I woke up to a couple new friends around my truck that morning. Luckily, I hadn’t put my curtains up or I might have missed them but here they were, grazing lazily on my campsite and the site next to me. It was a cold night that bled into an even colder morning so I rolled onto my side into the fetal position for warmth, that’s when I saw them. Through my groggy eyes, I saw the doe and the fawn first; grazing one campsite over. Suddenly, I wasn’t so cold or tired but I didn’t want to move and scare them so I stayed perfectly still. I was dying to know if more were behind me in the larger portion of the campsite so eventually I rolled over and saw the stag.
He wasn’t very big but the horns were what struck me first. He was standing a good 20-25′ away, one campsite over but the horns were unmistakable. I didn’t see anymore deer that morning but I counted myself lucky to see that stag. “Ours is the fury” are words from the popular fantasy series “A Song of Fire and Ice.” They are used as a sort of family motto for the Baratheon’s who use a stag for their sigil. The words rang in my head as I lay there staring at my new friends and I couldn’t help but think about my drive for the next few days and the “fury” it would take. I was planning on leaving this morning, driving 3 to 4 hours north to stay at a campsite in Fort Bragg. From there, I would drive another 3 to 4 hours north to camp in the city of Trinidad for one night. Finally, I would drive the last 6 to 7 hours straight from Trinidad to Portland, Oregon to stay with Oscar. It was an ambitious decision because at this point, Oregon in general had been met with lukewarm reception from my mind. I was nervous about traveling too far north with the weather getting colder and I was terrified of the rain. I learned early on that I failed to properly insulate the camper shell to the bed of the truck so if it rained, water was coming in. The decision ultimately came down to this: when I would I ever be this close again? Trinidad is close to the border of Cali and Oregon and it was still early October. I was also feeling a tremendous amount of confidence mixed with some luck (preparation+opportunity). I had been getting sunny skies and my truck was running smooth the whole trip aside from the side swipe I suffered in San Francisco. After all that thinking, “fuck it” were the exact words that came out of my mouth and so I packed my campsite up and left for Fort Bragg.
I pulled up to my campsite at Fort Bragg around 3pm. The drive to get here was long and arduous but pretty easy. The highway ran right alongside the ocean for the majority of the drive and having the ocean on one side of me, in my eye line, keeps me at ease.
I pulled up the ranger station with that giant whale skeleton lingering to my left. Despite the eerie scene, the ranger was very helpful and even found me a spot near the beach and relatively secluded, which I appreciated. I established camp unloading my cooler, firewood and food into the storage container and set out for trip to look at the beach as I had quite a bit of daylight left.
The main draw to MacKerricher was the black sand beach. I had heard about them through books and research I had done and I was dying to see it. The walk from my campsite was a couple hundred feet through the campsites but there was a trail that led straight to the beach. You eventually got to the main road where you had to cross underneath a bridge before you see the beach spread out in front of you.
When my feet touched down in the sand, I was surprised at how coarse it felt. As I walked, my foot sunk deep into the sand but because the grains were larger, nothing stuck to me, all the sand simply slipped off. I sat there for awhile listening to the waves, feeling the sand and I was relaxed, it felt good. I realized how tired I was after driving most of the day and also how tense I was. Being at the beach was giving me a lot of relief though and for that I was grateful.
Before leaving to make dinner and turn in for the night, I decided to walk the boardwalk that was attached to the beach. It was a nice little easy trail that wound through some trees then back out towards the ocean.
Luckily, I had brought my journal with me and found a perfect little spot to relax and release some thoughts:
When I got to the city of Fort Bragg, I realized it’s just that, a city. I landed at this particular state park and so far I am supremely happy in my decision. I found my black sand beach here and the day is hot and beautiful and clear. I am currently sitting on a boardwalk made of wooden planks writing with the sun on my left and the ocean crashing around me to my right. Squirrels are surround me trying to get food from me and getting quote bold. I think I will come back to this place in the morning as the setting is serene and has me at ease. My plan remains the same:here tonight, Patrick Point tomorrow and onto Portland for the weekend. – October 3, 2017, 4:04pm, MacKerricher State Park, Fort Bragg