Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day 8 - Monday, Sept. 24 - Tillamook Bay North Jetty/Warrenton Waterfront Trail

Day 8 

Day 8 would end up being my return home day - and I didn't even know that when I woke up.

Once the sun came up after we left Beverly Beach I was ready to find a place to stop, walk a bit, and hopefully eat. I stopped at the Tillamook Bay North Jetty. There were very few cars/people out there, but pretty much everyone was there to watch the fishing boats.

This photo doesn't do the waves justice. I think I felt a bit sick on their behalf (I get motion sick easily unfortunately).

There is actually a campground back from the jetty. I am thinking they may have had a colder night than I did. I would be curious if that area is always a more rough area. Even down on the beach the waves were pretty rough, although I do think the tide was coming in as well.

My next real stop was Seaside. I finished of my second jar of peanut butter and gave it to Nim (I saw this on another blog - great idea).

Seaside was decision making time. I liked Seaside a lot. Even the town is kind of cute. I am pretty sure I hiked in the area probably 15 or more years ago and there was lots of camping options. I finally decided to save Seaside for a different trip and head home.

(I was a little grouchy about the decision, but at the time I still thought I was getting into classes for fall quarter, which as it has turned out both my attempts failed so I am taking a quarter off. It feels weird.)

I ended up stopping at Eben H Carruthers Memorial Park in Warrenton. Basically I was trying to find another park to stop for a walk. It was taking forever to find this park so instead I pulled off at the first options I could find. From this park you can pick up a part of the Warrenton Waterfront Trail along the Columbia River.

I really liked the Waterfront Trail except for a sizable section that kicks you out on a busy road. I hope some day they figure out a better option for that section. In the above photo Nim moved the grass himself, but still thought something was in there.

We ended up at a some port and it looks like if I had any clue what I was doing I could have picked up a further trail system in the Fort Stevens State Park (which by the way is what I gave up trying to drive to in the first place).

I watched a large container ship come through and then it was time for me to turn around and walk back.

I was still in denial I was heading home.

The pelicans in the Columbia River by the way were very fun to watch. Unfortunately I am not a wildlife photographer.

Back over the Lewis and Clark bridge for the long drive home:

I love reading other blog accounts of travels and vacations (unless they fill me with ridiculous envy which on occasion does happen). Some of the ideas of where I went (or avoided) came from other blogs.

(Lincoln City, Monday, Sept. 17)

I definitely hope not to wait so long before I vacation again.

Day 7 (evening) - Sunday, Sept. 23 - Beverly Beach Yurt

Day 7 (Evening) -

After our Rally-Free workshop we headed back to the coast for an overnight in a yurt! I had set the reservation Friday night. It sounds like it is hard to get yurts without reservations, and I needed a pet friendly one. If you have never camped before a yurt might be a nice introduction to the experience.

Newport, OR is about 50 miles from Corvallis along hwy 20 (pretty drive - probably would be a nightmare in heavy traffic), and then Beverly Beach is just a bit north of Newport. It was a nice drive for me, I couldn't wait to get back out to the coast.

We managed to get there before Sunset so we got a walk in on the beach and along a trail surrounding the campgrounds.

For the first time ever I was slightly inconvenienced by my own "dog friendly" seeking. The yurt smelled like wet dog. :) Since mine doesn't have a furry coat nor does he get into the water I don't deal much with the "wet dog" smell - which is not to say Nim smells like roses.

Anyway, the yurt was a fun experience and I will probably try it again in other locations. Especially for this cold temperature wimp the heater is a big attraction.

My biggest beef was honestly Beverly Beach State Park. It could have been the section I was in, but wow do they cram the people in and it was pretty loud. Considering I only did car camping on this trip (which by nature is not the most secluded experience) it says a lot that I found this camp to be pretty noisy and exposed.

I was so unable to sleep that night that I was on the road by 5am (another advantage of yurt is not having to take down a tent to leave).

It was dark, quiet, and foggy when we left which beautiful.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Day 7 & 8 - Saturday/Sunday, Sept 22 - 23 - Rally-Free

Day 7/8 - Rally-Free Workshop

My anchor event for this entire road-trip was a Rally-Free workshop in Corvallis. I won't go into a ton of detail on this section (I took pages of notes) but if you are looking for something fun and new to do with your dog, please keep your eye on this newest sport. I believe its primary intention is to increase precision in freestyle, but the benefits are way beyond that. I am really hoping it takes off as a sport.

The class was held in a building on the Benton County Fairgrounds. I could have camped there. The campsite was underwhelming, but there was a ton of walking options from the fairground that were really neat. Sunday morning we did a quick walk up Bald Hill after arriving early to the facilities.

The instructor was Julie Flanery and she is outstanding. I think pretty much anyone who has ever worked with her has benefited greatly from her encouragement and knowledge.

She helped fill in a lot of holes for me in how to use shaping/its your choice in the obedience environment. If you are into dog training you know what I mean, if you are not, suffice to say I strongly prefer this as a training technique whenever I can use it. Nim also seems to learn best this way.

I have not stopped thinking about all I learned at this event

We are getting ready to try our first Novice trial ever in Rally-obedience so any time I had a "free choice" sign, I performed a novice Rally-obedience station.

The last run of the day was a full Rally-free course. Before I ever got on in the ring I could see how glassy his eyes were but somehow we made it through, even the part in which he has to do figure-8s between my legs (pure chaos).

You will probably hear more about this new sport occasionally on this blog as I plan to keep experimenting with the training.

Sunday night after class ended at 5pm we loaded up and headed back out to the coast (Newport area) to spend the night in a yurt on Beverly Beach...

Day 6 - Friday, Sept. 21 - Jackson Frazier Wetland/Irish Bend Bridge

I forgot to add Thursday, after the Marys Peak hike, we tracked down a dog self-washing place called Dogz Rule Dog Grooming. It was a great place and the owner was really nice. An unbelievable amount of dirt fell out of Nim. The entire grooming area was open so you can wash your dog and chat with other dog people. :)

Day 6 (Nim meltdown day)

I didn't know it when I woke up, but Friday was going to be the Nim meltdown day. Considering all he had been experiencing we were pretty due.

I had planned on Friday being a little more light. We had a weekend-long training event coming and I wanted him rested.

The day started out gentle enough although in retrospect even I could tell he was pretty tired from the moment we got up. We went to the Jackson Frazier Wetland for an easy walk. This is a very pretty area and accessible for all.

After the wetland walk we hunted down a laundry mat and then went to a Petco for some more treats. By the way, I am just going to admit now that one of my books on this trip book one of the 50 Shades series. Don't read this book in public if you embarrass easy like me. I think that everyone but me knew exactly how torrid these books are. You will get looks.

Then we returned to the Super 8, ate, and headed for a walk around downtown Corvallis.

Corvallis has a strange street life. You have some of the harsher stuff that I would equate to our Pioneer Square but then you have the college life. The area we were in was more Pioneer Square style (think impairment and a more older/harsher street crowd). No one was inherently threatening, but I was aware of my surroundings especially since all three dobermans I have owned have consistently been wary around impairment.

While I was picking our way through the crowd suddenly Nim ran up my back legs and hopped in front of me. I turned behind me and I could see a gal reaching desperately for him. She had run up fast and loud on us previously, apologized, and I didn't think much of her after that. I totally missed that Nim was having a hard time with her. She was significantly taller than me and her hoodie was tied down around her face. She sincerely was trying to be friendly but he wanted nothing to do with her. I haven't actually seen a fear reaction out of him like that since he was probably around 10 months old.

After that I swung into the more suburbs, got on campus, and started working him around people in an environment with more outs. It took him literally blocks and probably at least 2 hours to stop checking behind him or startling around people. It was pretty interesting to watch him work through.

We did eventually make it to the Irish Bend Bridge:

It is apparently no longer historical because it was moved from its original location but neat construction all the same.

We still had to walk all the way back to the Super 8 but I knew which route to go to keep the crowds a little lighter. And he slept much better than me in preparation for our Rally-Free workshop!

Day 5 - Thursday, Sept. 20 - Marys Peak

Day 5

Wednesday night was a bit of a nightmare. We rolled into Corvallis too late for me to deal with finding a campsite and ended up at a Super 8. This was after going to almost every other hotel in town first. Turned out Corvallis was packed because of kids being dropped off for start of college. Not to mention the entire town was just busy with college students everywhere.

I had another great hike planned however: Marys Peak.

I went to the ranger's station for some trail information, maps, and a parking pass and headed out. The drive out had enough elevation gain that I was surprised there was more to climb! Corvallis was in the deep clouds. 

But the East Ridge trailhead parking lot (which I had to myself) was in the warmth and the sun.

This trail was simply beautiful. I had the entire hike up to myself. Check out this mature second growth. The trail was in great condition. My understanding is that the North Ridge trail is not in as good of condition, but it might be the only winter option in a significant snow because of road access. Someday I will be back and maybe I will try the North Ridge trail.

Up top is open grass and it was really sunny and warm. Nim loved the grass. I have a ton of photos in which you can barely see the top of him because some of the grass was so tall.

I knew Nim was tired because he was so willing to lay down by my pack for awhile and just hang out. I used my larger pack for all my hikes on this trip. I can fit extra water, gear, and all the expensive equipment rather than leaving it in the car. This trail had no running water at this time of year and Nim and I went through a ton of water.

Had the day been clearer apparently I could have seen the ocean. Not this day, but it was gorgeous all the same.

If you are a non-hiker (or want to get younger kids out there) you can actually drive pretty much to the peak and you still may have have 1/2 - mile of mostly flat trail walking to explore around the peak.

We passed about 80 kids before we could pick up the trail back down and then only passed two other hikers and their dogs.

I had already decided that morning that we would stay the rest of the weekend in the Super 8 for our Rally-free workshop!

The hotel was totally overpriced for its condition, but I am getting the impression that is the area. Nim and I both missed the tent, but he didn't suffer too much.

Day 4 - Wednesday, Sept. 19 - Trees of Mystery

Day 4

(I tried to rein in the avalanche of photos, this is still a photo heavy post)

We started the day with another quick walk on Harris Beach before we hit the road. I really loved this beach and campground. Someday I will be back. I was even trying to decide if I could make a living in Brookings and move there.

Nim actually showed playfulness and enjoyment on the beach finally...especially in chasing the waves.

Then we headed into CA - destination: Trees of Mystery! Initially this was a "maybe" but pretty quickly on the trip I knew I wanted to make it there.

This place is just plain fun - for all ages, AND very dog friendly. I really nice gal offered to take our photo:

Nim made her miss her Rottweiler she lost to cancer 2 years ago. Considering I can cry on a drop still over Odin (now dead over 2 years) I get how bad that heartache hurts.

This tree is called the Brotherhood. One of many trees that I could only marginally photograph because of the huge size.

This below burnt out tree was apparently the size of the Brotherhood when it burned. I believe it was a lightening strike and the red glow/smoke could be seen miles away when it happened.

Nim was all silly around the Cathedral Tree:

This is actually a root system probably more targeted for kids to walk through. Didn't stop Nim and I:

As you can see, the main trail is wide, well maintained, and generally walk able. I would still recommend good shoes.

If I was walking a dog with mobility problems (like Rusty) I wouldn't have gotten him through this entire system (and I am not including the Sky trail or the Wilderness trail). There is enough distance and enough gentle up and down to the trail that a dog with limited rear end drive would wear out.

However this is still a great place to bring a senior dog, I just want to be clear there is actually more trail than I realized (which for me was a good thing). I hope this area always stays dog friendly. It is really a nice experience. Everyone we interacted with was so friendly.

Our big planned experience was the Sky Trail (by the way many cats have also ridden the sky trail). This system can be slowed to a stop if needed and frequently was. For us I wanted to try it at normal speed which is about the speed of the older chair lifts (the newer quads tend to come to a creep at the end whereas the older lifts maintain a constant speed).

We loaded nicely. If I had a geriatric dog or a dog that I couldn't physically lift if needed I would ask them to stop. You do need to move smoothly and there is enough of a gap between the door and the track that a dog could absolutely get a paw/toe in.

Nim was well aware we were up high up and also had some fabulous people watching of the people coming down (who would often wave to him).

At the top there is a viewing platform and you can see out to other ranges.

We then decided to take the Wilderness trail down. I loved this, but for my knees, I will hike up it next time and ride down. The top 1/3 or so especially is truly steep. You need good shoes and to move slowly.

Finally after seeing all possible trails you exit through the store and museum. This is probably the only time I will ever have a photo of a dog in a museum.

Outstanding and happy experience. Another place we spent hours exploring and walking and it was well worth it. It was the best part of this day because after that we did a TON of driving. I decided to head back up 101 from Klamath, took hwy 199 (beautiful highway) towards 1-5 and then drove all the way to Corvallis - extremely long day of driving.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Day 3 - Tuesday, Sept. 18 - Strawberry Hill/Blacklock Point/Harris Beach

Nim ate a ton on this trip. His diet was a mix of Honest Kitchen Love (4lb box) and Wellness Super 5 Mix (15 pound bag). I had one serving of Love once I got home and maybe 4 cups left of Wellness.

His MINIMUM food amount (which was exceeded every single day) was 3 cups dry honest kitchen - hydrated, and three heaping cups wellness. The digestive problems he was having when we left was gone by day two and I kept his weight the entire trip. This isn't financially sustainable now that I am home, but at least I know that balance worked.

And now....

Day Three

We got up early at the Perpetua campsite, packed up to hit the road, and almost immediately pulled out at the Strawberry Hill Wayside.

If you are driving 101 try to stop at this pullout. The tide was still considerably out and it was early enough that we had the entire beach to ourselves, except for many harbor seals. They were everywhere!

They saw Nim. I am not sure he could see them and I kept him pretty far back. He could hear them however as they would slide off the rocks into the water.

We eventually left the area and headed for Blacklock Point. Blacklock and Humbug mountain were two researched areas before I left that I wanted to see. Eventually I would have to drop Humbug, but Blacklock timed out and I would highly recommend it.

Blacklock location is not readily marked and neither are many of the trails. I really wish I had got a map of the area. When I parked at the end of the road there were 3 other cars. I never saw a single person out there.

Unfortunately I ridiculously burned myself out on this hike. I think I even knew when I parked the car I wasn't feeling great but I am still glad I pushed as much as I could.

I wanted so badly to find Lake Flora and I would say I was probably pretty close when I decided to give up and turn back but this was the second hike in a row that for whatever reason I just wasn't feeling well. We still got to spend hours out there, but I have no idea how much of the area we actually saw.

As you can see trail condition and terrain varies in this system. It depends if you are closer to the coastal edge on another section of the Oregon Coast Trail if you are actually fully exposed or if you are more inland.

The wind on Blacklock Point was impressive. :)

After I took this photo we did walk out a bit on the rocks behind him. No photos. We could have gone further but he was really uncomfortable out there and it made me nervous to have him out there.

This was an area that if I lived close I would spend a lot of time exploring the system. There were many trails I blazed by that who knows where they went or if they were just parallel trails.

After Blacklock was when I decided to drop Humbug and head further south than I had planned for the day. It was the right decision. We would end up at my favorite campground for the entire trip: Harris Beach (Brookings).

I finally remembered to take a photo of the tent all set up. This was such a nice campground. Nice community of people. I was beyond desperate for a shower at this point. So much so that I just told the gal at registration to pick something for me so I could literally park the car and run for the shower. THEN I set up the tent and headed into Brookings for all their food.

Harris Beach is gorgeous. There is something so nice about finishing dinner and just getting to head out for a quiet walk before bed.

Everyone we talked to was really friendly. The RV world just amazes me. I saw one site in which I assumed the set up was for a ferret but then I saw the cat. The ones that RV possibly year round or very regularly are so used to socializing in new areas. I met a lot of really interesting people.

We both slept great that night in preparation for our trip into the Trees of Mystery...