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I did not expect to swim during our stay in Cannon Beach, OR. The water is frigid, colder than the Pacific off Peru, and very nearly as cold as the water in our pond in Montana. Today, though, I was happy to wade, because it is unusually hot here. When my feet lost feeling from the cold, I retreated, feeling cooler.

It’s the third day of unexpected midsummer weather. The average high temperature this time of year is about 70o (21o), so we didn’t worry about not having air conditioning. Oops! Fortunately, our bedroom is on the main floor and stays cool, but we’ve got the doors and windows open, fan on, and it’s still pretty warm until after sunset.

Yesterday, the sky was reddish from the smoke of forest fires that’s blown to the coast, the sun a puny disk of orange. Other places, like a lot of California, are worse, as the forest fires are larger and closer to cities, but the smell of smoke hanging in the air, the film of gray on everything, and the heat are oppressive.

The entire west coast of the US is under a similar cloud this month, and it may get worse. Global warming is getting in our faces, and it’s not going anywhere until life changes or we die out. That’s a grim thought, but anyone who is looking out the window at an orange sky and red sun can understand where my gloom comes from. We keep ignoring the warming climate and now Los Angeles has hit 121o (49o). What will come next?

We succeeded in escaping the smoke by visiting Ft. Stevens State Park in Astoria, OR. The park covers most of the spit of land that extends along the Columbia River into the Pacific Ocean, the northwesternmost point of Oregon. The park has huge beaches, and even though there is an extensive construction project going on in one area, there is plenty of room for walking and birdwatching. We caught a glimpse of a coyote by the construction. I was able to take a photo while the animal reconsidered his route that was blocked by a chain-link fence.

Despite it being Labor Day, we passed only a handful of people. We found a scenario left behind by a previous visitor (below). There was a lot less smoke in the air than we found in Cannon Beach when we got home in the afternoon.