Recently I embarked on a much overdue vacation to the Oregon coast and what started off as a respite from the rigors of my daily life now doubled as an investigative mission. Just days before leaving I decided the time had come to make my dream of living in Oregon a reality. My ambitious agendaof exploring everything coastal from Cannon Beach to Brookings was the perfect opportunity to see firsthand all the communities in which I had to choose from to be my first home. My vacation was shaping up to be yet another solo journey but luckily a Madison friend was able to join in last minute.
|Ecola State Park, Oregon|
We flew separately into Portland on a Thursday evening to meet up with a friend of mine for dinner before heading to the coast the following day. The five day road trip began at 6 o’clock on Friday morning. The first stop was at Ecola State Park. True to all that I had experienced of the coast up until that point, it was cool, breezy, a bit foggy and every bit stunning as I expected. I had dreamed of this moment of returning to this transformative place every day since I had left it last and was beset with joy at being reunited after two long years away.
Every instant of the days that followed were nothing short of spectacular despite some comical misfortunes along the way. Day one on the coast I had my first run-in, literally, with a rock while trying to outrun a wave. Bleeding and soaked through my shoes, socks and pants with water, I happily snapped photos all the way back to the car. A local heading through the parking lot to the beach remarked with sly sarcasm at the site of me and my friend tending my wound, “You have to love the beach!” I answered with sincere exuberance, “I really, really do!” There truly was nowhere else I would rather have been in that moment.
|Cape Kiwanda State Park, Oregon|
The following days entailed severe sunburn, failed electronics, unexpected road closures, a moonlight search on a closed beach for misplaced items, bloody nose, spider attack, many wrong turns and a strange episode of swollen feet all on top of recovering from a stomach bug I was blessed to have come down with shortly before departing Wisconsin. None of these things did anything to tarnish the memory of my time there. They were all but a speck in the sun of amazing views from cars, trains, hiking trails, suspension bridges, lighthouses and scenic overlooks. I ate food full of flavor and drank savory cocktails, met up with new and old friends , sat on beaches and listened to the waves crashing upon the shore while the sun set and took as many pictures as my camera would allow.
The day after marveling at the grandness of the trees in the Redwoods National Forest and the bluest of blue water in Crater Lake, I found myself on a plane headed back to Madison. During my time in Oregon, I traveled over a thousand miles and just scratched the surface of what this magnificent state has to offer a nature junkie like myself. Even having experienced it firsthand, sometimes I still cannot believe that such beauty really exists. I wonder if those who have lived there all of their lives realize how lucky they are? The next months preparing for my move will be nothing short of difficult. Happily, I know this winter will by my last in Wisconsin and a world of possibility and wonder lie ahead upon my return to Oregon.
|My footprints at Harris Beach State Park, Oregon|