19 Aug

We went on a bear hunt…

…or was it a shark hunt? Or a micro cache hunt?

Scenes from last week’s camping trip to the north side of Tillamook Bay:

Teens find 3′ blue shark on the beach, drag it back to camp, ponder pulling its teeth for a necklace until Mother steps in for the kill.

Youngest son finds his sense of balance and becomes one with his bicycle, joining his cousins on roundabouts round the campground. (Dad gets an appropriate amount of exercise running alongside till son achieves equilibrium.)

Children of all ages go geo-caching (with GPS and printouts in hand):

  • Front wheeling (in a minivan) up scary logging roads with National Geographic views
  • Clambering to the top of the bent and hoary forested rock known as the largest of the Three Graces, accessible (on foot) only at low tide
  • Probing the intimate undersides of parked steam trains at the local “train and chain” park
  • Poking between windswept, storm giant-sized boulders in the mini Hadrians wall known as the North Jetty
  • Discovering the cleverly disguised puzzle box at another roadside attraction

Dad (me) kicks back at the top of the big dune that overlooks Tillamook bay and its raucous and sometimes deadly bar, a view that on sun-baked days makes me want to radiate ad nauseum about brush stroked blue-gold sparkling waters and foaming wave crests against the improbably rugged emerald studded crenelations of the Oregon Coast Range. (I warned you, and I was showing restraint.) Then there are days when competing pressure zones lock the bay in sun and the ocean in fog, where boats crossing the bar enter or exit from alternate dimensions (Stephen Kingish, Lovecraftian, or Dunsanyan). Those days are indescribably cool for people (like me) who grew up on fantasy literature.

Everyone eats like sunburned and sandy royalty when different parties return at days end with fresh bought oysters in the shell, fresh dug clams, fresh caught salmon and sea bass, so mouth watering that we replace our differences in politics and religion with Dionysian exclamations of wonder and, yes, tears of joy. In between mouthfuls. (If you don’t like seafood, fresh or otherwise, then there’s no help for you. None at all.)

2 thoughts on “We went on a bear hunt…

  1. Another day trip you might try is Saddle Mountain State Park, just off Rt 26. Go on a clear day and you can see almost to Portland looking east, and pick out the waves coming in at Cannon Beach looking west, plus a surprising amount of detail at Astoria. Easy drive, campgrounds, steep walkup. Home in time for dinner.

    • Thanks Steve, I haven’t been to Saddle Mt since I was a kid. And adding to the list of campgrounds (that don’t require reservations a year in advance) is always helpful.

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