After living in Oregon nearly 27 years, I've visited quite a bit of it's magnificent coastline. But one stretch remained unexplored. And it was less than a 2-hour drive from my front door.
|Huge sand dune|
Photos from a favorite Oregon photographer brought Cape Kiwanda's lovely beach into my cross-hairs. Located south of Tillamook, but north of Lincoln City, it had been overlooked in my quest to visit the surrounding towns.
|Textured beach sand|
One sunny Sunday in February, Cape Kiwanda came calling. Deciding today was the day, I packed up my photo gear and got an early start, hoping to catch some morning light on the beach.
|White crashing waves|
Cape Kiwanda is a wave-sculped, sandstone headland jutting out into the Pacific Ocean. To the landward side is a huge sand dune. Upon my arrival, I was pleased to observe early morning light illuminating the sandy cliff and dunes a lovely shade of gold. I grabbed my camera and hustled to the beach.
|Pool of gold|
I got lucky and arrived at low tide The wet sand reflected the headland's golden light wonderfully, creating brilliant pools of gold.
|Another Haystack Rock|
Although most Oregonians are familiar with Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock, I discovered Cape Kiwanda has a Haystack Rock of it's own. And it's equally as scenic.
Cape Kiwanda's tall cliffs create a natural breakwater for the sea. A perfect place for surfers to launch their boards, I glimpsed quite a few of them bobbing in the waves. And, yes, in the cold Pacific Ocean wetsuits are worn nearly year-round.
|Artsy wave and colors|
The sheltered beach directly south of Cape Kiwanda is also a perfect place for launching dories - an open-hulled, flat-bottomed fishing boat that is pushed or rowed into the surf directly from the beach.
|Launching a dory|
While strolling along the waterline, I was lucky enough to catch one of these boats being launched. Vehicle are allowed to drive onto the sand, and back their trailers right into the surf. About that same time, I also witnessed another dory landing. It slid right up onto the sand!
|These flat-bottomed boats run right onto the beach|
During later research I learned that these boats are unique to this particular beach. Dories have been in use since the early 1900s here, and commercial fisherman still use them to this day. These sturdy vessels have an incredible safety record. In over 100 years of use, only 6 dorymen are known to have lost their lives.
After watching both dories take on passengers and bob back into the ocean, I continued my walk along the shore, admiring the colorful patterns of reflections in the sand.
At the base of these mighty cliffs were a series of flat rocks, all smoothed by eons of wave action. In the shadow of these outcroppings, tidepools flourished.
|Checking out tidepools|
The area was packed with people. Kids splashed in shallow streams, dogs ran about chasing balls, and teenagers hopped from rock to rock.
But I was only interested in photographing the tidepool creatures. Like these purple-hued anemones.
|Colorful layers in this rock|
Or this colorful layered rock, polished smooth by constant wave action.
|Ocean view from tidepool area|
Scrambling upon the rocky shelf, I was treated to a magnificent ocean view.
|Interesting rock formations|
The green lichen and blue water weren't too shabby either.
|Climbing the big dune|
Reaching the headland's base, I noticed lots of young people climbing the gentler cliffs. Towards shore, the headland transitioned into a massive sand dune. Several beach-goers were hiking to the dune's summit. Of course, I wanted to check it out, and followed the well-worn path in the sand.
|Top of dune beach view|
It was a tough trek. My foot, although nearly healed, didn't care for the loose sand's uneven footing. I had to slow my stride, and pick my path, each step placing a foot in an existing footprint.
|Waves crash against steep cliffs|
But once on top, the views were so worth it! In one direction was a grand overlook of the entire Cape Kiwanda Beach and adjacent town of Pacific City. Another path led visitors to the brink some high cliffs, where waves crashed far below. A wire fence kept unwary people from the unstable edge (although I noted quite a few folks ignoring the posted warnings. More natural selection!) .
There were several paths criss-crossing the dune's very top. I wanted to explore more, but my foot, not happy with the shifting sands, put up a protest. So I slid back down the dune to find firmer footing near water's edge.
|Cape Kiwanda side view|
Although mid-morning sun had faded the colors somewhat, I still managed to find some more gorgeous reflections to photograph. And I enjoyed watching a bunch of surfers paddling across the foamy waves.
|Layers of color and water|
A popular beach, by midday it was beginning to fill up with people and their vehicles. So I decided to take an early lunch break at the nearby Pelican Pub. After enjoying an excellent bowl of clam chowder, it was time to pack up and head further south to explore another "new to me" portion of the coast - Cascade Head. Join me for my next post and you'll hear all about it!
In closing, I'd like to thank Barb for pointing out that my blog's Facebook and Instagram "follow" buttons no longer worked. This issue has now been corrected. Now not only can you follow my blog via these mediums, thanks to my new GoPro, I've also added an icon for my new, ever-expanding youtube channel.
Sharing with: Scenic Weekends and Weekend Reflections and Weekly Top Shot