stay off pigs

spence here… i am so lucky. i keep pinching myself at how lucky i am.  i turned 37 over the weekend with a glorious sun, some sand cranes, ravens and a handful of friends. turns out billy and i were around to have a camp-out for my birthday, which took place at little crater lake (near timothy lake and mt. hood).  originally, we were to be hiking the pct through that section of forest, which is why i had picked that date and place before.  i was pretty sure we wouldn’t be able to have the party though, as i thought we would be somewhere else.  as plans evolve, they are unfolding for the best i would say, like the fire that is not forced, but tended. we spent a few days in camp, eating good food, laughing and hiking around on the pct and timothy lake trail. we sat on a log in the water like turtles and soaked up the rays. it really got my itch back to get on with the plans of hiking sooner than later. we met an older kooky guy who was hiking the pct.  he told us bear stories, ufo stories, finding sasquatch and how people treat you like trash if you have on a large backpack–like a homeless person. it made me all the more interested to get going on down the trail.

we finished out the surfing week before my birthday at oswald west state park on thursday.  by the time we got down to the beach, it was sunny and 70. beautiful!  it was low tide however, when we arrived and the waves were crunchy.  i went out the first session and a big wall of wave would form before me, too tall to jump over, to fast to dive through or catch and in a whirlwind would be over.  lesson learned–surf closer to a high tide. i hadn’t felt afraid before, but somehow those waves intimidated me. perhaps it was the 3 times i got dragged under and flopped around on the sandy floor! billy was a champ.  looking like a pro, paddling out past the breakers like he was in a surf documentary. the second session was a little better, but again, i came in early, frustrated and wiped.  we rested a bit and i took comfort in the fact that even being thrashed around by waves was good for me.  we decided to go out once more and the waves were great! i got up on the board for a bit on my knees, as i haven’t yet been able to stand all the way up because of my weak left leg (from my knee injury awhile ago). we swam out pass the breakers and practiced sitting up on our boards, waiting for the big ones. we came back to my friend emily’s place and the reunion felt great, even though we have only been gone for a week or so.

p.s. the “stay off pigs” comes from a sign that was posted at cannon beach.  it probably used to say something like stay off grass, or stay off please, or something like that.  but after being woke up in the middle of the night by the police, it seemed like a good sign and good advice.

Billy here. Bouncing around the coast and camping in the van was worth the amazing surfing, but getting out to the mountains and camping near an alpine meadow was just what we needed. The space, stars and fresh pine smell really makes me homesick for the cabin I will come home to someday. The campground has rejuvenated our thirst for the hike, which was dashed a little while we were trying to find places to car camp on the coast. I think we both forgot how exhausting it can be to try and find a place to sleep when you don’t want to pay for it! But once I smelled the pine sap and felt the space under the forest canopy, I remembered that the hardships of the trail are worth the distance from civilization.

We camped at Little Crater Lake, which a very small but deep pool. It was formed on a fault that slipped and opened up a spring almost to the bedrock. Someone could scuba dive into it and discover all sorts of treasures among the trees that have fallen into the depths of it. At its edge are  yellowish sand and pebbles for a foot or two before it drops forty five feet or so into darkness, fading from green to deep blue. When the sun hits it at certain angles you can see trees that have fallen into it at all angles. I imagine that it holds secret underwater caverns further beyond that humans have not found yet. It’s a small but incredible little lake and we were lucky to hear and briefly see a mating pair of sandhill cranes that are starting a family there. They have an enormous haunting call that sounds like a percussive bamboo flute the size of a valley. When they came flying through and singing at dusk, every last child and dog in the campground came running to the meadow to see them, as if they were about to see a pegasus.

We hiked around Lake Timothy a bit, during which we had to hike a tiny section of the PCT to get there from the campground. Being on the PCT for a minute inspired us to shape up our hiking schedule. We checked snow levels online and the open status of various resupply points and determined that our leave date for the trail will be next week, after another surf mission to Pacific City this week. The snow levels look good for hiking, barring Mt. Hood, which still has a lot of snow on it. So we decided that in order to leave next week we may have to hike around Mt. Hood and skip the Paradise Park section if it’s still impassable next week. So one more foray to the waves and then we hit the mountain trail! Happy summer solstice and Juneteenth y’all!

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