I took my dog down to a trailhead on the Banks-Vernonia Linear Trail, 30 or so miles west of Portland this morning. We parked in the small lot and headed up the trail. Three other cars were there, along with a half dozen people milling about. We saw no one on the trail as we traveled a mile up and a mile back. When we got back to the parking lot only my vehicle was there. Two homeless looking young men (30'ish) were sitting at a picnic table about 100 feet across the lot. No one else was about. Now before anyone gets excited about my "profiling", please understand that many men work at very dirty jobs out here in western Washington County and we normally don't think twice at the sight of dirty, worn out looking working men. We don't worry about shaving every day either..for the most part. Now these two characters had long bushy beards and were very grungy looking. They were wearing old backbacks and looked like they hadn't seen a shower in weeks. They had no vehicle and were "out of place" looking like they did in the park at 9:30 in the morning. Rather than turn my back on them, I calmly turned sideways and opened the back of the Jeep and got the dog inside. I saw movement in my peripheral vision as I shut the back of the Jeep. I turned to face them as they were walking towards me across the lot, still about 75 feet away. I shifted my feet into a shooting position and locked eyes with them. Without saying a word, I motioned them away by making a circling motion with my hand followed by pointing, in a stabbing motion, at them with my index finger. They stopped, stared for a few seconds, and turned back to the picnic table. I got in the Jeep and drove away. No words or additional gestures had been exchanged. I also had not indicated in any fashion that I was armed. It was interesting that they seemed to sense that continuing down the path they were on was not in their best interest. Yes, I could have misread them and their intentions. However, my very strong instincts were to not let them anywhere near me, and that is how it I required it to play out. Fortunately, it never escalated into a bad situation...but I was comforted in having the means to protect myself.