Camping on the Oregon Coast is hardly a wilderness affair. With less than 10% of the coastal forests in an unlogged state, most of the oceanfront camping must be done in one of Oregon's ubiquitous state parks. A land of ocean breezes and 1,000 RVs await, sitting on their paved pads elbow to elbow. In the winter however, it's a much quieter place.
What a day!
Sunrise in Portland
Gypsie and trusty steed, ready to hit the highway
But wait, there's Paige behind us!
With brand new engine no less
We drive, drive and drive (and drive) over hill and dale down the most circuitous backroad I've ever taken, and shooting through the crowded suburbs on the way to the Coast Range.
A beautiful alder grove along the way on US26
After a long and uneventful drive through the Oregon Coast Range, the anticipated Pacific Ocean finally pops into view. What a day!
A sun streaked Gypsie plays a little tune to celebrate
Peaceful camps, but where are the people?
Aha! Kicking back. Lazy butts.
Vanwilder and stealth Lily Pug take in the sun
Mike and the world's most perfect bus
A happy John
Don't ask Kirk to show you his kilt
Spandex Spiffy, part coyote part iguana
Wayne incognito and a rare trip without the kids
Matt and his nice '72
But as delightful as the reunion turns out to be, I am compelled to search for wilderness, even in the most unlikely places. Although our State Parks are quite developed, there is usually some semblance of an earlier Oregon. Sometimes it's only a couple acres, other times it goes on for miles.
According to the books, Nehalem Bay offers a very nice 6 mile loop hike around Nehalem Spit, offering views of both the bay and the oceanfront. Little other information is given besides some vague maps.
The red loop
Well, let's investigate and see what we find.
Bill, Matt, Troy, Stephan, and Jasan set out to find Lost Oregon
Nehalem Bay looking much like coastal Alaska
The tide is out and the bay has been created anew for our temporary footsteps
Pure land of oysters and seabirds
No one is enjoying this gorgeous beach on this fine day
And onward we trek down the soon to be tangled beach
The beach becomes too tangled to traverse. We head inland into this tidal dunescape becoming forest and tangled with huge driftwood.
But the going is not easy. This is real wilderness! Jasan consults his GPS for directions.
Back on track at the estuary jetty. This was the ancient site of a Native fishing village.
Bill and Matt
And like a canon the ocean pops into view
I discover we aren't the first ones here today, and follow these cute feet 3 miles back to camp.
Only 2.8 miles to go! And my feet hurt in new boots.
A piece of the forest, soon to be sea
Nehalem boasts a horse camp
Thankfully back at camp, we are just in time for the beer tasting. We each contribute our favorite brew.
I snuck that Rolling Rock in there! Oh man.
And late into the night we go, singing, eating, and laughing.
Gypsie plays a little Copperhead Road
Once again I am exhausted beyond measure, but grateful to have these experiences with such wonderful people. It is good to be home.