Cape Perpetua

We spent as many weekends as possible outside this summer, camping, hiking, running, and gardening. On Labor Day weekend, knowing that we had time for one more summer hike, Justin and I drove to an unexplored section of Oregon, the Central Oregon Coast, seeking mesmerizing views and one last "summer of 2014" memory. One obvious benefit of living in Portland is the numerous hiking trails minutes outside of the city. The Central Oregon coast is a 3 hour drive, so it's no small commitment to drive 6 hours for a hike and ocean views when I could drive an hour for an exhilarating vista of the Columbia Gorge and a heart-pounding hike.

But, despite my inevitable restlessness when I sit in cars for too long, the first views of the Central Oregon coast made me shake off my stiff legs and scramble out of the car at the first lookout point. This coastline is different from our typical coastal excursion, namely Cannon Beach. It's rocky, swirling, and – it's true! – a touch warmer.

We drove to the Cape Perpetua visitor center, where the park rangers told us that gray whales were visible from the lookout point to which we were about to hike . After a hot hike up to said point, we joined other visitors to gaze at whales who looked to be dancing in the waves of the now-faraway ocean. After quickly descending back to the visitors' center, we crossed highway 101 and walked along the coast to Devil's Churn, where we encountered people perched on rocks, screaming and laughing every time they were soaked by the waves that ricocheted across the rocks.

Buoyed by memories of the rocky coast, the fresh air still in my lungs, and a particularly interesting segment of This American Life, the three hour return trip passed quickly. Next summer I'm eager to venture further down the Oregon Coast (though probably not as a day trip!)