This Easter we decided to try something other than the usual holiday tradition of eating and then feeling regret for the volumes engulfed over a couple days. Our plan was to hit the Oregon coast and camp for a couple nights and squeeze in a couple hikes.
The trip was amazing, and I wish only we’d have given ourselves more time, as driving 2000km in 3 days was pushing the limits of both our butts and sanity (one goes nuts after too much time in a car…).
We were on the road by 5:30am on Good Friday with the mindset that we’d beat other travelers trying to cross the U.S. border. After an hour of sitting in our car by the Peace Arch border crossing we realized that many others thought like us. Luckily we were armed with home-made cinnamon buns and a radio to tame our minds as they progressively started to show signs of frustration. Anyone who has had the “pleasure” of crossing the border in a vehicle will surely know the woes of having to find the right lane, as it seems no matter what lane you choose, the other ones always move faster….
Anyways, once we set our wheels on U.S. soil we were gunning it south as fast as we could. Our plan was to keep going until we hit Portland, where we’d grab a quick lunch and then continue until we’d reach Tahkenitch to set up camp. Now living in Canada, or anywhere in North America for that matter, one is accustomed to long distance travel. Having grown up in Europe, I would have never imagined traveling for 10 hours and still find myself in the same country, but it’s something that I quickly had to grow used to after I moved to Canada. When you know that you are going to spend at least 10+ hours in a car to reach your destination, you have to make sure you have the necessary distractions: good company (imaginary friends might work), snacks, music (more on this later), and distractions (I cannot stress this enough!). We soon found out how boring the I-5 freeway is. It’s literally a 6 lane concrete slab that offers nothing dazzling to the eyes during your time driving on it.
5 hours later we made it to Portland, and decided to try out their famed lunch carts (at least we were told they’re famed).
For $4 you definitely can’t go wrong, however, I don’t think I’ve ever been given so much food. I ordered a simple gyro and could barely eat more than a third of it while holding the remainder in both my hands (I have very large hands). I am worried about people who consume a full meal here on a regular basis…. Overall Portland was very pretty, though we both felt we liked Vancouver more so. And so we were off to continue our drive.
Now, in this time and age we all have had some exposure to a GPS, and at first I was a bit hesitant to rely on one, though now, after countless times where it has saved our travels, I am a changed man. Long live TomTom! Sure itmight decide to take you on routes that make no sense, but in the end the GPS saved us from many detours. However, even with mighty TomTom’s aid, we didn’t arrive in Tahkenitch until around 8 pm (we started at 5:30 am, remember?). Having driven this long made us very… tired, to say the least. So you can imagine the look on our faces when we found all campgrounds near Tahkenitch were closed. In desperation I knocked on a random RVs door in hopes of some guidance (yes, guys do ask questions, just when no one else is watching). Luckily there was a landing site by the Tahkenitch lake which was only a few km away. Every campsite, trail, recreational area in Oregon costs money, the system is simple and requires the user to simply fill out a slip and then place it in their car while depositing the money into a slot (this is nice and convenient, however neither of us thought of bringing a pen, so we ended up coming up with rather ingenious ideas throughout our trip: mud,, lip gloss, rocks, etc). We quickly set up camp, had dinner, and hit the sleeping bags (10:30 pm). I will avoid giving the many reasons why, but please, get yourself a proper warm sleeping bag, do not settle for a low end one, because you will understand why, the moment the night temperature drops and you find yourself shaking…..
We were woken up bright and early around 5am by what appeared to be one of many testosterone filled “man events” (in this case, fishing). I don’t understand the details of the process, but what we saw was a large gathering of boats who then scattered off in the various reaches of the Tahkenitch lake in hopes of finding their bounties.
We decided to head straight for the Tahkenitch trail, which we were told was one of Oregon’s must sees. Though the trail is rated moderate/strenuous I can tell you right now that it is no different from walking on a sidewalk, except that this sidewalk is made of sand, and sometimes has mosquitos… In other words, do not be discouraged by the difficulty rating, as it is a very easy and comfortable hike to do. The scenery changes between sand dunes to forest repeatedly until ending at the Ocean. The beach is impressive, with sand stretching as far as the eye can see in both directions, an ocean in front of you, and a dense forest behind (though it was sad to see that some people enjoy leaving their trash on the beach).
On our way back we ran into other hikers deciding to take on the route, some appeared to be geared and dressed for a week long hike though I cannot imagine why, as there weren’t any particularly good places to set up camp on the trail (also note that the trail is only about 2.5 miles each way). We now started driving north, along the Orgeon coast (we did not want ot even think the word I-5) as we had been told it’s one of the most impressive drives in the region (and it is).
We reached Cape Lookout camp around 6:30 and this time allowed ourselves some time in setting up camp. Cape lookout is a large camp with all the amenities you could ask for (including showers!). It’s nicely laid out and offers people the choice between setting up their own tents, renting a yurt (a round hut) or setting up an RV.
This was the last day of our brief trip to Oregon so we hit the road right away and decided to do the Cape Lookout trail. The weather was a bit cloudy but the trail was nicely laid out and there was no difficulty in traversing it (about the same difficulty as the Tahkenitcht trail but longer). After the hike we set out on the home stretch, this time following the 101 highway. The 101 highway is beautiful. It stretches along the coast line and offers a scenery that makes up for the incredibly long drive ahead. We made a few stops here and there along the way to take in the surroundings but had ot press on in order to get back home on time.
Looking back, we learned that we would never want to drive 2000km in 3 days ever again (it really is draining), however if you have give yourself a week or two, then the Oregon coast is definitely worth the trip. We had a great time, and if we would have had more time we would have been able to see the Oregon coast in more detail.