So, 0700 rolled around, and so did daemonwise, to pick me up. Tossed my gear in the car and we were off. Hung around his place for a bit as saofoir, typsie, and praenomenal woke up and got moving. Marisa and Luis showed up not long after with Mike P. in tow, and we were off and up out with a pretty good speed. One quick stop by the store to pick up food (what we didn't already have; Mike P. supplied our produce) and it was off for the coast and Cape Lookout State Park.
We made good time and arrived there about 11am. Thankfully, the spot we'd reserved was empty, so we could go ahead and check in. A lot of the park is right on the beach with only a few trees and a couple large dunes between us and the beach.
Looking inland from the site, Mike P., Luis, and Kat exploring
Looking seaward from the site
The site, though, was not what we expected. Pretty small, and fairly open. We talked to the park people, and they let us look around at the other open sites and choose a different one...and what a one we found. Very wooded and secluded, more room, just what we had hoped for. We moved to it and unpacked.
Cripes, we have a lot of stuff. Well, there ARE 8 of us.
We decided to get the gear set up before we hit the beach. We looked around our site and started to claim spots for the tents. Me, I saw this little trail...
Off to the right, behind the broken tree...
...that led into the foliage...
...to this secluded spot...
...welcome to Fort Frank.
Mike P. lent me the use of an air mattress for the night, and I was set up in short order. Helped Mike and Kat get theirs together as Tara and Lacey got their spot set. Marisa and Luis were using their car, and Mike P. was sleeping under the stars. While the rest finished, I wandered a little...
This broken off and not-quite-fallen tree fascinated me...
As did the clearing in front of it, would be a perfect place for storytelling.
A dry creek bed behind our site, covered in river rock, made for a cool spot to go walking...
...and led to the discovery of an old, forgotten trail info sign. Looked like it hadn't been maintained in 20 years.
In the creek bed, we found a rock whose pitted surface, it was remarked, looked like the face of Edward James Olmos. Thus, it became our camp mascot, Edward James Ol-Rock.
Sites erected, we organized the rest of the gear. Food consolidated, firewood stacked, and booze opened. Hey, who do you think you're dealing with? We toasted our apparent knowledge of what the Hell we were doing...
Kat, Luis, and Mike with the Sword of Ocean-Smiting
...with rum, bourbon, and beer, and sandwiches. It was now time to hit the beach, and off we walked, down to the ocean. Along the way, I was taken aback by this one campsite, who had erected a pole for their TV satellite dishes...
...I mean, really, how much of a TV zombie do you have to be? Sheesh. Eh, fuck 'em, there was beachy stuff to be done. Mike and Luis went to battle the ocean, and though they dealt it many mighty blows and feel like they accomplished their mission of showing supremacy against the rushing waters, I didn't see the sea give any ground, so I call it a draw. Me, I eventually stripped off my shirt, rolled up my jeans, left my boots in the sand and went walking in the surf. It was a gorgeous, clear day, only a few high clouds, cool temperatures and warm sun resulting in a mist along the coast. I an now happily say I've been in all three bodies of water that border the US (Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf). Some of our group tried getting a pirate kite in the air with limited but eventual success, the rest just relaxed and enjoyed the time, watching the ocean or the tourists, and laughing at the playful puppies and children around us.
I was gonna keep this picture a secret, because I wanted to do something with it as a gift later, but once I got a look at it, it's just so bright. Who knows, I still might...either way, it's just about the sweetest picture I took. Can you see the love between these two? It's a beautiful thing, and it makes me smile, every time. You guys are great.
Also snapped this shot of Luis and Marisa, which is also adorable. I'm bummed,though, I thought i had a shot of Tara and Lacey, and I can't find it now! I know I was watching for an opportunity to snap a shot of them together...damn it!
Kat, asleep on the beach, groping her sand boobies.
After a while we headed back and relaxed, some even napped. We got our fire stoked, as the temperature in our shady spot dropped...
...and eventually broke out the dogs (and bacon!) for dinner.
We had plans for later in the night, but we made a point of heading back to the beach to watch the sunset. It was well worth the (not exactly hard) effort.
With the darkness came time for the evening's festivities. Mike and I were planning on some impromptu gaming while we kept an eye on the rest of the group, who were indulging in some 'shrooms. Just as we settled in at the fire, a park ranger came up, but only to inform us that we weren't supped to have our tents back in the woods like that (they were out of the site's bounds) but he didn't make us move them since they were already set up, which was cool. The last bits of the sun went away, they settled in with their fun, and Mike began to spin his tale as I began to get into the story. The the hilarity started and people got crazy.
No, I mean me and Mike. Good lord, I could never begin to describe what all happened in that game or where it went. Sure, this is partly due to the Southern Comfort I was swigging, the Goldschlager he had, and the rum that we added to the mix, but also due to the on-the-fly insanity. It was hilarity of the first order, and even our tripping companions ended up peripherally involved. All I can say is that I'll probably never, ever go to Quebec now, that Fred MacMurray is our new hero, and that we will all fear Special Agent Pope Trapper John, M.D. the First of the F.B.I. Good god, we all laughed until we hurt.
We ended the evening by breaking out the marshmallows and pouring more of the rum over them before toasting, which was de-fucking-licious. Eventually, though, tired set in and I headed for the tent. Thus began a long, long night for me. I couldn't sleep, I was cold, and I'm fairly certain I was hallucinating at one point. No matter what I tried, i couldn't get comfy or sleepy enough to pass out, and I think I might have set up slightly head-downhill, which made things even weirder. I even tried walking down to the beach for a bit again, but to no avail. I wish I'd known that Kat was up, I would have kept her company. As it was, I laid there, waiting for the dawn to come.
With no watch and no way to tell the time, all I had was my camera. However, the only way I could see the time/date stamp easily was to take a pic...so this hand was me figuring out that it was then 5:22am.
Eventually, though, a slight variation in the light told me that the wait was over, the day had returned to the land. Gloriously happy, I got up and sat on the beach to enjoy the sea air and the first rays of light. It was low tide, and the beach between the high tide line and the surf was absolutely pristine, no foot prints, no people. I sank to the sand, my back to a rock, and watched the waves roll in through the mist. At one point a fellow camper entered the beach, went a little ways down, and did yoga, off in his own world. It was a beautiful moment.
Returned and grabbed fresh clothes and my towel, hit the shower...oh, wow, did a hot shower feel good after a long night and a cold morning. Just revitalized me completely. With the rest of my companions still sleeping, I took the quiet time to break my own camp site down, repacking everything and setting it by the main area for later. Eventually, it was just me and a book.
With the bit of smoke and mist in the air, the dawn's light through was trees was gorgeous.
The Casa of Doom's mascot, Sparkles, stood watch over us the whole time.
Slowly but surely, everyone awoke. Coffee and hot chocolate were the order of the morning, and Tara made a breakfast hash that was fabulous. We decided to go ahead and get packed, and checked out of the site, heading down to the "day use' area to enjoy the beach a little more. A rockier area, we nonetheless got comfy. Whips of kelp and more play in the surf, and we eventually headed out.
Since we were only a few miles away, we decided to stop off at the Tillamook Creamery, home of some of the best cheeses and ice cream around. Me, I snagged a bag of fresh cheddar cheese curd, which I love but can rarely find anywhere, and would have bought more to being home if I'd had more cash on me. Full of dairy goodness, we piled in the cars once more, and headed for home.
Absolute bushels of fun, great times with best friends, it all easily was worth the sore body I have today. ;)