Exploring the Oregon coast

We left Portland mid-day on a Saturday for the 90-minute drive to Cannon Beach.

After winding through the Oregon Coast Range (I erroneously thought the drive was going to be flat), we arrived in town just in time for lunch. We grabbed a quick bite and a few brews at the Cannon Beach Hotel & Restaurant before venturing onto the very, very windy beach.

IMG_4687Looking from the beach at the coastal range mountains.

We came to see the magnificent Haystack Rock, rising 200+ feet from the shallow high tide of the Pacific Ocean. It didn’t disappoint! This sea stack, or monolith, was created by lava many years ago but of course is also famous because it was in the Goonies (clearly a marker for success).

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We also had a great view of Terrible Tilly, a lighthouse built out in the Pacific on a rock. I would have hated to be part of that construction crew. The lighthouse, built in 1881, is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and hasn’t actually been active since the 1950s.

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We braved the cold for a few minutes to take some pictures before we practically ran off the beach to get out of the crazy wind!

We got back in the car and headed to Ecola State Park for a late afternoon hike. We took the Clatsop Loop Trail, a 2.5 mile round trip trek through a mostly untouched forest of Sitka Spruces.

The first leg of the trip, out to Hikers Camp, was pretty steep and quiet. This leg is inland and less scenic. Once we reached Hikers Camp we headed down a small trail to the viewpoint of the ocean and Terrible Tilly.

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IMG_4783Every photo op brings a new fabulous expression from Joel.

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The second half of the loop wandered closer to the coast, which afforded some gorgeous views of the Pacific and the beaches below. We

IMG_4793The trees were nothing short of fabulous.

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The trail ends back where it starts — in the Indian Beach parking lot. We had some time left before we had to get back to Portland to return our rental car, so we grabbed some snacks, a bottle of wine and headed down to the beach to hang out for a bit.

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While people dotted the beach, we settled into a somewhat secluded area and soaked in the view.

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Between the rocky coast, the rising cliffs and the warm sunlight that bathed that beach, this has to be one of my all-time favorite spots and memories. It rivals the time we sat on the beach at Carmel-by-the-Sea, eating lunch, drinking wine and thinking “Damn, that is gorgeous.”

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