The trip deviated from the plan, but was still a success, thanks to me keeping my expectations open. It’s hard not to enjoy oneself in the natural world.
Originally, I’d planned to park somewhere in the Redwoods and hike up to a “primitive campsite” with my pack. The first deviation came when I discovered that I’d be charged $15 p/ night just to park – the same as what was charged to camp in a normal camp site. On top of that, there was self-registration available for normal camping, but not for the primitive camp (it was off-season, so the visitor’s center was closed). So, I decided to camp at the normal site.
I’d also agreed to give Wade, my friend at the University of Oregon, a ride back to Seattle and, since we’d be driving up the coast, his roommate, Jordon, a ride to Astoria, which meant I’d have to be back in Eugene on Thursday.
Saturday Left home in the morning. I took i-5 down to Eugene, arriving early in the evening. After meeting up with Wade and some of his friends at the University of Oregon, we went to explore Hendricks Park. Dinner at the Laughing Planet Cafe and dessert at Sweet Life. I spent the night on a spare bed in the dorms.
Sunday Left Eugene early in the morning. I took OR-126 out to the coast, where I got on 101 and headed south. I entertained myself throughout the drive by stopping at lots of parks and scenic pull-offs. (I don’t know why Bellingham is so renowned for biker gangs – southern Oregon certainly has more.) I ended up reaching the California border as the sun was going down and decided to spend the night in a hotel in Crescent City, CA.
Monday Left Crescent City in the morning and drove about 20 miles south to Prairie Creek State Park. After discovering that I’d be spending my time in the Redwoods in a normal campsite, I decided to check out the site at the beach to see if I liked it better. The drive there started out simple enough – another 5 minutes on 101. Then I reached the turn-off to the site and discovered a rather large puddle in my way – deep enough that the water level was about halfway up my tires. Shortly after that, the pavement ended and the road turned into a dirt trail completely covered with pot-holes. It wasn’t very fun to try to navigate, but I made it through. After finally reaching the beach, the road deteriorated even more (I didn’t think it was possible). On top of the pot-holes doubling in size, there was a huge cliff to my right, which worried the Geologist inside of me. A few more minutes on that road and I reached the campsite, but decided that with the road, the cliff, and the wind, I preferred the camp site at the visitor’s center. So I turned right around, navigated the horrible road, drove through the puddle, and went back to the first site. After paying and setting up camp, I wandered around the smaller trails near the camp for a little bit before the sun started going down. After that, I ate dinner with the Elk (who are so “dangerous” that they’ll come right into your campsite to graze without paying you any mind), read a little in my book, and went to bed with the Sun. Not a bad Equinox.
Tuesday Woke up with the sun. After having breakfast with the Quail, I threw some snacks and toilet paper in my camelbak and headed off for a day of exploration. I walked all around the park, exploring misty Forest. At one point I was stalked by what looked to be a Mountain Lion, but I never saw any bears – perhaps they were still hibernating. I returned to the camp as the sun was going down, and had dinner. It was extremely painful to walk around camp that night, but I didn’t end up with any blisters. Went to bed with the Sun.
Wednesday Woke up with the sun. Since I had to be back in Eugene on Thursday, I decided I’d make half of the journey today. After wandering around the shorter trails that I’d explored Monday, I packed up the camp and got back on 101. I reached the site that I intended to stay at in the afternoon (a little south of Reedsport, OR). It didn’t seem worth it to me to set up my tent for just one night, so I decided that I’d sleep in the car that night. After paying the camp site fee, I ventured off to explore the sand dunes. Since I had no map of the area, all the dunes looked rather similar, and the wind was beginning to erase my tracks, I decided to cut that adventure short, but not without having a little fun. After arriving back at the camp, I snacked a bit and read my book. At one point, some lady came driving up to the site (I assume she must have been the camp host, a concept which I was only introduced to when I arrived at Prairie Creek). She rolled down her window and asked if I needed help. I said no. (I only ever realize this after the fact, but, for some reason, people always ask me if I need help when they’re confused. I don’t know why they can’t just say what they mean – they’re obviously the ones that need help. I always take the question literally and reply no.) After that she asked if I knew that I was in a campsite – that seemed rather insulting, but, since this was my first contact with civilization in a few days, I assumed that in her eyes I might somehow seem strange and just needed to adjust back to their ways. After a little more dancing around the subject, I realized what she wanted to know if I had paid or not. Why she couldn’t just have asked that in the first place, I don’t know. I pointed to the receipt that was pinned to the post at the entrance to the site, literally right in front of her. She drove off, and I went back to reading. As the sun went down, I got into my car and went to sleep, but woke up often and wasn’t very comfortable – sleeping in the car apparently isn’t for me.
Thursday Woke up with the sun and drove back to Eugene. Wade had a final at 3pm, so we decided to leave Friday morning. We wandered around campus a bit, only to come back to the dorm and find that I’d gotten a $20 ticket for parking in a permitted lot without a permit. I paid that, then drove over to his friend’s house to avoid getting another ticket. After a couple hours hanging out there, two of the people wanted to go to a show in Portland, but I was blocking them in. So I went out to move my car, and discovered that I’d locked the keys in the ignition – something I’ve never done before. (I think my car was getting back at me for sleeping in it.) The locksmith was quick and only cost $35, so it wasn’t too bad. We hung out in the dorms that night, but I was still on Forest time, so I had to go to bed soon after the sun went down. Spent the night on a couch at one of Wade’s friend’s house.
Friday Woke up a bit after the sun. I drove back to the dorms to get Wade and Jordon up. After they packed, we drove out to the coast and got back on 101 – this time going North to Astoria, OR. We made good time, stopping only at thebecause Jordon said it was a law that if you drove through Tillamook, you had to stop (and I wanted ice cream). A few miles south of Astoria, we pulled off at a turn around and jumped the barrier. Jordon led us through the bush, out to a cliff he knew about with a view. We arrived in Astoria just as the sun went down. Jordon’s parents took us out to dinner, and then we hung out at a friend’s house.
Saturday We explored Astoria a bit more, then Wade and I got back on the road again. We headed north on 101 for a while, headed East to Olympia, then got back on i-5 and went home, arriving at about 7pm.