Tuesday 15th August – Back into the Forest

Thanks to a bad dream, I was up and out of bed as soon as I woke and left the Cabana to a beautiful view of mist coming through the trees.

Dan followed me out and made us a coffee and hot chocolate to take down to the beach for a stroll. It was a little clearer than it had been yesterday and no wind, so it was much more pleasant to be walking on the sand. We even dared to stand in the shallow waves, gasping in shock at the freezing cold temperatures.

As we walked back to camp, we noticed the “no camping” sign positioned right near our cars. Whoops! Oh well, ignorance is bliss, we’d gotten away with it. Wanting more view of the beach, we drove back to the Pacific City carpark to lap up the morning sun with a few other RVers and beach goers. The capark already had plenty of business, but the parking on the beach was ample so we backed it up and took in the beach scene. There were a couple of surfers and paddleboarders out in the waves so we watched them for a bit as more people pulled up near us. When a guy arrived with a big fan contraption on the back of his ute, I was keen to stay and see what it did. I got our chairs out and we proceeded to people watch. There was a guy next to us who had a converted storage trailer so we watched him make his breakfast when the surfers weren’t doing anything.

We got the Frisbee out and threw that around, me having to take off my downie before long thanks to the warmth of the sun. When Dan got sick of chasing my shitty throws, he suggested we go for a short hike along the cliffs at the end of the beach and so off we went. As we walked along the beach, we marvelled at the fishing boats that were coming in to land, motors full tilt as they navigated the waves head on, pulling their outboards up at the last minute as the boats came to a stop on the sand where their friends were there to meet them with a boat trailer. They’d obviously done it many times before.

We climbed part way up a steep dune to get to the sandstone where we snuck under the “danger, do not go beyond this point” fence to follow the cliffs out to the sea.

There was evidence of people camping out here and what a sweet spot it would have been. The views of Cape Kiwanda were impressive and it was perfectly secluded.

Dan found a sweet water bottle lost in the bushes so that made the hike worthwhile.

We had planned to ride the Frisbee down the big sand dune, but despite Dan’s skills as a surfer on all terrain, we decided it wasn’t feasible so walked down the steep slope.

As we walked past the cars with boat trailers lined up on the beach, Cleo suddenly became very still, looking up to the top of the dunes. After a while, I saw what she was looking at – three fully grown deer grazing in the tall grass. Dan called to her, but it was too late. She ran full pelt towards them, causing them to feel out of sight behind the dunes. Dan was determined to not climb the hill and so we walked on a bit, whistling intermittently. We came to a stop at the end of the dunes when she still hadn’t surfaced and started the climb. We were nearly at the peak when we saw her bounding back down the hill towards the boat trailers. Bloody Cleo. She came back to us and we inspected her for damage. No blood on her mouth so she hadn’t succeeded in catching anything (no surprise there) but she did have a decent gouge on her side which we assumed came from a deer’s hoof. Maybe she learnt her lesson.

As we sat back down in our chairs, I put my down jacket back on because the sun had disappeared behind the clouds and it didn’t take long to become bloody cold. Bloody cold became unpleasant very quickly and we decided it was time to go. Goodbye coast, nice seeing you again.

Me in the lead, we drove inland, going all the way to Detroit Lake without stopping which took us about two hours. By the time we got there we were ready for a swim and some lunch. Since any road leading down to the lake’s edge required an entrance fee, we found a pullout on the side of the road with our own private beach with a view of snow-capped Mt. Jefferson in the background. The sun was out just enough to warrant a swim before we lay our towels out on the sand to sunbathe a little.

By the time I’d made us a salad at my car and brought it back to the beach, the sun had gone and it was cold again. Taking that as our queue, we knew it was time to move on again. Dan called the tyre shop in Portland and asked them to redirect his tyre to Bend because we didn’t want to head north again. They didn’t have an issue with it so we started heading south towards Cougar Hot Springs. Hot springs had been Dan’s idea and while we’d originally planned to check out Bagby Springs, a little research on Dan’s behalf showed that it required money to get in so we redirected to Cougar.

Dan was in charge of camp and so he lead the way through the forest. I was on the phone with Sheldan when we stopped at a grog shop for beer so Dan went in solo. He got what he needed but also found there was a movie called “The Prodigy” being filmed in the small shop with all sorts of cameras and artisty looking people milling about. Half an hour down the road, Dan found us a sweet spot tucked away in the forest. The first place we pulled in to was a dud with people already there with tents, but that meant we got a perfect site all to ourselves where we didn’t come across another form of life all night. There was also firewood abounds so we were stoked.

While Dan gathered firewood, I was feeling hands-on so I got onto building a game that Dan knew about and I’d seen in passing. We didn’t know the name so I coined it “Sticks and Balls” and used my hatchet to cut bits of wood to the right length, then formed them into a frame with some of Dan’s string. Dan had the fire going now but I still had to make the balls. Using a few small rocks, magazine pages and some duct tape, we had us a couple of pairs of balls connected by a foot of string. We were ready! Standing a few meters from the frame, we threw our balls towards the frame trying to loop the balls around each of the sticks for points. I easily won the first game. Now it was time for a spoke fixing lesson.

I started it off, but Dan was a good student and soon took over, crushing the broken nipple to remove it then using my tricks of the trade to get a new one back on. He had it trued within minutes, a natural expert. Next, still full of ideas, Dan wanted to get rid of this tub of butter he’d bought and I suggested damper as a solution. It would be the first time I’d made it outside of Australia and Dan’s first experience with the dish. I made up the mixture then Dan took over, kneading the dough while I prepared some coals from the fire.

Twenty minutes later, while I was halfway through cooking dinner, we had an appetizer of hot damper. Eaten with butter and maple syrup, it was bloody delicious and Dan was happy that he could now make bread with only a few ingredients and some hot coals. I can’t believe I hadn’t made this once since leaving home!

Our dinner of chicken and mushroom pasta was ready not much later and we ate by the fire. Having had such a big appetiser, we ate way too much and hardly moved from the fireside the rest of the night, except to play more sticks and balls. When my form disappeared into thin air and I made some horrible throws, I refused to play anymore, especially when Dan started uncontrollably laughing at my inability. Back to the fire, we sat listening to Chet Fakes and watching the stars come out. Another TV episode before bed and we snuggled into the Cabana where Cleo had been hiding for hours already.

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