Oregon’s Central coast is spectacular at any time of the year and earlier this week I spent a day walking on beaches and re-exploring the area with a friend who volunteers for CoastWatch.
CoastWatch volunteers watch mile-long segments of the Oregon shoreline and report on natural changes and human impact. It was a lovely warm day with a somewhat high – low tide. After studying the tide table we climbed over craggy volcanic rocks to reach the beach which was snuggled back along a stretch of coast near the Spouting Horn and Cook’s Chasm.
The Spouting Horn is a “salt-water fountain driven by the power of the ocean tide and waves”. It’s dangerous at high tide and during winter storms. A nearby tidewater inlet, Cook’s Chasm, is named after British Captain James Cook who explored Oregon’s Central Coast seeking the Pacific entrance to a Northwest Passage.
Of course we both hoped to spot a migrating gray whale spouting on the horizon but sadly didn’t see any of those magnificent creatures. The headlands tower over the coast and hiking trails lead from the beach to the top where on a clear day you can see 70 miles of coastline and 37 miles out to sea!
The Siuslaw National Forest Service manages the protected area. We stopped at the visitor center where they said two whales were seen earlier in the day.
Meandering along Highway 101 we spent a carefree day stopping for coffee and visiting lighthouses and galleries in Florence, Yachats, and Newport where we enjoyed a long, chatty lunch. After a six-month trip abroad, I’ve been back in Oregon for almost a month. Spending time at the coast reminds me of one reason Oregon is so dear.