Scarf: Forever 21; Sweater: Gap (old); Jeans: Gap; Boots: Sperry Topsider (also love these and these)
It has been a busy holiday season and Ben and I haven't been outside of Portland-proper for a few months. In the last week or two, with no vacation from work over the holidays and the dreary weather, the grey in the city has been getting to me. After a while, you tire of seeing buildings and sidewalks and people people people as far as the eye can see. I usually need some pastoral landscape, or misty forest, to make me feel alive again.
So this blustery Sunday, we packed up our rain gear and headed for the sea. The coast is about two hours from Portland through farmland and then through the wet, winding coastal range. It's a gorgeous drive - lichen covered trees hang over the road, little waterfalls speckle every turn, the passing evergreen forests are dotted with creek and rushing river and little homes with wood fires glowing inside. It's magical to sit in the passenger seat and watch the forest fly by. Today we saw swollen rivers, a bald eagle, kestrel hunting prey, many a hawk, cows sheltering from the rain, iced over waterfalls and creek beds, and made our way through pouring rain to the ocean.
We stopped in Tillamook for cheese cheese and more cheese and checked out a new brewery before making our way to Netarts and Oceanside, two damp, sleepy little towns along the coast. The Oregon coast is unlike any coast I've experienced - it's always raining, often blustery, never warm, and always breathtaking. The sand stretches for ages and the waves roll in steadily making long trails on the shore of kelp and foam. It looks moody, mysterious, and dotted with rock outcroppings home to their own mini forests and animals. I often catch my breath when I see the wide ocean, wide shores, and absolute loneliness of most of the beaches. A far cry from my Hawaii beaches.
When we stopped off at Oceanside and parked the car in a turn-around gravel spot, it was pouring. But we suited up, rain jacket over down jacket, rain boots, wool socks, gloves, hoods up. And clambered down a wet pile of rocks to this absolutely silent expanse of beach, dotted with seagulls but nothing else. The wind was absolutely pelting us with drops of rain so big and so violent that they hurt hitting our skin. Within minutes we were soaked through our rain jackets, through our jeans and it hurt to face the gale. But we ran around in circles in the sand and splashed boots in the surf and chased a flock of seagulls off their wet perches.
When you go to the Oregon coast, you plan on it being cold, wet, and windy. No matter the day, hour, season. I've been in summer in steady winds and mist and fog and rain and 50-60 degree weather. I've been in winter for the same. On the rare occasion, you'll get a crystal clear day that's bitingly cold. And I've heard that some people were once warm on the coast, on a freak day in August... but I don't believe it. Regardless, you go. To drive through a forest so untouched in places it feels as if you are Lewis and Clark exploring for the first time. To run on a beach that is silent except for your feet hitting sand. To see the Pacific in all its power rolling toward you.