Ladies and Gentlemen, The Northern Oregon Coast
I told B. Deckert, my Oregon host, that I needed Bald Eagle action before I left. He recommended a couple of hiking spots where the elusive raptor flies, but beyond that, it was all about being in the right place at the right time. Fine, I said, then let's hit the coast.
An hour's drive from Portland is the Ecola State Park, where the aquamarine licks black craggies for your viewing pleasure. Except for the requisite Pacific chill, the weather is flawless. Only the slight fogginess keeps distant objects from clear sight. Just beyond the parking lot and before you get to the vistas, there's a grassy picnic area dotted with teeny daisy-like flowers, as if spring could get any lovlier here.
On our way down to the shore, Deckert points out areas where forest clearcutting (you know, that Bush Administration brain child where you strip the trees so they won't burn?) has cut unsightly chunks into the hills. Politics aside, the shit just looks wrong.
We make it to a vista point where a cheery couple in their late forties or so are taking photos with an enormous panoramic lens. I ask them what's the main attraction and the man points to the large viewfinder bolted to the ground and says, "Don't move it, just look straight through."
Far away, on yon big-ass craggy rock, are a pair of bald eagles, sitting pretty as you please.
"They mate for life, don't they?" I asked, wanting in my current personal circumstances to romanticize the birds for it.
"Yup," the man said. We all traded off staring at them through the lens, then passed on the tip to everyone who came up there after us. Its a times like this, in places like this, that people are with each other the way they're effin' supposed to be.
Hunger demanded to know why we didn't bother to bring a damn picnic lunch, so Deckert and I headed off to Cannon Beach. After much inquiry of passers by, we decided on a seafood joint that proved to be precisely what we were looking for: superfresh fish and steamer clams on paper plate for fair prices. Ecola Seafoods Restaurant and Market is the joint. We came back after our adventures and bought our fish for grilling later, and it was even better the second time.
A horrific stench hit us as we decended the steps to the beach, and there seemed to be this strange band of purple gunk running a long length of it. Upon closer inspection, the gunk seemed to be bazillions of tiny purple mollusks who had died en masse and created a thick reeking paste. Weird. We passed over that quickly and headed toward a great big rock down the beach.
"It's called Haystack Rock," Deckert informed me, "And it's the biggest...something or other kinda rock in the Pacific." I think he meant basalt, but who knows what goes on in that boy's mind. He's always eager to boast. What's completely fabulous about it is that, at low tide, it's a Marine tidepool garden brimming with the bizarre and beautiful creatures of the coast.
At this point, I'm giddy like a kid at the candy shop, snapping shots until Deckert assures me that fifteen images of the same anemone is probably enough.
We discovered a group of teens up on the rock beyond the 'CLOSED' sign, passing around some kind of mini bong with their ass cracks facing us like they're invisible. I dissuaded Deckert from messing with their heads, asking him to recall the days when they could've been us. We saw them later walking down the main street in town, their cheeks fat with taffy, looking for the pizza place, and we just about fell the fuck out. Ah, sweet, tolerant, mellow Oregon.
This place is the first that has tempted me to consider leaving Austin. That ain't sayin' I plan on it, 'cause I don't. But for a dyed-in-the-wool Texas gal like myself, that's saying a lot.
And BY THE WAY, if you're one of those annoying-ass people who feel like you just have to make a crack about my home state, please save us both the formalities and kiss my ass. I know damn well that some krazy shit happens in my state, but your preconceived notion of me and everyone who lives in Texas is unwelcome like a hot poker in your ass. Thank you.