Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jason's Birthday Beach Weekend

Emily and I just got back from a fantastic weekend on the Northern Oregon coast where we celebrated (early) Jason's 33rd birthday (this coming Thursday) at a luxurious beach house in Seaside belonging to the family of one of the girls Jen TA's for at OSU.  Jessica, Mike, Jen, Jason, Scott, Danielle, Emily and I all had a blast the whole weekend.  Two hours after getting to the house on Friday we had polished off nearly two bottles of bourbon and by the time the weekend was over we definitely didn't care to see alcohol again for a while.  To feel like we accomplished something other than just killing our livers we also went on a spectacular hike up Saddle Mountain, the highest in the northern coastal range, on Saturday and on Sunday on the way home Jen, Jason, Emily and I went on a crazy beautiful hike along the coast at Ecola State Park at sunset, just north of beautiful Cannon Beach.  To read more about all the shinanigans and see some amazing photos of coastal Oregon click the link to READ MORE.

Emily and I were the last to leave Corvallis on Friday after work at about 7:00 pm after stopping for some food at Quizno's.  We drove up I-5 and made it to the beach house by 9:30 to start partying for the night with the others who had gotten there just before us.  Jen got hooked up for the house with it only costing us $150 for the weekend.  That is $150 for both nights for all 8 people combined!  The house had bedrooms for each couple and tv's in all the rooms with multiple game platforms, wi-fi and a friggin' bar in the kitchen with bar stools.  Yup, I'd definitely say that is worth $20 for the weekend!!! We were all tired from the work week and the drive so we basically just chilled out on Friday and played Catch Phrase and listened to music while sippin' on the Wild Turkey Honey Bourbon and a really great Bottle Mike had brought as well.  Thankfully, Scott had thought to pick up a big pizza at the grocery store which we all enjoyed late night before hitting the sack around midnight for the hike I had planned for us the next day.

On Saturday morning we all woke up around 8:30am and after a great breakfast of Eggs, O'Brien Potatoes, sausages, etc the 6 of us took off for Saddle Mountain just 30 minutes away while Mike (bad back) and Jess took a walk along the beach which was literally only about 500 feet from our doorstep.  It only took us about 30 minutes to drive to the trailhead deep in the coastal range and we were able to start hiking by about 11:15am.  Unfortunately, the weathermen were completely wrong on the forecast and we were met with clouds the entire way up the mountain!  The trail was only 2.8 miles long each way but we gained 1,600 feet of elevation so it was pretty steep but thankfully had many switchbacks.  The dogs (Poa, Arrow, Oliver & McKenzie) certainly were loving the hike after being in the garage for the night before.  The trail was incredibly maintained and for much of it was literally fenced in to keep the rocks from eroding down the steep slope.  It was a little awkward at times hiking up what appeared to be a fence strapped to the ground.

After about a thousand feet we started to break out above the treeline into open meadows of grass and moss on top of lava rock.  We travelled across wooden bridges and down stairs bolted into the rock and past amazing spires of lava rock.  On one of the first corners we came across with partial views to the valley below we found a large spire of rock about 25 feet in the air from the trail but with cliffs on either side plummeting about 50-75 feet to the forest below.  Of course once I saw it I wanted to climb it but nobody else wanted me to.  I scoped it out and felt totally comfortable so I scrambled up it.  At the top was a rock that was part of the spire but looked like a perfect seat for me to perch on.  Emily and Jason got some pictures as Jen climbed up and joined me at the top as well.  I always love sitting on the top of cliffs!

On the way up we had a brief break in the clouds which allowed us to see the very cool trail winding up the open slopes above where Scott and Danielle were ahead of us.  We passed another cliff band that looked appealing to climb as well but I decided not to worry Emily any more and pushed onward.  The last  bit to the top was completely in the open and for a little bit I thought it might clear up, but when we got to the summit it was clear we were going to stay socked in.  The summit had a wire cable around it to keep dogs/people from falling off to either side.  We got some photos of all of us at the summit before heading down the mountain.  Scott, Danielle and Emily literally ran down the peak while I stayed in between with Jen and Jason herding the crazy Kenzie dog down the mountain in the back.  We were down by 1:30 and back to town to do some shopping at the Nike outlet by 2pm.

Saturday night was certainly a night to remember.  After taking showers and cleaning up after our hike the debauchery began.  I'm not going to go into any details except that there was nakedness by a certain tall, monkey-screaming buddy of ours, boat steering by a certain short young lady, shoulder ass-smacking-tearing by someone who rhymes with "hen", blacking out crazy early by a certain amazing dice player, crazy dancing by someone who rhymes with "danny", and me playing beer pong with cups of bourbon!  By 9pm Emily was passing out, Mike was long gone, and we had devoured pounds and pounds of chinese food we had delivered from a local restaurant.  Jen had made an amazing birthday cake for Jason and there were birthday cone caps and Jason even had a birthday sash on!  Before things got crazy out of hand we made two really fun face-time calls to both Tim and Lindsay at her new place in Tillamook and to Brendan in New Orleans.  We all miss Brendan and I think he really enjoyed our drunk antics.  Once the calls were over I broke out the old school hip hop mix and a serious dance party broke out for quite some time!

At around 11pm Jessica, Scott, Jason, Jen and I all decided we needed to go for a walk on the beach.  This turned out to be a great idea as I think the fresh air kept several of us from losing our dinner!  When we got onto the beach we ended up walking nearly a mile down the flat beach towards downtown and then back along the boardwalk.  I found a stick on the beach and began chasing Scooter with it but when he finally got ahold of it I regretted putting it down as I accidentally got whacked in the head pretty hard by it!  On the way down the beach we came across two two young teens with a fire on the beach and chatted with them for a bit.  Turns out one was from Alaska and the other a Native American from eastern Montana.  Both were happy to be living in Oregon now.  Trying not to be too much of a bad influence we moved on to the boardwalk for the walk back.   I honestly don't recall what happened when we got back to the house as my brain had reached shut down mode at that time.  Thankfully, I had drank a bunch of water on the walk and before bed because the next morning wasn't too terrible for me.

On Sunday we all woke up a little later than the day before... hehe and cleaned up the house for an hour or so after having some breakfast.  When I crawled out of the bedroom Scott scared the hell out of me with his monkey screaming and when I finally stumbled down the hall to the shower I discovered a nice little lump on my head... quite the good time.  Danielle and Scott had to take off around 11am to make it back for a work party and Mike and Jessica left a little while later after their cute dog Bogi had a fun wrestling match with Mckenzie.  

We left the house and drove to downtown Seaside to walk around and check out the town that Jason has done so much research on at the OSU Wave Lab where he works.  When I was living with Jason 2 years ago they had built a scale model of Seaside and hit it with waves that were the approximate scale size of Tsunami's that would rock the coast if we had our 9.0 magnitude subduction zone earthquake that we are overdue for.  When we walked out to the boardwalk we could see rows and rows of hotels stretching into the distance.  Seaside is the closest coastal town for Portlandian's so in the summertime the population goes from the native 5,000 to over 25,000, thus the multitude of hotels.   Looking up at 6 story hotel Jason said the wave would hit the 5th floor at least and then splash completely over the top of the hotel to the parking lot behind.  The wave would literally rip the town to shreds and would hit the coast just 15 minutes after the quake.  This is unfortunate because the fastest escape route for the residents is nearly two mile long and when Jen and Jason tried to run it once it took way longer than 15 minutes to get to a safe height.  So, the last we've heard is the city is proposing to use a large concrete parking structure as a safety zone in the middle of the town.... but I still don't think that is much hope.

After getting some coffee in town and stopping at a candy shore we headed south to Ecola State Park just north of Cannon Beach to go on a 2 mile hike along the rugged coast.  We dropped Jen's car at the north end and started from the south end with great views over the sea stacks off the coast along Cannon Beach.  We had a beautiful hike through the coastal bent sitka spruce forests with great views over the ocean and crashing waves below.  Mckenzie certainly enjoyed himself and Jason and I took the easy hike and great views as an opportunity to practice our photography skills.

When we got to the northern end of the hike we went down to the beach and messed around a bit taking funny photos and writing in the sand to stall until sunset.  We drove back to the southern end where there is a viewing platform over the ocean and Cannon Beach.  We timed it perfectly at sunset to get some great shots of the sun going down below the clouds on the horizon.  There was clearly a professional photographer on the deck with us with a crazy expensive camera and mount that slides the camera from tripod to tripod taking panoramic and time-lapse photos (thousands of dollars).  Thus, Jason and I really felt like amateurs but I think we got some great photos.

We then drove into Cannon Beach for some dinner ending up at the Lumberyard Restaurant.  I checked on Yelp and people said to order the clam chowder and the iron skillet corn bread which absolutely blew us away.  The clam chowder was pretty good and all our sandwiches and pot pies the girls got were amazing as well.  Definitely gave it a positive review on Yelp and will remember to stop there in the future.  From there it was a long windy drive home down the coast and over the Coast Range from Lincoln City past Salem, arriving back in Corvallis around 9pm.  It was truly a spectacular weekend and I'm pretty sure Jason had a really great time.  It wasn't Thanksgiving but it was the same people (minus Brendan :( ) and I think we had just as much fun!

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