Highlights of an Oregon Coast in the Grip of December Sun
(Yachats, Oregon) – The finds are becoming plentiful, yet the beaches are still empty, as are most of the motel and hotel rooms. So are the streets bereft of traffic as well, except for the odd burst during rush hour along the central Oregon coast, as folks head home from work in fairly large droves (above: a stunning and much-talked about sunset at Lincoln City this week).
They all do so under the glare of a sizable sun these days. It's been this way most of the week on the beaches of Oregon, and the central coast has been providing a number of nice nuggets in the realms of nature because of it and because of recent storms.
It's a combination of reckless waves and bright sun just south of Depoe Bay (seen above). Where Otter Crest Road begins its winding trek southward there's a secret cove here, just below what's called the Ben Jones bridge, created by famed Oregon architect Conde McCullough. The skies may be clear these days – and it appears it will be that way for another week or so – but the ocean is full of raging, storm-like madness. Big waves slam this scenic spot with consistent splendor, all away from the eyes of most because hardly anyone knows this viewpoint.
Much more well known is the lighthouse at Yaquina Head in Newport, which on one day this week was extremely warm in one spot but bone-chilling in others, depending on how you were shielded from the wind – which strangely wasn't all that strong. Any exposure to it was a kind of central coast refrigerator. Below this placid scene, the ocean was going bonkers as well.
Nearly 20 miles south of here, a ways south of Yachats, there's Cook's Chasm and its wild and wacky spouting horn. On this day early in the week, the clouds were thick, but managed to break apart a bit for a while, illuminating this mysterious and manic geologic feature, which sort of resembles the Smoke Monster from the show LOST.
Also on this cloudy day, the tides backed off just a bit near Seal Rock to allow access to 4,000-year-old stumps from an ancient forest buried somewhere around that time. These have been revealed a bit earlier than usual because of winter storms.
You can get a hint of that by just looking behind this ancient wonder: the waves at Seal Rock are detonating with particular ferocity. To get a stronger sense of how big those waves actually are, know that they are a mile away from this spot and still appear so large.
At night, up at Lincoln City, things calm down considerably on this cloudy day. The wind eases dramatically. Head to Oceanview Park, a new installation next to the Coho hotel complex (next to NW 15th street), and this eerily beautiful scene comes to light after dark.
Another day at Newport this week sees the famed McCullough-crafted bridge from near the other lighthouse in town. The last rays of the day bounce around some of those wind-tortured trees as well as the bridge itself.
Thursday was a warm stunner on the central Oregon coast. A ways south of Yachats, those seemingly endless hidden beach accesses were actually a little less hidden, even for an early December. Plenty were partaking in these beachy pleasures. Among them was Ocean Beach Picnic Ground, about 15 miles from Florence, where the waves were a curious mix of calm, reflections from deep blue sky, and yet the frothy, sudsy clumps of white foam that can only come from being knocked around by storm conditions.
The weather forecast calls for more sun and calm on the coast, apparently at least through to December 11. It should remain warmer than inland in most instances, especially if towns like Portland, Salem and Eugene plunge into the 30's, as the ocean has quite a warming influence during the winter.
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