For my main birthday present, Ethan took me camping from Wednesday to Friday. We decided to head to Cape Lookout, since we're both from the coast & wanted to head back home. I definitely didn't appreciate what a lovely area I was born into till I went back last week. It's hard to imagine that a more beautiful place exists in the world, though I admit that I might be biased!
We got into the park around 4:00 p.m., so we set up camp & got down to scarfing. There were plenty of Smart Dogs & Tofurkey Sausages to be had!
After the food had a chance to settle, we headed to the beach for some Frisbee, but ended up splashing in the ocean after awhile. The weather was magnificent! Most people would probably avoid water in the mid-50s, but it was calling our names & we got used to it pretty quickly. Then we were hooked! We went in up to our waists, but that was enough.
Modeling my new birthday hat:
We saw a couple of nesting seagulls too.
My sister stocked me up on Smart Wool from head-to-toe, so I was nice & snuggly, even when it cooled down at night.
Here's the beautiful night sky that we were treated to at camp:
The next day, Thursday, we went for an amazing hike out to the Cape, which was a little over 5 miles, round trip. Shortly after taking off, we were in awe of the beautiful, gnarly, old-growth forest that surrounded us.
The weather was really humid at first---this is a rain forest, after all! We went for about a mile & ended up on the stormy side of the Cape, which was beautiful.
It wasn't technically raining, but the moisture condenses on the trees & showers down on everything below.
After that windy section, we ended up on a drier path that was perfectly warm & sunny.
Yeah, the water was actually that bright! It almost looked unreal, it was so beautiful.
The trail was so varied that a person has to pay close attention, or risk going headlong down a hill or off a cliff! Yikes.
Here's Eth, peeking through a tree-gina (not the scientific term, I'm sure!).
After all that work, we made it to the end! The cliffs are loosely fenced off with rope, but many people (not me!) climb under them for a better (deadlier) view. You can see little dark blobs, which are actually seabirds & dolphins...yes, dolphins! We were looking for grey whales, since they migrate through around this time of the year, but we were delighted to sea pods of bottlenose dolphins instead.
Unfortunately, my camera is not the best, so we only got a few blurry shots of some fins & tails, but this one below is probably the most obviously dolphin-shaped one...
Some edibles we came across, not all of which were ripe & ready to eat...
Deliciously fragile Thimbleberries:
Tangy Wood Sorrel:
NOT EDIBLE, but eating...
And this one is clearly trying to attack me!
Everything was so ALIVE. Fallen logs were their own little ecosystems, teeming with fungus, lichen, moss, bugs, etc.
On our last day, we were out of firewood, so we headed to Tillamook (my hillbilly hometown) for some good ol' greasy breakfast. We cruised through Oceanside, where I used to want to live.
After our bellies were filled, we made the most of the drive by heading up to Cape Meares.
Beautiful view of Three Arch Rocks:
The historical & mysterious Octopus Tree:
Ethan, being tourist-y:
I might as well be tourist-y too!
And lastly, the lighthouse. Sadly, some very bored, ignorant people have gotten their kicks by shooting at the windows.
This was one of the most fun birthdays/camping experiences I've ever had. Thank you to all my friends & family. I'm thankful that our lives overlap! :)