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Remarkable Oregon Coast Moments of 2007


Covering 180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.


Secrets of the Season

Remarkable Oregon Coast Moments of 2007

Wheeler covered in snow in January (photo Old Wheeler Hotel)

By Andre' Hagestedt

(Oregon Coast) – This job is full of a lot of adventures. Yes, there’s the doldrums of driving to and from the coast, and up and down that 160-mile stretch from Seaside to Yachats that I regularly traverse. Although, who am I kidding? Even the drive is amazing, especially up and down 101.

Every month something interesting happens – every week, if you have the sort of endless curiosity and glee for the coast that I have. And in 2007, it was a nonstop tour of wacky moments and escapades.

It all started with the emergence of 4,000-year-old stumps in Newport at the very end of 2006. I went and visited the site with camera in hand, my girlfriend at the time and her kooky dog Charly.

Weird stumps in Newport

We walked around these striking oddities, which looked a bit like something out of Dr. Seuss, and gawked at them. I later interviewed local beach expert Guy DiTorrice on the theories behind this, then turned the story loose on our website. There, it received incredible national attention, including Digg.com and some woodworking TV show. We received some 40,000 hits in one day. It helped put this website on the map a bit more, and it put me smack dab in the middle of a heated argument between scientific camps about the origin of these stumps. I had about five different people write me and tell me they had the right theory on this.

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Sorry guys, not all of you can be correct on this. And none of you, to my knowledge, were geologists. Eventually, central coast geology expert Roger Hart chimed in with his own take on the subject, yet another theory – and he is the foremost expert on this stuff. It turned out even my own original story would be wrong: this ancient forest was covered up by encroaching sand over at least several years, killing them and yet preserving them for the ages.

Besides the pure surrealism of these objects, it was an adventure to be in the middle of such a raucous scientific debate.

Seaside in the snow (photo Tiffany Boothe)

Charly, got to benefit from this the most. She’d never been to the beach before, in spite of being a resident Newport dog. She zoomed about with insane abandon, so happy and frenetic she was foaming at the mouth.

January also produced major snowstorms, the likes the coast hadn’t seen in a generation. I took a trip from Newport to Seaside and back for a few days with a girl, and we were awed by all the white stuff. The beaches were completely covered at times. Our car played slip ‘n’ slide on the roads around Manzanita and Nehalem at night, as we went bar hopping in the area. We also had a few run-ins with ice on the road during the day just south of Tillamook.

Newport's Jump Off Joe getting attacked by the tide

Sometime in February, that girl and I shivered in the cold wind above Newport’s Jump-Off Joe rock structure, watching stormy waves try to take out the enormous beach stalwart. The tide rushed in farther than we imagined it could, smacking the cliffs some 100 feet from where the tideline usually sits, even through most of the winter. We also shivered with awe at the ocean’s power here. It was magnificent, but a little frightening – even though we were a good 100 feet away and more than fifty feet above it all.

By far two of the most incredible memories of 2007 involved going up in the air in Seaside in the spring. The first was in Seaside Helicopters, where I zoomed around the skies above Cannon Beach and Seaside, getting unusual aerial views of Goonies Rock – used in the final sequences of that cult film. All this was during an especially weird run of brown goo on the breakers at Seaside, which added another visual jolt.

Close-up of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse (photo Boothe)

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Then, in an airplane via Aviation Adventures, I took Seaside Aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe along with me for a stunning journey down the coastline, from Seaside south to Manzanita – some 30 miles. We edged slowly along the contours of the various beaches and the rocky headlands that are otherwise unseen by tourists.

It was here I was able to live one of the big dreams of my life: I flew over Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, circling it as close as a plane could legally get. We got some amazing pictures of the place.

We also spotted numerous features in the cliffs around Manzanita and Arch Cape you couldn’t possibly know existed from any other viewpoint – cliffs I had intimate knowledge of, but I didn’t really know them until I’d seen them from here.

Secret hidden caves discovered by flying past by air

This year, especially summer, brought an astounding number of those oh-so-delectable rarities known as the “green flash at sunset.” This happens when the sun just begins dipping below the horizon, and you see a momentary green blob or haze hovering around the top of the sun. It’s fairly rare on this coast, actually. But it happens at least a few times a year.

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In early winter I spotted it in Waldport, to the surprise of my girlfriend – who’d never seen anything like it. The most spectacular one was on the third of July in Depoe Bay, as my pals Rob and Deb and I were driving past the seawall. I told them to watch, as conditions were just right. And sure enough, a massive blurry green blob appeared – spectacular as hell. Rob muttered something like “wow,” and “I wondered what that was,” while Deb darted an intense look back at me in the rear seat of the car, obviously blown away. I also spotted it near Cannon Beach in late summer, and I think once or twice in Lincoln City.

Arch Cape - where amazing moments happened at night on Thanksgiving

In the fall, around Halloween, it’s now a tradition every year that I tell stories of Oregon coast ghost tales at two places: Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport and at Beach Books in Seaside. Both are always a different kind of riotous romp. Every time, there’s at least one or more who relate their own stories of ghosts to me, and I learn something. And there’s always at least one out of that bunch that is quite the oddball. Like the elderly lady this last time who complained I didn’t scare her with my stories, or the wacky hick dude who kept interrupting me with agreeing noises like “yup…heard that one,” or “Mmm hmmm.”

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This past holiday season kicked off with some spectacular warmth and gourmet food. I spent Thanksgiving with a bunch of strangers at the castle-like B&B called Arch Cape House, which involved a large, multi-course meal, scrumptious booze, and me sitting next to a really hot woman who had an even hotter mind (she was in the medical sciences).

The famed "pukey seal" incident: aquarium staff picking up the rotting thing

Afterwards, her, me and another pair all walked off the enormous amounts of food on the nocturnal beaches of Arch Cape, underneath a breathtaking full moon that shimmered on the waves with magical brilliance. The stars were powerful, the air was chilly and invigorating, and the whole night was filled with heady and thoroughly amusing conversation.

It was one of those poignantly perfect evenings – both on a deeply personal level and as one of those times that reminds everyone why the Oregon coast is such an intoxicating place.

Not long after, a set of storms and a sudden, unseasonably warm spell created one of those wondrous scientific moments that are unforgettable. A deceased seal washed up on the beach at Seaside, and I happened to be at the Seaside Aquarium when the call came in. I was able to go on that hunt for the poor creature and watch the crew in action, retrieving the decaying beast.

Downed trees near Cannon Beach in early December

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This was fascinating. But more so was their impromptu semi-dissection of it in the truck, burrowing through its innards and yanking out organs and analyzing all the gooey stuff. I’m sorry, did I say fascinating? This part was hideous, and between that visage and the occasional waft of decaying flesh, I nearly upchucked several times. I tried to remain professional, but my gag reflex kept insisting otherwise.

The crew, of course, giggled at me. I still refer to this encounter as the “pukey seal.”

Unbelievably beautiful scene a few days after the big storm: Manzanita, at sunset.

The last great adventure was the aftermath of the famous big storm of December 2. I stayed clear of my Manzanita pad during the big one and kept to my place in Portland, watching with great concern the TV reports. Even more disconcerting was the lack of ability to get through to my friends out there.

On the Thursday after the storm, practically the minute the roads had cleared, I zipped out there. Along the way was the massive, impressive display of nature’s power with all the downed trees along Highway 26. Most of the north coast was still powerless on this day, but most of the big damage was cleaned up as well. A sign here, a roof there – that was all that was really tattered in Seaside. 101 had a few down trees by the side of the road, but everything was perfectly accessible from this day forward.

At sunset, I took one of the most beautiful shots I’ve ever taken of the Manzanita overlooks, where thick, puffy clouds bounced around the sunset, reflected in the sea, along with a bundle of crab boats that looked like a small city with all their lights.

Highway 26 still shows much of this melee. The hills that broodingly hover the highway are stripped bare in many spots. You can have your own adventure just by driving to the coast and taking a few minutes to ogle this bit of living – and non-living – history by the roadside. By summer, it may not be as impressive.

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Lincoln City Vacation Homes Something for everyone: smaller homes with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All are either oceanfront or just a few steps away – all with a low bank access and fantastic views. Most are in the Nelscott area; one is close to the casino. You’ll find a variety of goodies: fireplaces, multiple bedrooms, dishwashers, Jacuzzis, washer/dryers, hot tubs, cable TV, VCR, barbecues; there’s a loft in one, and another sprawling home has two apartments. Pets allowed in some homes – ask first. Each comes with complete kitchens. Most have seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230 per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com. 541-994-8778.

Tradewinds Motel, Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and private deck. Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed for a two-person romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on a budget. Elaborate oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen, double hide-a-bed, fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many as six. For family reunions or large gatherings such as weddings, some rooms can connect to create two-room and three-room suites. Some rooms pet friendly. 523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com

Inn at Cannon Beach. Beautifully wooded natural setting at quiet south end of Cannon Beach. Great during winter storms with a new book by the fireplace – or when the sun is out for family fun and beach strolling. Handsome beach cottage-style architecture. Lush flowering gardens and naturalized courtyard pond. Warm, inviting guest rooms. Continental buffet breakfast. Warm Cookies. Family and Pet Friendly. Welcome gifts. Smoke-free. Complimentary Wireless Connectivity. Wine and book signing events. 800-321-6304 or 503-436-9085. Hemlock At Surfcrest, Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.atcannonbeach.com.


Click here for video of storm aftermath

Prepare for Freaky, Creepy Mole Crabs on Oregon Coast Beaches The little critters make the tideline bubble and feel really weird as they run across your feet

Watching Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping sights

Structures Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug Point

Day or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major opportunities

Oregon Coast Travel Site Goes Wireless Provides Lodging Reports - Oregon Coast Beach Connection now has mobile lodging and dining listings, along with weekly lodging availability reports

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Where the Columbia meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of atmosphere & history

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A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles and miles of fluffy dunes

For over 80 years a favorite of Seaside visitors. 51 oceanfront condos, individually owned and decorated. Suites for couples, small apartments with fireplaces and kitchenettes, one or two bed family units with fireplaces, kitchens and dining rooms. Oceanview cottages sleep anywhere from two to eight, w/ two bedrooms, some with lofts, fireplaces and kitchens. Heated outdoor pool, enormous grounds w/ picnic tables - all at quiet southern end of Seaside.

Lincoln City’s only resort hotel built right on the beach with all oceanfront rooms - nestled against a rugged cliffside overlooking a soft, sandy beach. Dine in penthouse restaurant and bar, for casual meal or candlelight dinner. An array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other Northwest favorites, including decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range from bedrooms to studios to 1-bedroom suites with microwaves and refrigerators to full kitchens. Also, wi-fi, spa, saunas, exercise room and year-round heated swimming pool. Kids will love the game room and easy beach access. Full-service conference/meeting rooms for that inspirational retreat; extensive wedding possibilities.

Literally over 100 homes available as vacation rentals – all distinctive and carefully selected to be special. Find them in Yachats, Waldport, Newport, Nye Beach, Otter Rock, Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach, Lincoln Beach, Lincoln City, Neskowin, Pacific City, Tierra Del Mar and Rockaway Beach. Some pet friendly.

oregon coast lighthouses on dvd

Newly renovated, 30 upscale rooms, on north end of Lincoln City, close to everything. Spa-like feeling, w/ luxury linens & robes, pillow top mattresses, flat screen TV's, granite counters and more all add to pampering. Oceanfront and ocean view units w/ gas fireplace. Hot Tub units. Romance packages. Luxury Room for every budget: meeting and wedding spaces too.

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