Stormy weekend at the Oregon Coast

September 28-29, 2013.

Wind. Rain. Angry seas. Oh yes, it was time for a trip to the coast.

The Oregon Coast is an interesting place. It’s not a place to put on a bikini and spread out your towel for a day of sunbathing. Growing up in Rhode Island, that’s what I thought the beach was for. Building sandcastles. Splashing in the waves. Running around in a bathing suit (unless the people were packed in sardine-tight). But here, the place where the ocean meets the land is different. It’s not the beach. It’s the coast. There are beaches, yes, but the atmosphere among beach-goers is quite different. There’s usually fleece, rubber boots and jackets involved. There are sneaker waves and killer logs and other death traps. The coast is a beautifully forbidding place. And it really hits its stride during storm season.

We booked a room with ocean views in Newport and then made the drive out there. After checking in and putting a bottle of bubbly wine on ice, we donned our weather barriers and set out on a walk downtown.

I felt like the Gorton Fisherman in my yellow rain slicker. I covered every inch of skin I could with gloves, hat, rain pants, waterproof shoes, etc. It was wet and very, very windy. A delightful afternoon for a walk.

We wandered along the waterfront and picked up some food to make for dinner back at the hotel. Fresh seafood and veggies!

During the evening we watched the rain pour sideways into our window and listened to the wind try to blow the place down. It was so awesome.

The next morning, we took a nice stroll on the beach. The waves came in fast and frothy. There weren’t too many people out and about. Once we got ourselves organized and out of there, we drove to Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. I wonder what it takes to get that “outstanding” designation?

The wind was absolutely ripping. I could hardly stand up when it gusted. Watching the wind blow across the puddles on the ground was insane. I’d never seen anything move that fast.

We parked at the interpretive center and walked to the black pebble beach, then out to the lighthouse. Waves crashed far offshore. There would be no lighthouse tour today, but we had plenty to keep ourselves occupied. There was hardly a soul around, except for the people watching it all from the comfort of their vehicles.

The final stop was Salal Hill. A short, narrow trail took us up to the top of a very densely vegetated viewpoint. At least all the plants were small, so visibility was excellent. I was grateful to be wearing glasses as a shield from the wind and rain.

Hardly any of my pictures were salvageable because of the huge rain droplets on my camera lens. Trust me, it was stormy out there.

Pro tip: When visiting the Oregon Coast, always bring a spare set of dry clothes that lives in the car!

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