Here we are already into August and we just returned from our first real camping trip of the summer. We spent a long weekend strolling the beach, flying a kite and warming up next to the campfire at one of the few places, if not the only place, on the Oregon coast where it is legal to camp on the beach. In the early summer of 2008 we discovered this long, deserted stretch of beach when Curt, his cousin (Pat), Pat’s then-girlfriend (Li) and I were trying to find a place to camp in order to avoid the blazing summer heat.–this would be the last time we experienced the summer heat apparently, as the last two summers have been rather cool. We gathered our backpacks full of food, cooking equipment, tents, sleeping bags and lots of water and walked the roughly two miles to a sheltered spot in the sand dunes where we settled in for the weekend.
Backpacking was much simpler then, before Laird arrived. Before Laird arrived, Curt and I (and Peanut and Mango, of course) would seek out trails around Mount Hood that would lead to somewhat remote lakes, hefting our loaded packs for a few miles before setting up camp in an undesignated campsite. Unlike car camping, instead of hoping we weren’t in a campsite next to the bathroom, we hoped that we wouldn’t run into anyone at all.
Fast forward a couple years and our camping style has very much changed. Laird doesn’t have the stamina nor attention to walk for miles at a time. I could carry him in a carrier, but that would mean Curt would have to stuff his backpack with twice the amount of gear that he typically does. Peanut is becoming less and less active and would also require being lifted for part of the time too. And then there’s the cloth diapers, which take up more room than anything. So, we’ve gladly taken to easier forms of camping.
The nice thing about this camping spot on the coast is that the path to the beach is straight, flat and perfect for the stroller. Our water, food, Laird and Peanut ride on it in comfort and, although it is probably an unusual sight to see in the sand dunes, it does make life easier.
So for 3 days and 2 nights, we did as much relaxing as we possibly could, as much as can be done with an almost 2-year old boy. In the mornings, while Curt and Lairdy ate breakfast, I would go for a run down the beach relishing the vast expanse occupied by no one else but me. The rest of the day entailed playing in the sand, inspecting beached jellyfish, collecting driftwood for our campfire and gazing at the sky full of stars at night. All this while the crashing of the cold ocean waves roared in the background.
Despite all the fun and relaxtion, our perfect weekend was almost marred in tragedy when we nearly lost Peanut. Our dear 13-year old weiner dog, who is practically blind, wandered away from our campsite after dark trying to find us while we went for a walk on the beach. When we realized she was missing, we frantically searched the dunes and beach for almost a half an hour. As I screamed her name in the dark through tears, I prayed that God would bring her back safely. Being blind and having no defense against the cold, we feared that if we didn’t find her that night, she would probably die alone and cold in the wilderness. Amazingly, Curt searched down the beach and found her running away from the campsite, along the freezing cold water’s edge, completely disoriented, frantic and shivering. What a relief. God answered our prayers and we never cuddled Peanut closer than we did that night. 🙂