That time we saved a dog, via paddleboard.

This year, instead of cities, we opted for the rugged vacation and hugged the Oregon coast—camping and backpacking along the way. (You already read about that bird bit, right?) We spotted whales, quails, sea lions and more. Here's the story.

We brought along our inflatable stand up paddle boards. Which, I'm sure you can agree, was the best. Idea. Ever. It gives you sights like this.

During that early morning river jaunt—probably five minutes after snapping that photo—I spotted, wait for it, a BEAR. Crashing through the brush on a river bank. I mean seriously, can it get any better? 

Well, it can get weirder, that's for sure. As we paddled on, we came across what K thought was a dead animal on a rocky sandbar in the river and, naturally we wanted to check it out. We beached the boards, walked up and found the pile of fur was actually a very alive (albeit cold and exhausted) small dog.

That was a lot of river to cross for an old dog and now he was stranded. When we found him, K immediately wrapped him in his fleece—the little guy was shaking uncontrollably—and K then left the dog with me. K re-boarded his board and paddled off to the nearest campground to find the camp host to see if a dog had been reported missing. I checked the dog for injuries and tried to keep him warm. He was so exhausted he couldn't stand, but seemed super happy to see us.

Back at the campsite, no dog was reported missing. Ug.

K made a plan with the host and state parks to have the dog delivered to the nearest Humane Society (meanwhile, I'm starting to think we need an old terrier in our lives). K returned to the sandbar, tied a rope from his board to mine, and I sat with the dog on my board as we were towed to the campground's shore to meet with authorities.

Walking up to meet the host and parks guy, we pass a campsite and someone calls out, "Charlie? Is that you?" Apparently, it was. (Charlie, we learned, was a 14-year-old Terrier who was hard of hearing and nearly blind. Although the adults in the group didn't seem to care that Charlie was returned safely home, the kids were pretty grateful. I'll take it.) Phew.

Also weird on the trip? This cat village.

Most days I'm all for small-town charm and felines. But this? Was hands-down creepy. Looking at this photo kind of makes me twitch. Let's move on.

The rest of the trip was back being pretty picturesque. You're welcome.