One of the best parts of living in Portland is the proximity to nature. The mountains and ocean are both just over an hour away, and there are countless hikes, excursions and fun to be had within an hour. Recently I joined up with some friends for an all day winter road trip to the coast. I say a winter road trip, as with less daylight than in the summer, there really is only so far you can go before it's time to head back. We made it all the way down to Florence, Oregon, a couple hundred miles away. Man, it was good to see the Pacific Ocean again, smell the salt air and explore some new territory.
It was my first time at Cape Meares, a well maintained spot with epic ocean views. We took the hard way to get there, running into a dead end on the road, parking the car and walking the 1.5 miles to the parking lot (access via a different route), and it was well worth it. On a winter day in the NW when it wasn't raining, stretching those legs amongst the tall trees was perfect.
The Oregon Coast is dotted with small fishing towns, a couple small cities, and massive amounts of open road surrounded by nature. It's a great drive on the scenic 101, slow, full of turnoffs and places to explore. Pretty much anywhere has a good view and something worthwhile to check out. One of the highlights was at a place called Devil's Churn, where the ocean has forced itself through the land over time, churning inwards, creating a canal of frothy, powerful waves several hundred feet towards the road. Here's a video from there:
Yachats is the coolest of the small towns, full of charm and great old western architecture right there on the beach. South of there was pretty amazing as well, great ocean views and a good place to watch the sunset. We had it timed perfectly, and yet it was mighty cloudy and didn't get a visual on the sun or any good colors. Still, a perfect 180 degree view of the ocean was worth it. We got into Florence just before dark and then headed inland to get to the I-5 and head back to Portland, around 3 hours away (and yes, that was the fast way). A solid day out and about exploring!
|Watching the sunset|
|Feel the power!|
|Colorful driftwood at dusk|