Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pre Wedding Adventures in Oregon

A collaborative effort by Zach and Apryle

Apryle and Ebey at Dismal Nitch

On May 25th we started out on our journey to the Oregon coast around 8pm, leaving from our apartment in Shoreline. It was not until early morning of the 26th that we arrived at our impromptu campsite near West Lake (just east of Cape Disappointment). We made camp on an uncomfortable slope but were still able to get a few hours of rest.

Apryle at Cape Falcon
We packed up camp and made our way to the Washington/Oregon boarder, but not before stopping at the Dismal Nitch. I was especially intrigued by the scattering of Lewis and Clark Expedition memorials after reading both Sign-Talker and From Sea to Shining Sea during my undergrad years. Both of these books highlight the expedition, and include descriptions of little know heroes of the voyage as well as vivid journal entries which highlighted many of the places along the Columbia that we were driving past.

Cape Falcon
After enjoying the dismal weather at the Dismal Nitch, we continued on to Oswald West State Park. This was an unplanned stop, and our intention was to get out and stretch our legs with a quick run. However, it ended up being one of the most beautiful coastal views we had seen yet. We first took a trail that ran under highway 101, through a dense forest to a beach bookended by towering cliff sides.

Apryle and I at Cape Falcon
Then after taking a few laps, Apryle jetted off to another trail junction that led to Cape Falcon. This trail had a bit of everything: vertical gain, birds for the life list, dense forest, stream crossings, wildflowers and it offered spectacular views of the ocean and various rock formations.

Running Bastendorff Beach
The rest of the day consisted of driving and making random stops at interesting towns we passed along the way. We did some antiquing in Wheeler where we bought Apryle’s wedding band, we sampled cheese at the Tilamook factory, and we watched for whales from the observatory at Depoe Bay. In the early evening we finally reached our destination of Coos Bay.

Camp Site at Bastendorff
I have glamorized the town of Coos Bay due mainly to Steve Prefontaine. As a high school distance runner, you would be hard pressed not to see at least a few of his quotes on warm up clothes of a cross country team. His style of racing made him difficult not to be a fan of and despite it being somewhat cliché, I had to visit his hometown and at least run a few miles.

Sunset at Bastendorff
Additionally, I have also started to recognize Coos Bay as a pelagic bird mecca as well. At any rate, Apryle found us an amazing free campground known as Bastendorff Beach. We went for a run along the water and tried to outrun the incoming tide. Then set up camp in a small stand of spruce trees on the dunes and could hear the waves crashing on the beach as we drifted off to sleep.

The Sea Lions and Seals
We awoke on May 27th and made the brief drive south to Cape Arago State Park. Descending to a rocky outcropping overlook, we heard the throngs of sea lions barking in the distance.  We were delighted to find Cape Arago was a hub for seals and sea lions.  We watched them noisily discuss sea lion matters on the craggy rock island and saw them leap from the water swimming. When we peeled ourselves away from the show, we went for a short run through the forested trail and then back along the seaside trail.

Running along the Bluffs
After exploring the Cape, we continued our pilgrimage to Coos Bay with a lap around Marsh Field, Prefontaine’s high school track.

"There must be a gas station or service
station around here somewhere"
-Clark Griswald

From Coos Bay, we traveled north to Eugene, making two brief stops en route. The first, to romp around the dunes on trail 1339. Sandy from head to toe from tackling each other on the wind swept dunes, we reminisced of our stop at Great Sand Dunes National Park when we moved Zach from Colorado to Texas to start PT school.  At a second roadside pull-out, we paused just long enough to maintain cell service while Zach interviewed for the PT job in Tonasket.

Pre Trail
The mulch and gravel Prefontaine Tail was easy to find in Eugene. We promptly set out running, with Zach averaging 5:52 pace for the 10k course designed to fulfill Pre’s vision of a soft running path.

We walked around the campus and peered through the imposing iron gates at the entrance to Hayward Field. The track was buzzing with athletes, news broadcasters, and staff preparing for the Prefontaine Classic. After an amazing meal at an Indian restaurant, we walked to Pre’s rock – a tough way to end our visit to Eugene.

We were sad to have to leave Oregon, but excited for what  lay ahead.  In the next ten days we would travel home to visit our families, get married at Raccoon Creek State Park and start our three week adventure in Peru!

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