Scott Graves
Curry Coastal Pilot

Driving north on Highway 101 on a sunny afternoon, I pointed to the

cars stopped at the large pullout at Pistol River and asked my wife,

"Hey! What are all these people doing at my beach?!"

She laughed, catching the joke immediately. There were only five cars parked there.

"Yup, that's a crowded day at the beach in Curry County," she said.

A week later we visited my parents in Southern California. We escaped the 100 degree valley heat with a trip to the beach. We weren't the only ones. Thousands of cars lined Pacific Coast Highway from Malibu to Leo Carillo State Beach, and thousands more people covered the sandy beaches. The next day, the local newspaper estimated that more than 1.5 million people flocked to the beach that day!

It kind of put everything in perspective. The Southern Oregon Coast is still relatively uncrowded, and undiscovered, by the tourists.

I've been reminded of this fact repeatedly since returning to Brookings. Whether it's playing at one of our many local beaches, swimming at a favorite Chetco River swimming hole, or walking sections of the Oregon Coast Trail, this is a wonderful place to live and play.

A week ago, I had the "opportunity" to spend six straight days with my six-year-old daughter Alia (mom was out of town at a writer's workshop).

I put quotations around the word opportunity because, at first, I thought: "Six days? Yikes! I'll never survive!"

But the moment quickly passed quickly and I began scheming on ways to keep both of us busy andndash; and happy. Which turned out to be easy, when you live someplace like the Oregon Coast.

Within an hour of mom's departure on Sunday, Alia and I hooked up the dogs and walked the mile or so down to the Port of Brookings Harbor and back. We spent a few hours playing in the surf, building sand castles and making a stop at Fely's Cafe.

On Monday, we spent a leisurely morning watching TV, playing board games and playing with the dogs in the backyard. We packed a picnic lunch and went to the Chetco River's Miller Bar , where we floated the rapids and hunted salamanders and tadpoles. (Don't worry, we released them.)

Tuesday found Alia and I walking the section of the Oregon Coast Trail starting at Cape Ferello, followed by tidepooling and rockhoping at nearby Lone Ranch Beach.

Wednesday was gymnastics practice, followed by a two-hour jaunt at Pistol River Beach with another family. Kid and dogs needed baths that night.

Thursday came and we spent two-plus hours swimming at the Brookings Municipal Pool, then an evening walk at McVay State Beach.

Friday? Another trip to Miller Bar, with our family friends in tow. The salamanders and tadpoles didn't stand a chance.

Alia, the dogs and I were happily exhausted by the time mom returned home late Friday. She was jealous upon hearing about our many adventures.

"Don't worry," I said, comforting her. "We still have the whole month of August ahead of us, and we live on the Oregon Coast."

We're all going kayaking this weekend.

Man, I love this place!