Camped April 30 to May 2nd 2021
When razor clams are in season and the moon is just right we get several campsites at Cape Disappointment and dig for clams. When we stay is based a lot on the phase of the moon and when it rises. That cycle is not like the sun so low tide can be at anytime during the trip.
This time it worked out that the best times for low tide was over a weekend and during the day. The perfect tide ended up being the last day in April and the first few of May. Spring was still hanging on with cold temperatures and blustery wind at times. It was on occasion raining but was still very much unpredictable so planning to camping this far out was a gamble. But we know for sure the sites will go because of razor clam season so we booked our sites and hoped for the best.
As the trip neared and the clams tested, or st least the water they are in, kept turning up high levels of domoic acid which is not good for humans. Even at low levels over long periods of time is harmful. So unless the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife say they are ok to consume I won’t touch them. Just not worth the risk. This trip we couldn’t do any digging but it worked out. All weekend the weather was perfect with no rain and generally partly cloudy skies. I mean the sun made an appearance for a brief period of time even. The sun really does exist!
We all planned to arrive late Friday afternoon after a day of work. Because of timing and the hours I work I did a full day and then just left when my work was done. I arrived with enough daylight to setup camp before dusk. Everyone else arrived in short order and most of them stopped by to say hello. Made setting up my tent a long process but it was good to see everyone getting settled in for the weekend.
That night we huddled around the propane fire pit. There was a fire ban still in place so we made the most of it. This site was pretty deep into the camp site and sheltered pretty well against the wind which was nice. The propane provided a little warmth but more importantly some light in the dark of night. The park is outside of Astoria on the Washington side so pretty dark skies this far out.
That night I settled into my tent and had a wonderful night of sleep. For a hot minute I thought of playing some music and quickly killed the idea. Mother Nature would supply the soundtrack while I slept. The wind through the trees and the constant crashing waves from the ocean. They were relentless all weekend.
I woke up early the next morning. As the sun rose so did the birds and they let everyone know it was morning. The only other thing I could hear was the ocean in the background. I got up and set to work making coffee. There is nothing like a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning while camping someplace beautiful. In short order Bobby was up as well and we got into talking shit as the rest of camp continued to slept.
After a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs everyone scattered to do their thing. The boys went down to the beach to throw the football. The dads went to supervise and the moms along with me stayed at camp. I ended up at camp all afternoon and loved it. This was when the sun made its brief appearance and bathed us in warmth. I sat in my chair and did a fuck ton of writing and some drawing. It was a perfect day to be outside at the beach. We had lunch and played board games till late in the afternoon.
As night started to fall we all naturally gathered around the propane fire pit. I was determined to see the sunset so as the time approached I and several others headed down to the beach. The sunset that night was the most amazing one I have ever seen. When I got to the beach I stayed up near the beach edge and sat on some large drift wood. I wanted to be away from others as much as possible. I was here for the sunset.
The cloud cover was the trickiest thing of the whole night. While it wasn’t rainy the cloudy cover was thick along the horizon and obscured the sun as it settled below the other side of the Earth. As Earth continued to turn the angle at which it hit the earth changed and all of a sudden a totally new section of clouds burst into flames as the sun hit it. The weird angle was putting on a show and it was blowing my mind. No one was around but I really wanted to lean over to someone and say “Did you see that!” Down along the waters edge Ellie was watching the same sunset I was. I could tell from here reaction she was amazed by what was going on just as much as I was.
When it was finally dark I headed back to camp. It was time for a little grub and some more fire time before turning in for the night. The next morning coffee felt rushed but still satisfying when you’re out in the woods. I don’t think we even did a breakfast that morning. We just had our coffee, decamped and started heading for home. It’s a three hour drive and it was a school night after all. I would have stayed in the park to hike but Sunday was also my first schedule vaccination for covid-19 and I was not going to miss it for anything. Everyone else grabbed lunch in Astoria but I graciously declined the offer.
A short trip but it was a much needed break and reset. There is just something about being along the coast and a campfire that bring me back to life. A way to connect to nature for sure. Falling asleep to the sound of the ocean and then being woken up by birds. Perfect.