As you may have notice I’ve been somewhat inactive on my blog. I want to assure you this is not a permanent state of affairs. It’s just that I’ve been busy the past summer and have had little time for the beach. Also ,the ridiculously bad summer weather, the dogs breaking their long leash and their two way leash attachment, and my camera dying, all helped to keep me off the sand. But I’m going to make it up to you. If you read my statement about beach number one in this post, it says “I’ll write a whole post about it later”. Well later is now.
To fully understand the awesomeness of this post I have to take you back to a time before this blog existed. You see, the idea for this blog was a secondary thought to my original plan to simply walk on every beach in Lincoln County. The goal later grew to include my dogs and my camera. Quite a few stretches of sand had passed under my feet and I was using Google Earth to make sure I didn’t miss any. When, lo and behold, I came across a beach on the very northern edge of Lincoln County. There was only one problem… there were no accesses. No roads that I could see, and no roads that Google Earth knew about. I even tossed around the idea of an overland approach. Just grabbing a compass and marching west, right through swamps, over cliffs, and across miles of brush. Besides the obvious reasons I abandoned the idea , all the land I would have needed to cross is privately owned. The strange thing is that despite there being no roads to the area, there seemed to by buildings.
Just to make sure I wasn’t missing something I used Google Maps and placed a marker on the beach. I then told Google maps to find a way there from my house. This didn’t bear any fruit but it did bring my attention to a point of interest marker very near the beach. The marker read “Westwind Stewardship Group”. Better still, the marker was a link.
What this eventually lead me to was a web site for a privately operated, rent-able, summer camp called Camp Westwind. With a little poking around on their web site, I found that among the rentals for large groups, they also offer a rental cabin for up to five people. At first this seemed like great news. I could save that beach for last, rent the cabin, and the wife and I, possibly with some friends, could walk my last leg of Lincoln County sand. The problem with this plan is that Camp Westwind has a strict “no dogs” policy. I started concocting a crazy plan that included renting the cabin, walking two miles out on what they called their ”emergency access road”, getting the dogs, walking back in, walking the dogs on the beach, walking them back out, dropping them off, walking back in, and enjoying the rest of the weekend. I started to hate this plan the more I mulled it over. However, the mulling of the plan did bear fruit. It occurred to me that their “no dogs” policy couldn’t possibly be enforced on the beach as all Oregon beaches are state parks. Therefor, if I could get to the beach some other way I would be home free. The “other way” I had in mind… was a boat.
To make sure my new boat idea was seaworthy (yup, a boat pun) my brother Josh and I stopped by the State Parks office in Newport. The lady we talked to there was very helpful. She informed us that not only was it very legal for us to access the beach via boat and to take my dogs with us, but that the particular beach in question was one of the very few beaches in Oregon that you could legally camp on right on the sand, and that she herself goes yearly to camp there. However she also informed us that the Camp Westwind staff were under the mistaken impression that they owned the beach and regularly harassed campers. Needless to say, Josh and I were planning the camping trip before we even got back to the car.
It so happens that back in the late 70′s my dad and several of his brothers along with their wives were taking a group trip to Alaska. As part of the prep for this trip they stopped at the nearest REI, which at the time was in Seattle, for gear. Two of my uncles also each purchased themselves a 19′ square stern Grumman canoe. Two beautiful boats that went to Alaska and came back to the Oregon coast where they made countless trips down the Siletz River. I myself have hundreds of hours logged in the canoes, and am currently trying to find another one to buy.
Having limited room in the canoes didn’t stop us from inviting a gaggle of people on the trip. I won’t bore you with the invite list but in the end there were thee dogs and seven of us; two brothers, two cousins, one wife, one brothers girlfriend, and myself. I made the calls (well, sent out facebook messages. what is this, 1936?) set the date, and started “patiently” waiting.