Monday, April 29, 2013

Honeymoon: Ecola State Park

Monday April 29, Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach OR

After our lunch at Wanda's in Nehalem, we were looking for a bottle of wine for our happy hour which we planned to take in Ecola State Park just north of Cannon Beach. We asked in Wanda's about finding a wine shop nearby, but that seemed to be a non-starter. As we started back north on the 101, I saw an IGA on the left and we popped in to grab a bottle of wine. They had at least 30 Willamette Pinots on the shelf, so we grabbed one we never heard of before and took a leisurely drive back up the 101 north into Cannon Beach.

Before heading up into the state park, we decided to walk down on the beach in front of Haystack Rock. Pictures don't do this rock any justice because you can't get a true sense of scale. The big chunk of basalt covered in sea birds rises about 235 feet out of the water; imagine standing at the base of a 24-storey building!

With our frame of reference being mid-Atlantic beaches, one thing that we really noticed about the flat beaches in Oregon is that they are gorgeous, but aren't littered with seashells and aren't teeming with birds. Imagine being on a Virginia beach and not stepping on a shell or having to wade through a gazillion sandpipers!

On the beach at Haystack Rock, we had a nice chat with couple from McMinville, grape growers who sell to Ken Wright Cellars. While Ann played with their Australian Shepherd puppy named Red, I chatted about Virginia grapes and the issues we face trying to grow Pinot Noir here (we can't really).

Ann's New Friend Red

Haystack Rock, 24 Stories Tall

After leaving the beach, we drove through downtown Cannon Beach and wound our way into Ecola State Park. Just the drive in through the magnificent trees and ferns and hanging mosses was fantastic and nearly worth the entire trip.

More Sunny Weather!

Happy Hour!
We brought along a couple of glasses from the motel and the bottle of Winter's Hill 2008 Dundee Hills that we picked up in the Manzanita IGA. It was a pleasant enough wine to sip and contemplate the view below.

Looking South From Ecola Head; Haystack Rock in Background
Looking south from this point in 1806, Captain William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition described the view as the "grandest and most pleasing prospect" he had ever surveyed. It is pretty special and spectacular! We sure don't have vistas like this back home in Virginia!

Beachside Waterfall

Surf; Haystack Rock

Tillamook Rock Light aka Terrible Tilly
From Tillamook Head, there is a good view of Terrible Tilly, the now defunct lighthouse that when built in the early 1880s, was the most expensive lighthouse to be built in the US. Several people died in the attempt to build it and standing on the Head looking out at the pounding surf, it is not easy to imagine how anyone landed on the rock, which is now accessible only by helicopter.

White Crowned Sparrow

Fields of Miniature Daisies

Bonsai in the Large
On our way back out of the park, we startled a cow Roosevelt elk that was just getting ready to cross the road in front of us. Neither of us has ever seen an elk in the wild before!

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