|Oregon Coast Notes|
|Oregon Coast: Camping adventures in the home of the brave|
|Oregon Coast Notes - News|
After learning campsite etiquette, Helena De Bertodano and her family marvel at the wonders along America's North Pacific Coast.
A Telegraph.co.uk Article
It was the yurt that sold it to me: the idea of driving down
Thus on a Sunday evening in early July, we found ourselves winding down the stunning coastal road towards
It took an hour to lure them back into the car but it was only a two-minute drive from there to the yurt, set back from the bay in a wood. For $27 a night we were not expecting much, but what concerned me most was the weather. Now the sun had set it had become spectacularly cold. When a friend from
The yurt proved way beyond our expectations: a green canvas structure held up by wooden struts, it had a wooden floor with a large bunk bed and a pullout sofa. There was electric light, a lockable front door and a porch. It even had its own little yard, shielded from other sites by thick bushes. And best of all – there was heating. The children warmed their hands on the little radiator. Compared with camping in a tent, this felt like luxury. "It's even nicer than our home," agreed the children.
When the light poured in through the circular window on the ceiling the next morning, it looked even more welcoming. We all decided we could spend at least a week here. Unfortunately, we had only booked one night – due to a generous cancellation policy, yurts book up months in advance so you need to check the website frequently and pounce on anything available. There was a rumor that there had been a cancellation for the yurt opposite (there are eight tents in total at
You can pitch your own tent here, too – but for the extra $8, it seemed well worth having all the extra amenities. We stayed another three days, using the yurt as a base to explore the coastline – from the pretty fishing towns to the amazing seal colonies just south of
Farther up the coast, just beyond the seaside town of
Mostly we bought fresh seafood in the neighboring
Moving up the coast of
Before continuing our road trip down to
As we turned westwards towards the coast again I was struck by the beauty of the
We reached the
Undeterred, we pressed on – operating on the principle that if you turn up somewhere something will happen. Arriving at the beach campground, the ranger confirmed what we already knew and advised us to return at eight the next morning. We were about to leave to drive 40 miles to the nearest motel when he added: "Have you got a dog?"
"In which case," he said, "there is an environmental campground half a mile up the road – I have one site left there."
"We'll take it," we said, thrilled.
He gave us a code to unlock the gate into the forest, warned us about bears – one had ripped through a tent a few days earlier – and left us to it. We drove down a long dirt track, parked our car, then hiked 300 yards or so deeper into the forest to find our site. It was beautiful, surrounded by massive ferns and redwood trees reaching up to the sky. But it was far more isolated than we had anticipated. I had envisaged a few tents and a big communal fire, but the other two sites were invisible to us, several hundred yards away. We were enveloped in utter silence, punctuated occasionally by a crack or a crunch of undergrowth that made us jump out of our skins. There was nothing for it but to pitch our tent and cross our fingers.
At the crack of dawn, after a sleepless night, we packed up and hiked out of the forest to try to secure a beach campsite. Nothing would induce us to spend another night in the forest.
I now felt brave enough to ask the ranger which site the bear had targeted. "Site 3" he said – ours of course.
"We think it was a juvenile that has been causing some problems recently," he added. "I suppose," I said hopefully, "it would have fled if it had seen any humans."
"Oh no," said the ranger "it was attracted by human scent."
We cruised around the beach campground, watching people pack up. A couple of other cars were circling, too, and attention was focused on the handful of prime sites actually on the beach. Some deals had been thrashed out the night before and several inland campers were moving up a rung in the property ladder. The ranger tipped us off about one beach site due to become vacant so we hovered nearby, waiting for the tent occupants to emerge. But we were novices at campsite takeover etiquette: another car swooped in and started a two-pronged attack on the same site: a woman lurked at the front of the tent, her partner staked out the back. The moment a head popped out, the woman asked for the tent. We'd been gazumped. "First come, first served," crowed the man. "In which case… ," I said, digging in my heels.
"So sorry," said the man, hauling his tent out of the back of the car.
"Actually," said one of the campers, coming to our rescue: "I think this family was here first."
It was ours – we had a piece of prime real estate on one of the best beaches in