One of the principle reasons it’s taking so long to work my way through my Oregon coast photos is having to photoshop the water mist from camera my lens off my images – it barely stopped raining for four days.
It started at day break on our last morning in Portland. We collected our hire car from PDX and set out negotiating the multi-level web of highways to take us out of the metropolitan area.
Enveloped in a dark, moody haze of cloud and rain, the lovely little seaside town of Cannon Beach took on an atmosphere of a secluded sanctuary in the middle of the wilderness.
Although it may be best well-known for Haystack Rock, the giant monolith rising 72 metres (235 feet) from the edge of the shoreline, it’s also built a reputation as one of the country’s best art towns.
Unfortunately, the most I saw of the former was a hazy, faint shadowy in the middle of a drizzly silver ocean – but we did see some truly amazing works by local artists in the galleries on the main strip.
As we checked into our lodgings, the landlady advised us that they were expecting a huge storm to hit that night, and handed us a large battery-operated lantern for the anticipated blackout.
We headed back out into the rain to do some more exploring before dark – or the storm, whichever came first – and drove 10 minutes north to Ecola State Park.
After taking a turn-off from the main road, we entered a lush wonderland, winding the through moss-draped trees and fern-filled undergrowth of the coastal rainforest. Everywhere is unbelievably green and magical. The forest is dominated by enormous Stika Spruce trees, who continue to weather the coast’s wet and windy climate and whose age is reflected in their prehistoric-like appearance.
The old-growth forest opens out abruptly to the headland and view of the ocean. We explored a few of the trails leading down to the rocky shore and stone shelter hut, but eventually the rain became too heavy to see much of anything and we called it a day.
Later that evening, feasting at the local brewery on superb burgers and mountains of onion rings, the foretold blackout did indeed hit (hence the reason why there are no photos of the aforementioned superb burgers!).
For two adventurous folk from Perth, it was just part of the holiday experience, and indeed the locals didn’t seem to mind much either – everyone cheerfully continued their eating and drinking by the dim glow of a few generator-powered safety lights.
The next day, after a wild night of howling gales and torrential rain, we ventured out in the hope of seeing a little more of the town.
There was evidence of the storm everywhere – branches ripped from trees, flooded carparks and no power until 08:00 – but although it continued to drizzle, we assumed the worst had passed.
The sodden beach was exposed at low tide and was covered in all sorts of flotsam and jetsam, attracting huge crowds of gulls wanting to investigate the spoils.