Yup, almost home from our long Oregon coast trip. It was early August, and we were tired. The drive from South Beach State Park was uneventful, and brought us here.
You can’t tell from this picture, but this park is on the side of a fairly steep hill. You really can’t go anywhere without experiencing numerous ups and downs.
I took a stroll down to the recycling center and came across a sign about big cats — in this case, cougars and bobcats. Apparently the park is crawling with them, and the sign explained how to recognize each of these species, and what to do if you see one (do not try to scratch them playfully behind the ears, etc.). So my stroll back was a little more watchful, because, well, cougars.
It’s a big park, bristling with appealing attractions. Lots of paths for equestrians and hikers and mountain-bikers. Some paths are multi-purpose, which we took to mean Sure, Go Ahead and Bring Your Doggie Stroller. The thing is, did I mention hills? It got kind of difficult with the doggie stroller, especially when loaded with terrier.
One afternoon we were struggling up a fairly steep section when a young fellow on a mountain bike came tearing around the curve just ahead, aiming straight for the stroller and me. No room to step aside (and no time either), but I did manage to back up a little. The kid ended up crashing in order to stop — still hit us but not too hard. I think he might have been going a little too fast down that hill. But he was at that immortal, indestructible age so of course nothing would go wrong. But it kind of did.
The next day he saw me walking Wally around the campground, and spoke to me from a few yards away. “You shouldn’t take your dog stroller on the trail.”
“WHAT?????” I may not have been in a very tolerant mood at the time.
“Uh… nice dog.”
I don’t know what to think about this, other than I’d better remember to drive the doggie stroller defensively.
There is a well-known “rail trail” running through the park, and we strollered on one portion of it. The Banks-Vernonia State Trail looks like great fun, and someday when the terriers are elsewhere we hope to ride a good chunk of it, if we can figure out which direction runs generally downhill. There’s also an 18-hole disc golf course AND a 3-hole practice course at the park. I threw discs around for a couple of hours one day and the next morning my arm about fell off. Must have forgotten to stretch.
Also, in an unrelated mishap, I injured a finger while splitting firewood with a hatchet. No, I didn’t hit my hand with the blade or anything, but when one of the logs split a splinter aimed for my knuckle and hit its mark. Cut quite deep. Sooz applied first aid and urged me for weeks to go to a doctor “just to make sure” but, hey, high deductible healthcare plan, so I didn’t, and it still hurts. It’s healed, it just hurts.
What with the disc golf bursitis and the doggie stroller crash and the wood chopping incident (which taught me at this late date to wear gloves when chopping wood — still learning how to live, apparently), we think the universe was trying to tell me something. “Go home, Doug, you’re a danger to yourself out here.” Yeah.
So we went home, making only a single additional poor decision in the process: taking Google Maps advice on how to get there, and then, deciding we knew better. Google said to head north on State Route 47 and then turn off onto a series of bucolically named roads that would eventually get us to the Columbia River across from Longview. My thought was That Can’t Be Right, Those Roads Look Too Minor And We Will Hate Them. I decided it would be better, if slightly longer, to stay on the Big State Route 47.
This was an error. The part of State Route 47 we should have ditched is not so major. Kind of a glorified logging road. Twisty, hilly, narrow, bumpy, and traversing large sections of recently logged, more-or-less vertical moonscape with no guard rails. There was considerable gnashing of teeth, squeezing of steering wheel and spousal humming of Over the Rainbow. For once we really would rather have been in Kansas (and I am not trying to pick on Kansas, it’s just a place name that comes up a lot when you sleep in a Toto).
Did you know that hills don’t look as steep in photos or videos as they do in real life? It’s true. Here is a way you prove it: take a look at a golf tournament on TV that’s being played near you sometime. Note the giant looping putts the golfers have to make sometimes, even though the green looks pretty flat. Then go over to the golf course and look at the green, which turns out to be steeper than a ski jump. WHO CAN PUTT ON GREENS THIS STEEP? Not me. Don’t ask me how I know.
So, yeah, I was going somewhere with all that about invisible steepness. What I mean is: I could show you a picture, here, of that nerve-jangling road on the side of a cliff that is State Route 47. But in the picture it would just look like, uh, Kansas, and besides if I had stopped, on that road, to take a picture, I’d be divorced now.
So. Apiary Market Road would have been the way to go. I learned an awful lot of lessons, the hard way, going home from the beach. Enough learning, already.Sharing is caring!
Following is daring.