Last weekend, Marcus, Elena, and I headed west for a day at the coast. We wanted to hike and enjoy a walk on the beach in the unseasonably warm and sunny weather. The last time we were at the beach together, Elena was just a few weeks old and a view of the Pacific Ocean was long overdue.
Learning how to take advantage of the weekend while leaving enough time for Elena to nap is still a work in progress. We decided to make sure she got her first full nap at home while we got our gear together, prepared food, and packed the car. When she woke, I fed her and then we left, timing it so that she would be able to nap during the last half of the drive.
The mornings in Portland have been dense with fog and, as we drove over the Fremont Bridge and out of the city, we could scarcely make out the cars ahead. The city and Willamette River had completely disappeared. As we drove over the West Hills, we rose above the fog and into the sun. When we arrived two hours later, the sun was warm overhead with a light fog still hanging in the trees and just above the water.
We parked at Ecola State Park and started out on the trail towards Indian Beach. The trail was thick with deep, slippery mud. I love the challenge of finding the right footing, but at one point we saw someone fall who was carrying a baby and my nerves nearly got the better of me. We passed a fallen tree that looked to have been the victim of a recent slide, crawling over it to reconnect with the trail. We made it to Indian Beach, then took the road back with a steep incline that felt like a punishment as we neared the end.
After reaching the car and peeling off our mud-covered boots, we headed to Cannon Beach for a bowl of clam chowder and a walk on the sand. Elena hadn't fallen asleep during the hike as we had hoped, so we knew our time on the beach was limited. After a short walk, plenty of photos, and Marcus walking through the waves, Elena's eye started to droop and we headed back. She slept nearly the whole way home and went down easily for bed. Our legs were smiling from the hike and we felt a little more confident that we can make Elena's nap schedule work with weekend excursions.