Oregon Summer – Tillamook Forest & Neskowin Beach

                                      Blazing hot.

That’s what it has been here in this part of Oregon lately.

Last week we saw temperatures of over 105 degrees Fahrenheit here in Washington County. On top of that we were seeing our air pollution levels rise from smoke coming down from the wild fires 350+ miles north in British Columbia. It made for a hot, muggy, hazy and rather bleak couple of days. While the heat wave and the hazy air are still here, it has cooled and cleared considerably.

Because this part of Oregon does not usually see such temperatures, many homes do not have air conditioning nor are people ready or accustomed to such elements. I have a friend who moved here from Texas a few years ago who was shocked to discover that many cars do not have air conditioning here in Oregon!

Last Thursday, to escape the heat, I went and joined my mom and family friends out in the Tillamook State Forest. Our family friends were camping out there at Gale’s Creek Campgrounds.

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A small rustic campground about 15 miles from Banks and Highway 26, it is a no reservation and low amenity (it has trash pick up and out-houses, but no showers) campground. It is first come, first served, and once the 23 campsites are filled, they are filled. Our friends got lucky and got a site right on Gale’s Creek.

The creek isn’t very large, but in places people have dug out rocks and have hand built rock and log dams to make for small, but deeper “swimming” holes. My young friends (ages 6 & 7 ½) think they are the best!

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As we sat on boulders in the creek, the younger kids swimming while the older kids threw rocks and Frisbees, we could see the haze above the cedars and pines. Thankfully the air in the forest, especially by the water, was cool and clear.

This past Sunday I went to the wedding of two friends. It was just outside of Otis, a small town in the Coastal Range about 7 miles from Lincoln City and the Coast. The outdoor wedding was beautiful. The trees and grass were green, and the sun was out. Guests had joined in the Masquerade theme and wore some wonderful masks. My wedded friends were radiant in happiness. And I totally missed the opportunity to take some fun photos. I am sure photos will surface on social media, and I this time, I’ll just enjoy.

Now as I was so close to the ocean, I had to take small detour and hit Neskowin beach before going home. Driving toward the Coast and into Siuslaw State Forest on Highway 101, the temperature dropped, the sunlight disappeared, and mist and fog got thicker and thicker. In the space of 16 miles, the day dramatically changed. When I parked in the public day parking area, the temperature gauge on my car read 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It was a wonderful change! And I was really glad I keep my old winter coat in my trunk!

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The salt breeze, the campfires on the beach, the misty hills and the grey blue ocean were beautiful! It was a pleasurable detour, and it took great self-control to turn myself toward home. As said, we still have very warm weather here in the Valley. When I got home, about 9:30 pm, my car’s temperature gauge read 79 degree Fahrenheit. That was almost a 20-degree difference from the Coast!

So, if you look for me – you’ll find me hiding under on a rock or some other cool place, like one of these! I hope you are staying cool this summer!

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