Banjo Goes Cracker Dog at the Beach

In my last entry, I wrote about the diverse—and crowded—campground we’re in at Nahalem Bay State Park, on the coast west of Portland, Oregon. Yeah, I bitch about campgrounds and am amazed by the people in them, and it’s true that this is the largest one we’ve been on on this Pacific Coast leg that’s chock full of vacationing locals. Bleugh.

But we’re a walk away from the ocean. We’re surrounded by lush, green Oregon forests.

And bike trails and footpaths lead right into wildlife.

There’s one deer that grazes among the campsites; here it’s near a Bambi Airstream. Aren’t I clever? (Actually, that model is a Caravel, made after the Bambi, I think. Still, cute as a button, both of them.)

The bummer you’ve heard me complain about is how wet and cold it is here. Yes, we know it’s the Oregon Coast and expected wet and cold (I lived in Portland for a year; I left because of the grey and wet weather). But, dude, it’s been 10 degrees colder than average while we’re here, and the rain keeps us inside the trailer, slowly going insane.

We have two days here at Nahalem Bay when it won’t be raining, and we’ve made the most of those. The beach is the (now to me) boring kind with nothing but sand, but it stretches a long way, and it’s still the beach.

We’ve biked into the town of Manzanita for coffee beans and to ogle the new, fancy beach houses shoved in among the old fishing cottages.

A Redeeming Hike

Our smartest move was to spend an afternoon hiking a wooded trail up the coast to where Nahalem River runs into the bay/ocean, then we hiked back down to the campground along the banks of the river.

I took this shot that morning while I was scoping out the hike on my bike. I ran into two folks: a hippie hiking the Oregon Coast Trail while he was between places to live, and a stubborn lone elk who would not get off the trail for me to pass.

Finally I jangled my bike bell and he stepped into the brush. But I was still a little nervous about him since he was alone so maybe a bull, so I rang that bell non stop as I rode by that spot. Then I thought, ”I’m by myself on this trail this morning, with just a weird hiker dude and an elk. Maybe I should turn around.” Good move.

When Tracy and Banjo joined me later that day, we sauntered along the trail,. Tracy looking for the one bird he knows is here but hasn’t seen yet, and Banjo trying to sneak in a horse manure treat when she thought we weren’t looking.

It was about three miles to the beach, but when we got there Banjo’s energy hit a peak. Open spaces make her go all Cracker Dog, which we love to watch.

On the walk back along the river bank, we saw folks clamming in boats and wading in the water, and we followed the paw prints of a mystery giant dog who seemed to be roaming the shore by itself. We watched bald eagles hunt and saw a harbor seal watching us from the water.

Banjo waded in the river with abandon. She also ate crab bits when we weren’t looking, and sniffed every pile of seaweed and shells and anything else on the hike that looked edible.

In other words, she had a banner day.

And so did we—wow we’re as ready as we can be for three days of rain.

4 thoughts to “Banjo Goes Cracker Dog at the Beach”

  1. It’s hard to be sad when there’s a happy dog around. When ours do that kind of run we call it a pug run, their tails unroll and stream behind them as they careen around like loons. It never fails to makes me happy. Glad you got a couple days of sun though!

    1. Me, too! I got “cracker dog” from my dad who used to say it all the time, but it turns out he got it from All Creatures Great and Small. A classic saying!