Beachy Keen

Every so often, I develop a craving for salt air and sand. Fortunately, the Oregon coast is exactly 100 miles from my front door. Well, give or take a few inches. All I’ve got to do to quench my thirst is hop in the car, point it west, and start driving. Less than two hours later I reach the edge of the continent. How convenient is that?

My destination is usually Cannon Beach. It’s a charming, non-touristy small town that is fun to walk around in, the scenery is gorgeous, and the beach itself is a huge expanse of sand that stretches, uninterrupted, for miles. Plus, it’s got Haystack Rock, probably the most scenic spot along the Oregon coast. Anybody who has seen The Goonies will recognize it.

Friday, I felt that old familiar longing, so I decided to take a day trip to the coast. I could go on and on, but this is one of those rare instances where words are superfluous. I’ll just let my pictures talk.

Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach along the Oregon coast.
Cannon Beach as viewed from the cliffs south of town.
Seagull perched atop a barnacle-encrusted rock along the Oregon coast.
Haystack Rock tidal pools.
The tide was low, so I was able to explore the tidal pools along Haystack Rock. There were plenty of colorful starfish.
Haystack Rock tidal pools.
With friends like these, who needs anemones?
The ruggedly beautiful Oregon coast.
Hug Point
I ventured south along Highway 101, stopping by a couple of favorite, more secluded spots including this beach just north of Hug Point.
By the end of the day I was hungry, so I stopped by a little fish market/restaurant in Cannon Beach for clam strips and chowder.

All in all, I had a great day. I walked up and down the beach for a couple of hours, enjoying the crashing surf and stuffing my pockets full of sand dollars. Unfortunately these aren’t legal currency, but they’re nice to look at. There’s something about the solitude of a weekday afternoon along the coast, especially in winter, that soothes the mind and evaporates your stress. It’s that primitive pull of the ocean, much like the ebb and flow of the tides, that draws me to the shores of the Pacific every so often. I know I’ll return a couple more times this year – I always do. Sometimes (though not often) it’s sunny and the skies are blue, but I prefer the gray storminess that is so prevalent along the Oregon coast. Somehow, that just feels like the perfect backdrop to the powerful, unpredictable sea.

One more photo before I go. I was inspired by a photographer friend to play around with this photo, adjusting the contrast, saturation, and tint. In its natural state, this shot of Haystack Rock is kind of bland – washed out background, barely visible trace of sun. With a few adjustments, it turns into something else entirely. I don’t know if this is considered a “real” photograph since it’s been touched up, but I like it.

Cannon Beach purple haze.
Haystack Rock and its reflection beneath the February sun. Ooh, how purple!



Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

24 thoughts on “Beachy Keen

  1. Gorgeous. God, it makes me miss the coast more and more. I remember how pleasantly surprised I was when the Oregon coast reminded me of home. They’re very similar. And I LOVE the last picture. πŸ™‚


    1. You need to venture west for a visit, my friend. You’re always talking about how much you miss it out here! Thanks for the feedback. I really like that last one, too.


  2. I’m so melancholy now. Your photos are gorgeous and I’m envious of that gray misty day you enjoyed. Here, it is snowy, slushy, and dirty looking. I’ll be overjoyed when I see mud. At least it has more color.


  3. I never knew that starfish came in different colors. Really cool! Lovely pictures. I love the last one even if you touched it up-Beautiful….Enjoy your recharging time. We all need it whether we recognize it or not. Jeanne


  4. Mark, these photos are freakin’ AMAZING!


    Everytime I see photos of the Oregon coast, it blows me away. We don’t have the mountains here on the east coast along the shoreline, which gives that rugged beauty that the west coast has.

    “but I prefer the gray storminess that is so prevalent along the Oregon coast. Somehow, that just feels like the perfect backdrop to the powerful, unpredictable sea.”

    Me too, buddy! I much prefer the beach during the winter months rather than summer. It gives it an ominous beauty. I know this sounds crazy, but gray days are favorite!


    1. I get it, Ron. I don’t like the summer months when everybody is working on their tans and cooling off in the water. The Oregon coast is rugged…it’s supposed to be gray and ferocious-looking!


  5. …and no matter how much diving I do here in the tropics, nothing compares to the beauty of the Pacific Coast from Northern CA to WA.

    Luckily, your pics will stave off the homesickness a bit longer! Sounds like a fun trip!


    1. Agreed! The funny thing is, once you hit Washington, you lose some of that rugged beauty. The cliffs disappear. It’s still nice, but Oregon will always be my favorite.


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