A Nose For Trails, Weather & Campsites -> What’s Your Knack?

Blue skies and not another soul in sight…my kinda hike!

I think everyone has “hidden” abilities that can’t be explained. It’s curious, but fascinating and I’m always interested in the weird and wonderful ways the mind works. Me? I have a nose for trail-discovery. This should not, under any circumstance, be confused with having a sense of direction. In fact my sense of direction is so notoriously bad that I lost my way walking around the campground yesterday (no, I’m not kidding) and I still (after shall we say an undisclosed number of decades of life) can’t tell the difference between right-left or east-west. I know it’s rather pitiful, but ask me to find a trail and you won’t be disappointed. No matter where we go, even in places with no apparent hiking, my messed-up directional-beam is somehow able to suss out a place to roam. And the trails are usually pretty darn nice too…

This sure looks like a hiking trail to me…trail discovery at Tugman State Park

Take our stay here at Tugman State Park. Upon arrival I was duly informed by the camp host that there are no hiking trails in the area. A quick glance at the campground map seemed to confirm the same thing. But my nose…oh that precious ski-slope-shaped appendage on my frontage…told me differently. That same afternoon I “discovered” a lovely hiking trail going 3 miles around the lake (right from the campground), and the very next day we landed the gorgeous John Dellenback trail only ~1 mile from the campground (it’s gotta be one of the top 5 hikes on the Oregon coast IMHO). The host was really friendly but clearly he didn’t know nothin’ about hiking and in my experience that’s a common theme. Most campground campers never explore for trails, and in fact if you go 1/2 mile on just about any trail anywhere in the country you’re often all by yourself.

But I digress..

My precious olfactory organ also has a knack for finding good weather and camping spots. After what (so the locals tell me) was a very wet spring it seems we’ve landed ourselves on the OR coast right at the beginning of a most beautiful summer break.

Gorgeous views of Eel Lake from the trail at Tugman SP

Now my weather-snout is not infallable, and our experience from last year tells me we’re gonna get plenty of weather “moods” over the next few months, but I’m optimistic that we’ve hit a near-perfect time to be here. And our campsite ? I humbly deem it to be (once again) the nicest in the campground. We have a sitting area large enough for a small chipping green (by far the largest in the whole loop) and plenty spacious space for the rig. Campsite sniffing-out-luck strikes yet again!

All this to say that I may not be able to tell you how we got there, but I sure can tell you where to go. I guess it’s a good thing that I’m an RV blogger and not a wilderness guide, eh?

So what do YOU have a knack for?

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  1. Russ Krecklow says

    Gotta tell you this turned out to be kinda funny. Your last line “so what do you have a knack for?” … then the very next blog I read has the title “just a sittin” …and I guess that’s sometimes what I do best.

    • libertatemamo says

      Well Buddhists spend their whole lives learning to “just sit” so your knack is definitely a valid and useful one :). Can we say the art and Zen of RVing?

    • libertatemamo says

      Hey making plans is a VERY good knack to have! The first step of any good experience is a good plan :)

  2. sue b says

    that could be a loaded question for me….I have several ….not some I am willing to share..but i too am a planner..it can be a good knack but sometimes it can get you into a stressful situation if things do go the way they are planned out in my head!

    • libertatemamo says

      Ahhh…now I’m super curious :)
      Planning is a great skill. It can be learned, but those who do it best have a special knack for it. Definitely something to be proud of.

  3. says

    I don’t want to steal your thunder, Nina, but for as much time as we spent on the Oregon Coast (usually the month of June), we always hit good weather. With a few *days* the exception. Even when I made my trip, alone, I had great weather along the coast.

    As far as my individual knack, I’m good at finding interesting back roads–just wandering. No destination. No expectation, but I find t.h.e. m.o.s.t. f.a.s.c.i.n.a.t.i.n.g. places. They might only be interesting to me, but who else do I have to please?

    You are SO lucky to be on the coast. If you get up around Tillamook, unbeknownst to me all the years we traveled there, I found two weeks to wander each day, and could have spent a year with all the coastal trails.

    • libertatemamo says

      I’m very happy we’re hitting the nicest months here. Good to know June is it!
      And your knack is great! Who doesn’t want to find fascinating spots?! We need to bring you along in the RV as an in-house explorer :) Love it!

  4. Charlie Phillips says

    We stayed at Tugman last year and found it lightly used while other state parks were busy. We paddled all of Eel lake in our kayaks. Very nice- no development anywhere. We also hiked the southside trail. While not on the campground map, it is mentioned in the campground brochure. (for those without the knack) The long term plan is to extend the trail all the way around the lake.

    Just after your post on the Cape Blanco job, we were camping in the Tillamook State Forest and while chatting with the campground host, found that he and his wife had that job last year. He was quite positive about the experience.

    • libertatemamo says

      Yeah I talked to the ranger later in the week and he told me about trying to extend the trail so there are definitely folks here in the know. They are out of brochures right now (at least I didn’t find any), but glad to know it’s in there. It’s a really neat trail! We’ve been hiking it every morning all week and still haven’t seen anyone else on there.

      Great to hear the good feedback on Cape Blanco too. We’ve talked to alot of OR state park volunteers and they’ve all been very positive on their experience. Cool!

  5. says

    Good knacks to have :) Especially when you can combine them – excellent campsites near excellent trails.

    We seem to have a knack for having exactly what we need appear when we need it – whether it’s a rare spare part, the perfect campground along the way, etc. Nomadic serendipity, we’ve come to call it.

    (And shhhhh.. I can’t tell left from right either.)

    • libertatemamo says

      That’s a helluva good knack to have. And you guys have learned to trust in it too, which is even better. Cool nomadic positive feedback loop going there methinks!

      And would that be left from right or right from left?…eeeek…I’m confused again..

  6. says

    I got lost a block from my high school. I have no sense of direction. My skill or talent is writing and reading. I seem to be able to comprehend what I read very well except if it has lots of acronyms or long words. Well, it has to be in English too. Hehe!

    • libertatemamo says

      I’m so happy to know I’m not the only one with such a poor sense of direction :) Good reading skills are an excellent asset.

  7. says

    Beautiful picture of Eel Lake. Been a long time since we have been to
    Tugman. I guess I have the knack of being a Grandma! That’s about it.

  8. JasperXray says

    How’s your nose for geocaches?There’s many in your area and your GPSr will help you with your directional problems.Many caches are on trails leading to some very interesting places.

    • libertatemamo says

      Surisingly my geocache nose is pretty good. The GPS helps (ALOT!) and once I’m close I guess my trail-seeking knack kicks in to help find the cache. I started geocaching in the desert this winter and really enjoyed it. Fun passtime!

  9. says

    Had to laugh about saying you could get lost in your campground. DITTO! I have to be there for days before I don’t get lost. If you give me directions saying go west on blah street that’s it for me. West? Which way is west. Well if it’s early enough in the morning that the sun is in my eyes then I know it’s behind me and late enough in the afternoon I figure it’s where the sun is going down. But that’s it for me. Hmmmmmm my knack is probably coming up with good ideas and then making them happen. And my latest one is I need to caravan with you so I’m in the 2nd best campsite and hiking cool trails.


    • libertatemamo says

      Hey that’s not a bad plan :) We are certainly open to visits, and with enough wine-bribery can be open to caravaning…hehehe.
      Oh and coming up with ideas and making them happen is a GREAT knack to have. Back when I was full-time working in a company those were the type of people we were always looking to hire.

    • libertatemamo says

      Thanks. I tend not to notice these things since I have mild dyslexia…always mixes up the order of letters for me. Thank goodness for spell-checker, altho’ interestingly enough spell-checker didn’t catch this one.
      It’s been corrected now!

  10. says

    Looks like another place to put on the bucket list. I must agree that you have a definite knack for scoping out great campgrounds and the best sites in the place! I had no idea that you could scope out trails. Given that I too am directionally challenged, I cannot fathom being able to locate trails without a lot of assistance. As for what I have a knack for, well, I am still searching and am enjoying the journey. Hopefully I will not get lost with my sad sense of direction!

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