Monday, June 16, 2014

Evening at Ecola

That Memorial Day beach trip left me longing for more.  The following weekend was super busy, with both my kids visiting.  Sunday afternoon after their departures, I didn't want to sit around moping and worrying the rest of the night.  Hmmm....I had a little bit of time before sunset.  Why not catch some evening light on the coast?

Sea stacks near Crescent Beach

I threw the dog and my camera into hubby's truck (he was in China on business, so I got my pick of vehicles).  And then I headed west to Ecola State Park.

Ocean peeks through the forest

Ecola State Park, on the Oregon Coast, is right outside the town of Cannon Beach, a mere hour's drive from my house.  The park hugs 9 miles of gorgeous coastline, meanders through lush Sitka spruce forests, offers amazing ocean viewpoints, and accesses some great beaches.  Lewis and Clark traveled through this area many years ago in search of a beached whale.

Bear takes in the stunning views

It was nearly 5:30 when I pulled into the parking lot at Ecola Point.  I drug Bear to the overlook so I could get some photos of it's famous vista.  Looking southward, the view extended across Crescent Beach, it's rugged cliffs and a group of scenic seastacks.  Further down the coastline, one can glimpse the town of Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock, the most well known seastack on the Oregon coast.

Lots of mud on this trail!

From Ecola Point, I've hiked the Oregon Coast trail north to Tillamook Head (read about it here).  However, I noticed a sign pointing to a southbound continuation of this same trail.  Crescent Beach was a mere 1 1/4 miles down this path.  Bear and I could handle that!

Looking down the steep cliffs

Off went my doggy and I, trudging through muddy woods on a steep narrow path that roller-coastered through a magnificent rainforest.  As Bear bounded ahead, I though how nice it was to be hiking with him again.  Now well past his 12th birthday, I'd recently curtailed most of Bear's hikes.  He tends to tire quickly, and his back legs don't work as well as they used to.  But I figured he'd be okay on this short trail.

Crescent beach scene

As I meandered through the thick forest, I caught ocean glimpses through gaps in the trees.  So blue and lovely, it beckoned me on, through the steep, muddy trail.

Halfway down the path, I emerged into a grassy clearing.  And, oh what a glorious view to behold!  Crescent Beach spread out below.  The sea stacks now looked much closer, and one could see the white waves making interesting patterns as they traveled towards shore.  Someone else must have also thought this a wonderful vista, as a wooden bench had been erected here.

Follow the tracks

After taking my photo break, Bear and I continued our journey across the muddy track.  After leveling out and following the top of the cliffs, the trail suddenly turned and dived steeply down towards Crescent Beach.  The final set of wooden stairs that led to the sand were very tall and steep.  But finally we had arrived!  And Bear and I had the place to ourselves.

Lots of sand dollars here

So many photo subjects!  Bright pink foxglove flowers bloomed in the grassy steep slopes adjacent to the beach.  The sea stacks, so very close now, were lit up by the setting sun.  And numerous shells littered the sand.  Of course I had to capture everything.  And it wouldn't be one of my coastal blog posts without at least one sand dollar photo, would it?

Beautiful foxgloves lined the beach

Bear and I walked the length of Crescent Beach, taking in the sights.  After a good hour of exploring, I noticed the sun sinking lower, and knew we needed to leave before it got dark.  I called to Bear and he met me at the bottom of the steep steps.

Now Bear is a very tough dog.  He'll keep going until he drops, with no indication of any pain.  Of course, dogs can't talk and tell us when something is bothering them.  Still, I should have known ascending those stairs would be difficult for Bear's failing back legs.

Sea stack reflections

Bear jumped for the first step.  But his back legs failed, missing the step, and he began to fall backward.  In an attempt to boost him, I quickly grabbed under my dog's hindquarters.  Well, that area must've been quite sore from the hike, because as I pushed my dog, quick as a flash, he turned around and bit me in the face.

Ripples in the sand

I was stunned.  My left eye immediately began to swell.  Hastily, I felt around the area, trying to determine if he'd broken the skin.  I didn't detect any bleeding.  Then I noticed my glasses lying on the ground.  Picking them up, I saw two large gashes across the left lens.  My brand new glasses - not a month old, and already they were damaged!

Blindingly angry, I turned to my dog and scolded him harshly.  Even before I started yelling, Bear, already realizing what he'd done, cowered down in the sand.

Spectacular evening light on the coast

Now what would I do?  If Bear wasn't able to jump up the steps, we were stuck on the beach.  I wasn't about to try and carry my dog - no telling where he'd bite next!  A few minutes passed, and I began to calm down.  Maybe Bear was tired and in pain, but we had to try and make it back to the parking lot anyway.

I started up the steps, coaxing Bear to follow.  After lingering for a few long moments, Bear gathered himself and made a mighty leap.  Although he didn't quite make the step, he was able to scramble on top.  The next few steps were not as tall, and slowly Bear jumped each one.

Frothy white waves

From there, it was a quick trek through the forest.  My eye was smarting and beginning to swell, so I didn't want to linger.  Thankfully, Bear seemed to keep up just fine.  But coming upon the bench viewpoint a second time, the evening light was so incredible, I had to stop for more photographs.  The setting sun illuminated the surrounding vegetation to a stunning bright green.  The water shone a brilliant blue.  Totally worth the stop!

Lots of green on the clifftops

The return trip seemed to take much less time, and before I knew it, my dog and I had arrived back at the truck.  Bear gratefully sank into the blanket spread on the seat.  I looked my face over in the rear view mirror, and was pleased to see no broken skin.  But the area around my left eye was already turning purple.  There'd be a nice shiner by morning.

By then my anger towards Bear had dissipated, replaced by concern.  Although I knew Bear's hind legs weren't working as well as in younger years, this incident made me realize the extent of deterioration.  I shouldn't have taken my old dog on a trail that involved so much climbing and jumping.  All that movement had worn him out.  Sadly, I realized Bear's hiking days were probably over.

Wave action

Upon returning to the truck, I almost immediately left for home.  By then it was 8:30 in the evening, about a half hour before sunset.  But then I noticed the sun was sinking low in the sky.  It was illuminating the beach with amazing colors.  I couldn't pass up this wonderful light.  Grabbing my camera, I headed back to Ecola Point.

Classic view from Ecola Point

And I'm glad I did.  The best shots of the day were the ones I got of Crescent Beach lit up by golden rays of the setting sun.  Such a glorious sight to behold!  I almost forgot about Bear's failing legs and my injury.

I'll close this post with my favorite image, a classic view of Crescent Beach, it's sea stacks glowing gold, blue ocean with white frothy waves gleaming in the day's final light.  Pure magic!

Sharing with:  Our World Tuesday.and Wednesday Around the World. and Friday My Town Shoot Out.


  1. Good for Bear taking in the views! It looks like a place to clear the lungs. Love it!

  2. So glad you and Bear are okay. Scary though.
    And you still managed to get some killer shots. Nothing like late afternoon sun.. at the beach no less. Super images!
    I love Ecola!
    Hope your eye is healing.
    Wonderful post, Linda!

  3. Beautiful pictures of a beautiful landscape. Love it!

  4. Those views are gorgeous! And what a lovely dog you have.

  5. I love the soft light of evening. Gorgeous shots! It looks like Bear enjoyed his time at the beach despite his tired old legs. Hope your eye is feeling better soon, ouch!

  6. Gorgeous view and a lovely beach. Hubby and I visited Ecola while in Oregon.. I am sorry about Bear, my Goldie Girl has stopped going on our walks.. Wonderful series of photos.I hope bear and your eye are feeling better. Have a happy day!

  7. Gorgeous pictures as usual. Poor Bear, and you! Glad you both made it back okay, so hard when our pets start getting old and can't do what they used to.

  8. That must be one of the most spectacular coasts in the world, and fabulous pictures! I really must try to get. Out and see that sometime. Hope you and bear are both ok.

  9. Beautiful and magical! I am glad you are O.K.

  10. Thanks for sharing your walk, everything is gorgeous!

  11. Beautiful, but Bear steals it all!! Boom, Bobbi and Gary.

  12. Oh Linda, I'm almost crying by now. Poor Bear and poor you. I'm sorry he bit you but like you said I'm sure he was in pain and didn't realize.

    I just love your images. The last one is gorgeous and I love all the others too.

    I'm loading my car and heading your way tomorrow. Oh how I wish I could. Siiiiigggghhhh.

  13. Going out with the camera is always better than moping. Thanks for sharing with us!

  14. Definitely the sign of a true nature lover and photographer...
    you keep clicking even when in pain. Sorry to hear about your beloved Bear's problems and your sore eye. Glad the damage wasn't worse and that you both made it home safely. Gentle hugs to you both.

  15. Poor Bear. He must have been in so much pain. Relieved your eye was not worse. At least you will now know that leaving him at home is for the best. Your images of Ecola were beautiful. A special one to keep is that of Bear on the sand.

  16. Awesome photos! Just stunning. A wonderful adventure for you and Bear. I bet he enjoys these outings as much as you do.

  17. What a special looking place. Great photos. It is always good to get out rather than mope when family leave. Beautiful.

  18. I am glad to read that both of you came out of this all right. That was very scary to read. Can't even imagine what I would do in that situation. I hope you eye is better now. Please update us, when you can. But even though there was turmoil on this day, you captured amazing images of the beach and Bear as well. Take care, both of you!

    Mersad Donko Photography

  19. That last photo is truly stunning.

    I'm so sorry about Bear and your ordeal. My dog can't get up and down stairs easily anymore either and it breaks my heart to see him try to follow me around and he can't. You are going to miss your little buddy on your hiking excursions. Hope your eye is ok today.

  20. What amazing coast line and scenery. simply stunning


  21. What a beautiful place for taking photos. How sad that Bear's hiking days are coming to an end.

  22. WOW. These photos are breathtaking. Seriously. I must add Ecola to my bucket list :)

  23. Goonies! We were at this park a number of years back and found it absolutely beautiful. One of my favorite pictures ever is from that day.

    By the way - thank you for the "Dear Bob and Sue" tip. After figuring out our library didn't have it, I was so excited I just downloaded it from Amazon. I am sure I am going to buzz right through it - but it seems just about perfect.

  24. There's nothing like evening light on a beach. But that's a scary situation with poor Bear - he's definitely not up for these long hikes any more. I wonder how long my little Socks will be able to keep up with me on our hikes, but he's small enough to carry if something happens.

  25. Beautiful pictures and beautiful place!! Where I live beaches are always so crowded!

  26. You are truly a dedicated photographer to keep taking pictures under those circumstances. But remember to take care of yourself!

  27. Poor ol' boy. I'm glad your face is ok. It's always hard to know with an old dog, when to take them & what they're up for. We left our dogs behind when we went to the coast this week, but I was sad not to have them on the beach.
    Your photos of the coast are gorgeous!

  28. What a spectacular coast. I still remember the last beach walk I had with my old dog. If this is to be the last for you and your dog, at least you will beautiful memories of a lovely evening. I do hope he's OK and that your face has healed.

  29. I not sure how much time I would spend at home if I had places like that within an evenings drive!

    Great pictures.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  30. Stunning shots! Just learned about Lewis and clark seeking a whale in this area on my trip there. What beauty at your doorstep. So sorry about the incident with your dog. Very hard time when they get older. Have you read the book Merle's Door. You should if you have not

  31. Hi,Linda. All of your photos are breathtakingly beautiful. It's very nice you can go there in one hour.
    I enjoyed your photos very much. Your Bear is very lovely too. Thanks for sharing.

  32. That last photo is breathtaking! So sorry that Bear bit you! You know he didn't realize what he was doing. Just his animal instinct acting out. Hope your eye is better. It's sad for Bear, but yes I think his hiking days may be over. Thanks for sharing the gorgeous views. Love, love Foxgloves!

  33. We spent one breathtakingly beautiful sunset there at Ecola, it my first time laying eyes on the west coast.
    To this day, one of the picture I took from the overlook is the wallpaper on our home desktop screen!
    Very sorry to hear about Bear's rough hike.
    Boy, rough luck with your glasses lately! You take gorgeous photos with or without or with scratched glasses, though.. :)

  34. I haven't been to this park in years but I fondly recall a trip I made with my parents years ago and my dad cooking breakfast on an old Coleman camp stove there in the park. Your shots are wonderful and I enjoyed them so much. I'm so sorry about Bear and the fact he bit you as well. I hope both of you are doing much better.


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