VanCougs spend whirlwind weekend at Westwind Resort

This summer, the Recreation Program at Washington State University Vancouver put together a relaxing getaway weekend at Camp Westwind on the Oregon coast.  Camp Westwind is a 529 acre camp, farm and wilderness area located in the middle of the Cascade Head UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Although this is mainly a youth camp, the area can be rented out for several nights for special events and groups like ours.

A wood deck overlooking the open ocean through a clearing in the trees was connected to the dormitories and game room, which we made ours for the weekend. The main room had an entire wall filled with an endless amount of board games that we eventually all enjoyed as a group. After settling in we all decided to explore the beach before it got dark. We discovered some tide pools filled with sea life. Then, we got together and played beach volleyball all weekend until our arms were sore.

I sat on the porch and enjoyed my dinner while taking in the breathtakingly beautiful sunset filling the sky with orange and yellow hues that shimmered along the waves. Later that night we had a bonfire on the beach where Brian Choi, another student on the trip, played his ukulele while new adventure facilitator, Kat Reese, sang along.

The following day we woke up early to catch the low tide and uncovered some secret caves that led us to a hidden beach filled with starfish, sea anemones, barnacles and even little fish. While some people enjoyed the water, others played Frisbee on the beach, sun bathed, took a walk to see baby seals further down the beach or napped in a hammock under the cool shade of some trees surrounding the property.

There was a river nearby, so we attempted to take our paddleboards and kayaks for a cruise, but we found out the real meaning behind Westwind’s name. It was so windy down by the water, if it were not for the equipment acting as an anchor, I would have been lifted up into the air like a leaf in the wind. So instead we stumbled upon a shed filled with hula-hoops, archery and an area to play a competitive game of GAGA.

GAGA is a ballgame akin to dodge ball. The players assemble in a corral arena, and hit the balls with their hands, trying to hit other players to get them out of the game. We got swept up in the love of the game and it turned so competitive that many people walked away with bruises.

Later in the evening when people went on to do their own activities, I decided to take a hike to a viewpoint at the top of the hills that surrounded the area, which gave me a spectacular view of the entire camp.

Back at camp we doodled on a huge chalkboard, played hangman, and dove into a fun but frustrating game of headbands while waiting for dinner. Headbands is a guessing game in which players put an image of something on their forehead, and can only ask yes or no questions to determine what their image is.

This being our last night at Camp Westwind, a few of us, myself included, walked down to the beach after dark to enjoy the moonless night. Never in my life have I ever seen so many stars in the sky. Gazing up I felt like I was actually in the galaxy; it was one of the most extraordinary things I have ever experienced.

What made the night even more memorable was that under each step I took the sand began to glow in a faint blue color. As each wave rolled in, so did the bioluminescent algae.

This trip was different from many of the other recreation trips I have gone on, because it was so isolated at the camp that it felt like we were on a private island. The usual adventurous adrenaline that I get from the trips was a little more absent, but in its place was a completely relaxed feeling. It was almost as if I was in a dream, not having to worry about anything but the sand between my toes; the days seemed to blur together as I enjoyed stepping outside of my busy life in Vancouver.

For information on the remaining trips for this summer, stop by the Recreation annex on campus to pick up a schedule or find it on CougSync under the events calendar.

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One Comment

  1. I need a vacation here! Would have loved to see pics of the luminescent algae.