The day had come. The canoes were loaded onto the trailer, the folks from out of town were on their way, the food was in the coolers, the gear was packed, and the sun was shining. The plan was for five of us and my brother Josh’s dog, Kingsley, to meet at the boat launch Friday afternoon. We would boat in and set up camp. Then, Saturday the other two members of the expedition would join us with my two dogs. Sunday we would all boat out and go home.
Here is a visual of the planned route
(1) Launched canoes.
(2) Traveled down the Salmon river.
(3) Landed the canoes on the beach.
(4) Carried the canoes to the campsite.
(5) Enjoyed the beach.
Now, as part of the prep for the trip I had encouraged everyone to pack as light as possible. The space in the canoes was limited so the idea was to only bring food you were going to eat, cloths you were going to wear, and gear that you intended to actually use. There was no room for “just in case”. The one exception being the first aid kit. However as we packed the gear into the canoes, it became clear that every one of us had fudged the rule a little; some more than others. (I brought tiki torches) Luckily, we managed to fit most everything into the canoes. What wouldn’t fit we left in the vehicles to be gotten the next day when we went to pick up the late comers.
A life jacket for everyone.
The canoe trip down the Salmon River was a delight. The sun was shining, the water was calm, and we were eager to get to the beach. We stayed close to the far side of the river from the dock. We wanted to be in shallow water in case we swamped one of the canoes.
My brother Isaac and I in what I was calling “Canoe Number One”
It only took us about twenty minutes to reach a place that we deemed landfall worthy. We pulled the canoes up onto the sand and started walking across the sand, scouting for a good place to set up camp. As the beach was pretty much barren of any distinguishing landmarks, we opted to make use of the first real feature we came across. Which happened to be a semi-hut constructed against a large log.
Choosing a camp was a piece of cake. Lugging all our gear down the beach was a sandy nightmare. Not counting the canoes, each of us made about three trips back and forth with an armful of stuff. The work wasn’t much fun, but like crappy canned food, work is more palatable when you’re camping.
A look back the way we came.
The log even had a garage.
It wasn’t long before we had tents erected, firewood gathered, and beer bottles opened. We each put our tents away from camp in a different direction , as to maximize the solitude of the place.
The view from my tent door. I’ve camped worse places…
After setting up camp, we spent the rest of the day exploring the beach. Because of the nearly non-existent foot traffic on the beach there was a plethora of slightly uncommon beach-combing finds. We found lots of dried starfish, many whole sand dollars, and a tar ball.
Tar balls float in on the tide after collecting anything that touches. The tall stick was an addition by some beach walker.
We spent the remaining daylight setting up camp and exploring the beach. After the sun went down, we enjoyed a nice campfire and I made a nuisance of myself with my camera getting some long exposures.
If you look you can see my floating head.
My brother Josh and his girlfriend Brittany, felt the call of the sandman before the rest of us were ready for beddy-bye. My brother Isaac, my cousin Nick, and I, felt that a late night stroll down the beach was in order. So, bottle of Jamesons in hand, off we went. As it happened none of us anticipated anything noteworthy happening on our stroll and we went camera-less. However, there was something noteworthy, but absence of a camera wasn’t actually a big deal as the event is nearly impossible to photograph anyway. You see, on the Oregon Coast (and likely elsewhere) there is a phosphorescent microbe of some kind that will momentarily light up blue when disturbed. Conditions have to be just right to find the stuff. There has to be a significantly low tide, a dark moonless night, and a fair amount of wet sand with small standing pools of water. For whatever reason, this beach, on that night, was the biggest concentration of the microbes any of us had ever seen. We spent the better part of two hours splashing around in the pools and stomping on the sand. I slept well that night.
Note: Pictures featuring me were taken by either Isaac or Brittany. Except the floating head.