Jack and I drive from Phoenix to Portland to hook-up with Mare. We plan to explore Oregon and Washington by camping, fishing, and hiking, when not mooching off of relatives (Sister Pat).
Most tent campsites along the Oregon coast sit right on the line that divides temperate rain forest from the beach. We build a fire, shuck oysters and crack Dungeness crab for several days, while camping at Beverly Beach State Park. A short walk to the beach and Jack does one of his favorite things in life…chasing sticks and digging for rocks in the water.
Haystack Rock in Pacific City provides some R&R, along with a little “combat” fishing on the Nestucca River. Mare talks with a local fisherman. “I watch from my house to see when the chinooks [King Salmon] start biting,” he says. “I let these guys do all the work fishing, and just come down when they start hitting.”
The man might be watching me all day long, as I have no chinook on my hook.
It’s time to head north for a short hike around Cape Disappointment on the Washington coast, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean…named “Disappointment” when explorer John Meares thought he had discovered just another Bay, not a river. Still, it’s not disappointing at all to us.
Back in Oregon, we head inland for a long, exhilarating hike. This one takes us along Eagle Creek, winding through temperate rain forest in the Columbia River Gorge.
We pass numerous waterfalls on a trail that weaves through moss-covered lava landslides and shady forest.
Six miles later we reach Tunnel Falls. We have lunch amidst a magical background. Rejuvenated for the hike back, we are lucky to have missed the crowds, as they pass us on their way in.
The coast keeps calling us, though, and soon we’ll venture to the southern Oregon coast. Ron Mitchell