NEWS YOU CAN USE
Covering 160 miles of Oregon coast
travel: Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway,
Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe
Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
Travel Secrets: Same Beach, Different Faces
– The atmospheric Pacific shores of Oregon are thick with
wonder and pristine places, where untouched sands become shrouded
in ocean mists, sculpted by high winds and drenched by heavy rains
or by glorious sun. The beaches here are the stuff of unforgettable
moments, with a grandiose beauty and savagery that is awe-inspiring.
Part of the
marvel here is the changing face of your favorite beaches. They
shift in appearance with the undulating sands and constant smacking
of the waves. The seasons, too, make a big difference at times.
And then there are the wild things that emerge at low tides.
gardens emerging on a day several years ago when the arch still
In this place
just west of Tillamook, along the Three Cape Loop, the beaches here
are often shielded from the wind by the headland called Maxwell
Point - about 100 yards north of the parking lot. It looms above
like a tall, dark, watchful god.
The real fun
of Oceanside's beach lies inside Maxwell Point. The concrete tunnel
here is a gateway to a stunning, secret world. Entrance into the
tunnel is somewhat unadvisable in wetter moments, because of falling
rocks from the cliffs.
But if conditions
are calm, on the other side sits a stunning beach where enormous
boulders and weirdly shaped sea stacks give the entire area a feel
like something out of the old ``Star Trek'' series.
The entire area
is cluttered with stuff to play on as well as a sense of the serene
and the surreal. At low tides, these elements really emerge. More
funky slabs appear, and an enormous rock garden becomes evident,
giving way to oodles of tide pools and colonies of amazing oceanic
dwellers and living sea goo. Beachcombing is prime here as well,
with loads of agates and other rarities to be found at the lower
now, with the arch crumbled
hundreds of years, a small arch sat at the northern end of this
beach, looking a bit like that eerie relic in that old “Star
Trek” episode that served as a time travel portal. The result
of millions of years of pounding at the sturdy basalt, the arch
was probably originally a small sea stack – and before that
part of a larger rocky body of some sort.
But for as long
as anyone could remember in this area, that structure had the shape
of an arch. Sometime in the winter of 2004, the storms finally took
their toll, and the arch crumbled. Another Oregon coast landmark
Now, in its
place are two small sea stacks, no longer connected. It’s
possible one of them could develop a crack, which then enlarges
to an arch again – albeit a much smaller one.
Mile Creek’s Hidden Facets
basalt in winter
and Florence, the beaches are wild and untouched. Even on busy weekends,
it’s not too hard to find a beach where solitude rules. Somewhere
halfway between the two towns, Ten Mile Creek provides two interesting
beaches – one of them quite hidden.
structures almost ten years later
On the northern
side of the creek and the bridge lies a beach that’s unreachable
except by a small hike through uncomfortable brush, giving way to
about a mile of seriously hidden sands and stones that is inaccessible
anywhere else along that mile. It takes you on a long, winding path
through brush, eventually giving way to a more manicured, grassy
walk, snaking past a wild little lodging called The Ziggurat, which
looks like a giant Rubik’s Cube twisted at odd angles.
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Down on the
beach, there are bubbly basalt structures dotting the landscape,
while the nearby creek gurgles away, deceptively quiet for all the
power within it. You can’t cross it to reach the southern
side, which is Stonefield Beach.
Down on this
secret beach, the basalt structures change in height and configuration
with the sand levels and the tide, while during more frothy, stormy
times of the year, they can appear more craggy and sharp-edged.
Each year is
another landscape here, with different amounts of storm-strewn logs
changing the look even more drastically than the basalt stones.
Point And Its Varied Aspects
around Hug Point at low tide
This gem just
south of Cannon Beach never ceases to amaze. There is a waterfall,
several sea caves and a raised tide pool within another cave, as
well as a fascinating bit of Oregon history here.
There is a road
carved out of the rocky headland in this engaging beach, which was
created in the early part of the century to allow Model T's and
horse-drawn carriages around the point at medium tides. Back at
that time, there was no Highway 101 (it wasn’t built until
the 30’s), and the beaches were Oregon’s coastal highways.
Most of the
road is worn away and barnacle-covered now, but there are bits of
the concrete left, as well as a remnant of the old traffic light
which kept these ancient vehicles from smacking into each other.
also an interesting detail sitting right across from this traffic
light, on the north side of the “road” – one that’s
obviously out of place in such a rugged setting. Look for a small,
metallic knob here, apparently quite old and indicating the presence
of an electrical line of some sort at one point.
rock at Hug Point
At a low tide,
this always-amazing road shows a new side: what could be described
as its underside. All of a sudden, the small, once-paved road is
taller, revealing that it's about ten feet off the sand, with a
grouping of boulders huddled at its base - as if they had gathered
in reverence to it.
its north side, where the water is deeper, sunnier days reveal mysterious
looking basalt slabs lying in the water, somehow reminiscent of
ancient Greek ruins.
A few hundred
feet south of the road, near the entrance to the park, a giant mushroom-shaped
boulder pokes out from the sand, covered with barnacles and with
a small cluster of tide pools at its base. Depending
on sand levels – which change year to year – this can
have it at its weird mushroom shape, or just look like a large boulder
poking out of the sand.