Kirk’s gun metal grey Isuzu Trooper matched the low clouds, sagging onto the horizon with the weight of a proper Pacific Northwest low. The 1986 truck rocked back and forth melodically in the cross shore gale, the rusting suspension creaking and groaning with the hurricane force gusts while high pitched whistles pierced through a multitude of small holes in the cab, bringing with it the damp cold of late autumn.
The fierce November storm had knocked out the power reducing the solitary diner and assorted ramshackle shops to a state of dark, lifeless interiors solidifying an impossibility of a hot breakfast. Flooded streets and battering winds further deadened the small, dispiriting crabbing town without a soul to be seen. Crunching on the cold remains of our snacks we watched the ocean, captivated by the gigantic rollers exploding onto distant reefs far out to sea. The sandy remains of tumbling whitewash torn apart by ferocious winds carried foam airborne for miles down the deserted beach. Wave after wave relentlessly battered the coast dragging logs, sand, and dune grass into the churning maelstrom.
Yesterday, after a beautiful surf session with sizeable, intense dark waves and clean conditions, a foreboding bank of black clouds sat just off shore - telegraphing the impending violence out at sea. The wind kicked up around 10 pm scattering embers from our campfire in all directions, knocking empty beer bottles off the picnic table. But it wasn’t until 1 am that the real fury began snapping trees like twigs in the forest surrounding our tent.
Every few minutes branches and trunks peeled away from their terrestrial anchors landing what was seemingly only inches from the thin synthetic walls of our vacillating shelter. Without warning, the tent fly shot sideways and a loud crash right beside my head bolted me upright and out of my sleeping bag. A medium sized birch tree had been snapped at the base, landing on one of the guy wires holding us to the ground and carried on to buckle the wooden picnic table beside the fire pit. Sleep was now impossible as Kirk and I winced at every sharp crack and heavy thud threatening our inadequate sanctuary.
We were up with the first faint greys of morning to survey the disfigurement of our fractured camp in the continuing storm. The forest lay shattered around us, but miraculously the tent and the Trooper only had small sticks strewn on them. The wind still howled as we shoved the half dismantled tent into the back of the truck and drove away from our campsite thankful the night had gone as well as it did.
- November 2007