I just can't believe how fast this summer is flying by. It seems like just yesterday - on Mother's Day, in fact, that I was texting my buddy, Julie, as to what weekend would be best to visit her neck of the woods and have the kiddos learn how to surf at Cannon Beach. And here we are, already in August - having already made that plan a memory.
Our decision as to when to make the visit was pretty much determined by the busy calendar - and choosing one of the only weekends in the summer that was not already consumed by activity. Who'd have thought that it just happened to be the end of the hottest week of temperatures in the valley - and a GORGEOUS, warm-ish day on the northern Oregon coast? We really couldn't have made a better choice.
Julie gave us all sorts of instructions to make sure that we arrived early enough to beat the crowds and long lines that pile up at Ecola State Park. Where we were to surf, at Indian Beach, has a limited number of parking spots (which allows for a maximum occupancy at the beach). But, if you are too late, you wait.....so we arrived shortly after nine. Our arrival might have been a few minutes earlier if not for the appearance of these folks along the windy road:
Altogether we counted 13 of these majestic elk - all cows and babies walking in a line. What a way to be greeted at Cannon Beach. Once we reached the parking lot, we actually met up with Julie for just a moment before she set off to the waves with her 9am lesson. While we waited for her and the misty fog to clear, we leisured in the car with a little "Madagascar" and a nap. =) Then, we ventured into the wetsuits she left in her car for us (an adventure in and of itself) and headed for the ocean ourselves. Apparently, the ocean temperature that day was a "warm" 54 degrees - so it was downright toasty inside the suits! (Actually, you'd be surprised at how comfortable you really feel, temperature-wise inside them). While we waited for the completion of her lessons, the kids practiced some moves on Julie's skimboard.
Mikayla couldn't wait to get Julie all to herself and once again, crawl all over her. (Hence, Julie's nickname for Mikayla - "Koala".) Before we set off with our unoffical lessons, Julie gave the kids some techniques in body-surfing.
Julie had mentioned this before, but surf lessons actually start out on the sand where you learn where to put your hands and what positions to take in getting up. (I was pretty good at it on sand......)
Finally, time for some real waves action. We all used a nine-foot board - which would have been really hard for the kids to manuever if they were left to themselves to carry and paddle it out - but as we had Julie for all of that - she decided it didn't matter. It also meant that they had that much more bouyancy help......which made them catch on masterfully - particularly Brayden who schooled me in a BIG way.
Sad to say, but this was pretty much my "extent" at getting up. Looking back on all of the shots John took, I can tell you what I did wrong that let to a wipe out each time, but I just couldn't get my body to cooperate with what I was told to do. Before we go out again, I think I'll practice the moves at home for about a month so it sticks in my "muscle memory" - because my brain was definitely telling me "there is no way you are going to balance on this thing" - and, guess what, my body believed it!
We all had a lot of fun playing in the waves while we each took turns - and the kids had fun hitching a ride back out to the surf with Julie. I love the image John caught of Mikayla and her being hit with the wave - and the smile in the pic following it. One thing's for sure - all of the ocean time gave my nose a definite saline rinse!
When we'd all decided "enough was enough" - and we had a picnic lunch - we headed up to the other side of the park - where there were some pretty dramatic viewpoints, perfect for some picture taking. I like these shots because they prove John was there! The shot where no one is in the picture is the view of the beach where we had just surfed. Did we pick an amazing day to visit or what?
Next stop, a visit into downtown Cannon Beach - where we walked the main strip. Julie showed us the surf shop she works at, we had AMAZING ice cream at Osbourne's (where the pic of Julie and I was taken - and where I had ice cream envy of her and Brayden's choice of "Maui Waui" sherbert......somehow my Moosetracks just wasn't cutting it in comparison). Finally, we ended up kicking it for a while at the park while the kiddos did a little hanging around.
Our final destination of the whirlwind day was back at Julie's home. Her parents, John and Debbie, have the sort of house that you walk into and immediately wish you could replicate in your neighborhood. John (Julie's dad) is a builder - and it shows. Debbie prepared a masterful bar-b-q for us, the food was delicious.
We ended up settling in the backyard with a bonfire. You can see me in the background with jeans and a jacket. I patted myself on the back with the three outfits we all had packed for that day- it sure felt silly as the duffel bag was assembled where temps were in the high 90's, but I know the Oregon coast - and even on a great day, the evenings are cool. The campfire and company were so toasty, and the kids were having so much fun - it was a bummer leaving. The final shots are of Julie and Madison (Maddy), their golden retriever. Someday, we'll get her and Syd together. Perhaps next year - when I learn how to really surf, the kids school me again, and we enjoy another day of "epic enjoyment" in Cannon Beach with the warmth of Julie and her fam.