The recent rainy weather reminds me of my two-month stay in Oregon last 2012. Oregon is located in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, an area known for cold and wet weather for a good eight months of the year. Even though it rains almost everyday in the region from October to May, the total annual rainfall only amounts to less than 1,000 mm, or less than half of Manila’s 2,200 mm total. This means most of the time it’s only a drizzle rather than the torrential rain we are used to back home.
Weekend Road Trips
After a few weeks of waiting in vain for a sunny weekend, we just decided to do as the locals do and proceed with our weekend plans – rain or shine. Oregon is known for its natural attractions and the Oregonians’ love for the outdoors. We went on two separate road trips to the Oregon coast on different weekends. Weather was gloomy on both trips as usual, but it was perfect to showcase the rugged Pacific coast of Oregon. Towns on the Oregon coast are on the U.S. Highway 101, the 2,500 km north-south highway that runs from Washington state down to California.
Our first stop was at Cape Disappointment which was technically already in Washington state. As the name warned us, we were disappointed as the thick fog ruined the view.
Moving on, Ecola State Park in Cannon Beach, Oregon is a popular hiking and sightseeing spot on the coast. The entire Oregon coast is public domain and parks such as Ecola is managed by the state. From a windy viewpoint in Ecola State Park, we could see Haystack Rock in the distance along with other sea stacks on the coast.
In the nearby town of Cannon Beach, we walked along the beach towards Haystack Rock, a prominent sea stack frequently featured in photographs of the Oregon coast. We were caught in the rain before we could reach Haystack Rock, so we had to run back to the town to seek shelter.
Oregon Three Capes Loop
Our second road trip to the Oregon coast is more known as the Three Capes loop, encompassing Capes Meares, Lookout, and Kiwanda. In Cape Meares, signposts point towards this Octopus Tree near a cliff.
Near Cape Lookout, we were surprised by the sudden change in the landscape. The temperate forest suddenly gave way to sand dunes even though we were kilometers inland.
Further south towards Cape Kiwanda, we stopped at a scenic viewpoint overlooking the beach. The extent of the sand dunes can be seen in the background as patches of beige in the green forest.
Cape Kiwanda, the last stop in the Three Capes loop, was definitely not the least as it provided the most remarkable beach landscapes and rock formations I have seen. A sea stack similarly shaped as Haystack Rock looms off the beach of Cape Kiwanda. The cape itself is a short hike on the north side of the beach.
We stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory on the way back to Portland. Tillamook is a homegrown Oregon brand of cheese and ice cream based in the city of the same name. Aside from free tasting of different kinds of cheese, they also have the complete line-up of ice cream flavors at their cafeteria.
The Oregon coast is roughly 75 miles (120 kilometers) west of Portland. To get there by car, drive west on US Highway 26 to Cannon Beach, or branch to the Oregon State Route 6 to Tillamook. The main north-south highway on the coast is the US Highway 101. The most convenient way to get around is by car, as public transportation may be scarce on this route.