First Beach Run with Elmer

Elmer the husky and I hit Area B of Fort Stevens State Park at roughly ten in the morning.

This was to be our first time together on the beach and I still hadn’t decided if I was going to let him off leash. I hadn’t yet, certainly not in the city, but I had the ocean on one side, sandy cliffs on the other. Still, I felt nervous. My previous husky, Sonny, was a mad bolter on beaches and would sometimes disappear into the dunes and shore pines for an hour.

The weather cooperated: dry and bright.

We stood atop the sandy cliff. Forty feet below, a stretch of beach and teal waves rolling with a gentle roar. Perfect surfing waves.

The tidal gods cooperated as well. High tide, so high the asshole drivers wouldn’t dare take a joyride.

We slid down the cliff. We hit the beach but I kept Elmer on the leash. I talked to him about behavior. I’d brought along a ball although he’s not much of a ball dog.

After 30 yards of him going mad, tugging on the leash, I said, “Fuck it!” and released my dog.

He exploded ahead of me. He zigged and zagged. He galloped to the water and met the waves. He seemed confused by their movement and that made me laugh. I jogged behind him and called out. He came to me. We played a little ball to focus his energy. The strategy worked.

Elmer ran ahead and when I called out, I started running the opposite direction and he chased me and then circled and circled.

I felt happier than I have in years.

We romped for 30 minutes.

A half mile down the beach I saw some surfers holding boards and dogs bounding around. I wasn’t ready to meet that scene with Elmer yet. All had gone well. Don’t press.

I turned him around and we headed to the base of the cliff where we had descended. I leashed him up.

We started clambering up the cliff. Elmer kept sitting down. The trail was nearly vertical. I got ahead of him and tried pulling and coaxing him up. The sand was so soft we both kept sinking into it.

Five minutes later I abandoned the attempt, exhausted. I was going to half to walk roughly five miles to the South Jetty and then on the road back to the parking lot of Area B.

No, we were going to scale the cliff. I walked with Elmer looking for a better route. I saw it. There was some erosion that had built some semi stairs. It might work.

We took the new route and got half way up. Then I bogged down.

Elmer got in full Husky mode and started pulling me up the route. I fell down a couple of time and told him to keep pulling you “damn husky!”

He pulled me up to the top of the cliff. It was entirely new experience for me with a dog at one of Oregon’s socialist beaches and I have rambled beaches with dogs in Oregon about 3000 times in my lifetime. It’s the never the same.

We rested on the dune. We watched the ocean. I thought about where I was in 2024, where I am going, where I traveled from.

One day, Elmer and I will hit an Oregon ocean beach every morning.