Day 15 — Astoria, OR to LL Stub Stewart State Park, OR
Monday, September 4th, 2017
This morning we were awoken by a new noise — seals! Behind our campsite was a little pond, backed by trees, and we learned by the seal noises that the coast was just beyond the trees. At least it was about time to get up anyways!
We showered, walked the dogs, ate breakfast, packed up and departed. Before we left Astoria we decided to swing by Fort Stevens State Park to check out the historical features of the park. We first drove to the beach to see the shipwreck. Although it was early in the morning, the beach was still plenty full of pups running around everywhere, so we glanced at the shipwreck from afar and headed onward. The idea of seeing a shipwreck was cool, but we were hoping it was a little bigger — probably just being a bit picky though. Anyways, the next area was really neat. Fort Stevens was used from the Civil War up to WWII, which is a weird concept to think that something was built for the Civil War all the way out on the Oregon Coast. We were able to walk through all of Fort Stevens, furry friends included; there was just a sign notifying you to beware of steep drop offs.
Next we were headed towards Portland. We didn’t intend on making it all the way into the city today, though, so we took our time and made a few stops along the way. The first of those stops was Cannon Beach. The town of Cannon Beach was packed full of tourists, and to be honest it was a pretty cute tourist town! After circling the beach parking lot several times we found a spot to park and headed to the beach with the dogs. We were really excited to see the beach, and it was beautiful, but it would have been an extremely different experience if it wasn’t packed full of people and dogs. Lucy lost it — we could immediately tell that this was going to be a rough place to visit with her. Although both dogs had already exceeded our expectations for how well they’ve behaved — being around other dogs is still Lucy’s main trouble area. Laura ended up carrying Lucy most the time and fighting off her squirm attacks, which resulted in Laura having scratches all over her arms.
While Laura was getting looks from others for having to deal with a spazzy dog, Kyle was getting looks for a whole different reason. Cooper enjoyed the beach for about five minutes and then he was over it, so Kyle chose to try out our doggie carrier, which is essentially a baby carrier/doggie basket hybrid that straps onto your back and allows you to carry your little dog on your chest. Coopy was livin’ the dream being carried around — and other beach-goers noticed. Although we still enjoyed our time at the beach, it would have been a very different experience if we either didn’t have the dogs, or if the beach hadn’t been so crowded. We could barely get a chance to take any photos because by the time you figured out what you wanted to take a photo of, people would just carelessly walk in front of you.
After we had had enough of the over-crowded beach we moved along to our next stop, Tillamook Cheese Factory. On the way there we had noticed that the sky was getting very hazy and everything smelled a little smoky. Although we were fairly removed from reality, we did know that the West was pretty dry and there were wild fires all over the place — we just hoped we weren’t heading towards any.
We arrived at the cheese factory mid afternoon, which was good timing because it looked like the lunch crowd was clearing out quite a bit. Inside the visitor’s center they had exhibits to teach you about cows and what they do, there was a food area, and a gift shop. We got a grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch and grabbed a spot in their outdoor seating area to enjoy our food. The dogs were fairly tired from the beach, so we figured as long as no other dogs were around they would do ok in a crowd, and overall they were very well behaved while we enjoyed our (delicious) food. After eating, Laura headed for the car with the dogs while Kyle headed for the ice cream line. We got a scoop of chocolate peanut butter and a scoop of Oregon marion berry cheesecake. Yummmmm!!!! Both flavors were super tasty.
Now that it was late afternoon and our tummies were full and happy we were ready to find a place to crash for the night. We drove through Tillamook State Forest and ended up at LL Stub Stewart State Park. We weren’t overly thrilled with choosing a site at this state park because of the price and because we noticed a strong smoke smell, along with ash constantly falling from the sky, but we did so anyways since it was getting late. After getting settled in we made a pretty fancy dinner — Spaghetti O’s and green beans, and then hung out in the awning room to get away from the ash.
After dark we had all the walls closed on the awning for privacy and it was chilly, so we couldn’t see outside at all. We were both working on our laptops when we heard a terrifying noise in the near distance — probably just from across the road in the forest. We both hopped up out of our chairs and looked at each other, then at the dogs. We were both pretty convinced that it was the sound a mountain lion would make. We had no idea what to do. We typically feel a bit safer when we’re in our awning room, but obviously if a large animal such as a cougar or bear wanted in, it wouldn’t be much of a challenge for them. It wasn’t ideal to have all the walls shut either because now we weren’t able to see if there was anything visible in the woods.
We picked up the dogs and cautiously stepped out of the room to peer around the awning. Nothing was there (that we could see). We made sure to keep the dogs in our arms, grabbed our nighttime bags and headed to the bathrooms to get ready for bed. We thought it would be best to just call it a night after that scare. Per Laura’s request, we headed to bed armed with our bear spray and hatchet. Luckily, there were no other scares throughout the night!
Pine & Fur 🌲🐶
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