churned through it pretty quickly – even making some time to stop at Dairy Queen and have a quick snack to help us power through the last few miles to the campsite.
And man, this was a campsite. Nicely secluded in the woods, surrounded by massively tall trees and miles away from the highway noise or forest fire smoke. A dense tree canopy overhead, and a nice tent pad for us to set up on. Ollie, of course, was freaking out the whole time about how awesome it is to be in the woods. Thankfully she wasn’t barking, but just running around in circles trying to smell all the trees and bushes and branches and dirt all at once.
It kept her occupied, though, which made setting up camp a heck of a lot easier for Sarah and I.
Once camp was set up? I’d love to say that we made a small fire and relaxed around it, just talking and enjoying the night… but honestly? We just passed out. It had been a really long drive, after a rather tough escape from Portland, and by that point we both needed the sleep more than anything else.
Waking up in the forest, in a tent, is amazing.
Even when waking up in a forest, in a tent, with a dog who desperately wants to run and explore and hunt.
Logically, it should be really annoying – Having someone literally standing on your face, whining and yelping to be let out is not really pleasant or relaxing. But somehow it’s endearing, just how earnest Ollie is about it. She’s not doing anything to be mean, it’s just that she’s effectively a machine designed and bred to hunt and track and explore… and there’s an outside that needs to be hunted, tracked, and explored. You want to be annoyed at her, but all you can do is smile, hook her up to her leash, and set her loose.
So, that meant we got up fairly early, for it being our day off.
I mean, we were awake fairly early. We’ve gotten wise to Ollie’s ways by now, and had set up a leash for her outside that bought us a solid extra 45min of sleep before we had to legit get out of the sleeping bags and start making breakfast. But that’s okay – Coffee and oatmeal is always a good way to start the day, especially when it’s camping!!
Once coffee was drank and a light breakfast was eaten we headed back into town toward out first stop of the day – a coffee shop on the river near the bay. Yes, yes, we’d just had breakfast and coffee… but we still needed second breakfast, obviously, and second coffee to go with it. The views were gorgeous, the coffee was strong, and the breakfast burrito was… well, it was definitely interesting. It was delicious, but the fact that we had to microwave it ourselves was a little surprising, to say the least.
Staring off over the fog-covered river though, we didn’t mind a microwaved burrito to go with our artisnal lattes. It was beautiful, and since Ollie was hanging out in the car we were able to thoroughly enjoy ourselves.
We relaxed at the coffee shop for a while, then did a bit of a walk around town. It was a small tourist / fishing town, sort of like some of the smaller places around Maine or New Hampshire, and I really enjoyed it.
From there, we headed toward our main target of the day – Hobbit Beach.
Sarah had picked it out because it was a fairly short hike in from the trailhead, was mostly deserted, and had huge long runs of open sand for Ollie to run and play on. Ohh, and it also had faces carved into the cliffs.
That last part was pretty key, actually. Really adds to the mystery of the place, you know? Not creepy at all, imagining faces being carved into cliff sides…
The hike in was lovely – it was a bit steeper than we expected, but it went well which is what matters in the end. Sarah’s legs held up quite well, and we both enjoyed the chance to get back into the woods and enjoy the outdoors a bit. Seriously enjoy the outdoors – Sarah was literally giggling the whole time, hopping around and loving the fact that she could fully walk again.
The beach itself? It was what you would expect. Lovely, huge views, and the amazing sounds and smells of the pounding Pacific Ocean. The cliff side carved faces were a bit less impressive than expected, but that’s totally fine because it meant that they were far less creepy than we’d expected. Sarah did carve her own, of course, but went with a bit more whimsical option instead of the standard fantasy-style faces. She made a cat.
After enjoying the beach for a good long while we headed back, and drove back home to Portland. Simple and easy, but pleasant and extremely fun.