Journey to Ukazoo
Slide 19: Day at at the Beach
Just inside the border of Washington I stopped in Ilwaco, and found out I was just a stone’s throw from Cape Disappointment State Park that offered camping by the ocean.
Not having camped in years it seemed an interesting change of pace. At a local camping store I bought a small tent at a reasonable price, plus a Coleman stove and a couple of basic cooking utensils. I could still drive back into Ilwaco for some meals if necessary.
Only one other family was set up in the camping area I was assigned to. Efron, his wife Ava, and their four children arrived a few hours before me and noticing my obvious unpreparedness for camping invited me to set up near them and share their camping equipment as well as their company.
The next morning after breakfast, Efron and the kids assembled their cooler, chairs, umbrella, and reading material into their wagon and asked if I wanted to join them on a walk to the beach while Ava drove back into Ilwaco to mail some postcards.
As we neared the ocean they spotted a sign at the waters edge. As they slowly read the list of activities prohibited on the beach, I could only imagine their disappointment at Cape Disappointment. I took this picture as Efron stood in front of the sign as if in a state of shock. I felt extremely bad for the kids, and as they held back a tear or two, hung their heads and slowly walked back to the camp site.
That evening as we sat around the campfire, rather depressed, roasting marshmallows for s’mores, Ava opted to entertain the kids with a ghost story. Being quite the story teller, it wasn’t long before she had the kids on the edge of their seats. Efron and I, also effected, found ourselves glancing around at the darkness of the night surrounding our now insignificant little campfire. As Ava paused for the stories dramatic climax, it seemed the whole forest was holding its breath and listening, and even the distance whisper of the ocean waves became silent.
At that moment deep in the woods we heard the snap of a twig, and jerking our heads up to listen, it was followed by the faint sound of footsteps. As the footsteps slowly approached we huddled around each other, armed with Efron’s small hatchet, Ava and the kids holding marshmallow forks, and me with my pocket combo knife open. Fearing the worst, we imagined a bear, maybe a sasquatch, or even a zombie alligator, ready to have us all for dinner.
As the sound of the footsteps grew closer we noticed what appeared to be a light scanning the ground in the same vicinity as the footsteps. We looked at each other, we didn’t know Zombie’s to carry flashlights. Then came the voice. It didn’t matter what it said, we about jumped out of our skin (feathers), the sound turned out to be “Hello”.
Attached to the footsteps, light, and voice was the Park Ranger, now stepping into the light of the campfire. Apologizing for startling us, he stopped by to inform us that he was just on his way back from the beach where he had to replace an addendum to the sign.
He explained that the added information below all the “NO’s” read “Starting December 1st to February 28th”, and that the original wood attachment fell off last night and washed away at high tide. He was sorry for the day’s inconvenience and offered us a free tour of the parks two lighthouses anytime during our stay.
With the added signage in place, over the next three days, till I left this morning, I joined Efron, Ava, and the kids as they enjoyed some fabulous moments at the beach. I managed fairly well with the camping too!
All images and text are copyright Craig L Haupt
Postings of “Journey to Ukazoo” Slides are every Monday Evening.