One of my favorite parts of driving out to the coast is the scenery along the way. There are a number of farms and small businesses along the way before you hit the mountains. Oh, and I love that I have to drive through the mountains to get to the beach. In Philadelphia, the beach and the mountains were two very separate (but fun!) experiences, and you have to drive about 2 hours in opposite directions to hit either one.
It’s pretty cool to drive through rugged working forests to get to the ocean – and as you’ll see in these pictures, the beach is surrounded by mountain-y goodness. It’s quite a striking experience, particularly for people like Kenny and I whose beach experiences are mostly in Central or Southern New Jersey where you get what I consider the quintessential beach experience – sun, sand, surf and a boardwalk. In Oregon, mountains flank the beaches and if you stand in the surf and look inland, you see evergreens for miles.
Here are some shots of scenes along the way to and from the Cannon Beach area from where we live:
Driving through the Ecola State Park to get to Indian Beach was interesting. It’s a winding road through the forest – and at one point, you have to cross a one-lane bridge with no guard rails. (Insert prayer thanking God I was not driving and Kenny was here.) The road technically fits two cars across, however, it’s one of those ‘are we both going to fit?!’ moments every time you encounter a fellow driving park goer. (Read: I was terrified about 98% of the ride through the park to the beach.)
Once we got to the beach (yay for Kenny’s careful driving!), it was cool – you park way above the actual beach – lending some pretty spectacular views on a clear day (which we didn’t have!). You then do a mini-hike down a curving trail (first paved with wood, then dirt) to get to the actual sand and surf. Along the way, you have to negotiate slippery mud patches and some surfers with surf boards, which was no problem for someone like me who’s been hiking about three times in her life now…all since last October when I moved here. My only very brief and short-lived regret was wearing flip flops and that was only really when I hit the mud.
When we were finally at the beach, we were struck at how pretty it was – so rugged and so different than any beach experience we’d ever had. First, it was flipping freezing for July and most people were in sweatshirts, and some had daytime bonfires burning. Second, it was low tide, so much of the ocean’s rocky bottom was exposed for exploring. Third, the water was packed with surfers – awesome. And finally, we were surround by rugged beauty – cliffs, evergreens, small waterfalls, driftwood, sea rocks, tide pools and of course, waves!
Here are some shots of Indian Beach. I’ll share some of our ‘tide pool’ finds in my next post.