To get to the beach, we hike
Through the smell of pine
So thick, we can taste it.
The trail is carpeted with needles–
We think we’re the first humans
To arrive on a new planet.
Trees older than Columbus
With golden brown skin, black bark, tar
Pillars of a wild palace.
The sound of Highway 101
Fades behind us, reminds us
Where we came from
Aberdeen, Long Beach, Astoria
The cozy rainfall of Portland
Then it stretches before us
That untamed beach,
Ocean, greyed-out by sky reflection.
Sand, a mess, tossed, turned.
The raw shore, green, dense
The wind, never ceases
If it did, it would be Armageddon
Heaven, or science fiction
Which are the same things
As far as the peninsula is concerned
We have our backpacks on.
Nylon and aluminum, easily bent and torn.
Yet, they hold freeze-dried ice cream
Dried pad thai with tofu
Foam pads, a pipe and a little stash
The bare essentials.
At night, we tie our packs to tree limbs,
in case of tofu eating bears
Stoner cougars, sweet tooth coyotes
A wildlife piñata
The rain hit
This is no Portland sprinkle
This is a northern coastal drenching.
We set up the tarps, plastic sheets
With nylon rope, rocks as anchors
Tucked ourselves in, wedged against wind
Until the morning arrives
As grey as the ocean
Our supplies gone, the tree limb too
Our backpacks found strewn
In the shrubs
My car keys, safely in my pocket
jab my leg.
We listen for the highway.