Yesterday was one of the best days I have ever had.
We rented a car and drove from Portland through twisty mountain roads (all alike) to Nehalem State Park on the Oregon Coast. Luke and I were guided on our adventure by Wendy, her daughter Blake, and helper Tracy from Northwest Equine Outfitters. (Wendy started running trail rides because she is a quarter horse breeder, and the horses needed to help with the bills.)
After mounting up we rode through the dunes and scrub of the state park, past deer, and giant gulls. A mist of rain freshened our faces as we cantered over the sand and down to the beach. What I thought at first was a pile of rocks turned out to be the local seal colony, some dozing idly, others keeping a watchful eye on us, with tails raised.
We dismounted at the beach and left the horses. Wendy called for a ride and a tiny boat, with pirate flag astern, came speeding across the estuary to pick us up. We sailed past the seals - a bit closer this time, so we could see their black little eyes and long whiskers - and then crossed the water to the Jetty, where we bought freshly caught clams, crabs, and oysters. The fishermen steamed the clams and crabs for us, while we took our oysters to the campfire and cooked them over the open flames. The oysters were the biggest I have ever seen - the meat in each one the size of two hands. Wendy basted them in a mix of butter, garlic, chili powder, hot sauce, and lime juice. We sat on giant seats carved out of thousand year old trees around the camp fire, patted the dogs, ate oysters til our fingers dripped with juice, and heard stories of great courage and being lost at sea.
Eventually we sailed back over the water and were reunited with our horses. We rode down the beach for a couple more hours, returning at last, exhausted and sandy, to the corrals.