I know you just blinked your eyes, swallowed hard and said "What the what?" in your head. But "winter" camping on the Oregon coast is nothing like "winter" camping anywhere else. For one thing, it rarely gets below freezing out here, and for another, we don't use tents. We use yurts. According to Wikipedia, "A yurt is a portable, bent dwelling structure traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia." The state park system of Oregon realized the benefits of having such in their campgrounds, and we discovered them many years ago. They're cheaper than a hotel, and warmer than a tent. Once we had kids, we realized it was the best way to camp. It's kind of like RV camping but without the RV (or the satellite dish). It's so freaking awesome. If you have kids and live in Oregon, I highly recommend you look into it.
This past weekend we stayed at Ft. Stevens State Park. We've never been to this particular park before. I imagine it's insane in the summertime. The campground part of the park is gigantic, with loops running the entire range of the alphabet. The nice part about camping in the off season is that half the campground is empty, so you can let the kids run around with wild abandon. Our yurt was on a hill, and the kids had a great time running up and down.
We packed in a hurry Friday night, and kind of forgot a few things. Some things, like my camera and E's headlamp weren't terribly important. Others, like our dutch oven and L's pants, were. So Saturday morning, we drove into Astoria to get some breakfast and do some thrift-store shopping.
After our trip, we decided to take a walk. The sky was blue, and we figured we had a very short window of time to do much. Within two minutes of leaving the yurt, the skies opened and down came the hail. The kids didn't seem to mind. They happily ran through it, tried to catch it on their tongues, jumped in puddles, examined leaves on the ground, and simply enjoyed the simplicity of being outside, in the rain, in the clouds, in the hail, in the wind.
We roasted marshmallows after dinner, in the 30 minute rain reprieve before bedtime.
This morning, after packing up the car, we checked out the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale. It ran aground in 1906, and the skeleton of its hull still stands at the beach, a constant reminder of the power of the sea. Even though I grew up on the ocean, the Pacific still scares me. The rocky beaches, freezing cold water, "sneaker waves," and this...
|The Atlantic's got nothing on the Pacific|
We also took some photos to commemorate dragging the kids out in the whipping cold wind and rain. This is what makes the memories, kids.
|I swear, my family is not homeless|
|The Jetty & Mouth of the Columbia in the distance|
|Climbing down the stairs from the watch tower|
Google does this really cool thing when you upload photos. If they're taken in quick succession, they get put together into an animated gif. Well, here's one that was made today when my photos were uploaded from my phone. It looks like the Jeep is moving!