|Foggy beach near Oceanside|
This time a change of venue! Instead of hitting my usual Canon Beach haunt, I instead chose to head further south, bound for the charming coastal towns of Netarts and Oceanside.
|Sunbeams through the coastal forest|
It was a beautiful sunny day in Portland (very rare most winters, except for this one). I expected the same clear blue skies on the coast. Imagine my surprise, when, a few miles from the beach, a huge fog bank rolled in, and began to blot out the sun. What??? How was I supposed to capture the sunset now?
|Ocean view from Cape Meares|
On the outskirts of Oceanside, I pulled into a roadside parking area and captured a few misty beach scenes. Then I continued past the town, climbing a steep, windy road, until a sign for the Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint came into view.
Lucky for me, Cape Meares is a tall headland rising 200 feet above the ocean. That day, the elevation was enough to escape that murky fog shrouding Netarts and Oceanside. Popping out of the clouds, I was treated to blue skies, and amazing ocean views.
|Wave action at the cliff's base|
The big attraction on Cape Meares is a historic lighthouse. However, an overlook near the parking lot provides a killer Pacific Ocean panorama. It was enough to keep me (and my camera) busy for several minutes.
|Cape Meares lighthouse|
I finally tore myself away and headed down the path to the park's main attraction. A huge fan of lighthouses, this one did not disappoint. The first overlook gives visitors a view looking down on this amazing bit of history.
|Dramatic view from the lighthouse base|
The Cape Meares Lighthouse was built in 1889, and commissioned on January 1, 1890. The tower, standing a mere 38 feet in height, has the distinction of being the shortest lighthouse in Oregon. It's structure consists of bricks covered with iron plates.
|Fresnel Lens close-up|
The lighthouse is illuminated with a first order Fresnel Lens, made in Paris, France. The lens was shipped around Cape Horn to Cape Meares, and then hauled up the steep cliff by a wooden crane made from native timbers. It is eight-sided, with four primary lenses, and four bulls-eye lenses covered with red panels. The light can be seen from 21 nautical miles at sea.
|Looking back on the fog bank enveloping Oceanside|
A sad footnote, in 2010, a couple of local yahoos drove into this park under the cover of night, and shot up the Fresnel Lens. The two guilty men were arrested and charged, but much time, effort, and money were poured into the restoration of the lighthouse and it's historic lens. Happily, the lens is now repaired to it's former condition.
|Oceanside beach before sunset|
A return loop trail to the parking lot gave great views of Oceanside and it's beaches. Well, if not for the fog, anyway. Despite the thick cloud layer, I still got some great shots of the headland and sea stack tips sticking out of the gloom.
|Lots of fog means minimal views|
After a nice walk around Cape Meares, I headed back down to Oceanside. One of my very favorite coastal towns, I love it's laid-back atmosphere. There's no touristy shops, no cell phone coverage, and no ritzy resorts. A tiny beach gives wonderful views of a group of sea stacks known as Three Arch Rocks.
|Still, a peaceful place to be|
But today's fog prevented any sea stack sightings. I could barely glimpse their outlines through the mist. Not enough for any good images. Instead, I had to be content with photographing beach scenes.
|Setting sun turns everything golden|
As the sun sank lower in the sky, the fog began to lift for a couple of short minutes. Hoping for a nice sunset, I stayed put. But the clouds rolled back in, and I had to console myself with some shots of diffused golden light on the sand.
|Lovely light on the sand|
A high sneaker wave caught me while I was concentrating on a photo, soaking my legs below the knees (note to self...never turn your back on the sea!). After that, I was ready for a hot cup of tea. So I didn't bother sticking around for the sunset, and instead decided to beat the darkness back home.
Still not a bad way to spend a winter's afternoon. I've bookmarked this location for a return trip. Hopefully next time will be a sunny day!
Sharing with: Scenic Weekends and Our World Tuesday