The ocean and I are trying to figure out this whole long-distance relationship thing. We have always lived within a few minutes of each other. For the past 30+ years, it’s been easy. The biggest complication at times being traffic on PCH. But it was never out of reach – as long as I could get myself to the beach, the ocean and I could be together.
Unlike anything else, the ocean puts into context the wild, powerful and gorgeous world we live in. The beaches may look different, but the reminder from the ocean is the same: this world is grand, and you’re a part of it.
Whether I’ve known it or not, I’ve relied on that readily available reminder my whole life. If circumstances were feeling overwhelming, the demands of motherhood feeling claustrophobic or my spirits down, a trip to the beach was sure to align my perspective.
As we considered the opportunity to move to Portland, one of our biggest hangups was the lack of ocean. There is no beach in Portland – no salt air, no waves crashing, no on-the-edge-of-the-earth vastness. Now, don’t get me wrong. Portland has plenty of earthly beauty (trees, rivers, gorges, mountains) to offer and I’m soaking it all in. But, there is still an ocean shaped hole in my heart. (Please indulge me for a few moments and excuse the drama.)
It’s only been a little over two weeks since we left Newport for Portland. But, Isaac and I have been craving the ocean all the same. Last weekend we lucked out on a spontaneously awesome weekend on the coast of Oregon. We stayed in Gearhart, a lovely little town, and split our time on Saturday and Sunday between Oswald West State Park, Seaside and Gearhart. The weather was nothing like you would expect for Oregon – we were spoiled with sunny skies and warm air. It was nothing short of amazing.
While the drive time from Portland to Seaside (the nearest coastal point) is 90 minutes, the trip is beautiful. After a few miles of rolling hills, the highway weaves through thick forests and finally meets up with highway 101 at the wooded coast. (It sure as hell beats sitting on the 91 freeway.) And with each trip we take, I bet the drive begins to feel shorter and shorter.
I cannot wait for our next trip out! I’m eager to hike from Cannon Beach to Indian Springs, check out Haystack Rock, watch my favorite surfer ride the long left at Seaside, hike from the Tillamook Head Trail into Ecola State Park and run on Gearhart beach at low tide. There is so much to explore and see.
I’m grateful to get to know a different, less crowded, more rustic part of the Pacific. And although the trips may be infrequent, I will enjoy every moment of them.
Hey Oregonians and/or seasoned travelers, if you have any Oregon Coast tips, send them my way!