Cape Lookout State Park, Oregon

beachSeptember 4 - 8, 2017

We'd planned a family campout for months, and we had reservations at Secret Lake. But massive forest fires had been ravaging the Cascade forests for weeks. Even the valley was filled with thick smoke that make outdoor activities impossible.

Our only escape was the coast. Kate and Jesse and I started the drive on the Monday after Labor Day, hoping campgrounds would be cleared out. But with most inland campgrounds impaired, they were still quite crowded. We finally landed at Cape Lookout Point State Park, just south of Tillamook.

jesse

 

It had been miserably hot in the valley for weeks, and the smoke had made it unbearable. The coast was cool and overcast, but at last we could breath easily. We set up camp, went for a walk on the beach, and cooked up some chicken with peanut sauce that Jesse had prepared the night before.

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dinnerThe next day was still overcast but comfortably warm. Kate, Jesse, and I hiked in the woods and on the beach, and enjoyed down time at the site. Tobi, Ronan, and Hollis arrived late afternoon and set up in the site we'd reserved next to us. We all enjoyed some veggie soup together before taking in a smoky sunset from the beach.

Campfires were banned in all Oregon campgrounds, due to the fire danger. But we gathered around Jesse's single burner campstove and roasted marshamallows. The kids took turns sharing songs on guitar and ukele. And Tobi read us her latest children's book.

camp

Wednesday the weather turned cool and even grayer. After a big breakfast, we all piled in the car and drove the short distance to Cape Lookout. It was a 4-mile hike to the end of the Cape, which we weren't all up for. But we hiked a good six miles through lush, old-growth forest, to the first lookout point and back.

That night Tobi's gang was on for dinner, and they made cashew chili. There was lots of music and serenading with this creative group.

 

 

goat

Thursday was weather turned even worse. We decided to drive into Tillamook and check out the Tillamook Cheese Factory. But the factory itself was being rebuilt and not available for tours. The Visitors Center proved disappointing, except for the ice cream cones.

We went instead to the Blue Heron Cheese Company, which was much more our style. Not a factory, but wine and cheese tasting, a great gift shop, and lots of well-cared for farm animals to visit with outside.

 

rain


We got back just in time for a huge thunderstorm. It last for at least a couple of hours, and poured so hard, staying dry was a real challenge. I managed to cook fajitas, and we took turns eating underneath the canopy.

The rain continued through the night and the next morning, but our spirits were high as I made French toast and we huddled together. When at last the rain stopped mid-morning, we packed up our soggy gear and headed our different directions home.

 

family

 

In spite of the environmental challenges, this was one of our best family camps ever. It was just so great to have this time together. And with everybody pitching in, it never felt like too much, even with the rain.

We can't wait for the next family campout!

 

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