Spectacle on Oregon Coast

Personal Journeys

My favorite placeLast spring...

October 18, 1998|By Michael R. Hart | Michael R. Hart,Special to the sun

Spectacle on Oregon Coast; My favorite place

Last spring, when I reported to work for my normal 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift at a chemical plant in Havre de Grace, my supervisor asked for a volunteer to visit our sister plant in Washington state for two weeks. Because I love to travel and had never seen the Northwest, I jumped at the chance.

The next day I was headed for Longview, Wash. Sitting in the shadow of Mount St. Helens, Longview is surrounded by Olympia and Mount Rainier National parks, the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood and the Washington and Oregon coasts. I was certain that during my two weeks I would be able to see everything. I packed more hiking boots and outdoor clothes than work clothes.

As it turned out, I ended up working 12 to 15 hours a day. To make things worse, it rained every day. And every day the guys at the plant would point to the spot on the horizon where you could see Mount St. Helens when it was clear. My dream of a fun two weeks was fading away.

Then it happened. One morning the sky to the west started to lighten. By lunch, I could see patches of blue sky. I was getting caught up on my work, and I might be able to leave early. It was all coming together.

By 4 o'clock I was on the road. But, which place do I visit first? The mountains were still socked in with clouds. I could see clear sky to the west. My decision was made. A few minutes later I was driving over the Lewis and Clark bridge and headed for blue sky and the Oregon coast.

On the plane ride, I had read about a place called Cannon Beach and its beautiful, rocky coast. This community of art galleries and craft shops located in weathered, cedar buildings prides itself on being called the Carmel of the Northwest.

After a three-hour drive, I walked to the beach. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was spectacular - a wide expanse of white sand with massive rocks protruding from the ocean. The largest, Haystack Rock, towers 263 feet and is covered with dark green moss and nesting sea birds.

After a great salmon dinner, I walked to the beach, wishing my wife could have shared this sight with me. It was low tide, so I took off my work boots and explored the tidal pools at the base of the rocks. I could see lime-green sea anemones as large as my fist as well as sea urchins and giant starfish. Lingering well past dark, I enjoyed the sunset over the ocean and the mist that mingled with the rocky coast.

Next morning, the guys at the plant couldn't believe I had gone to Cannon Beach. To them, it was like driving from Baltimore to New York for dinner. In the remaining days I did get to see other wonders, and I even found time to revisit one of my favorite places, Cannon Beach, Ore.

Michael Hart lives in Bel Air.

@ Jamaica

Dino Luzzi Jr., Lutherville

"We stayed at the Runaway Bay Golf and Beach Club. Likes: beautiful beach, warm Caribbean Sea, totally inclusive hotel and the Jamaican people. Dislikes: having to come home!"

Niagara Falls

Beverly B. Dobson, Towson

"It's a marvelous place to spend a few days. Walking across the bridge to Canada and enjoying the scenic falls are unique treats. The shops and restaurants appeal to all ages. But, be careful in the walkways at night; they can be tricky to navigate."

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Pub Date: 10/18/98

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